Prompted this complaint to the accc
Date received: 1st August 2008
Product description: Climate change advertisements
Product provider: Department of Climate Change
Complaint description: I wish to complain about the current series of radio and TV advertisements being run by the Department of Climate Change - in particular, their truth and accuracy. The advertisements mention “carbon pollution” - carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It is a naturally occuring compound vital to life on earth. Without it, there would be no photosynthesis, and therefor no production of oxygen for humans and animals to breath. We breath out CO2 when we exhale. DDT is a pollutant. SO2 is a pollutant, since it has a detrimental effect on plants when falling as acid rain. Ash and soot from power stations could be described as pollutants if they are not captured before release. Particulates in the exhaust of diesel engines is a pollutant.
CO2 is not a pollutant, so it is wrong to make mention of “carbon pollution”. I can live with CO2 being described as an “emission”, but not as a pollutant. It is inaccurate and untruthful to describe it as a pollutant.
The complaint was met with the following response.
Thank you for your email complaint of 3 August 2008. In your complaint you raise concerns in relation to current advertising of the Australian Government in relation to climate change. In particular, you consider the advertising is likely to mislead.===
As you are aware, the ACCC is charged with the responsibility of ensuring compliance with the fair trading and competition provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974. Generally speaking, the fair trading provisions of the Act only apply to entities when engaged in trade or commerce. The actions of a department in carrying out the functions of government such as communication of government policy are unlikely to be considered in trade or commerce and are therefore unlikely to be exposed to the fair trading provisions of the Act.
While the provisions of the Act are unlikely to apply, you may wish to raise your concerns directly with the relevant department, the responsible Minister or your member of Federal Parliament.
Thank you for contacting the ACCC with your concerns. I hope this information is of use.
They give no advice regarding how to find a responsible minister, there being only ALP ones.
One final message from those who are responsible: