Background - A huge stumbling block for the Climate Change community is that we seem to be approaching this great cause as if humans had never solved any problem like this before. Our response is to keep doing what is easy, instead of what will work. It is easy to focus on raising awareness and to put ads on TV showing the problem and mentioning some incremental approaches to the solution, like windmills or solar installations, or hybrid cars. It is easy to marshal our forces to call Senators and Congresspersons, asking them to pass a particular piece of legislation.
Commonweal Institute Senior Fellow Patrick O'Heffernan interviews Jason Walsh, National Policy Director of Green For All, and Jim Harkness, President of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, about building a global economy that works for the long-term sustainability of our planet. From the new book from the Progressive Ideas Network, Thinking Big: Progressive Ideas for a New Era.
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With every passing month, it gets harder to see the United States's refusal to address the problem of global warming as anything other than craven prostitution to the fossil fuel industry, a betrayal of future generations, and a suicidal commitment to the status quo. The most recent affront came at last month's international talks on climate change in Montreal. Shortly after midnight on December 9, as delegates were hashing out ideas on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the U.S. -- joined by China, the world's other largest polluter -- threatened to pick up its toys and go home.
If you've noticed conservative politicians sounding strangely pro-environment lately, it's not a coincidence. Rather, it's a campaign designed to reduce the political liability of right-wing candidates on environmental issues. Unfortunately, the campaign is strictly rhetorical -- it's not about changing policies but about changing language.
And that's where Frank Luntz comes in. Luntz, the boyish Svengali of conservative politics, made his name as a pollster who concentrated on identifying the words that would prove most resonant with the American public. Now, in his message book "Straight Talk," Luntz brings his dark arts to the task of helping Republicans package themselves as concerned about the environment without actually having to be concerned.