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The Most Environmentally Unfriendly Super Bowl Ad

February 7th, 2010 · 47 Comments

The $millions put into Super Bowl advertising cannot, in general, be seen as anything approaching environmentally friendly considering what is core to most of the messages: consume and, well, consume more. There are, of course, some advertisements that are wrapped in “green” and which have at least a (debatable) case to made that they are environmentally-sensible communications. For example, tthe General Electric 2009 advertisement re the Smart Grid (see here and after the fold) could be looked at as part of educating the public about the power and value of moving forward toward a Smart Grid. From a different angle, the PepsiCo decision to forgo Super Bowl ads (first time ever, $33 million in ads at the 2009 Super Bowl) to give grants for nominated causes based on online voting (see the Pepsi Refresh site — note, they want to collect email addresses for, we can assume, advertising purposes) could be framed as ‘green non-advertising at the Super Bowl’.

Notable for the 2010 Super Bowl, no “Hemi” or super max McSUV advertising. (There was, of course, the horrible Dodge ad …) Despite the bad beer ads and the amusing Dorito ads that are far from environmentally friendly, without question the most environmentally ad served a product that seeks to claim a green label.

Audi chose to promote their new car as a great environmentally friendly product, one that could evade ‘green police’ crackdowns on the highway.

This advertisement is offensive and counterproductive on many levels.

[NOTE: As noted to a comment below, this discussion’s logic actually follows somewhat the reverse of the  original reaction to the advertisement.  On reflection, I regret beginning with the ‘weakest’, most intellectually diversionary, and least consequential point when writing this post but do not see it as appropriate to do a total redraft to mask how it was originally written. The reaction began with seeing a 30-second reinforcing of ‘ecoNazi’ which then led to the discussion that now begins … ]

The Ordnungspolizei

The ‘green police’ is a term for Nazi police who were, among other things, implicated in the Holocaust.

The Ordnungspolizei (Orpo) was the name for the uniformed regular German police force in existence during the period of Nazi Germany, notably between 1936 and 1945. It was increasingly absorbed into the Nazi police system. Owing to their green uniforms, they were also referred to as Grüne Polizei (green police). … The Order Police played a central role in carrying out the Holocaust, as stated by Professor Browning:

It is no longer seriously in question that members of the German Order Police, both career professionals and reservists, in both battalion formations and precinct service or Einzeldienst, were at the center of the Holocaust, providing a major manpower source for carrying out numerous deportations, ghetto-clearing operations, and massacres

Thus, the German automobile manufacturer, Audi, has chosen to contain an oblique reference to a Nazi police unit that had a role in helping carry out the Holocaust. Evidently, Audi believes that Americans (or at least those watching the Super Bowl) know nothing of history.

Damaging framing of what it might mean to go green

The Audi advertisement has “Green Police” cracking down hard for real and imagined environmentally unfriendly actions. We see police taking a man down for choosing a plastic bag at the supermarket checkout. A horde of police are shown arresting someone at the door for having incandescent bulbs on their porch. What seems to be a SWAT team hit hot tub partiers and chase a man running from it in a bathing suit (his underwear?). And, well, there are other “Green Police” take downs of other real or imagined environmentally-unfriendly behavior, actions, and/or possessions. This is a promotion of a view of ‘going green’ that suggests heading toward a police state, destroying liberty, rather than any sort of vision of a more positive future.

As right-wing commentator Jonah Goldberg suggested, this could easily have come from some astroturf group serving as a front-pieces for fossil-foolish interests:

Until the pitch for Audi intrudes, you’d think it was a fun parody from a right-wing free-market outfit about the pending dystopian environmental police state

While Audi intended this advertisement to boost the Audi TDI Clean Diesel which was, mistakenly in my opinion, named “green car of the year”, this advertisement in the most prominent advertising venue of the year serves to promote a very destructive perspective on what might happen as the United States moves toward more environmentally-friendly policies and regulations.

EnviroNAZI and Ecofascist are “used as a political epithet by political conservatives to discredit deep ecology, mainstream environmentalism, and other left and non-left ecological positions”.

The Audi advertisement feeds directly into this “political epithet”, feeding a “tea party“-type framing of threats to civil liberty, serving to undermine public support for serious action to address America’s oil dependency, energy profligacy, and the challenges/opportunities that Global Warming present us (the U.S.).

It is simply astounding that a German company would play against such a framing, making oblique references to a Nazi police unit and providing what many will see as a broadside against environmentalism as somehow fascist in nature.

Such horrible framing in an advertisement for a green product makes “Green Police” the most environmentally unfriendly Super Bowl advertisement of 2010.

GE Scarecrow Smart Grid Ad from the 2009 Super Bowl. Note, this was the first (only to date) GE ad placed during the Super Bowl.

UPDATE / NOTE: JeremyBloom provides some examples from around the web to this ad:

…if you, too, are fed up with curly coiffed 18-year-old boys attempting to tell you to throw trash into the right-colored can and boasting of their ability to get their Prius to coast on the freeway, then the Audi spot might just be for you.

Audi’s Green Police: love it or hate it, that’s what it’s going to be like. Welcome to government interfering in every part of your life

Green Police Audi Commercial. I don’t think we’re too far away from this being the status quo. #libertarian

The green police AKA the LAPD in 2012. #tomanydamnhippiesinCali

And, reactions to this ad are mixed. David Roberts doesn’t agree with my interpretation.

the more the teabaggy interpretation just doesn’t quite fit. The thrill at the end, when they guy gets to accelerate away from the crowd, turns on satisfying the green police—not rejecting or circumventing them, but satisfying their strict standards. The authority of the green police is taken for granted, never questioned. If you’re looking to appeal to mooks who think the green police are full of it and have no authority, moral or otherwise, why would you make a commercial like that? Why offer escape from a moral dilemma your audience doesn’t acknowledge exists?

The ad only makes sense if it’s aimed at people who acknowledge the moral authority of the green police—people who may find those obligations tiresome and constraining on occasion, who only fitfully meet them, who may be annoyed by sticklers and naggers, but who recognize that living more sustainably is in fact the moral thing to do. This basically describes every guy I know.

