An article in yesterday’s Washington Post exposed the coal and oil industry interests behind recent national TV ads arguing against climate change legislation.

The ads tout the benefits of increased levels of carbon dioxide, and it’s true that some CO2 is necessary for survival. But the Supreme Court has ruled CO2 a pollutant and most scientists regard the substance as a dangerous greenhouse gas requiring strict regulation.

Moreover, a recent assessment of climate change consequences in the United States from thirteen federal science agencies found that global warming from increased levels of carbon dioxide is “already affecting water, energy, transportation, agriculture, ecosystems, and health.” The report notes that dramatically reducing heat-trapping emissions will help avert the worst consequences of climate change. These findings are consistent with research from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Academy of Sciences and the world’s most prominent scientific societies. A recent United Nations Environment Programme review of the scientific literature concludes “the pace and scale of climate change may now be outstripping even the most sobering predictions.”

In the face of all this demonstrable information this ad is being broadcast coast to coast:

So the polluters most responsible for climate change are now brazenly trying to manipulate the public and policy-makers into swallowing the big lie that “CO2 is green.” As the Six Degrees of Earth Frying Like Bacon points out, this disinformation campaign brings to mind the classic case study of polluter public relations: Toxic Sludge is Good for You.

And public relations it is! Check out the corporate-front group CO2 Is Green website, which looks like any of a number of pro-environmental sites featuring slick use of multimedia and social networking wrapped around the message that the earth is actually cooling, not warming, and that any regulation of carbon dioxide would be disastrous.

The best way to counter disinformation is to expose it. So contact your elected legislators, write your favorite bloggers, tell Facebook friends and tweet your Twitter followers, and tell them that CO2 can’t be green. Also, check out any of the good groups below to get involved in the fight against climate change., dedicated to building urgency to address the climate crisis, is planning an international day of action on October 24.

The Energy Action Coalition is an online community of (mostly) young environmental organizers striving to leverage collective power and create change for clean, efficient, just and renewable energy.

The venerable Greenpeace is still relevant and effective and it’s now devoting a good deal of its substantial resources to the combating global warming.

1Sky offers three simple ways to take action and an abundance of information about positive solutions.

I’ll come back to some of the many, many other groups and projects doing good work around this issue soon.

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