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Miller’s True ContributionTrue to his servant leader management style, Steve Miller [CEO Watch, "Who You Gonna Call?" July/August] continues to [...]

October 7 2008 by Chief Executive


Miller’s True Contribution

True to his servant leader management style, Steve Miller [CEO Watch, "Who You Gonna Call?" July/August] continues to be the humble, genuinely nice guy who understates the significance of his Delphi role that has been a template for saving the domestic automotive industry.

Economic realities have dismantled the benefits entitlement culture that took root following World War II. Miller correctly surmised that the U.S. auto industry could not survive without the United Autoworkers agreeing to set up trust funds that allowed the U.S. automakers to unload their healthcare obligations for cents on the dollar. The entire industry has followed his lead and right-sized to market with a projected return to strong profitability within three years.

Miller’s gifts scream for a higher calling than private equity, with all due respect. We need national community activists to do what government hasn’t been able to do. Attacking Social Security the way Al Gore has tackled global warming would be a good place for him to start.

Will Graves
Chairman Emeritus
Graves‘ Quality Chrysler
Winter Park, Fla.

Global Warming

Editor’s Note: In an Online column, “Time for Rational Solutions to Climate Change Is Overdue,” Chief Executive posed a question prompted by Bjorn Lomborg, author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist:” Is it possible that both the seriousness and the imminence of the threat have been overstated?

Another great article on global warming and a number of very good points being made. However, I wish you would not state that, “Virtually all climatologists are telling us that global warming is real and that it is man-made,” because it just isn’t so. It may be true that virtually every scientist connected to U.N. programs is saying that, but not the rest of them.

What scientists do agree upon is that CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are increasing and that these concentrations tend to influence temperature in the positive direction. They also agree that climate changes occurred in our past historical record, some short-term, some longer-term and most often not correlated with CO2 levels.

What they do not agree upon is: how to separate this natural temperature trend from CO2 impacts; whether current U.N. land-based data predicting temperature increases is reliable (since it doesn’t correlate well with satellite data and could be over-predicting very small temperature differentials); and the timeframe necessary for impact of CO2 concentrations (some studies say it is too late to impact warming over the next 200 years, some say the time to act is now, and others say we have way more time than expected).

Even the most outrageously optimistic economic impact predictions estimate a domestic cost of trillions of dollars by mid-century and more realistic ones of tens of trillions. That would bleed out all the growth in a low-growth global economy over the next decade. Maybe that’s why the G-8 are speaking in generalities about how much how soon, and tying any action to economic planning?

I wonder what the emerging economy nations’ policy would be if all new emission sources (including theirs) were subject to the same level of emission controls (and costs)? After all, that’s the most effective way to apply new technologies.

Barry Naft
President and CEO
Environmental International LLC
Potomac, MD