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Author Topic: Fossil fuel ads should be banned  (Read 42 times)

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Offline PaxImperatrix

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Fossil fuel ads should be banned
« on: August 6, 2022, 04:55:36 AM »
I think all fossil fuel advertisements should be banned. That may sound extreme, but allow me to clarify.

By fossil fuel advertisements I mean any advertisements for fossil fuels, as well as air, road and water-borne transportation powered by fossil fuels. An exception should be made for transport services of general economic interest. Ads for diesel or petrol cars or chains of petrol stations? Out. Ads for cruises and holidays by air? Out. Ads for public transportation by diesel bus or train? Allowed.

The case for a ban on fossil fuel advertising is very simple. We are facing a global climate crisis. What I mean by that is that the global climate is changing at an unprecedented rate and in a dangerous direction. The rate of change is too great for many species to adapt to, resulting in a threatened mass extinction. The direction of change means we will be facing more numerous and more severe floods, hurricanes, draughts and other extreme weather. Emissions of greenhouse gases by humans are the principal cause of climate change, and use of fossil fuels is a big contributor to these emissions. It stands to reason, then, that fossil fuels should be phased out as quickly as possible. Fossil fuel advertisements obstruct this necessary change by artificially inflating demand for fossil fuels. Fossil fuel advertising has also repeatedly been shown to be misleading. Time is short and the advertising and fossil fuel industries have shown themselves unwilling or unable to act on this. Government intervention in the form of a ban on fossil fuel advertisements is therefore justified.

There is currently a petition to implement just such a ban in the European Union. I'd encourage anyone eligible to sign it.

I'd like to use this topic to discuss a ban on fossil fuel ads. In particular, I'd invite anyone who is unconvinced to share their thoughts. I'd be interested to hear why. Of course, a quick note to say you have signed the petition would be more than welcome too. To end with a few caveats, I do not think a ban on fossil fuel ads is a cure-all for climate change. It is just one of many actions that need to be taken. I am also not advocating for an immediate ban on fossil fuels themselves. Our societies are sadly still so dependent on them that a ban would have numerous harmful effects.
« Last Edit: August 6, 2022, 05:15:01 AM by PaxImperatrix »

Offline Irisado

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Re: Fossil fuel ads should be banned
« Reply #1 on: August 6, 2022, 06:18:43 AM »
In many ways, this reminds me of how action smoking started.  I'm all in favour of taking action to do something about our consumption, and reliance on, fossil fuels.  Hopefully, such an initiative would at least help.  A lot more needs to be done though.

I would sign the petition, but thanks to the liars who facilitated the UK's withdrawal from the EU, I can't.  I hope plenty of EU nationals do though.
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Offline PaxImperatrix

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Re: Fossil fuel ads should be banned
« Reply #2 on: August 6, 2022, 08:03:42 AM »
Hey, thanks Irisado! Moral support is welcome too. It's a damned shame about Brexit, as you well know. I'd be happy to continue our discussion of it in the other thread although I'm not sure there is much news to discuss.

You're right about the similarity to the anti-tobacco movement. In both cases we have vested interests promoting consumption that is detrimental to public health for their own financial benefit. Regulation of the tobacco industry is an important precedent that might help bring about a ban on fossil fuel advertising. I can only hope that we'll get there sooner rather than later.

You're also right that a lot more needs to be done to tackle our use of fossil fuels. On the face of it it's as easy as just 'keeping it in the ground' as the slogan at street protests goes. It really is a wicked problem though because of how heavily we rely on fossil fuels and their byproducts and how just about all 8 billion of us share at least some responsibility for the present crisis. Realistically, not nearly enough individual people are going to change their consumption pattern to solve this crisis so the onus is on political and business leaders to take action. Individual action to consume sustainably is still good because every little bit helps, of course, but that alone won't be enough. I'm not perfect in my own consumption habits and I wouldn't expect anyone else to be simply because the system we live in makes it so hard to. The climate impact of most consumer products isn't accurately reflected in their price or even their labeling and our mobility system is far too car centric, to name but two examples.

One form of low-effort but hopefully high-impact activism I recently got into is shareholder activism. By buying just one share in an oil company I have joined Follow This, a collective of activist green shareholders. Follow This is lobbying for major shareholders in oil companies, like pension funds, to vote for its resolutions at shareholders' meetings. These resolutions require the oil companies to set themselves emissions targets in line with the Paris Climate Accords, i.e. net zero CO2 emissions around 2050. Follow This exercises the voting rights attached to my shares on my behalf. My vote probably won't make a difference by itself, but the more members Follow This has the more likely other shareholders will be to listen to it. Already with just a few thousand members on board, we got 15 to 33% of the votes at several major oil companies this year. Imagine how much more successful we could be if everyone who signed the EU petition (or wished they could) joined!

 


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