03 May 2009

Climate Change, Not Global Warming

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The New York Times today leaked an environmentalist strategy memo suggesting modifying the watermelon (green on the outside, pink on the inside) left’s message in order to fool the American public.

The problem with global warming, some environmentalists believe, is “global warming.”

The term turns people off, fostering images of shaggy-haired liberals, economic sacrifice and complex scientific disputes, according to extensive polling and focus group sessions conducted by ecoAmerica, a nonprofit environmental marketing and messaging firm in Washington.

Instead of grim warnings about global warming, the firm advises, talk about “our deteriorating atmosphere.” Drop discussions of carbon dioxide and bring up “moving away from the dirty fuels of the past.” Don’t confuse people with cap and trade; use terms like “cap and cash back” or “pollution reduction refund.”

Environmental issues consistently rate near the bottom of public worry, according to many public opinion polls. A Pew Research Center poll released in January found global warming last among 20 voter concerns; it trailed issues like addressing moral decline and decreasing the influence of lobbyists. “We know why it’s lowest,” said Mr. Perkowitz, a marketer of outdoor clothing and home furnishings before he started ecoAmerica, whose activities are financed by corporations, foundations and individuals. “When someone thinks of global warming, they think of a politicized, polarized argument. When you say ‘global warming,’ a certain group of Americans think that’s a code word for progressive liberals, gay marriage and other such issues.”

The answer, Mr. Perkowitz said in his presentation at the briefing, is to reframe the issue using different language. “Energy efficiency” makes people think of shivering in the dark. Instead, it is more effective to speak of “saving money for a more prosperous future.” In fact, the group’s surveys and focus groups found, it is time to drop the term “the environment” and talk about “the air we breathe, the water our children drink.”

“Another key finding: remember to speak in TALKING POINTS aspirational language about shared American ideals, like freedom, prosperity, independence and self-sufficiency while avoiding jargon and details about policy, science, economics or technology,” said the e-mail account of the group’s study….

Frank Luntz, a Republican communications consultant, prepared a strikingly similar memorandum in 2002, telling his clients that they were losing the environmental debate and advising them to adjust their language. He suggested referring to themselves as “conservationists” rather than “environmentalists,” and emphasizing “common sense” over scientific argument.

And, Mr. Luntz and Mr. Perkowitz agree, “climate change” is an easier sell than “global warming.”

2 Feedbacks on "Climate Change, Not Global Warming"

J. M.

You should really do a little research. The climate is oscillating further in each direction. Record heat in one region, record cold in another. Record winds, Record tornadoes. Record floods, record droughts. Australia had 116 degree temps, while the US NE was covered in record snow. You can see the difference. I am 40 years old, and I can see with my own eyes. I also have a mind, and I read the scientific journals, which are pretty much united on the issue.. I also read the conservative blogs, where the largest disinformation is spread. You may not want to believe it, but it’s real. The Northwest Passage was open for the first time in 2007. It was open again in 08. This, and many other examples, are the proof that things are changing.


The many examples that things are changing. There are a whole lot more too. Things change. Have been changing one way then another for much longer than we have been around. The climate gets warmer and cooler. Gets more mild and more extreme. The continents MOVE! OMG! I love idiots that don’t understand the first thing about that which they so proudly speak of.


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