Poor Mother Nature. It's not enough that she gets pillaged and abused in real time, she gets caught in a maelstrom of opposing media blitz about climate change on TV and film, too! On one end, there's Al Gore and his documentary-movie 'An Inconvenient Truth' and on the other, there's the public policy organization Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and its recent 'We Call It Life' ad campaign. Now, from a former Public Relations practitioner's point of view, I find this media war of sorts, well, pure entertainment that might end up, at least, in a Kanye West rap lyrics sheet.

Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth' opened last week with critical praise in his attempt to enlighten the indifferent American public about the effects of carbon dioxide emissions and harmful pollutants to climate change causing severe storms, melting ice caps, and rising sea levels unprecedented in modern human history. I haven't seen the movie yet but I can pretty much surmise the images and flow of narration are proximal to Michael Crichton's fictional literary piece 'State Of Fear' (complete with graphs, maps, and figures!). Of course, Al Gore is backed up by scientific studies (including today's report in the New York Times about the Arctic region being a tropical area 50 million years ago brought about by 'a gigantic fart of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere'), and the lessons ingrained in each individual from elementary science (remember the full-page 'greenhouse effect' illustrations on textbooks?), which make the movie all the more reputably credible.

Well, apparently not credible enough to the people behind CEI.

According to CEI, Al Gore is one of a growing number of 'alarmists' who spins the truth that carbon dioxide is a harmful pollutant when it actually is 'essential to life' because it is 'part of a harmless natural process' that also makes life better for people .

The fuels that produce CO2 (carbon dioxide) have freed us from a world of back-breaking labor, lighting up our lives, allowing us to create and move the things we need, the people we love […] Now some politicians want to label carbon dioxide a pollutant. Imagine if they succeed — what would our lives be like then?"

(an image of an African woman pounding wheat with traditional tools appears in the ad, perhaps threatening the urban lifestyle-oriented Americans that this is what society would turn into without carbon dioxide emitting industries)

The caveat about CEI and its media campaign, though, is this: CEI is composed of conservative and right-wing corporate bigwigs (ExxonMobil and other oil companies) and individuals who wield influence in and serve as front organization for Washington. One needs to be no scientist to figure that one out, judging from US President George W. Bush's remarks last week:

[L]et's quit the debate about whether greenhouse gases are caused by mankind or by natural causes; let's just focus on technologies that deal with the issue."

What his statement means is this: America under Dubya's watch won't be swayed by any media attempt to change public policy towards greenhouse gas emissions vis-a-vis climate change. It won't be buckling down and signing the Kyoto Protocol soon. And, it certainly won't be giving Al Gore and his silverscreen debut a Michael Moore moment of plucking the public's consciousness from apathy without a good PR fight.

Alas, with all the semantics and the trade of barbed allegations and visual display of opposing viewpoints on the matter in the media today, the public is perhaps burnt out to even think and care as it is in the war on Iraq. Just the same, the public warrants nothing less than the truth about the relation between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. The fate of nature and human kind is at stake here, people! But then again, the question is: Between the two sides, who speaks the truth? Well, I have an idea and my guess is most people do. But why spoil the visual fun? For now, have a popcorn and enjoy the entertainment as they unfold, yeah?

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