Posted by Alex Amend on April 17, 2012
Ahead of Earth Day 2012, here's a brief sampling of some of the best posts on Sustainability issues at PolicyShop:
Climate messaging is difficult. On the one hand, focusing on the science and technical issues, such as how many degrees Celsius need to be reduced, works to bring rational evidence into the debate. It also does not have the rallying cry needed to bring broad public support to call for change. On the other hand, appealing to the moral value of the need to stop climate change brings the impacts home on a more personal level. It also works to further polarize people based on their political party affiliation.
Given the dire consequences, you would think that decision makers in these low-lying states would take bold and swift action. Wrong. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal just published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal where he accused President Obama of politicizing energy policy. Jindal’s counter-proposal was more drilling, more hydro-fracking, making gas cheaper—basically everything that would not only continue our oil and gas dependence, but also make climate change worse. Jindal never once mentioned alternative energy development and implied that the current proposed energy policy was, “zealous adherence to left-wing environmental theory.”
While part of the blame for this dynamic can be placed on conservative ideologues, climate change and environmental advocates must also accept part of the blame. A recent report showed how funding for the environmental movement is heavily skewed towards large, professionalized environmental organizations and not smaller, grassroots focused groups. The report highlights how environmental funders have largely favored narrow, inside-the-beltway types of lobbying campaigns instead of supporting more localized, community-focused approaches. As a consequence, the environmental movement has not achieved large-scale wins in a long time, as evidenced by the implosion of the cap and trade bill. Indeed, the most recent environmental win, the delay of the Keystone XL pipeline, was achieved through a strong organizing campaign that brought thousands of people to D.C. and not through an insider game.