Nor does Sebastio Blanco at AutoBlogGreen who comments that “we’ve seen the Super Bowl ad (there’s a teaser companion spot here) and can tell you that it’s not offensive in any way”. That post also has Audi’s response to criticism over the ad.

Jeffrey Kuhlman, the chief communications officer for Audi of America, told AutoblogGreen that he personally talked to two Jewish leaders – Abraham Foxman, head of the Anti Defamation League, and Fred Zeidman, Chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial and Museum – about the green police ads and that they did not see a problem with the spot

the issue of green police vs. Ordnungspolizei. Ordnungspolizei is directly translated to mean Order Police. It’s more than just the difference between capital letters and small letters, it’s official versus nicknames. And in our research not one person drew any other distinction other than “environmental”.

We researched the term. We tested the ad concept with focus groups. We sought input and reaction from key organizations, including the Jewish community, and we sent out a press release that went to thousands of media, and not one reaction. I then worked again with key Jewish leaders after the blogger raised the issue, just to make sure that we hadn’t missed something, and again, we were reassured that the term is not one that has historical significance, and that reactions to the term are completely in line with our intent … environmental enforcement.

To be clear, recognizing the implicit Hitler era reference is not isolated to this blogger.  See Danny Brown’s Audi and the Super Bowl Social Media Shit Storm

The problem is, there’s already been a Green Police enforcement organization, but not one that you’d want to be associated with. This Green Police was part of the Nazi persecution and execution of millions of Jews in the Holocaust of the Second World War.

The implications of Audi’s choice of name for their campaign could be huge, especially since Audi is a German company.

And, there was Aimee Picchi with Audi’s Super Bowl Ad Blunder: ‘Green Police’ Have Nazi History

The problem? The Green Police was a name used in Nazi Germany to refer to the German Order Police, or Orpo, who were given the moniker because of their green uniforms. The Orpo weren’t merely traffic cops, however. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, one battalion was central in sending Jews, Poles and Gypsies to concentration camps.

While the mock PSAs are humorous, with a shtick that leans more toward Reno 911! than Schindler’s List, it’s certainly never fortuitous for a German company to bring up reminders of the Third Reich. Still, it’s likely that most U.S. viewers won’t connect the “Green Police” in their history books with the ones in Audi’s Super Bowl ad promoting its A3 TDI clean-diesel vehicle.

Joe Romm’s take with Worst (green) Superbowl ad ever — or best.

I’m a big fan of humor but …

… I’m not sure the German car company understands that the idea of “Green Police” they are spoofing is, in fact, precisely what many conservatives in this country actually think is the primary reason people who care about the environment — the apparent target audience of this ad — are trying to get the nation to take action on global warming

Laughing … Yes, one can and should laugh …

And, to be clear, I see paths for having fun with the idea of over zealous driving of environmental messages. There is the Will Ferrell / et al “Green Team” skit which does not, imo, drive home the ‘enviro-fascist’ type message and is quite clearly comedic. It has also spawned many spoofs (good and bad).

There are even elements within the “Green Police” ad to amuse (that, I believe, police aardvark is an example), but the overall 30 second experience for the ‘average’ Super Bowl viewer reinforces a distorted view of what can and should happen as America moves forward toward a prosperous, climate friendly, clean-energy future.

Note, this is perhaps the best advertisement that appeared during the Super Bowl … even if some want to criticize it as anti-green for promoting international travel.

Pre Super Bowl promotional video re Green Police

GE Scarecrow Smart Grid Ad from the 2009 Super Bowl. Note, this was the first (only to date) GE ad placed during the Super Bowl.

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47 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Tweets that mention The Most Environmentally Unfriendly Super Bowl Ad -- // Feb 7, 2010 at 10:57 pm

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  • 2 David Roberts: Audi’s "Green Police" Ad Isn’t What You Thought It Was | Blog SDN // Feb 8, 2010 at 4:54 am

    […] At first blush this seems like more teabagging — appealing to angry white men with the same old stereotype of environmentalists as meddling do-gooders obsessed with picayune behavioral sins. If you check in the comments under the video, that perspective is well represented. Says Metallicafan6611, “You guys all laugh. But this is really going to happen. Wake up people! Stop being sheep!” Enviros are predictably irritated (see, e.g., Adam Siegel). […]

  • 3 EarlyMan // Feb 8, 2010 at 5:21 am

    I think the message that comes through in the ad is that people make hundreds of choices each day that affect the environment. The “Green Police” merely personified the angst that people feel in making those choices. The message from Audi for people purchasing a new car is to make a less guilt-ridden choice. A car that is fun to drive, ONLY has 140 hp and gets more than 40mpg with no batteries to dispose of certainly qualifies.

    [MATERIAL DELETED — Personal insults and attacks not allowed in comments.]

  • 4 Gerad // Feb 8, 2010 at 11:54 am

    The Audi advertisement feeds directly into this “political epithet”, feeding a tea bagger-type framing of threats to civil liberty

    [REMOVED] man are you completely bereft of irony?

    Did you, per chance, read any of the examples of comments from those attacking the very concept of a clean energy future?

  • 5 GAL // Feb 8, 2010 at 11:55 am

    The Audi ad was supposed to be FUNNY and it was.

    To you …

    Anyone who doesn’t see that needs to find their sense of humor!

    The questioning of this advertisement is far from isolated to me.

  • 6 Patriot Daily // Feb 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    i think the ad is harmful.

    It’s a matter of perspectives.

    As a progressive/environmentalist, if the ad had used eco police instead of green police, i would laugh all the way through the ad, and hit replay.

    For teabaggers/extremists, the ad, even if they don’t know about green police, validates their fears about Obama and environmentalists that we want a fascist state. This is no slight thing in the context of what has been happening since President Obama was elected. There are more extremists organized and freaking out. They are so “on edge,” that when police come to a house for a domestic dispute call, they are armed and shoot it out. This ad just adds fuel to an already hot fire.

