Thursday, May 18, 2006

Carbon dioxide spot: They call it an ad, we call it a lie.

An ExxonMobil funded lobby group, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, is going on the attack to stake out the high ground in the public conversation on global warming that is likely to erupt around the opening of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth". Two 60 second tv ads produced by the institute will be played in 14 U.S. cities from May 18 to May 28, 2006. :::[Thinkprogress]

The CEI commercial
Carbon Dioxide: they call it pollution, we call it life

I see that ExxonMobil are conserving their record profits wisely and not spending much on production values. Global Warming Watch felt it needed a rejoinder and dug deep into our treasury to fund the writing of the counter-ad (no production budget, sorry):

Long shot opening on a shot of man standing in a large glass tank up to his ankles in water. Water is filling it fast, with the level rising as he speaks.

Presenter: "Some oil and coal companies tell us that carbon dioxide is natural and shouldn't be classified as a pollutant by politicians wanting to legislate against rising emissions.
The level is at his waist and rising fast.

Presenter: "They imply C02 can't be a pollutant because we expel it, and it is absorbed by plants for food."
The level is now at chest height and rising.

Presenter: "That it provides us with transport and is it is harnessed to make energy and free us a life of back-breaking labour."
Level is starting to cover shoulders. Presenter stretches to full height. Tilting chin al

Presenter: "That it supports all life."
Water level is at chin height.

Presenter: "But you can also say the same thing about water."
SFX: last few words spoken under water yet audible.
Camera pulls back to longer shot as the water continues to rise rapidly . Presenter starts to float off.

Carbon Dioxide: Too much is dangerous for all life.

VO: Don't let big oil flood you with lies. The scientific consensus holds that the current rate of emissions increase, unchecked, IS going to change the climate. It's time to act.

It must be getting hard to maintain that global warming is not occurring.

The television commercials: :::[CEI]

Other bloggers commenting on CEI's advertisements:
More: :::[Global Warming Watch]

Other blogs on: , , , ,


The Stark Raving Viking said...

I reposted the above, only the first paragraph, title, and a link on

Thanks for the interesting post.

If you want to see how skewed the courts can be try putting,
"Steven G. Erickson" in a search engine.

Steven G. Erickson aka blogger Vikingas

Wadard said...

Thanks Vikingas, much appreciated!

Deborah Newell said...

Excellent counter-ad, just great! I will link to it at the bottom of my post on the CO2 propaganda at The Last Duchess. Thanks for getting in touch.

reden said...

you should be a director too pare good work! yes its easy to mislead when you have big money. thats why this battle is the proverbial david vs goliath one and were all the little davids trying hard to find a way. kudos!

Anonymous said...

Brilliantly done! I'd be more than happy to include a link in my post of this topic at 1 Stupid Mutt Plus 2. Let me know if this counter-ad ever comes to fruition. If so, i'll include it as well.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That should be put on a spot! Maybe bring your idea to EnvironmentalDefense ( and see if they would like to use the idea.

Great work!

-Stephen Berg (frequent commenter on

pat joseph said...

Excellent job, Wadard. And thanks for commenting on the Sierra Club site.

Anonymous said...

Climate change denier Exxon Mobil has gone on the offensive, claiming it spent
more than $3 billion last year on expense related to the environment. But at the same time, it?s funding a campaign to upstage Al Gore?s film on climate change. For all its rhetoric, Exxon Mobil is bankrolling ads questioning the impact of climate change. Read more about it at:

Anonymous said...
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Wadard said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
David said...

Nicely done, I like it. Will check out your site from now on. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

this is the email I sent them out of pure rage at what I had seen:

Dear Sirs and Madams at CEI:

I am deeply concerned at the message being aired about CO2.

I came across it here:

These 2 productions are alarming, giving out the wrong message about CO2.
CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere, together with other greenhouse gases
like some sulfides, methane and water vapour, are not an easy science to
comprehend. Some facts though are proven; such as climate change caused
by an increase of such gases and an overload on the carbon cycle, especially
when there is an increase in forest depletion.

The articles you mention in your video "Glaciers" are articles fit to a context
and into a long equation of cycles where glaciers and polar ice oscillate.
The final result of these calculations are what has been found as NET rising
temperatures, NET thinning ice caps and glaciers. Some parts of the world
are subject to cycles that are yearly, some are subject to sunspot cycles
(4-6 years), others to volcanoes, algae growth, salinity, etc.. All interwoven
in a complex weather system that very few people can get close to
comprehending entirely or at all. We can only rely on the results we can
observe whilst imperative it is for everyone to keep a certain objectivity and
not come out with assumptions. I believe it to be a crime to air such
assumptions to create public opinion vs. scientific observation. Taking
advantage of the layman's ignorance as a consumer at the expense of
the future and quality of life of countless souls and species.

