Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Climate pseudoscience is OK for Calgary billboards, anti-oil ads not so much

Via Huffpo
You've probably seen this message, either outdoors, online, or in print. It's a clever line used by Greenpeace to promote solar energy over oil.

Their latest media plan had it going up two years ago in Calgary, close to the Alberta legislature, in the wake of the Plains Midstream Canada oil spills. (The company was just fined $1.3 million after pleading guilty in two pipeline spills that sent almost five million litres of oil into Alberta rivers.)

Greenpeace said it arranged with Pattison Outdoor on June 13, 2012, to place the billboard for a month at a cost of $2,800. Two days later, Greenpeace was told the artwork had not been approved. They were not given an explanation.

Fast forward to 2014, and here is the kind of billboard that is running in Calgary:

Via Huffpo

"Friends of Science" is an ironically named Canadian organization that denies any human involvement in climate change.

According to NASA, 97% of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities.

"Friends" is funded anonymously through an intermediary, the Calgary Foundation, although it is accused of being an organ of the petrochemical industry.

Pattison will not comment why the Greenpeace ad was unacceptable to their advertising standards, and the FoS one was, leaving us to form our own conclusions about who is calling the shots in Calgary outdoor media.

Thanks to Kerry for the tip!


  1. Dear Mr. Megginson,
    As an ethical adman, I hope you will correct your article. Friends of Science agrees that humans impact climate change, however, the impact is nominal compared to natural factors. The science review team are all qualified earth or atmospheric scientists and engineers - all of whom have accredited standing with professional societies and who must abide by the codes of conduct.
    Presently the IPCC itself is reporting a hiatus in global warming of 16 years. There has been a rise in CO2 of 9%. But no warming. That would seem to invalidate the AGW theory...certainly the models have some flaw.
    The climate models have predicted temperatures that would be FIVE TIMES what they presently are. None of the 114 models predicted any kind of stagnation or pause in warming. That means that something is wrong with the models - as economist Ross McKitrick noted in his recent presentation, the likely factor that has been over exaggerated is the climate sensitivity of carbon dioxide.
    Friends of Science have thoroughly reviewed the NASA references of an alleged 97% consensus and find that there is no such thing. You can read the report here: http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/97_Consensus_Myth.pdf
    The information you post about Friends of Science funding is completely inaccurate - you are referring to operations of more than 7 years ago; today Friends of Science is funded only by members and operates on a 'beer-budget.' The Calgary Foundation has nothing to do with our organization and has not had for nearly a decade.
    Your intimations of some unseen influence in media buying are far off the rails. We developed our campaign within our communications team and when we found we did not have the budget for a 'real' print billboard, our A/E recommended digital as an inexpensive, quick-turn around option. We had originally wanted to welcome the WEF to Calgary and our billboard first ran in March - and got international coverage on "Tallbloke Tallshop" in Europe. There were no protests then. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/03/prweb11681329.htm
    So that you know, we have also faced challenges in media placement - of course many people simply can't get past 20 years of global warming indoctrination. The vehement responses on most blogs and websites against our EVIDENCE is disturbingly similar to responses from a cult.
    As an adman, you are undoubtedly familiar with the power of social proof - so the next time someone tells you 97% of scientists think one way or the other, hopefully you will not fall for it. We'd appreciate you making the appropriate corrections above - or at the least, please post this comment. Thank you, Michelle Stirling, Communications Manager, Friends of Science

  2. PS - You should know that the Dutch government shares a similar view to ours. The IPCC was set up with a mandate to study the human influences of climate change. The Dutch government wants that overhauled: "The IPCC needs to adjust its principles. We believe that limiting the scope of the IPCC to human induced climate change is undesirable, especially because natural climate change is a crucial part of the total understanding of the climate system, including human-induced climate change. The Netherlands is also of the opinion that the word ‘comprehensive’ may have to be deleted, because producing comprehensive assessments becomes virtually impossible with the ever expanding body of knowledge and IPCC may be more relevant by producing more special reports on topics that are new and controversial." http://www.knmi.nl/research/ipcc/FUTURE/Submission_by_The_Netherlands_on_the_future_of_the_IPCC_laatste.pdf