  • 7 B. Dallas // Feb 8, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Interesting. You seem to be offended by conservatives using the terms “Ecofacists” and “EnviroNazis”, yet you use the equally offending term “tea baggers” to describe the new conservative Tea Party movement.

    Interesting point.

    While I don’t agree as to the “equally”, I will take the point that using that term can drive conversation in a path that is not intended (by me).

    Question for you to consider: Where did this term originate?

  • 8 American Male // Feb 8, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    This ad had me hooked until the tagline.

    Audi’s message seems to say, “Yes, the green police are coming, so drive our car and join us.” Who wants to embrace that kind of vision of America? A Nazi-like police state where incandescent bulbs are verboten, and the way to fight back is to buy a fancy German diesel sports car? No thanks, Audi.

    Replace the last five seconds of this ad with the end of the Dodge Charger spot, and then you’ve got it right. “And because I do this, I drive the car I want to drive.”

    Man’s last stand, indeed.

  • 9 Fart // Feb 8, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Damn corporations and their hidden messages! Good thing they can’t fund political campaigns.

  • 10 AndyChuck // Feb 8, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Dude, laugh a little.

  • 11 TucsonMatt // Feb 8, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    I thought the ad was very funny. Unfortunately, many people in the environmental movement have EXACTLY this sort of attitude where they feel they are the sole arbiters of what is and isn’t acceptable and anyone who differs with them is an idiot who doesn’t know better and has to be saved from themselves.

    You found it “very funny”. As per the end comment, I found parts of this amusing but found the entirety far from so.

    They don’t help themselves when they push militant agendas such as global warming

    “global warming” is a “militant agenda”? Hmmm … that is an interesting term for a Scientific Theory. Under these terms gravity must be some form of “militant agenda” to constrain humanity’s ability to fly and explore space?

    and then we find out that they are themselves afflicted with the “don’t confuse me with facts – I know what I believe” that they accuse those who don’t agree with them of having.

    As for the Green Police complaint. Give me a break. If they had used SS style uniforms or something, maybe you would have a point. The fact is, everyone uses the term “Green” for the eco movements. I love history and have studied WWII a lot, and I vaguely remembered the Nazi Green Police after you mentioned it.

    The linkage is the ‘ecoNazi’ / ‘ecoFascist’ framing and how the over-the-top policing feeds into that framing. As the Israeli environmental enforcement arm is called ‘green police’, it is not solely the term but the context that links.

    However, it is so peripheral, it is like some people saying we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas on 12/25 because it started out as a pagan holiday thousands of years ago!

    Your reaction actually reinforces the very image that you accuse the ad of showing. The problem is this sort of thing that people warned about at the beginning of the animal rights movement, and the proponents thereof had exactly the same sort of reaction as you. Today, we have people who have their land confiscated because a little newt lives there, or hundreds of farmers losing their livelihoods because they can’t turn on the water because some minnows might get caught in the filters. Tell THOSE people that there is nothing militant of fascist about people within the movement.

    What is acceptable government action when it comes to the commons?

    As to much of what was shown in this ad, it is addressable via standards. The sort of standards that have driven average refrigerator electricity demand down by some 70 percent over the past several decades, that have doubled HVAC efficiency, improved building codes (such as on insulation), … Are those sorts of standards acceptable action by the government?

  • 12 USER NAME Deleted due to potential controversy / issues // Feb 8, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    The normal police in Germany have for a long time and to this very day continue to wear green uniforms. That is where the term “die Grünen”, when used to refer to police, comes from. This is a term that is still used today to refer to normal police (often by protesters at demonstrations). Therefore, the fact that the normal police in Nazi Germany–who, as agents of the state, were indeed involved in its crimes–also wore green is of little historical significance.

    If you could read German–one would think that your pedantic insistence upon the etymology of certain German expressions requires some knowledge of the language, but on the other hand your false analysis makes one think you have no knowledge of it [not first or top language, but able to get through a specific article] –you could read what German historians have to say about this issue:

    „Die Amerikaner assoziieren dank Hollywood vieles, was aus Deutschland kommt, mit der NS-Zeit. Den Begriff ,Grüne Polizei’ muss man nicht automatisch mit dem Nationalsozialismus assoziieren – das ist schon weit hergeholt.“;2524457

    (Translation: “Thanks to Hollywood, the Americans associate a lot of things that come from Germany with the Nazi period. The term “grüne Polizei” does not have to be automically associated with National Socialism [To the blogger: that is what “Nazi” stands for, which you probably didn’t know]–that is quite a stretch”)

    Several things:

    1. Thank you for link.

    2. No, I don’t “automatically” associate it with Germany. I am about to make a comment, in the post, that the discussion is written somewhat in the reverse of my actual reaction to the advertisement. The first reaction was that ‘it could have come from people arguing against climate legislation’. Then, seeing it was for a supposed green product, seeing as an insult to at least a share of the audience it was targeted at while reinforcing false mental images. The, on thinking through the ‘ecoNazi’ term create the link back to the role of the grüne Polizei during WWII.

    3. Do note that Audi public affairs was, evidently, concerned enough about this linkage to run it by some Holocaust scholars. (Who may or may not have any awareness of or sensitivity to ‘ecoNazi’ type language.)

    In fact, the German-language Wikipedia article on the “Ordnungspolizei” (you have spelled this incorrectly as “Ornungspolizei” in your article

    Typos happen. Corrected. Thank you. (PS: Note that this was spelled correctly in post once and incorrectly once, having left out the “d” one time. Hint: I engaged with readers and commentators who engaged in courteous discourse. Having left out a letter of a word spelled correctly a few words later isn’t, fyi, an indication of some fundamental failure.]

    makes no reference whatsoever to the term “grüne Polizei”. Which leads me to conclude that you simply googled it and found the English Wikipedia page (from which you quote) in order to make a facetious argument. [

    Actual, having seen the term in the past, simply used the Wiki as a reference site and quoted from it.

    Nicely researched. Next time try not to be such an [insults deleted; see above] …

    How many, might one ask, of the 10,000+ references already out there re this ad and a Nazi-era linkage will merit such a comment?

