Toxic Sludge is GOOD for you!
May 18, 2006 10:13 AM   Subscribe

CO2: We Call it Life. Actual ads being run by the "Competitive Enterprise Institute," heavily funded by oil companies such as Exxon-Mobil, to counter the growing concerns about global warming and carbon dioxide emissions.
posted by XQUZYPHYR (51 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Poster's Request -- Brandon Blatcher

Ford is also among the donors to CEI. I thought the ads were hilarious, but then I'm a card-carrying member of the reality-based community.
posted by alms at 10:17 AM on May 18, 2006

Man, this carbon dioxide sounds like the stuff! Where can I get some?

(also, see ThinkProgress for details about the science in the second ad)
posted by barjo at 10:17 AM on May 18, 2006

Anyone else having trouble seeing these ads in Firefox?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:19 AM on May 18, 2006


Oh. This isn't a joke. Wait....

posted by Meccabilly at 10:20 AM on May 18, 2006

Anyone else having trouble seeing these ads in Firefox?

posted by Meccabilly at 10:20 AM on May 18, 2006

This "global warming" is merely a fiction cooked up by celebrities from OUT OF STATE!
posted by rxrfrx at 10:25 AM on May 18, 2006

Trying to watch the WMV version just crashed my firefox in a most peculilar way, so you aren't alone. Also, I'm just going to go cry in the corner.
posted by freedryk at 10:25 AM on May 18, 2006

posted by matteo at 10:27 AM on May 18, 2006

posted by edgeways at 10:28 AM on May 18, 2006

Ok, worked after I reloaded the page for some reason.

These ads are enough to throw me into a blind, impotent rage. What kind of people are we if this kind of garbage is presumed to have an effect on public opinion?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:30 AM on May 18, 2006

It's the rainbow coalition again!
posted by ori at 10:30 AM on May 18, 2006

we breathe out co2 and plants breathe it in . . .

hmmn, our feces are also really great nutrients for plants too, so let's over run our cities and our lives with that.
posted by klik99 at 10:37 AM on May 18, 2006

on the subject of astroturfing, here's the net neutrailty site put out by the telcos.
posted by destro at 10:39 AM on May 18, 2006

If they're so interested in getting their message out, why the bloody hell can you only STREAM their advertisements?

And why use QT7 when that only further restricts your audience?
posted by InnocentBystander at 10:41 AM on May 18, 2006

They call it War. We call it Peace.

They call it Freedom. We call it Slavery.

They call it Ignorance. We call it Strength.

Competitive Enterprise Institute.
posted by Drexen at 10:41 AM on May 18, 2006

SourceWatch on the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Bruce Sterling: With the Czech lustration and the South African truth commissions, the late 20th century has given us a mechanism by which societies that have drifted into dysfunctional madness can be put right. We expect no less for future malefactors whose sly defense of an indefensible status quo may lead to the deaths of millions of people, who derived little benefit from their actions and were never given any voice in their decisions. We recommend that dossiers be compiled now, for the sake of future international courts of justice. We think this work should be done quite openly, in a spirit of civic duty. Those who are risking the lives of others should be made aware that this is one particular risk that will be focussed specifically and personally on them.
posted by russilwvong at 10:43 AM on May 18, 2006 [2 favorites]

We believe that where individual property rights exist in environmental resources, the environment is most likely to be protected, and that market institutions more effectively allow for the realization of environmental values than political agencies and bureaucracies.

Yes, cuz history is full of such examples. Businesses love to spend extra money to keep the environment clean and safe. Always have and always will, I'm sure. And the term "most likely" is practically a guarantee compared to the prognostications about "global warming." I feel safer already.
posted by effwerd at 11:01 AM on May 18, 2006

Now I want to hug a CO2 molecule.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:05 AM on May 18, 2006

Of course CO2 is good for a planet. Look what it did for Venus!
posted by eriko at 11:07 AM on May 18, 2006

hmmn, our feces are also really great nutrients for plants too, so let's over run our cities and our lives with that.

Feces. We call it Life.
posted by ori at 11:21 AM on May 18, 2006

Anybody got a transcript?
posted by mr_roboto at 11:23 AM on May 18, 2006

Perfect, Drexen.
posted by Nahum Tate at 11:24 AM on May 18, 2006

I've noticed a shift in the anti-climate change camp. Instead of just playing dumb, or paying for research that plays dumb, groups like CEI and AEI are starting to take a more nuanced, multi-headed approach.

