Information Council on the Environment

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The Information Council on the Environment (ICE), was a U.S. organization created by the National Coal Association, the Western Fuels Association, and Edison Electrical Institute. ICE launched a $500,000 advertising and public relations campaign to, in ICE's words, "reposition global warming as theory (not fact)." Patrick Michaels, Robert Balling [1] and Sherwood B. Idso all lent their names in 1991 to its scientific advisory panel.

Its publicity plan called for placing these three scientists, along with fellow greenhouse skeptic S. Fred Singer, in broadcast appearances, op-ed pages, and newspaper interviews. Bracy Williams & Co., a Washington D.C.-based PR firm, did the advance publicity work for the interviews. Another company was contracted to conduct opinion polls, which identified "older, less-educated males from larger households who are not typically active information-seekers" and "younger, lower-income women" as "good targets for radio advertisements" that would "directly attack the proponents of global warming . . . through comparison of global warming to historical or mythical instances of gloom and doom."

One print advertisement prepared for the ICE campaign showed a sailing ship about to drop off the edge of a flat world into the jaws of a waiting dragon. The headline read: "Some say the earth is warming. Some also said the earth was flat." Another featured a cowering chicken under the headline "Who Told You the Earth Was Warming . . . Chicken Little?" Another ad was targeted at Minneapolis readers and asked, "If the earth is getting warmer, why is Minneapolis getting colder?"

The ICE campaign collapsed after embarrassing internal memoranda related to the PR campaign were leaked to the press. An embarrassed Michaels hastily disassociated himself from ICE, citing what he called its "blatant dishonesty."

Following the collapse of the organization, Michaels, Balling, Idso, and Singer have continued to express their skepticism about the theory of global warming. Singer has been the most visible and vocal of the group.

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