There's a new TV ad airing these days in the D.C. area and it represents a new low in the polluter PR handbook. Paid for by an oil industry-funded front group, this ad ridiculously purports to claim that heat-trapping atmospheric carbon dioxide pollution causing global warming is actually beneficial for the planet. Yes, that's right, the polluters most responsible for climate change want the public -- and especially policy-makers debating clean energy legislation in Congress -- to swallow the lie that "CO2 is green."
Brings to mind the classic case study of polluter public relations: Toxic Sludge is Good for You.
Only this effort is much more insidious. That's because the debate over global warming is over. The science is clear. Any attempt to fuzz up the facts in order to forestall political and policy action to address the climate crisis is nothing more than a reckless effort by dirty energy special interests to protect their profits at the expense of public health and the planet.
The time for action is at hand -- indeed, it is long overdue.
According to the latest analysis by climate scientists, global temperatures are now expected to rise by 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. This rapid warming trend is far faster than the forecast just two years ago by the Nobel Prize-winning U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In fact, the predicted increase is nearly double what scientists say is the upper limit of warming the world can afford in order to avert catastrophic climate change.
Achim Steiner, UNEP's executive director, stated at a press conference yesterday that failure to act now to curtail global warming would be "unforgivable." He noted that since 2000 alone, the average rate of melting at 30 glaciers in nine mountain ranges has doubled compared with the rate during the previous two decades.
"These are not things that are in dispute in terms of data," he added. "They are actually physically measurable."
It is shameful that Big Oil, Dirty Coal, and their allies will do or say nearly anything to kill comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation -- legislation overwhelmingly supported by Americans.
In the face of the clear and present danger posed by climate change, if Congress fails to act that would be unforgivable.