Money and Finance

Published on September 29th, 2009 | by Jennifer Lance


WTF? TV Ad Claims CO2 is Good For the Earth

It is common knowledge that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a pollutant largely responsible for climate change.  In fact, a new report by the United Nations (UN) Environment Programme finds that climate change is racing towards irreversibility faster than previously imagined, and the culprit is CO2.  That’s why a new television advertisement by the oil industry lobby touting “more CO2 results in a greener earth” is shocking Americans.

Photo by olof sWTF? CO2 is good for the Earth.

WTF? CO2 is good for the Earth.

Claiming CO2 is good for the Earth in light of the news the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will most likely classify this greenhouse gas as a “dangerous pollutant” leaves many wondering just how far the oil industry will go to lie to the American public. A formal EPA declaration would require CO2 to be regulated under the Clean Air Act, regardless of the Senate’s decision on Waxman-Markey. Such a declaration would follow upon the 2007 Supreme Court decision “that greenhouse gases qualified as pollutants and could be regulated if the government determined they threatened the public”.

The UN concurs with the EPA that CO2 is a dangerous greenhouse gas.  The Environment News Service describes the UN report titled “Climate Change Science Compendium 2009”:

The growth in carbon dioxide emissions from energy and industry has exceeded even the most fossil-fuel intensive scenario developed by the IPCC at the end of the 1990s. Global emissions were growing by 1.1 percent each year from 1990-1999 and this accelerated to 3.5 percent per year from 2000-2007.

Yet the scientists documented in the Compendium suggest that it may still be possible to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change, but only if there is immediate, cohesive and decisive action to both cut emissions and assist vulnerable countries to adapt.

Given all of the evidence, why would the following advertisement be running in some US states claiming, “There is no scientific evidence that CO2 is a pollutant. In fact, higher CO2 levels than we have today would help the earth’s ecosystems and would support more plant and animal life.”

Undermining global and national efforts to stop climate change is the goal of  this group calling itself “CO2 is Green”, which is even trying to establish itself as a charity.  The Guardian explains:

So who’s behind “CO2 is green” and this advert? One of its founders is H Leighton Steward who, until his retirement in 2000, was the vice chairman of Burlington Resources, a Houston-based oil and gas company bought by ConocoPhillips in 2006. Steward received the American Petroleum Institute’s Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement in 2001 and remains an honorary director of the oil industry lobby group. In other words, we can conclude that this man boasts a particular pedigree within the oil industry.

Unfortunately this is not a joke or a Saturday Night Live spoof.  It is real reminder of the power of lies promoted by lobbyists in the United States.

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