There is still the old "bad/incomplete science" approach (eg Greenland icesheet data), but now I'm seeing a "we can't hogtie the economy" approach, emotional appeals to those who don't understand the issue (including tieing the issue to other unrelated issues), and ridiculous non-solutions which encourage you to just leave it up to someone else. The response to anthropomorphic climate change has turned into a fast-talking shell game to cloud the issues and win policital points.

Check out this gem from a recent AEI publication:
Finally, we should consider climate modification. If humanity is powerful enough to disrupt the climate negatively, we might also be able to change it for the better. On a theoretical level, doing so is relatively simple: We need to reduce the earth’s absorption of solar radiation. A few scientists have suggested we could accomplish this by using orbiting mirrors to rebalance the amounts of solar radiation different parts of the earth receive. Right now this idea sounds as fanciful as Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative seemed in 1983, but look what that led to.
[emphasis mine because that last sentence is pure comic gold!]
posted by peeedro at 11:39 AM on May 18, 2006

Well, it's not that funny. The SDI did lead to a massive transfer of money from the government to the aerospace and defense industries. Maybe that's what the AEI has in mind?
posted by mr_roboto at 11:44 AM on May 18, 2006

Oh, those crazy hippies -- they want us to give up TIMES SQUARE!!! What, do they think its WASTED ENERGY?!?! God forbid we should have to CHANGE OUR LIFESTYLE!

They could have perhaps picked a better imageset to hang their argument on. Reminding me indirectly that the food I eat is fertilized with petrochemicals does not foster feel-good notions.

The misdirection citing animals and people as CO2 sources is just plain whack. I mean, yes, certainly. However, it takes me only 18 miles of road time per week for my car to exhale as much CO2 as I will (sources: 1 2. I'm fairly certain that the carbon load of Times Square is probably also not equivalent to that herd of gazelle they showed either.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:51 AM on May 18, 2006

I prefer working with this CEI.
posted by nekton at 11:51 AM on May 18, 2006

mr_roboto: Maybe that's what the AEI has in mind?

"There are those of us who fought against it, but in the end we could not keep up with the expense involved in the arms race, the space race, and the peace race. And at the same time our people grumbled for more nylons and washing machines. Our doomsday scheme cost us just a small fraction of what we'd been spending on defense in a single year. But the deciding factor was when we learned that your country was working along similar lines, and we were afraid of a doomsday gap."
posted by peeedro at 11:58 AM on May 18, 2006

If only they could make the environment gay and have it register as a sex offender... then we they could actually execute it.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 12:00 PM on May 18, 2006

This reminds me of ads taken out by London water companies during the cholera outbreaks of the mid 19th century that Thames water was more beneficial than that of the purest spring.
posted by slatternus at 12:06 PM on May 18, 2006

CO2: It's not just for breakfast anymore.
CO2: The other greenhouse gas.
got CO2?
posted by brundlefly at 12:10 PM on May 18, 2006

I liked the shot of the bicycle. Why must there always be snow and heavy traffic when I ride. Oh, wait. There isn't.
posted by Drexen at 12:16 PM on May 18, 2006

Ah yes, one of their favorite phrases, "some scientists say...", I just wish that the general public understood that this is the equivalent of "some geographers say the Earth is flat"
posted by atrazine at 12:22 PM on May 18, 2006

Wow. Obviously the public is not supposed to be capable of critical thought at all, any more.
posted by graventy at 12:23 PM on May 18, 2006

I want to hear from a qualified scientician before I make up my mind.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:24 PM on May 18, 2006

They quickly flash the covers of two journal papers to justify the wrong-headedness of the rest of the scientific community.

Actually going and reading those papers is elnightening. The first, Recent Ice-Sheet Growth in the Interior of Greenland summarizes that the growth is not substantial and, to the degree that it exists, is likely due to the increased precipitatave release of moisture that has built up in the atmosphere because of global warming.

The rationale is that as the world gets hotter more water is evaporated from the atmosphere. That water is deposited over the whole ice field, but the only areas that maintain a low enough temperature to collect it are the higher elevations. The lower elevations are still losing glacial volume in spite of the added precipitation. They draw no conclusion on the net volume change over time.

The second paper corroborates this, saying the change amounts to a partial redistribution of water from the lower altitudes to the higher, the net effect of which is a slowing of ocean rise by 0.18 mm/yr in a model where the overall rise would be 1mm/yr.

One thing all the studies agree on is that these changes are the result of global warming, rather than evidence against it.
posted by kfury at 12:36 PM on May 18, 2006 [2 favorites]

"Carbon Dioxide: It's what we breathe out, and what plants breathe in. They call it pollution. We call it life."


