This report says: “Environmental groups overlooked growing opposition to environmental protections among conservatives voters and, underestimated the rising force of the Tea Party, believing – wrongly, as it turned out – they could still somehow win over Republican members of Congress through insider grand bargaining.” It goes on to let Obama off the hook and suggests because of the failed environmental group efforts and that the Whitehouse will not make climate change an important part of their agenda this term. I disagree about the agenda this term on the basis of skyrocketing public awareness of climate change impacts. I also significantly disagree about the mechanisms that environmental groups “spoiled the pudding.”
I do not yet have citations to quote, but this has been my modus operandi for a half dozen years. This is the reason I finally acquiesced to run for ExCom at Sierra Club Austin. It’s the message. We should have never stepped lightly around the “global warming” message to begin width. Because environmental groups seem to understand that using the words “global warming” and “climate change” drive supporters away, have negative connotations, and produce a discussion that is not conducive to change, they simply stopped using the words preferring to deliver the message through other means. This in itself is not a bad way of delivering the message about the virtues of clean energy, but in my opinion it is extremely detrimental to the big picture message of the dangers of global warming. This is simply because, if the message goes unsaid, it must not be important.
Political incorrectness has never seen words that are so, so incorrect. Those words should have been aggressively used just like the words acid rain, CFC depleting chemicals, mercury and DDT were used in similar pollution campaigns in the past. Significant blame for inaction should go to an improperly delivered message. Fear of the Radical Right overwhelmed a long history of proven success with environmental messaging. The ones responsible for alerting the public to environmental risks are our environmental advocates–especially today with a long history of environmental regulatory abuse at the hands of vested interests. Because outreach was gagged due to the nature of the “poison message,” all the public had to go on was reporting of the (perceived) debate. If environmental advocates had of aggressively vocalize the message like in similar pollution campaigns in the past, there would have been a much enhanced public opinion to influence legislation and executive decision making. As a result (as this is still happening), environmental groups messages let almost every claim of the validity of the global warming discussion go unchallenged.
Slopcol, Naming the Problem: What will it take to counter extremism and engage Americans in the fight against global warming, Harvard, January 2013.