WASHINGTON: Ford Motor Co. recently became the largest American company to resign from the Global Climate Coalition (GCC), an aggressive Washington, D.C.-based industry alliance fighting government efforts to regulate greenhouse gasses, including the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. Ford's action, which came last week, follows similar departures over the last two years of the American subsidiaries of two European-based giants, BP Amoco PLC and Royal Dutch/Shell Group. Previously, the only other U.S. firm to drop out was American Electric Power Co., Columbus, Ohio. In a letter explaining the company's move, Ford's chairman said the firm wanted "to move forward in progressive and constructive ways to address environmental issues." Environmental organizations are jubilant over the announcement. "This is one of the clearest signs to date that the debate over global warming is coming to a close," declared John Passacantando, executive director of Ozone Action, a Washington, D.C., group promoting tougher regulation of greenhouse gasses. "In the same way that the GCC's power over the years has represented industry's unwillingness to acknowledge global warming, its current disintegration is a signal that corporate America is finally recognizing the reality of the threat." In a reaction statement, GCC Executive Director Glenn Kelly said that "what is most disappointing about Ford's decision is that it seems to be driven by a campaign of misinformation by fringe environmental groups such as Ozone Action who disregard the serious nature of this debate with scare tactics, half-truths, and outright distortions." GCC, he said, will continue to pursue "voluntary environmental initiatives and cost-effective new technologies that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions."