Government rebuked over global warming nursery rhyme adverts
By Matthew Moore
Two nursery rhyme adverts commissioned by the Government to raise awareness of climate change have been banned for overstating the risks.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the adverts – which were based on the children’s poems Jack and Jill and Rub-A-Dub-Dub – made exaggerated claims about the threat to Britain from global warming.
In definitely asserting that climate change would cause flooding and drought the adverts went beyond mainstream scientific consensus, the watchdog said.
It noted that predictions about the potential global impact of global warming made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “involved uncertainties” that the adverts failed to reflect.
The two posters created on behalf of the Department of Energy and Climate Change juxtaposed adapted extracts from the nursery rhymes with prose warnings about the dangers of global warning.
One began: “Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. There was none as extreme weather due to climate change had caused a drought.” Beneath was written: “Extreme weather conditions such as flooding, heat waves and storms will become more frequent and intense.”
The second advert read: “Rub a dub dub, three men in a tub — a necessary course of action due to flash flooding caused by climate change.” It was captioned: “Climate change is happening. Temperature and sea levels are rising. Extreme weather events such as storms, floods and heat waves will become more frequent and intense. If we carry on at this rate, life in 25 years could be very different.”
Upholding complaints from members of the public, the ASA said that in both instances the text accompanying the rhymes should have been couched in softer language.
The newspaper adverts were part of a controversial media campaign launched by the DECC last year which attracted a total of 939 complaints.