  • 13 Matt Dernoga // Feb 8, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    I agree, when I was watching it I was thinking “oh crap”.

    During the commercial, I thought the ad was by a fossil fuel special interest and they were going to hit us with something about cap and trade at the end. I hope deniers aren’t smart enough to make an ad like that and air something similar, because I think that would be effective messaging (although terrible for us, and untrue)

  • 14 USER NAME Deleted due to potential controversy / issues // Feb 8, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    In response to your rhetorical question (on #12): all of them!

    Hals und Beinbruch! (That is, by the way, the correct ‘Good luck’, no? Or, is the more simple/direct Viel Glück the right expression? You set yourself an ambitious task.

    Yours just happens to be the first one I’ve read. And you might have noticed three things:

    (1) many (perhaps thousands) of those links simply refer to/describe your blog post, which created a “story” in English-language media,

    Note the links within my post. I am far from the first to have discussed this issue. As quoted, Audi had provided the press material on this prior to my writing this and that was published prior to this being published.

    Why don’t you actually look at the publishing times and comments and link threads to many of those items before you assert that this “created a “story””?

    (2) those 10,000 links are almost all in the English language–that means, mostly from America. The Germans–and those who have any understanding of modern Germany–don’t tend to think much about the “controversy”, and I have confidence that they (we) have more authority in the matter than some random blogger who has probably never been to the country.

    Here is the German Google search. This is, after all, written in English and thus you shouldn’t be surprised to linking to the English-language Google search

    (3) Your blog used some obscure “factoid”–which even the Germans are unsure about–to make a false analysis and then use that to claim your critics are ignorant of history. As a matter of benevolence, I figured I should correct your own historical inaccuracies, lest they make you, yourself, look truly ignorant.

  • 15 USER NAME Deleted due to potential controversy / issues // Feb 8, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    My apologies for giving the impression that you were the only one who made this up.

    “Made this up …” You want to argue giving it more prominence that it merits. Okay. Want to state, with your references, that the linkage is not as clear cut as this post suggests. Okay. But “made up” seems an assertion too far.

    I should, rather, have written something like: “people like you”.

    Most of the German articles at the top of the search are about how “the Americans” are arguing about supposed historical connotations. To the Germans–and especially to the Germans commenting on the articles–this issue is quite a novelty!

    You might see that I have added material, in part due to your comments. I find it inappropriate to redraft pieces, pretending as if something wasn’t there, but have stated regret at giving prominence to something that is secondary/tertiary to the core issue.

    By the way, referencing “to the Germans …”, correct me if I’m wrong, but I have a feeling that “ecoNazi” and “enviroFascist” aren’t exactly common terms in discussions of environmental, energy, and climate issues in Germany. That term/that linkage combined with this being an ad from a ‘German’ company (well, with multinationals, hard to call any major business truly of just one nation) raises the questioning of the historical link.


    The user name is deleted to controversial issue. As per another commentator, this commentator uses the name of the WWII head of the referenced police unit. While this might be his actual name, it is inflammatory imo without an ability to confirm this.

    As well, the commentator reacted to this decision and that comment was inadvertently deleted in a cleaning of a spam comments folder. If reposted / redrafted, that accidently deleted comment will be posted.

  • 16 American Male // Feb 8, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Clearly, Audi did not intend to link the “green police” in this ad to German history. They even sought the advice of two prominent, predominantly Jewish organizations before airing the spot. It’s pretty telling that they weren’t offended by this ad, but you were.

    Note that (a) as per material provided above, I am far from the only one who raised this issue, (b) it is uncertain that those consulted considered this within the use of terms/attacks like ‘ecoNazi’ and ‘enviroFascist’, and (c) please see note that I have added in — as stated, I regret placing so much emphasis on this point which is minor in terms of the overall conversation.

    The commercial exaggerates the fascist elements of environmentalism taken to the extreme, in which most people can rightly appreciate the absurd humor. Yet your reaction is as if someone poked fun at your own precious child, and your instinct is to defend your baby, even if the criticism was seeded in truth.

    As per the comment re ‘Green Squad’ at the end, I see paths to doing this with humor that don’t have the reinforcing to ‘ecoFascist’ framing. And, yes, there was humor there … I just thought bad messaging was much stronger than humor.

    Speaking of which, the veracity of the ad speaks for itself, given that it clearly resonated with viewers who can easily envision a world where environmentalists take everything to the extreme.

    So, what if there had been an ad about UN ‘black helicopters’? Or, an ad about police knocking down the door to seize weapons and ammunition across the country on some secret orders? What is the legitimizing factor? That there are people who believe in this sort of fantasy scenario and wish to promulgate it? My point is exactly that this (imo) poorly executed humor not just ‘resonates’ but reinforces the falsehoods that those “viewers” embrace.

    I humbly submit that this is precisely what you’re doing. Lighten up, don’t be so defensive and stop taking this too seriously. You’re just confirming average Americans’ worst fears.

  • 17 The SuperBowl Ads 2010 | DesignCritique - Another Perspective in Design // Feb 8, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    […] really surprised that Audi came under fire for this ad. I liked how the ad highlighted some of the ridiculous shit people do that affects the […]

  • 18 Anibal // Feb 8, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    Hello, I’ve come across this post and I must say, reading your answer to a comment, that the fact you compare ‘Global Warming’ to ‘Gravity’ is, at best, disingenuous. The latter is a ‘theory’ meaning ‘a way of explaining how things work’; the former is a ‘theory’ meaning ‘a point of view’.
    A point of view?

    Every voice is equal?

    No, science is and scientists are at work.

    A decent discussion here.

    there is the term “theory.” A theory, in the scientific sense of the word, is an analytic structure designed to explain a set of empirical observations. A scientific theory does two things:
    1. it identifies this set of distinct observations as a class of phenomena, and
    2. makes assertions about the underlying reality that brings about or affects this class.

    Our climate scientists have clearly been using scientific methods for global warming predictions.

    Just because I call something a theory doesn’t equate it to Gravity.

