TV ads that doubt climate change are 'misleading'

A A A

A senior scientist has condemned as "a deliberate effort to mislead" a series of television adverts produced by an oil industry-funded lobbying group that seeks to portray concern over global warming as alarmism.

The adverts, produced by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), seek to argue that despite widespread agreement about the growing evidence of climate change, other evidence suggests the opposite. The adverts catchphrase says: "Carbon dioxide - they call it pollution, we call it life."

But a scientist whose report about the Antarctic ice-sheet is featured in the adverts has denounced the CEI and said they have quoted his study out of context. Professor Curt Davis of the University of Missouri-Columbia, said: "I think they are confusing and misleading the public."

Asked if he doubted the evidence of global warming, he replied: "Personally, I have no doubts whatsoever." Mr Davis's June 2005 study examined the ice-sheets of east Antarctic which showed an increase in mass. However, he said his study did not look at coastal areas which are known to be losing ice and said the "fact that the interior ice sheet is growing is a predicted consequence of global warming".

Green campaigners have long accused the CEI of producing misleading and inaccurate claims about global warming and the role of mankind's use of fossil fuels. In reality, there is a broad scientific consensus that the planet is warming and that human activity is an important factor in this change. Last year, the national academies of science from the UK, US, Japan and other nations cited "strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring" and that "it is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities".

Kert Davies, a Washington-based campaigner with Greenpeace, said: "The bottom line is that we are seeing a series of last gasps from the sceptics. They are losing ground so quickly. They are so laughable they do not need to be parodied."

David Doniger, the climate policy director with the Natural Resources Defence Council, said climate change sceptics did not even represent "the minority ... they're the fringe". He added: "It's the same as with tobacco. To claim that fossil fuel emissions don't cause global warming is like saying cigarettes don't cause cancer."

The CEI has powerful friends. The organisation has received more than $1.5m (£800,000) in funding from ExxonMobil, the world's biggest oil company, to help fund its efforts to question the evidence of climate change.

Last year The Independent revealed how one of the CEI's officials was behind a lobbying effort to undermine support for the Kyoto treaty among European nations. The plan sought to bring together corporations, academics, commentators and lobbyists to undermine EU support for the treaty. The official, Chris Horner, met with representatives from a number of leading companies including Lufthansa, Ford Europe and the German utility giant RWE. Mr Horner said his approaches failed to interest the corporations.

Myron Ebell, CEI's director of global warming policy - who was censured by the House of Commons last year after criticising the Government's chief scientist - defended the adverts and said "alarmists were swamping the ability to have a reasonable debate". He dismissed Mr Davis' claim that his Antarctic study had been misrepresented and said the media chose to report only reports which highlighted the evidence of climate change and ignored those that questioned it. He said: "There is no consensus about the extent of the warming or the consequences."

News
One Direction's Zayn Malik gazes at a bouquet of flowers in the 'Night Changes' music video
people
News
people
News
'Free the Nipple' film screening after party with We Are The XX, New York, America - 04 Feb 2014
news
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

Election 2015

Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May
Countdown to the election: Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear as the SNP target his Commons seat

Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury didn’t forget his Highland roots in the Budget. But the SNP is after his Commons seat
The US economy is under threat because of its neglected infrastructure

The US is getting frayed at the edges

Public spending on infrastructure is only half of Europe’s, and some say the nation’s very prosperity is threatened, says Rupert Cornwell
Mad Men final episodes: Museum exhibition just part of the hoopla greeting end of 1960s-set TV hit

New Yorkers raise a glass to Mad Men

A museum exhibition is just part of the hoopla greeting the final run of the 1960s-set TV hit
Land speed record: British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

Bloodhound SSC will attempt to set a new standard in South Africa's Kalahari desert