It’s Only Words

by Paul Chesser, Heartland Institute Correspondent on June 19, 2009

Last month we heard from the New York Times about the poll testing by the firm ecoAmerica that found the term “global warming” is no longer useful or scary enough for alarmists to use:

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.

Now comes the Washington Times today with another report from Democratic advisers who confirm ecoAmerica’s findings, and suggest that other terms being used to push a cap-and-trade emissions reduction scheme are hurting their cause also:

House Democrats neared a deal Thursday on a bill to combat global warming, but a top party strategist warned that to sell any plan to voters they’ll need to change the way they pitch it — including curbing the use of the term “green” jobs and even talk of “global warming.”

In a strategy memo, Democratic think tank Third Way and top party strategist Stanley Greenberg warned Democrats that swing voters don’t care about fighting global warming, and said terms like “cap-and-trade” are useless. Instead, the memo suggests that Democrats tap into Americans’ optimism that clean energy can help improve the faltering economy.

“For most voters, global warming is not significant enough on its own to drive support for major energy reform,” the memo says. “So while it can be part of the story that reform advocates are telling, global warming should be used only in addition to the broader economic frame, not in place of it….”

But the strategists, in their memo, said the term “cap-and-trade” is “worse than meaningless” and is unfavorable to voters. Instead, Third Way and Mr. Greenberg’s firm argue for terms like “clean energy” and for branding the push against global warming under a new slogan of “Get America running on clean energy.”

What a farce. These clowns won Oscars and Grammys based on “global warming”; they pushed “cap-and-trade” because they said it promoted a “market-based” reduction plan; and they embraced “green” jobs because it implied the best of both worlds — high employment and a clean energy economy.

Now that they’ve captured all the government power, the terms they used to win their trophies are — as I wrote last month — a giant boat anchor. They can’t lie with the old terms any more so they have to make up new ones. And like the phony language they use, their cap-and-trade plan is also “worse than meaningless” — it’s destructive.

Cross-posted at American Spectator.

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