    Or, as put here:

    You need to understand
    the basics of scientific theories

    You’re probably used to using the word ‘theory’ to indicate that you are uncertain about something. When scientists use the word ‘theory’, they mean it in a different way than you are probably used to using it in casual conversation.

    Scientific theories are like facts. Scientific theories are well-tested and generally believed to be true by the scientific community. You don’t doubt the scientific ‘theory’ of gravity because the evidence so overwhelmingly supports it, and popular culture has come to accept it as a fact. However, scientists wouldn’t consider gravity’s existence a fact because they always leave open the possibility that new evidence will lead to a new theory.

    Global warming is as accepted as gravity in the sense that human-caused global warming has been researched extensively and almost all scientists believe it is happening.

    You will have to concede that after the emails scandal, together with the IPCC using students’ essays or isolated comments from environmentalists as ‘sources’ for their reports on glaciers, it is hard to avoid thinking that AGW may be not 100% proven… won’t you?

    There is no Theory in science that is “100% proven”. But, they are Theories because they remain the best explanatory path which has stood up to serious examination.

    While you’d love for people to run to cover because an error within thousands of pages and such, but the Theory of Global Warming remains the most solid explanatory path to what we are seeing / measuring going on in the planet and stands up to scientific scrutiny the most solidly. All alternative explanations have fallen to pieces under examination.

  • 19 zenpundit // Feb 8, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Hmmm….I think your reaction to the Audi commercial is humorless and overwrought.

    There are mixed opinions, mixed reactions … in this comment stream and otherwise.

    I’d also like to point out that you are, ironically, bantering with an anonymous commenter “Kurt Daleuge” who is using the name of the high Nazi SS official who was the actual WWII chief of the Ordnungspolizei as an internet handle.

    Thank you. Traditionally don’t check that sort of material and take names for what they are … and, well, that can be counterproductive.

  • 20 Anibal // Feb 8, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Hi there, I appreciate your honest answer. But you missed a small point: I mentioned ‘AGW’, not Global Warming – AGW as you know stands for Anthropogenic Global Warming (or created by man). 99% of us can see the Earth is warming…

    Glad that you got past that first hump and aren’t arguing (falsely) that we’re in a cooling cycle, that earth isn’t warming, etc …

    the only difference is that only some (including Al Gore) believe it’s anthropogenic. Some others, like me, do not.

    So, this is ‘he says, she says’ and simply ‘two sides’?

    Let’s try something else. These are just a few of the scientific institutions that say humanity is a driving factor in current warming. They also highlight issues like acidification of the oceans.

    National Academy of Science (US)
    Royal Society (UK)
    Chinese Academy of Sciences
    Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia
    Academy of Science of South Africa
    Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Italy
    Academia Mexicana de Ciencias, Mexico
    Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina, Germany
    Académie des Sciences, France
    Royal Society of Canada
    Indian National Science Academy
    Science Council of Japan
    Australian Academy of Sciences
    Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the Arts
    Caribbean Academy of Sciences
    Indonesian Academy of Sciences
    Royal Irish Academy
    Academy of Sciences Malaysia
    Academy Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand
    Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
    NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS)
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
    National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
    State of the Canadian Cryosphere (SOCC)
    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    Royal Society of the United Kingdom (RS)
    American Geophysical Union (AGU)
    American Institute of Physics (AIP)
    National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
    American Meteorological Society (AMS)
    Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS)
    ETC ……

    You will not find anything like this supporting your anti-science perspective

    What’s your view on this, again against the past scandals? Tks.

  • 21 KRISTALL N. // Feb 8, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    GREEN POLICE, ECO NAZI, PSUEDO RELIGION all ring true to the majority of viewers of this ad.

    And, thank you for proving the point. And, sadly, thank you for reinforcing how so many are misinformed. And, finally, “majority” is likely factually wrong based on polling — but “polling” doesn’t determine scientific accuracy.

  • 22 David // Feb 8, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    99% of educated people believe the earth heats and cools and heats and cools.

    There is not a single climate scientist who would state that the globe has not had climate change over the past millions of years.

    The issue is that humanity is putting a thumb on the scales and driving change faster and more significantly than where the natural patterns would have.

    We are currently in a cooling period for the past 8 years.

    David. This is simply not factually true. According to NASA data, 2005 was the hottest year in modern temperature records (roughly past 150 years). And, following that as second hottest year? 2009. Now, let’s be fair: 2009 is statistically ‘tied’ with a number of other years. The hottest 11 years globally have all been from 1998 to the present.

    In addition, we are talking “climate”, not “weather”. It is trends and patterns, with specific events perhaps illustrative but not definitive as evidence, over longer periods that sets climate.

    So, (a) your claim is simply false based on the best data and (b) providing an incorrect way of looking at the situation and (c) seeking to place today out of context of past 100, 150, etc …

    The Vikings used to farm in Greenland. I don’t believe there were cars and factories during that time to contribute he warm weather.

    First, do you understand difference between Global and Regional/Local? The MWP is solid as a local / regional event but is unclear, at best, as to global impacts. In addition, why not look to glaciers that have been around for 1000s of years that are melting/disappearing — glaciers that survived that period but won’t be around 100 (and, well, perhaps 10s of years), let alone 1000, years from now.

    Yes and millions of years ago CO2 levels were multiple levels of today’s levels. And, seas were higher. And, …

    Find the answers for yourself and not from the Gov’t-Media Complex that wants to push Carbon Taxes for the benefit of the mega-wealthy.

    Ah, so (a) the government is the enemy, (b) there is a global conspiracy of scientists, (c) the “mega-wealthy” are those who benefit from ‘carbon taxes’? (Have to admit, this last is somewhat new to me in the conspiracy theory world. Since “mega-wealthy” use more energy, fly around more in jets, one would expect that they would pay more “carbon taxes” than less wealthy.

    Next time you come to the table, bring factual information.

  • 23 sailrick // Feb 9, 2010 at 12:30 am

    ” 99% of us can see the Earth is warming… the only difference is that only some (including Al Gore) believe it’s anthropogenic”

    Yeah some believe it’s anthropogenic, like 99% of all scientists who actually study the issue and 90% of all scientists in general, and every major scientific organization in the world.

