Global Warming Cost website
This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.
GlobalWarmingCost.org is a now-defunct web site created by Bonner & Associates for the Western Fuels Association (WFA), which provides coal to electrical utility companies. It focused on generating e-mail to elected officials opposing action to address global warming. Between September 1997 and July 1998, WFA claims the site generated 20,000 e-mail messages to Congress opposing the Kyoto Protocol treaty.
Bonner and Associates is a Washington, DC-based lobby firm that specializes in "grassroots public relations," a PR subspecialty that uses telemarketing and computer databases to create the appearance of grassroots public support for a client's cause.
Visitors to GlobalWarmingCost.org would be invited to click on an icon indicating whether they represented "business," "seniors," "farmers," "families," or "workers." This would take them to another Web page that requested their address and asked a handful of questions about the amount they spent on home heating, transportation, and other fuel costs. Based on this information, the website automatically generated a "customized" e-mail, directed to each senator and member of Congress in the visitor's voting area, asking them to "reject any effort to stiffen the United Nations Global Climate Change Treaty." The website made no effort to verify that the resulting letters were accurate or even plausible. [w:PR Watch|] editor Sheldon Rampton tried the site and generated a letter on behalf of "George Jetson," complaining that the Kyoto treaty would cost "Jetson" an additional $24,239,987.52 a year in energy costs.
The GlobalWarmingCost web site has been discontinued, but a copy can be found at the Internet Archive.