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Government ads 'overstate climate risks'

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 17 March 2010

Two government posters using nursery rhymes to raise awareness of climate change are banned for overstating the risks posed, a watchdog announced today.

Banned cimate change advert

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the adverts made exaggerated claims about the threat to Britain from global warming.

The two posters, based on children's poems Jack and Jill and Rub-A-Dud-Dud, went beyond mainstream scientific consensus in asserting that climate change would cause flooding and drought, the group said.

Predictions about the potential worldwide impact of global warming "involved uncertainties" that the adverts failed to reflect, ASA noted.

The two posters adapted well known nursery rhymes to warn about the dangers of climate change.

One began: Jacks 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 said: 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: 2climate change is happening. Temperature and sea levels are rising. Extreme weather events such as storms, floods and heat waves will e come more frequent and intense. If we carry on at this rate, life in 25 years could be very different."

The newspaper adverts are part of a campaign launched by the Department of Energy and Climate Change last year which has attracted a total of 939 complaints.

Earlier the watchdog found that a television advert, in which a father red a bedtime story to his daughter about a world blighted by climate change, did not breach its guidelines.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said: "The ASA has comprehensively vindicated the accuracy of the TV advert we made and rebuffed those who attempted to use the advertising standards process to question the reality of manmade climate change.

"On the one issue where they did not find in our favour around one word in our print advertising, the science tells us that it is more than 90 per cent likely that there will be more extreme weather events if we don't act. In any future campaign, as requested by the ASA, we will make clear the nature of this prediction.

"We will continue to provide public information about the dangers of climate change."

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