Monday, May 22, 2006

Oil industry ads drive uncertainty stake into heart of climate change debate

A public-policy group financed by oil company Exxon Mobil Corp. and automakers General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co began broadcasting two sixty-second ads across 14 US cities last week. The ads challenge the validity of current climate change science. The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a nonprofit conservative business friendly think tank, have timed the ad campaign to coincide with the release of a documentary called “"An Inconvenient Truth," which is about the threat of climate change that features former Vice President Al Gore. Check out the ads here. The CEI ads defend carbon dioxide as a beneficial natural resource rather than a dangerous pollutant. Each 60-second ad ends with the line, "They call it pollution; we call it life."

It’s hard not to see this CEI action as a cynical continuation of the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) propaganda strategy, which was first exposed by the New York Times in 1998. The New York Times published an API memo outlining a strategy to invest millions to “maximize the impact of scientific views consistent with ours, with Congress, the media and other key audiences.” The document stated: “Victory will be achieved when…recognition of uncertainty becomes part of the ‘conventional wisdom.’”

Thoughts: My tracking of global warming and climate change science research over the last 2 years signals that humanity’s use of fossil fuels is having a dire and dramatic impact on Earth. When oil industry funded ‘research’ comes up with the exact opposite finding, and seeks to manipulate public opinion, you have to laugh at the absurdity. And cry, because of the power such big oil interests can bring to morph the truth into such self-serving, and environmentally dangerous spin. Having ‘outed’ the lies and deceit of the tobacco industry, it’s now time to uncover the untruths and manipulations of the fossil fuel barons and their political stooges.

KEY WORDS: Sustainability; Climate Change; Politics; Ethics

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