    Maybe you’re not keeping up on the news of late, but so does the Pentagon. You know, that group of wild eyed liberal environmentalists?
    And of course Al Gore. We can’t forget to mentioin Al Gore for the benefit of our denier friends, now can we.

  • 24 Anibal // Feb 9, 2010 at 12:46 am

    sailrick, interesting: 99% of all scientists studying the issue… you could have said 99.9% for more effect. The truth is that it is not confirmed by any relevant piece of scientific research, that CO2 is in fact the cause of the increase in temperatures rather than the other way around (increase in temperatures causing higher CO2). But we’ll never know the original, un-‘corrected’ data, since the ‘scientists’ (I use that term loosely) of East Anglia threw away some of the evidence to prove either way.

    Fact: temperature was higher in the XIII century than now (Greenland being… er… green).

    No, not “fact”. MWP was not “warmer”, globally.

    Fact: highest temperatures since records began was… 1998 (in a tie with one of the 50s, don’t remember which). Not ANY of the 21st century. Doesn’t that sound odd? How can it be explained without mentioning trends, which could also be easily explaining the TOTAL GW PHENOMENON?

    No, not “fact”. Re 1998, you are relying on the Hadley CRU data which does has data gaps in the global analysis. The NASA work, which is more robust, shows 2005 as the warmest year in modern records. And, 2009 is the second warmest (although, statistically, basically tied with a number of others — including 1998). And, if I recall correctly, the 11 warmest years of the past 150+? All from 1998 through 2009. From NASA:

    2009 was tied for the second warmest year in the modern record, a new NASA analysis of global surface temperature shows. The analysis, conducted by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City, also shows that in the Southern Hemisphere, 2009 was the warmest year since modern records began in 1880.

    Although 2008 was the coolest year of the decade, due to strong cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean, 2009 saw a return to near-record global temperatures. The past year was only a fraction of a degree cooler than 2005, the warmest year on record, and tied with a cluster of other years — 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007 1998 and 2007 — as the second warmest year since recordkeeping began …

    January 2000 to December 2009 was the warmest decade on record. Throughout the last three decades, the GISS surface temperature record shows an upward trend of about 0.2°C (0.36°F) per decade. Since 1880, the year that modern scientific instrumentation became available to monitor temperatures precisely, a clear warming trend is present, though there was a leveling off between the 1940s and 1970s.

    The near-record temperatures of 2009 occurred despite an unseasonably cool December in much of North America. … “Of course, the contiguous 48 states cover only 1.5 percent of the world area, so the U.S. temperature does not affect the global temperature much”

    Also, while there is abundance of name-calling to the ‘multinationals’ which emit CO2 in the air, there is none of the supposedly serious alarmists who of course make millions out of the AGW business: eg our ubiquitous Al, or even the head of IPCC, whose companies profit immensely from this as well. Now, why isn’t this at least investigated?

    “None”? What you are doing is exactly that, “namecalling”.

    So, Mr sailrick, not everyone who distrusts the AGW truthsayers are loony. Maybe most of them have a distrust (like me) on diktats from the Governments or organizations.

    One of the core reasons for anti-science syndrome suffering is the fear that there might actually be a reason for governance, regulation, action for the common good since it is rather hard to fight a war or tackle a major issue as individuals, without organization.

    I believe there is no such thing as AGW – and supposing there WAS such a thing, even Al concedes doing EVERYTHING he wants done, would not change the trend. So… let’s be pragmatic and not fill the latest disenchanted anti-establishment prophets’ pockets with our money which could be much better put to use in productive endeavours.

    And no, I don’t recycle. Hehe.

  • 25 Truth And Common Sense − So, this is a greenie. No wonder nobody likes them! A eco-freak talks about the Audi commercial // Feb 9, 2010 at 6:14 am

    […] “At first blush this seems like more teabagging-appealing to angry white men with the same old stereotype of environmentalists as meddling do-gooders obsessed with picayune behavioral sins. If you check in the comments under the video, that perspective is well represented. Says Metallicafan6611, “You guys all laugh. But this is really going to happen. Wake up people!? Stop being sheep!” Enviros are predictably steamed (see, e.g., Adam Siegel).” […]

  • 26 By the way you look fantastic in your car of Audi plastic « Knowledge Problem // Feb 9, 2010 at 8:17 am

    […] Turns out that neither the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council, nor at least some environmentalists, were amused.  I found the ad annoying – I’m not sure why – but anything that […]

  • 27 Biff // Feb 9, 2010 at 10:03 am

    “global warming” is a “militant agenda”? Hmmm … that is an interesting term for a Scientific Theory.

    Global Warming a scientific theory? What happened to Global Cooling?

    Global Cooling was never a scientific Theory. From here, for example, which discussed George Will-Ful Deceit Will’s promotion of this deception.

    it is not true that there was some form of scientific consensus around Global Cooling. Science works from hypothesis to testing of hypothesis to, if it stands up to testing, that hypothesis becoming a theory. Unlike Global Warming / Climate Change, which is a Theory, Global Cooling was never more than “hypothesis” and a “widely” disputed one at that. Last fall, the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society published the peer-reviewed review of this issue with the revealing title of The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus. It begins

    There was no scientific consensus in the 1970s that the Earth was headed into an imminent ice age. Indeed, the possibility of anthropogenic warming dominated the peer-reviewed literature even then.

    But, the true extent of Will’s deceit goes further than this. One of the authors of this study, John Fleck, wrote both blog posts and an opinion piece following Will’s article. In Cherry-Picked Facts Heat Up Climate Debate (which should be a must read for the Post‘s hand-picked fact checking team), Fleck points out that Will selectively quotes from articles, misrepresenting the actual conclusions. As to Will-ful deceit, Flect notes

    When George Will last wrote about this subject, in May 2008, I sent him a copy of the 1975 Science News article, hoping he might get a fuller picture of what was going on at the time. I got a nice note back from him thanking me for sharing it. It doesn’t seem as if he read it, which would have been nicer.