"Shit: It's what we excrete, and what plants eat. They call it sewage. We call it life."
posted by kfury at 12:38 PM on May 18, 2006

Please ignore the environment, it will go away...
posted by Vindaloo at 12:54 PM on May 18, 2006

Reminds me of the totally awesome Greening Earth Society, who promote "the optimistic scientific view that CO2 is beneficial to humankind and all of nature." Of course, it's a front for the Western Fuels Association, a provider of coal to utility companies.
posted by zsazsa at 12:58 PM on May 18, 2006

This is a pretty nifty bit of propaganda - I love how it undermines science yet uses it to justify its own message. The commercials exploit the failure of teachers to present science as a debate, an active discussion rather than a dusty tome of knowledge. When they show the research papers (misleadingly), it leaves many viewers shocked that scientists can disagree. The commercials follow that shock with a soothing authority by drawing upon the style of the films that were shown in the classroom. People end up feeling off-balanced, but comforted by the message that there's no need to worry - a nice little trick that keeps them from analyzing the claims. It would be awesome if it weren't so scary.
posted by coffeespoons at 1:06 PM on May 18, 2006

“global warming alarmism, and for affordable energy and economic freedom around the world.”

Bond Villian/ Mr. Burns/ Cartoon Character Scary:
“We need to reduce the earth’s absorption of solar radiation.”

I know some homeless folks who suffer from schitzophrenia who say that aliens are trying to control our minds and change the earth so it’s more like their home planet.

Five minutes ago I had only pity for them. Now I think they’re on to something. ‘Cause a human wouldn’t do this, much less ask for contributions to do this.
...oh, wait, nazis, right. Yeah.

Apparently the old adage is right - sanity is only a matter of money.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:07 PM on May 18, 2006

If this gets enough play on the Web I think it could, as some bloggers have said, backfire big time on AEI and increase publicity for An Inconvenient Truth.

Imagine SNL putting this on as their after-the-opening-monologue commercial, and then coming on to say, "here's the thing, folks - that's not our commercial, they're serious!" Now that would be funny, almost to the point that I'd willingly watch SNL once again.
posted by soyjoy at 1:21 PM on May 18, 2006

Hey, I think we've all seen "The Day After Tomorrow". We have to take this seriously. Otherwise.. global warming will chase us down a hallway and freeze us to death. Unless, of course, we slam the door behind us really hard and trap it outside.
posted by Raoul.Duke at 4:26 PM on May 18, 2006

I grabbed this quote for its sheer comic value. Insanity abounds throughout...

From the AEI website,
Stay Cool. Stay Very Cool.
A Critique of Time Magazine's Special Report on Global Warming
by Marlo Lewis

Another group of 22 Evangelical leaders sent a letter urging the National Association of Evangelicals not to adopt “any official position” on global climate change because “Bible-believing evangelicals...disagree about the cause, severity and solutions to the global warming issue.” Heeding this letter, NAE declined to take an official position.

Whew, I was scared there for a second!
posted by sfts2 at 6:17 PM on May 18, 2006

Man Versus Nature: The Road To Victory
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:30 PM on May 18, 2006

Thank you for driving.
posted by matkline at 7:28 PM on May 18, 2006

They say we should FORCE PEOPLE TO CUT BACK!

(oh noes!)

But we DEPEND on these fuels!

(oh shit!)


(don't fuck with the children!)


(How could we live without Times Square, you enviro-nazis?)
posted by scarabic at 8:09 PM on May 18, 2006

I mean, really... Who are you gonna trust? A bunch of articles in newspapers? Or the TWO studies quoted in an oil industry ad spot? Come on! Don't listen to all that hype! We're not killing the planet with pollution. We're killing the planet with life.

And that's why we paid for this ad. Because we love life so much. That's why we went out and found a real live, vagina-bearing, mother-of-some-children actress to read this drivel into a microphone: because we don't want the good name of life besmirched by concern over the consequences of our actions.

Really, why should we consider the consequences of our actions? Aren't our actions, in aggregate, called "LIFE?" I mean, shit, what are you about, you moonbeam hippie? Death? Please take a hike from our thriving economy, you death-cult, fear-mongering, over-trusting-of-science looney bin. Stop SCARING people. Someday, the oil industry might not have the funds to undo all the damage you recklessly fling into the collective mind of America.

Heh. Actually, we probably will.
posted by scarabic at 8:15 PM on May 18, 2006

Come back carbon dioxide! Come back!
posted by euphorb at 11:02 PM on May 18, 2006

posted by nofundy at 5:34 AM on May 19, 2006

So I can still drive my Canyonero?
posted by davem at 5:35 AM on May 19, 2006

There is an entry on my blog about this malarky. Feel free to contribute to the discussion.
posted by sindark at 4:52 PM on May 24, 2006

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