The fact is that during the last few decades, the world on average, is hotter
than it has been in thousands of years, the change is to fast for some species,
and that these changes are caused by humans. That is accepted as proven fact.
CO2 concentrations and cycles are proven to contribute to the warming.
Even as the earth emerges from the "Little Ice Age" and solar activity is
being studied, it is proven the changes are occurring to fast to be natural.
It is imperative that everyone accept scientific results and act accordingly.

It is wrong for you to isolate incidences and particular studies to misinform.

Who says it is a pollutant??! Not someone with basic scientific knowledge.
The CO2 issues are about concentrations! It is about numbers in complex
systems. Not about some psychological game to do with business.

Sure, we exhale it, and plants inhale it. But that does not mean we can keep
increasing the concentrations of it in our atmosphere. Balance in nature is
not something you can put a price on. Your ads are vague about vital issues
and are seemingly designed to confuse and brainwash a market of consumers
against the facts the world is finding and requiring collective action.

I am sorry to say, but I am a firm believer in justice and scientific truth which has
nothing to do with money. Your web site alleges for you to be fair about power
and money but I am not sure if these kinds of actions are based on ignorance or
fear. I am afraid it is the fear of the CO2 producing businesses losing profits and/or
to lazy to adapt to change.

Your campaign promoting to keep burning fossil fuels is scientifically likely to
come back and slap you in the face. Just becouse you are in the US, doesn't
mean you are excluded from the world equation.
The excuse of having to give up commodities and conveniences is unfounded. There
are many viable alternative options. I shant get into them here but imagination helps.
It is no coincidence that the most of the world has accepted the Kyoto Agreement
except the US. This is mainly because your society (politically, socially and
economically) has been taken over by the corporations you seem to represent
and promote. All for a short term saving of some profits while the rest of the world
and its future rely on all our responsible actions to ensure transcendence.

Are you prepared to face humiliation in a few years from now when climate change
knocks on all our doors?
It seems like you are a respected organization... that doesn't have to last.

I suggest you stop airing such misinformed selfish information immediately
before anymore damage caused by these misinforming selfish messages is done.
If you want some good advice, spend that money and energy into finding
and promoting alternatives, you will be surprised at the outcomes I think.

Good luck!
and your welcome

Wadard said...

Good letter. Send it to your congressman as well.

Jane said...

The whole thing is rather disturbing. Just think, big oil uses the money that they make off us grunts to pay for crap like this. It's horrid.

Krin said...

Thanks for pointing out yet another fallacy of the CEI, and congratulations on the inspiring and well-thought out counter advertisement. Did you end up contacting environmental defense?

The scary part of all this is that people believe this group and others like it, which affects our ability to make the necessary changes. While I am comfortable with a plurality of views, sometimes I feel that think-tanks that can be shown to consistently write erroneous and deliberately misleading articles or policy should be fined or shut down. See my post from the 18th January 2006 at for another example of a misleading statement from the CEI.

Wadard said...

Hi Miss Krin,

I sent an email to because it was the only email address I could find and asked the recipient to forward on to relevant person. Haven't heard back as yet.

Anonymous said...

It is so scarry that people have been defending these ads and believing them without checking the facts. Like you, I was dumbfounded when I saw this ad and watched the Glacier one over and over again. I paused it so I could check the studies they reference. I went so far as to email the scientists who completed those studies. Guess what... drum roll please... The studies were grossly misrepresented. Also, the CEI didn't even have permission from Science Magazine to use these articles in their ad.
Curt H. Davis, who is the author the first study cited, has issued a press release to address this. The link is:

Science Magazine has released this:

It is not clear to us whether the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) received permission to use these research articles in their video. We have so far been unable to find a record that permission was granted. We continue to investigate.

The text of the CEI ad misrepresents the conclusions of the two cited Science papers and our current state of knowledge by selective referencing. The following lay-language press summaries were approved by Science Editorial at the time when the papers were published. These press summaries therefore represent our official interpretation of the research.

More recent research is indeed beginning to provide such an integrated view of the entire ice sheets. A study looking at the mass balance of the entire Antarctic Ice Sheet using the GRACE gravity satellite has found an overall negative mass balance for the past several years. Other studies also show a negative overall mass balance for the Greenland Ice Sheet and other evidence of accelerated melting. See, for example, several papers and a news story in Science, 24 March 2006.

--Dr. Brooks Hanson, deputy editor, physical sciences, Science

Greg said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I am trying to help the CEI along by augmenting their effort with a viral marketing strategy:

Got CO2?

Anonymous said...

Hi there! I put up a link in my article back to this great read. Keep up the great work!

MSNBC's Unger Ludicrously Claims Gore a Victim of "Swift-Boating".


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