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
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Developer - London - £45k

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Application Support & Development ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003