    After a fact and truth filled piece, Fleck concludes:

    George Will is entitled to his own opinions. He is not entitled to his own facts.

    Correlation of Will comments with the truth? Zero.

    Global Dimming? Acid rain killing 90% of freshwater lake/pond fish populations?

    Might you want to recognize and acknowledge that the Clean Air Act, which has a version of ‘cap & trade’ (on sulphur dioxide emissions from, mainly, coal-fired electricity plants), has worked to reduce acid rain? And, that it has worked to reduce (significantly) acid rain and reduce threats to freshwater lakes at a net economic benefit rather than the huge costs that opponents argued it would create?

    Last time I checked grade school, for a scientific theory to be validated, it had to be reproducible by others in the field. Oh, yeah, we can’t validate/reproduce the most critical data referencing temperature measurements at particular measurement locations because the relevant data for those locations were irretrievably “lost” during an office move.

  • 28 American Male // Feb 9, 2010 at 11:25 am

    The temperature of Mars has been observed increasing and decreasing in parallel with Earth’s temperature over the past several years. Those temperature fluctuations also parallel solar activity. That’s one possible explanation. Or perhaps man is responsible for Martian climate change somehow. Since we can’t really “cook” the books on that one, let’s just ignore it altogether.


    Isn’t it great to have a parade of disingenous and truthiness-laden talking points coming out.

    Re Mars,

    Recently, there have been some suggestions that “global warming” has been observed on Mars (e.g. here). These are based on observations of regional change around the South Polar Cap, but seem to have been extended into a “global” change, and used by some to infer an external common mechanism for global warming on Earth and Mars (e.g. here and here). But this is incorrect reasoning and based on faulty understanding of the data.

    inferring global warming from a 3 Martian year regional trend is unwarranted. The observed regional changes in south polar ice cover are almost certainly due to a regional climate transition, not a global phenomenon, and are demonstrably unrelated to external forcing. There is a slight irony in people rushing to claim that the glacier changes on Mars are a sure sign of global warming, while not being swayed by the much more persuasive analogous phenomena here on Earth…

    And, here

    The empirical evidence isn’t conclusive on whether global warming is happening on Mars. However, to answer the question on whether the sun is causing Earth’s global warming, there is plentiful data on solar activity and Earth’s climate. Many papers have examined this data, concluding the correlation between sun and climate ended in the 70’s when the modern global warming trend began.

    So the argument that Martian warming disproves anthropogenic global warming fails on two points – there is little empirical evidence that Mars is warming and Mars’ climate is primarily driven by dust and albedo, not solar variat

    And …

    Anti-science syndrome truthiness and talking points aren’t science and aren’t honest engagement in discussion. Engage with truthful information, rather than deceptive material, or don’t engage at all.


  • 29 American Male // Feb 9, 2010 at 11:32 am

    We need to decouple sustainable energy and conservation from a worldview that says man is responsible for global warming. Reasonable people can believe in conservation (Teddy Roosevelt was in many ways the first “environmentalist”) without subscribing to the anthropogenic global warming faith.

    So, do you want to engage in a ‘No Regrets Strategy‘ discussion and development of a path forward?

    Why not read that discussion?

    It is a discussion path that I am quite willing and ready to engage in.

    It’s the radical nature of many modern environmentalists that this ad mocks, and that’s what resonates with average Americans. Which is exactly why Gavin Newsome said, “Ok .. That “green police” Audi commercial hits home.”

  • 30 Video: Die Umweltpolizei « So Halt // Feb 9, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    […] den Spot nicht so witzig, weil es genau das ist, was passieren wird. Andere deswegen nicht, weil es die Umweltbewegung mit den Nazis gleichsetzt (Grün ist die Farbe der Nazi-Polizei oder so). Andere sehen es eher gelassener (siehe auch […]

  • 31 The Green Police | John M. O'Hara // Feb 9, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    […] environmentalists were predictably steamed, going so far as to state that Audi was equating environmental regulation with the Nazis… Others, […]

  • 32 KevinQC // Feb 9, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Wow. Talk about over thinking a commercial!

  • 33 enrique ferme // Feb 9, 2010 at 10:09 pm


    I agree, this ad was not well targeted.

  • 34 The ‘green’ police | theCLog // Feb 10, 2010 at 9:18 am

    […] No big deal, though; the game went on, the baby commercials kept us rolling and the Saints won. I kinda forgot about the green police commercial until I saw this OpEd in Grist (below). At first blush this seems like more teabagging—appealing to angry white men with the same old stereotype of environmentalists as meddling do-gooders obsessed with picayune behavioral sins. If you check in the comments under the video, that perspective is well represented. Says Metallicafan6611, “You guys all laugh. But this is really going to happen. Wake up people!? Stop being sheep!” Enviros are predictably steamed (see, e.g., Adam Siegel). […]

  • 35 | Everything Design » Blog Archive » Audi 2010 Green Car // Feb 10, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    […] um comercial de milhoes de dólares na produção e exibição, não pode ser realmente verde. Isso foi mais ou menos o que afirmaram por ai. bb_keywords = “super bowl”; bb_bid = “9784”; bb_lang = “pt-BR”; bb_name = “custom”;bb_limit = […]

  • 36 The Most Interesting Super Bowl Commercial « News Lawyer // Feb 10, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    […] The commercial caused some environmentalists to gasp – in a time when unpopular economy killers such as cap and trade

    This is an ignorant statement, throwing around truthiness laden falsehoods. Any decent analysis shows that dealing with climate is a net benefit economically compared to business as usual practices.

    are being bandied about in the name of saving the environment, a picture of government overreach cannot be helpful. […]

  • 37 FXPAL Blog » Blog Archive » What I saw during the Superbowl // Feb 12, 2010 at 9:47 am

    […] only one with a negative reaction: Jeffery Goldberg calls it Gorewellian, while an eco-energy blog laments the Nazi allusions and the disservice to the green […]

  • 38 American Male // Feb 15, 2010 at 12:59 am

    Spain: Every ‘green’ job destroys 2.2 jobs

    Study finds that every “green job” created in Spain resulted in 2.2 other jobs being destroyed

    This is an utter falsehood as discussed here and here.

