CEI TV spots continue global warming denial communications strategy


The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), an anti-regulation advocacy group that has received substantial funding from ExxonMobil, has begun running 60-second TV spots apparently timed as an attempt to counter favorable public response to the new film that centers on Al Gore’s communication of the global warming problem.  With this action, CEI continues to act in accord with a long-standing communications strategy, developed by global-warming denial cadre in conjunction with oil industry interests, designed to misrepresent the scientific issues and manufacture an enhanced sense of scientific uncertainty about the global warming problem. 

We agree with other commentators who have found these TV spots to be misleading and an insult to the science community.  They appear to be aimed at propagandizing viewers who haven’t been exposed to serious discussion of global warming.  Nothing new here—back in 1998 CEI used the same approach with a national TV ad campaign (“New Ad Campaign Challenges Global Warming”).  Thus, the global warming denial lobby carries on with its increasingly outdated tactics.

An April 1998 “Global Climate Science Communications Action Plan” (API_communication_plan_memo.pdf), developed at the American Petroleum Institute by representatives of API, Exxon and other energy corporations, the Marshall Institute, and other advocacy groups, including the current CEI Energy and Global Warming Policy director, includes the following statements:

Victory Will Be Achieved When:
Average citizens “understand” (recognize) uncertainties in climate science…

Strategies and Tactics:
1.  National Media Relations Program: Develop and implement a national media relations program to inform the media about uncertainties in climate science…and thereby educate and inform the public…

Various metrics will be used to track progress.  These measurements…may include:…
Total audience exposed to newspaper, radio, television coverage of science uncertainties.


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