Almost 1000 people complained about the adverts with many saying the television ones were ‘too scary’ for children.

The TV campaign featured a father reading a bedtime story to his young daughter and pictured a pet dog drowning, as well as other nursery rhyme-based stories linked to environmental disaster.

All were part of the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) Act On CO2 campaign.

In a ruling today (March 17) the Adverting Standards Authority (ASA) said two printed adverts using nursery rhymes went too far.

One said Jack and Jill could not go up the hill because extreme weather had caused a drought, while the second read: “Rub a dub, three men in a tub, a necessary course of action due to flash flooding caused by climate change.”

The ASA said the advertisements used information on world-wide global warming and linked it only to the UK, while also going ‘beyond mainstream scientific consensus’.

However, other print adverts and the television campaign were cleared as the advert was scheduled not to be broadcast during programmes aimed at children.

DECC said there was ‘no intention to shock or distress’ any viewer and it believed the science showed climate change posed a ‘significant risk’ to human well-being in the future and the level of potential discomfort evoked by the ad was proportionate to that risk.

They said the creative treatment was ‘thoroughly researched’ before production started.

The two print adverts can no longer be used unless they are changed, but the rest of the campaign can continue.

Luke Walsh

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