Friday, July 29, 2016

The Clinton Climate Message From this Week

There is a lot to digest from this convention, not the least of which is the vision of a general, authority incarnate, being inclusive of gays, entering big tent politics, to a roaring Democratic Party.  What that might mean for climate action is astounding.  But I will save that for a future post.  

In this one, I will focus on the carefully crafted climate message we heard this week, the one that Hillary believes will resonate with voters. The one that demonstrates strong gains in political will by the climate movement.

What is that message?

(1). Throwing out science denial.  Hillary said  "I believe in science.  I believe climate change is real" and the audience returned a fabulous resounding roar of approval.  

Now listen, no one is truly out of denial. The country is moving through the stages of climate denial at varying rates. 

But the anger at the GOP's outright refusal to deal with it now resonates strongly.  And it's about time. 

(2).  Turn the challenge of climate change into opportunity.  The ad below came out this week. It touches on voter anger with denial momentarily (and highly effectively with great sound effects). But more, it makes it clear, she is going to focus on solutions, not doom. In fact, nearly every time climate was raised this week, the narrative was turning climate challenges into opportunities. 

This is consistent with the research.  There is strong evidence that people will more likely accept the problem of climate change once they feel they can accept the solutions. (There's little that is logical about the human psyche, but there you have it). 

We don't need people to feel doomed. We need them to vote for climate solutions. We need them to see how climate solutions will help them continue to get food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. And, indeed, that's the whole point of averting climate catastrophe in the first place. 

(3). Incorporate solutions into other initiatives. In her speech last night, she said, in the first 100 days she would put jobs at the top of the list.  Included in that list was clean energy jobs. 

She has said she intends to create a climate strategy room in her first 100 days. She has said day 1 was the day she would start to address climate. But in a national speech, she puts that within a jobs program narrative. That's something we at Citizens Climate Lobby do, too, offering our carbon fee as a job creation plan. It's effective with people that don't like to talk climate. 

But she isn't going to refer to climate every day. She is instead going to sew it into the other initiatives she must act on.  And that is okay. Because we need climate considered in every other initiative we take. 

But, once again, it means that it comes to us to raise the big C word every day.   These moves are important. But they will not be enough. They show excellent use of the executive power to drive us toward solutions. But they don't teach our neighbors how dire things are. 

And that will come to us. Not to be angry at her for being responsive to the political will and using experts to craft solutions and messages. But to teach our neighbors that she needs our support in climate action and that we need legislators that will hand her even stronger solutions that she can sign into law. And, yes, to move her and us and everyone else a little further out of denial. 

Here is the climate ad that she put out this week.

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