Social justice and equity within and between countries also require a responsive approach. Rich and historically highly polluting countries have pledged to cut emissions much faster than poorer ones in recognition of their greater role in creating the climate crisis. But the mass marketing of large, inefficient SUVs in rich countries has pushed people in the wrong direction in a very short time.
Currently promoted sectors that are also pushing wealthier countries in the wrong, more polluting direction include advertising for fast fashion, environmentally harmful food, overseas vacations, prolonged sea tourism in the form of cruises and the slightly different case of fossil fuel financiers. , alongside other goods and services.
On their current trajectories, and driven by massive advertising campaigns, advertising in these sectors leads to growing overconsumption with enormous impacts, and makes effective climate action more difficult.
By 2030, fashion shows should increase by nearly 50%. At the current rate of growth, meat consumption in Europe is expected to do not fall, but get up by 76% by 2050, but it was estimated that it must drop by 71% by 2030 and by 81% by 2050 to achieve climate goals.
Greenwashing is also a pervasive issue that needs to be addressed in advertising, and is in some ways even more insidious as it creates the false sense of ongoing climate action and leaves people with a false sense of security that the problem is in hand.
Taken together, these examples highlight the need for a larger, broader conversation about advertising as a barrier to climate action.
Worse still, it increases the role of advertising in driving demand for polluting products and lifestyles, just as official advice and climate policy attempts to reduce them. In other words, there are far more types of advertising that compromise our chances of long-term survival than people generally realize.
Advertisements are increasingly full of promises to offset the impact of purchases. However, offsetting does not reduce emissions and may in fact make the problem worse by delaying real emission reductions at their source.
A series of surveys of established and reputable voluntary carbon markets – the main route through which offsets are bought and sold – have shown that more than 90% of rainforest offsets are completely worthless and have not resulted in any real reduction in emissions.
Moreover, these nature-based offset programs fall prey to the harms they claim to prevent: climate-induced droughts and wildfires that ravage forests and release “offset” carbon into the atmosphere where it will remain for years and years to come.
While the US and EU are both launching huge grant programs to spur green innovation, some big companies are promoting unproven and unscalable technologies as a way to reduce emissions.
The promotion of hydrogen boilers in the UK as a solution to decarbonise heating follows this path. However, numerous studies show that the use of hydrogen for heating is a bad option – less economical, less efficient, more resource intensive and associated with greater environmental impacts than heat pumps.
Yet hydrogen boilers continue to be encouraged by industry and supported by the UK government. Moreover, the vast majority of hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels.
Indeed, at the end of 2021, nearly 47% of global hydrogen production came from gas, 27% from coal, 22% from oil and 4% from electrolysis. According to United Nations Renewable Energy Agency, IRENAonly one percent of the world’s hydrogen production was produced from renewable energies.
Advertisements for hydrogen boilers and other bogus solutions, such as ExxonMobil’s Algae Biofuels And bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), are likely to lock in more emissions in the short term, delay the deployment of truly transformative technologies, and allow big polluters to retain market share and social acceptance.
Stop promoting evil
Tobacco marketing bans set a clear historical precedent for regulating the advertising of products that harm health and have significant social costs.
In light of the harms caused by climate breakdown, including public health damage far greater than that of tobacco, calls are growing for “tobacco-style” bans on advertising high-potency products. in carbon.
The World Health Organization and the United Nations Environment Program have recommendations approved for a “tobacco law” to end fossil fuel advertising.
Although with some loopholes, in 2022 the French government banned advertisements for energy products derived from fossil fuels, including petroleum products and energy from burning coal.
Elsewhere, in the absence of legislation at the national level, a series of municipalities and public transport bodies in Australia, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have introduced local restrictions on the advertising and sponsorship of the most pollutants in outdoor advertising, print and online media.
Reversing the climate emergency is proving difficult enough without the advertising industry reversing any progress by promoting polluting products and lifestyles.
Many are baffled that so little seems to be happening given what science is telling one of society’s ears about the need for immediate, widespread and rapid change.
But it could be because, in the other ear, the high-carbon advertising is not just telling us to carry on as usual, but to increase the consumption of harmful things. This leaves a big question that demands an answer from regulators: what should we stop advertising to increase our chances of survival?
Andrew Simms is co-director of New meteorological instituteco-founder of the badvertising campaigncoordinator of the Rapid Transition Alliance, author on the new and green economy, and co-author of the first Green New Deal. Follow: t. @AndrewSimms_uk Mr. @email@example.com
The briefing: From fast fashion to fancy cruises – what should we stop advertising to increase our chances of survival? is published by Badvertising and Adfree Cities and can be found at: https://www.badverts.org/publications