A champion for federal environmental regulation, the Sierra Club, is making a decidedly market-based liaison with Ford Motor Company to publicize the automaker's new Mariner Hybrid. The Sierra Club's new romance with Ford, however, extends only as far as Mariner Hybrid's tank will carry: 75 percent farther than conventional pollutatant-mobiles.
Ford and the Sierra Club are usually at arms, but Sierra is taking a pragmatic approach: Help generate a market for hybrids, and reward proactive auto-makers along the way, while Rainforest Action Network and Global Exchange flambé Ford in attack ads at the side of the road.
If the Mariner Hybrid campaign is successful, it may open the doors for future partnerships, perhaps just the sort of thing an environmental economist would like to see. But the real test is whether the Mariner would win the coveted Best Gaseous Emissions award.