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“Don’t leave climate change to the oil companies …”

April 29th, 2009 · 1 Comment

One thing seems to be muting the keening cries of newspaper failure and to be boosting the profit sheets of broadcast media: greenwashing advertisements from fossil fools seeking to distort the conversation about the opportunities and benefits of moving to a cleaner energy future. Reading or watching these advertisements would quickly convince you that some of the nation’s (the globe’s) worst polluters are actually ‘clean green machines’, that these polluting multinationals only have your interests at heart, and that companies with some of the richest profit sheets globally are under severe strain and threat.

Well, for some truth in advertising, we need to look to organizations like Avaaz.

If you appreciate Avaaz’s take, take the moment to visit Don’t leave climate change to oil companies on YouTube to rate it up and increase the chance it will go viral.

Avaaz’s announcement of the video:

Dear friends,

The clock’s ticking towards climate catastrophe but this week could buy us some urgently needed time, as the new US President hosts the world’s 17 largest economies to discuss a new desperately-needed binding global treaty on climate change.

Worryingly however, the meeting follows a multi-million dollar lobbying and advertising blitz from the polluting industries. Its aim? To actively disarm, confuse and mislead climate negotiators, the media and the public.

We’re countering it with our own rapid response climate television ad, spoofing the world’s largest oil company ExxonMobil. Even if you haven’t seen the original ads, every negotiator at this week’s meeting has. If we can raise just $100,000 in the next 48 hours CNN and other stations will run our ad on high rotation for the President’s entire climate meeting. With $200,000 we can buy even more airtime and continue this vital campaign at strategic moments.

A binding global climate treaty should be a no-brainer: The climate science is clear, and the economic and human rights implications of significant global warming are almost too horrifying to contemplate. But world leaders who want to take serious action face the world’s most determined and richest obstructionists – the fossil fuel lobby, who stand to lose billions of dollars in profits in the face of serious climate action.

Oil and coal companies think they can scuttle our hopes for a strong binding treaty at Copenhagen through sheer force of advertising dollars. ExxonMobil in particular, which this month recorded the largest corporate profit in American history, has been blanketing the airwaves across several continents with claims that their fossil fuel profits are climate-friendly and environmentally sustainable. One ExxonMobil ad was taken off the air late last year in the UK for misleading advertising.

We can’t match the polluting industry’s spend, but we have two things going for us. First, we have the truth on our side, and second, we are an unstoppable global grassroots movement for climate action. Let’s turn the polluting sector’s hundreds of millions of dollars to our advantage. Watch our spoof of Exxon’s ad campaign and donate now to remind the world’s 17 largest economies whose interests the lobbyists really serve:

We are running out of time to convince world leaders to save the planet. The renewable energy and environmental sector is outnumbered 8 to 1 in number of lobbyists. Together, we may not be able to match their propaganda, but with smart campaigning we can scuttle them and push the US and other major economy’s ambition on the global climate negotiations.

With hope,

Ben, Taren, Iain, Brett, Pascal, Alice, Ricken, Graziela, Paul, Paula and the rest of the Avaaz team


More about this week’s Major Economies Meeting in Washington

A decade of lobbying against the science

Greenwash: Coal industry tries to hide dirty facts behind ‘clean’ claims

ExxonMobil’s 2008 lobbying expenditure

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Tags: advertising · climate change · Global Warming

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