Regulating advertising to limit emissions. This is one of the solutions proposed by the IPCC to limit global warming to 1.5C through large-scale behavioral change. This is stated in the new climate report of the UN climate panel IPCC on climate measures. This is the first time that the IPCC has considered the effect of (fossil) advertising on climate disruption.
Advertising influences the transition in several ways. For example, the IPCC says that fossil companies first tried to derail the transition with lobbying and sowing doubt in the media. And that they are now trying to appropriate climate concerns with advertisements and branding and to shift the political attention from themselves to the consumer. In its marketing, the industry frames the consumer's need to adjust their purchasing behavior in order to prevent the government from making policy - which would suddenly have a much greater impact on the climate, but also on the business model of the fossil industry.
Driving force of consumerism
Much of the new IPCC report, however, focuses on consumer behaviour. Because 40-70% of the emission reduction for 2050 can be achieved in society through choices we make in our daily lives. There is a major role for citizens, social movements and role models who can ensure different norms in society and politics. And according to the IPCC, the government can also mean a lot with policy that tackles the driving force of consumerism. One of those measures, according to the IPCC, is the regulation of advertising.
The IPCC outlines how advertising plays on consumers' status sensitivity by selling a luxury product as a necessity . The IPCC cites advertisements for CO2-intensive SUVs and distant vacations as examples of advertisements that create and normalize a polluting need.
Role of the media
Finally, the IPCC emphasizes the role of the media in shaping the public debate on tackling climate disruption and climate policy. The newspaper influences citizens and politicians not only through journalism, but also through advertisements. IPCC: “The fossil industry has unique access to the media through advertising.”
Social tipping points
It is the first time that the IPCC has extensively considered the social perspective of climate disruption and the potential of cultural change and social tipping points to achieve major emission reductions. The IPCC hopes that governments will seize new opportunities to combat climate disruption. According to the panel, this perspective also helps to recognize and overcome barriers that stand in the way of change. As an example, the IPCC mentions that fossil fuel subsidies and fossil fuel infrastructure still make fossil fuels the most attractive behavior for most people.
Advertising Fossil Free is pleased that IPCC has extensively discussed the obstacles that advertising poses in the transition. “For a long time, advertising was a blind spot. But thankfully, more and more attention is being paid to how advertising influences our standards and guides our purchases. And how this puts the Paris goal further out of sight. Climate policy without a ban on fossil advertising is mopping with the tap open.”