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Quote of last week

Jon Chait on the CEI’s Carbon Dioxide is great stuff ad:

The oil companies’–sorry, I mean the institute’s–approach to this challenge is to make people think fondly of carbon dioxide. It turns out to be a deeply misunderstood molecule. “We breathe it out,” a narrator explains in one ad. “Plants breathe it in.” We see an image of a young girl in pigtails blowing on a dandelion. The ad proceeds to explain that all this good stuff faces some sinister, amorphous peril. “Now, some politicians want to label carbon dioxide a pollutant. Imagine if they succeed. What will our lives be like then?” Plants will suffocate for lack of carbon dioxide! Little girls blowing on dandelions will be thrown into prison!

Can anybody actually believe this?

I can see why the ads would identify the enemy as “politicians” (rather than scientists). But what motive would these politicians have to attack a harmless little molecule? Do they hate plants? Are they in the pocket of the dandelion lobby?

The ads don’t say. The concept is so unpersuasive, even on its own terms, I can’t believe that Americans are stupid enough to fall for it. People may be dumb, but if they were that dumb, the world would be a different place. There would be thousands of technicians on call to help us operate our flush toilets. Emergency rooms would be filled with people who attempted to clean out their earwax with steak knives.

Categories: Environment
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