Uber-ironic 1962 ad touts oil’s ability to melt glaciers!

David Roberts at Grist has the winner of the irony-can-be-so-ironic award:

From a sharp-eyed reader comes this ad for Humble Oil (which later merged with Standard to become, yes, Exxon). It may win the All Time Millenial Award for Maximal Irony. It’s from a 1962 edition of Life Magazine, available on Google Books (click for larger version):


Hmm, in December 2008, I blogged on an AP story about data presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union:

More than 2 trillion tons of land ice in Greenland, Antarctica and Alaska have melted since 2003, according to new NASA satellite data that show the latest signs of what scientists say is global warming.

[Note to AP — “what scientists say is global warming???  I missed that uber-lame construction the first time around.]

And remember that over its lifetime,  “the burning of organic carbon warms the Earth about 100,000 times more from climate effects than it does through the release of chemical energy in combustion,” as climatologist Ken Caldeira and NYU’s Martin Hoffert calculate in an analysis first published on Climate Progress!  Yes, not all the cumulative warming from CO2 occurs right away nor does it all go into melting ice, but the point is we’re just at the very beginning of the mega-melting to come.

I’m filing this under greenwashing because I don’t have a category for unintentional anti-greenwashing — see “Shell’s ironic vision of carbon capture.”

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2 Responses to Uber-ironic 1962 ad touts oil’s ability to melt glaciers!

  1. gmo says:

    Nice. Just sneaking in this post now, but can someone churn out the numbers to say how much ice can be melted by the CO2 emissions from the production of that amount of heat they describe in the ad?

    You know, just like the recent hair dryer/jet engine comparison shown here. It takes X Joules to melt that much ice, so how much oil burning produces that many Joules, then how much CO2 comes from that much oil burning, and how much warming effect (and potential ice melt) does that much CO2 have.

  2. WAG says:


    Only in it for the Gold has a post on that subject: