Ford and Chrysler have followed General Motors in joining the United States Climate Action Partnership, a coalition that wants to reduce greenhouse gases tied to global warming.

The alliance of big business and environmental groups told President Bush in January that mandatory emissions caps are needed to reduce the flow of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, The Associated Press noted.

Ford and Chrysler on Wednesday announced their membership in the coalition.

Chrysler Group first released, and then immediately withdrew, a press release announcing its membership of the partnership, saying the news was “premature”.

The automaker’s membership endorses and participates in the non-partisan group’s call for economy-wide mandatory reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, the release said.

USCAP, a partnership of companies and non-government organisations, issued earlier this year a blueprint of principles and recommendations for establishing a multi-sector, market-driven programme to swiftly slow, stop and reverse the growth of greenhouse gas emissions.

The group has recommended that Congress establish short- and mid-term emission reduction targets; a national program to accelerate technology research, development and deployment; and approaches to encourage action by other countries, including the developing world.

Chrysler said it believed that mandatory reductions of heat-trapping emissions could be imposed without economic harm and lead to economic opportunities if done across the economy and with provisions to mitigate costs.

The automaker is spending $US3bn to produce more fuel-efficient engines, transmissions and axles and recently detailed plans for fuel-saving initiatives include developing mild-hybrid technology and expanding the company’s two-mode hybrid and Bluetec clean-diesel programmes. It will also introduce new fuel-efficient six- and eight-cylinder petrol engines with multi-displacement system (MDS) technology and dual-clutch transmission technology.

“We are at a critical stage in the conversation on climate change, energy consumption and environmental protection,” Ford President and chief executive Alan Mulally said in a statement cited by the Associated Press. “We all recognise it is time for action.”

“We have been actively developing a range of advanced technology vehicles to address the climate change issue, reducing our energy consumption on a global basis and working to create vehicles with the environmental innovation our customers desire,” Mulally said.

General Motors was the first major automaker to join the partnership, the Associated Press noted.