Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a public policy group funded by oil company Exxon Mobil Corp. and carmakers General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co., unveiled a U.S. advertising campaign today that questions the science behind global warming concerns. CEI is a nonprofit group in Washington that advocates free enterprise and limited government regulation.
The television advertisements air in Washington, Denver, Anchorage, Alaska, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and 10 other cities starting May 18.
The campaign is timed to coincide with the release of a documentary about the threat of climate change that features former Vice President Al Gore. The ads point out the benefits of fossil fuels as well as what CEI claims are unbalanced media reports about the scientific evidence of global warming. “We don’t agree with the claims that the science is settled establishing catastrophic man-made influence upon the climate,” said Chris Horner, a lawyer at CEI.
Gore’s movie, to be released by Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures in New York and Los Angeles next week and in other cities on June 2, comes on the heels of a raft of recent media attention about climate change, including cover stories in Time magazine, fashion publication Elle and computer magazine Wired.
Last week, Gore and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. banker Theodore Roosevelt IV, the great-grandson and namesake of the 26th U.S. president, launched a bipartisan alliance aimed at boosting public awareness about the threat of global warming. “The public has gotten only one side of this issue and it’s the alarmist side,” he said.
CEI plans to hold a news conference tomorrow to announce the ad campaign, which will initially cost $50,000. It will run about two weeks and include local commercial spots during national Sunday news shows, said Sam Kazman, the group’s general counsel. The group hopes to extend the campaign through donations generated by the ads, Kazman said.
An increasing number of lawmakers are calling for a federal cap on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases spewed from cars, power plants and other sources that many scientists say is contributing to hotter temperatures and more extreme weather.
CEI contends that the science backing up those claims isn’t conclusive and that companies such as Duke Energy Corp. and General Electric Co. are calling for federal action because they stand to benefit from carbon regulations.
“Of course there are going to be companies seeking special favors that fit their business plan,” Horner said. “But they by no means represent the mainstream.”
Exxon, the world’s largest oil company, has donated about $1.6 million to CEI since 1998, according to Kazman. CEI also receives money from the GM, Ford, Time Warner Inc. and other companies, Kazman said.
Irving, Texas-based Exxon didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. The oil company previously has said that the science of global warming is so far inconclusive. Exxon, which says it has cut emissions from its plants in half since the early 1990s, has called for further study.