Climate Change Denial

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June 28, 2007


George Marshall @ 1:41 pm

Diesel Jeans new advertising campaign provides yet more evidence that we could slip from a refusal to acknowledge climate change to a form of blasé reactive denial that says “big deal, bring it on”. The worldwide advertising campaign called “Global Warming Ready” which carries the byline “Yes life is going to be a beach in the future”, shows models in beachware against a background of flooding, heatwaves, parrots in St Marks Square and that familiar warming cliché, penguins on icebergs. See the ads….

new york

This is clearly the kind of cynical advertising that we have come to expect from clothing companies desperate to differentiate their products by generating controversy- in the past Diesel ads have recommended chain smoking and drinking your own piss.

But actually this campaign is particularly dangerous because it is not controversial enough.

Real controversy depends on upsetting some strongly held conviction. But, outside the minority of dedicated environmentalists, public belief in climate change is still shaky to say the least. So rather than challenging anything, the Diesel adverts tend to play only too well to a prevalent form of mass denial- the belief that a warmer climate will better weather. Diesel prepared an advert specially for Finland that shows a model in the desert propped up (collapsed?) against a reindeer crossing sign.

diesel-in-finland-better.jpgFocusing this message in Scandinavia is extremely irresponsible. Across northern countries there is a widespread opinion that climate change could be a good thing.

Back in 2003 Russian President Putin made a bizarre off the cuff comment in the World Climate Conference that ” if temperatures get warmer by 2 or 3 degrees Celsius, it’s not such a bad thing. We could spend less on warm coats, and grain harvests would increase further”. Putin claimed his comments were lighthearted, but they were clearly held by many in his circle.

This is a dangerous game. Diesel want to play it both ways by claiming that the adverts are “designed to ignite debate while raising awareness of the issues surrounding climate change.” Actually, though, the campaign ignites nothing- it merely reflects a dangerous delusion and then validates it.

Thank you very much Matilda Carlsson for sending me the Finnish advert,

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