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September 25, 2009
11:01 AM

CONTACT: Union of Concerned Scientists

Elliott Negin
Media Director

New Disinformation Ads Argue for More Carbon Dioxide

WASHINGTON - September 25 - An article in today's Washington Post exposed the coal and oil industry interests behind recent anti-climate-change advertisements.

In a "smoking is good for you" twist on reality, the ads actually call for higher levels of carbon dioxide, the primary heat-trapping gas driving global warming. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, an industry-funded libertarian think tank, released similar ads last year.

The ads are reminiscent of tobacco companies' attempts to hide the dangers of smoking. A decades-old Chesterfield ad informed viewers that test subjects "were not adversely affected" by smoking during a short period of observation. And Camel ad campaign from the same era claimed "more doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette."

While carbon dioxide does exist naturally, excess carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is a problem. Similarly, there are health benefits to drinking wine, too, but not eight glasses a night. And while we need calories to survive, no doctor would endorse a 10,000-calorie-a-day diet.

In fact, a recent assessment of climate change consequences in the United States from 13 federal science agencies found that global warming from higher levels of carbon dioxide is "already affecting water, energy, transportation, agriculture, ecosystems, and health." The report notes that dramatically reducing heat-trapping emissions will help us avoid the worst consequences of climate change. These findings are consistent with research from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as statements from the National Academy of Sciences and the world's most prominent scientific societies. And a recent United Nations Environment Programme review of the scientific literature concludes "the pace and scale of climate change may now be outstripping even the most sobering predictions."

Climate change can be hazardous to your health and so can disinformation campaigns from oil and coal companies.


The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.

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