Comedians are helping to ban fossil fuel ads

THE first steps towards a ban on fossil fuel advertising and sponsorship could be taken in the coming months – and three Irish comedians may take much of the credit.

Ds and senators on the Business and Commerce Committee are being asked to consider how a ban might be implemented or what restrictions might apply if a full ban proves difficult.

The move follows Senator Lynn Boylan’s plea for similar legislation to end tobacco advertising.

She said oil and gas companies are greenwashing, running ads that focus on wind and solar power, which make up a tiny fraction of their operations, or making carbon reduction claims that don’t stand up to scrutiny.

Even allowing sponsorships like the Bord Gáis Energy Theater has helped normalize continued use of fossil fuels, she said.

She urged people to watch social media videos of comedians Michael Fry, Sean Burke and Hannah Mamalis campaigning for a ban on fossil fuel advertising on behalf of a European citizens’ initiative.

The initiative aims to collect one million online signatures. At that point, the European Commission must examine the request for a ban.

Ms Boylan told the Seanad she had lodged complaints about a number of companies with advertising standards regulators but the process had taken so long that the complaints had run their course by the time the cases were investigated.

“I don’t think it’s fair to let politicians and the public act as watchdogs and file individual complaints,” she said.

“The government should curb the flow of advertising at the source.”

In response, Minister of State Malcolm Noonan said he fully endorsed the thrust of the motion and commended the three comedians for their work on the campaign.

“I would encourage people to get involved,” he said.

“I recognize how dangerous, sinister and manipulative this ad can be.”

Mr Noonan acknowledged that gambling and alcohol advertising bans had been successfully introduced here.

He said the issue of a fossil fuel advertising ban had to be dealt with by the Enterprise Secretary and he said the Enterprise and Trade Committee should be asked to look into this first.

“I think a discussion at committee level would be a positive step forward in trying to address it,” he said. Comedians are helping to ban fossil fuel ads

Fry Electronics Team

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