  • 39 American Male // Feb 15, 2010 at 1:21 am

    There has been no global warming since 1995

    This comment has been edited for violation of copyright and for abusive spamming of discussion.

    Falsehoods repeated and repeated louder do no make them true.

    Statement above is not supported by NASA research and data — for example.

  • 40 American Male // Feb 15, 2010 at 1:26 am

    World may not be warming, say scientists

    Again, edited for violating copyright.

    And, for basing material on unreliable sourcing.

    Citing John Christy as a source, “say scientists”, carries little weight without corroboration and checking from other scientists. For more on Christy, etc …

    This site allows honest and open engagement but does not provide a forum for spewing falsehoods and providing links to questionable / false material.

    If this commentator continues to post falsehood and truthiness-laden talking points, they will be banned.

  • 41 American Male // Feb 15, 2010 at 10:49 am

    All I posted were links to three front-page stories from major newspapers I read today which I thought to be interesting and relevant. I didn’t even add a single word of commentary. Phil Jones is the one who stated there has been no global warming since 1995, not me.

    Actually, what is tiring is having to spend time to correct misrepresentations, even ones that are rocketing through the denialosphere. As to the Daily Mail piece, what is the basis for their headline/article? This BBC interview:

    BBC: Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming.

    Jones: Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

    So, yes, I guess, Jones siad “no statistical warming since 1995” … that is at the 95% confidence level. Do you really think that that comment supports your comment that “Jones is the one who stated there has been no global warming since 1995”.

    But, perhaps you should consider that the UK MetOffice has released analysis that the Hadley CRU data tends toward the low end of warming trend

    New analysis released today has shown the global temperature rise calculated by the Met Office’s HadCRUT record is at the lower end of likely warming.

    because HadCRUT is sampling regions that have exhibited less change, on average, than the entire globe

    And how is a link a “copyright violation”?

    You did not provide “a link” but extensive quotations, even to extent of entire article.

    I’m particularly confused, given that you substituted links of your own.

    I wish people could see what I wrote, so that I could defend myself. You could have minimally edited whatever you felt was legally necessary. Instead, you completely removed my links, inserted links of your own choosing, implied that I am dishonest and made it look as if I said things which I did not say.

    What you did was cut and paste material that was deceptive, at best, which requires responding to with use of my time as per the above.

    That you are simply providing material that someone else published doesn’t clear you of being implicated in the distribution / dissemination of truthiness-laden material.

    I’ve only posted four or five times in total on your site. If you wish to ban me, so be it.

  • 42 The green movment bitches about its own stereotypes « The Tiny Ouroboros // Feb 15, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    […] Of course, I’m late for the party, as usual. Since I don’t watch TV and I hate sports, I totally missed Audi’s Superbowl commercial. Personally, I thought it was amusing, even if I wanted to smack that condescending little smile off of Mr. Audi Drive;s face. And I will, later on in this post. But, of course, there are always those that throw a fit over the smallest thing. […]

  • 43 American Male // Feb 15, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    “You did not provide “a link” but extensive quotations, even to extent of entire article.”

    Not true. I posted the first couple of paragraphs verbatim for reference followed by the URL for the full article. I see no difference between that and the extensive quoting in your original blog post (quoting several paragraphs from Jeremy Bloom, David Roberts, Sebastio Blanco, Danny Brown, Aimee Picchi, Joe Romm, etc.).

    “What you did was cut and paste material that was deceptive, at best, which requires responding to with use of my time as per the above.

    “That you are simply providing material that someone else published doesn’t clear you of being implicated in the distribution / dissemination of truthiness-laden material.”

    I didn’t write the news articles, I don’t own the newspapers. I have no idea what you mean by my not being “cleared” in the “dissemination” of a newspaper article, as if that were a crime.

    You complained (and complain) that you are simply posting others words and material. Point is that you are disseminating misleading information, cutting & pasting from places. To allow this material to be posted, straight out, simply demands too much time in terms of showing how there are falsehoods, distortions, etc in the material.

    And what the heck does “truthiness-laden material” even mean?

    truthiness is a “truth” that a person claims to know intuitively “from the gut” without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts.

    It seems clear at this point that only whatever fits conveniently into your belief system passes your personal content filter, and you’ll find a reason to censor / smear / dismiss everything else.

    We’re talking about ‘what stands up to reasonable evidentiary standards’. See, for example, Daily Mail Distortions which was, in part, sparked by your posting elements of that deceiving article which you then used in a misrepresenting statement in another comment.

  • 44 Fart // Feb 21, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Why was my Simpson’s quote deleted? I will quote it again… I guess Homer brings up an inconvenient truth to you…
    Homer: See, Lisa, looks like tomorrow I’ll be shoveling ten feet of global warming.
    Lisa: Global warming can cause weather at both extremes, hot and cold.
    Homer: I see, so you’re saying warming makes it colder. Well aren’t you the queen of crazy land. Everything the’s opposite of everything.


    Don’t know, perhaps tired of responding to cartoon characters being used as some form of scientific expertise.

    Sad that you seem proud to associate yourself with Homer …

  • 45 Fart // Feb 22, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    I agree.
    Cartoon characters… UN climate panel… What’s the difference?

    Your user name here and your commentary are about the same level. Shallowly childish and ignorant.

    Yes, it is clear to see why you identify yourself with Homer Simpson.

  • 46 Audi’s "Green Police" Superbowl Ad « NoFrakkingConsensus // Aug 20, 2010 at 10:23 am

    […] Siegel, the author of the Get Energy Smart! NOW! blog, accuses Audi of airing the “most environmentally unfriendly Superbowl ad.” This gent lives in a […]

  • 47 Pay-To-Play Pothole Mitigation? // Sep 19, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    […] On another Audi advertisement, see The Most Environmentally Unfriendly Super Bowl Ad? Share and […]

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