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ASA to probe drowning dog climate ad

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The Advertising Standards Authority will investigate the Government's £6m TV spine-tingler designed to change our behaviour. 357 complaints have been made to the ASA, a self-regulatory body.

The first tasteless ad features a girl watching a cartoon dog drown, engulfed by a flood - with the advice that only by reducing "everyday things like keeping houses warm and driving cars" can we avert a watery fate for our pets, our children's pets, and our children's pets' children:

Most complaints focus on the fact that it is too terrifying - while others have complained that the scientific evidence doesn't justify the nightmare portrayed, albeit in cartoon form.

Ministers haven't helped in their statements defending the taxpayer-funded ad splurge. Minister Joan Ruddock claimed: "It is consistent with government policy on the issue, which is informed by the latest science and assessments of peer-reviewed, scientific literature made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and other international bodies."

But that's not quite true.

In 2007 the IPCC released six scenarios generated from computer models. They projected rises of ranging from 0.18m - 0.38m to 0.26m - 0.58m, depending on how much the climate were to warm. That's barely enough to drown a kitten.

So if it's not rising sea levels, perhaps it's storm surges?

Alas, that's not borne out by the evidence. Southern Hemisphere cyclone energy has fallen to a 30-year low, and the long-term trend shows no significant increase in major hurricane activity, despite a warming period from the mid 1970s to 2000.

Barely a day passes without the climate refusing to conform to the models, and specifically the nightmare predictions they can generate with a crank of a handle. Just yesterday, we reported, dramatic ice loss reported in the Antarctic in 2007 turns out to have been overestimated.

Certainly, there's nothing that remotely justifies the dramatic cartoon disaster. Behaviour change has become an imperative with its own momentum. Much of it depends on huge sums being thrown at the advertising "industry", which is unlikely to bite the hand that feeds it. Think of it as a green jobs bonanza (at your expense).

Maybe Ruddock is thinking of Peerages, rather than Peer Review. ®

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