Nursery Rhyme Ads Banned for Overstating Climate Change

Two Government advertisements which used nursery rhymes to raise awareness of climate change have been banned for overstating the risks.

The adverts, from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, were based on the children's poems Jack and Jill and Rub-A-Dub-Dub. But the campaign went beyond mainstream scientific consensus in asserting that climate change would cause flooding and drought, the Advertising Standards Authority ruled.

It pointed out that predictions about the potential impact of global warming made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) "involved uncertainties" that the adverts failed to reflect.

The two posters juxtaposed adapted extracts from the nursery rhymes to warn about global warming.

One began: "Jack 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 that was written: "Extreme weather conditions such as flooding, heat waves and storms will become more frequent and intense."

The second advert read: "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: "Climate change is happening. Temperature and sea levels are rising.
"Extreme weather events such as storms, floods and heat waves will become more frequent and intense.

"If we carry on at this rate, life in 25 years could be very different."

Upholding the complaints, the ASA said the text accompanying the rhymes should have used more tentative language in both instances.

The newspaper adverts were part of a controversial media campaign launched by DECC last year which attracted a total of 939 complaints.