A Winning Argument for Clean Energy Legislation?


Decades of research has produced a strong scientific consensus that climate change is occurring, and that it is caused largely by humans' burning of fossil fuels. And over the decades, we've seen firsthand the dangers of relying on oil as a fuel source -- the price gouging, the geopolitical struggles it produces, the pollution it creates. So it's a bummer that Americans still need to be convinced to support clean energy legislation. But they do. And there have been many intense debates over how that convincing should be done. The image above, produced by the Economist outlines what may be the winning argument.GOOD explains that this graphic, made from

data from a pollster for the Democratic National Committee that shows whether people would support a generic "Energy Bill" given these particular pro and con arguments. As it turns out, this particular argument for an energy bill (the one in yellow) gets a lot of support. It emphasizes the cost of oil-related disasters and the dubious "energy security" issue.
So when voters were asked about a generic Energy bill and given the arguments on both sides, they sided with the arguments commonly made in favor of clean energy legislation. We've seen such messaging before, most memorably from the Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans' group Operation Free, which supports the climate bill. Kerry and Lieberman have been using similar language as well.

It is too bad, as Andrew Price notes, that the 'need to stop climate change' is not seen as an effective enough argument to convince Americans to rally around clean energy legislation. That should be enough, after all. But wide swaths of the public have had their confidence in the issue shaken by misinformation campaigns, opportunistic politicians and media outlets, and extreme weather events (which were not-so-coincidentally capitalized on by both), so it's currently not a viable option.

It's my belief that the public will again come around to understanding the threat of climate change, as evidence continues to mount, and clearer, more easily understandable effects are felt -- hotter weather, for one. But in the meantime, emphasizing the effects such legislation would have on curbing oil dependence is not in the slightest bit dishonest -- they are very real impacts good legislation would have on the US energy infrastructure.

Now if only Obama himself would step out and rally for such strong, carbon-pricing legislation . . .

More on Clean Energy Legislation:
"This is Our Moment" For Clean Energy Legislation (Video)
John Kerry: Bipartisan Clean Energy Bill Still On the Way

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