NET launches misinformation campaign

Published January 1, 2000

A coalition of environmental organizations has announced an $11 million campaign this fall “to educate the public about global warming.”

The National Environmental Trust, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Physicians for Social Responsibility will spend $8 million on television advertisements on over 200 stations from coast to coast. Another $3 million will be spent on grassroots organizing, mainly for a Web site It will allow “concerned citizens” to communicate directly and automatically with legislators.

NET’s lead ad runs with the slogan: “Help children breathe easier–by fixing global warming.” According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of children with asthma has more than doubled in the last 13 years in the U.S. NET tries to link this to more smog, then smog to more heat, and then heat to human-induced climate change. What’s wrong with this logic? Plenty.

According to EPA, levels of smog and other forms of air pollution have declined all over the United States. Moreover, smog is produced when solar radiation, not heat, acts on atmospheric pollutants; and there is nothing we can do about sunshine. Anyway, is asthma more common in Arizona than in Chicago?

And finally, the causes of asthma are elusive; many authorities blame it on indoor pollution and the lack of outdoor exercise. Most reprehensible, though, is the effort by environmental extremists to ban inhalers that stop severe asthma attacks, because those inhalers release small amounts of CFCs into the atmosphere.

S. Fred Singer is president of the Science & Environmental Policy Project,