Global Warming Information Fronts
Various front groups purport to offer independent information on the issue of global warming. Information front groups have included:
The Global Climate Information Project was a coalition of business, labor and farm groups that was formed just before the 1997 Kyoto conference and spent millions on newspaper and television advertising aimed at scaring the public about what an agreement at Kyoto might mean in terms of increased prices for everything.
The Project argued that the Kyoto Protocol agreed at the Kyoto Conference would mean 38-48% increase in the price of petroleum products, 23% increase in electricity prices and 46% increase in gas prices. In terms of the threat posed by global warming it claimed:
There is conflicting scientific data over whether there is a warming trend. Global surface temperature estimates indicate a rise of between 0.3 and 0.6 degrees C (0.5 to 1.1 degrees F) since the late 19th century. This change is within the range of natural variability.
The Project also sponsored anti-global warming treaty advertisements in the lead-up to Kyoto. It ran a similar campaign in the lead-up to the Buenos Aires meeting in November 1998, in which the American Automobile Manufacturers Association played a major role.
Sponsors included The American Iron and Steel Institute, Petroleum Institute, Plastics Institute, Chemical Manufacturers Association, National Association of Manufacturers, National Mining Association and the US Chamber of Commerce.
The Information Council on the Environment was a coal industry front group, incorporating the National Coal Association, Western Fuels, and Edison Electrical Institute amongst others. It was formed in 1991 to “reposition global warming as theory (not fact)”. It had a large advertising budget and, in a media strategy obtained by Ozone Action, detailed its plan to target “older, less-educated males from larger households who were not typically active information seekers”, and to use scientists as spokespeople as they are more credible with the public.
According to Richard Littlemre from DeSmogBlog, "ICE also hired scientists to sign querulous opinion-page articles and PR agencies to harass journalists."
The denial views of three scientists were promoted in television and radio broadcasts, newspaper opinion pieces, and newspaper interviews: Robert Balling, Patrick Michaels and Sherwood Idso. The ICE was terminated in 1999 after it was exposed in various newspapers.
Nevertheless, Palmer of Western Fuels said in a 1999 letter: "It's unfortunate that ICE did not go forward" since the campaign did provoke a "dramatic turnaround in how people viewed the issue of global warming" before its demise.