Today the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released data that proves the world has rapidly warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial levels, and is now careening toward 1.5 degrees. They are calling it a red alert for the planet. Obviously this isn’t good news.
The oil industry along with the oil-consuming automobile companies spend billions every year telling us to spend more to kill the planet. This should stop. Over at the National Obseror they ask a very simple question: “are we letting fossil fuel companies sell us our own demise?” They propose an all out ban on adversting oil and gas consumption like we did with tabacco.
Advertising works. That’s why it’s a multibillion-dollar business, and it’s why oil, gas, car and airline companies spend as much as they do seeking our favour. According to one study, over a recent 30-year period, the world’s five biggest oil companies spent US$3.6 billion on ads specifically aimed at shoring up their reputation as green-friendly. Ads are one reason why gas-guzzling pickup trucks are so popular, even among those with no genuine need for them. As Quebec environmental group Équiterre found in a study released earlier this year, aggressive advertising helps to explain why light-duty vehicles — SUVs, pickups and vans — now account for 80 per cent of new vehicle sales in Canada, which in turn is a big reason greenhouse gas emissions from transportation are still rising.
Because advertising matters so much to the fossil fuel corporations, it ought to matter to the rest of us, too