Sunday, November 12, 2017

Conservatives Probably Can’t Be Persuaded on Climate Change.  So Now What? - by David Roberts

Ice over running water (Credit: Shutterstock) Click to enlarge.
But it may be time to face the fact that there is no magic message, no persuasive strategy, that can get us out of this mess.  There’s no persuading the conservative base without conservative elites and there’s no persuading conservative elites as long as their material interests point the wrong direction.

It may just be that we’re not all going to get along — that the only way to move forward on this is to fight it out.

If that’s true, then what matters most on the left is not the breadth of agreement, but the depth.  It is intensity that wins political battles.  The only way Democrats can achieve progress on this is to intensify the fight.

Tepid “free market” messages, forever hoping to win over an unwinnable right, won’t do that.  They do nothing to inspire those who already care and are primed for action.

Figuring out endless ways to avoid saying the words “climate change” won’t do that.  Gimmicks don’t persuade or inspire; visible passion and conviction do.

For Democrats, raising intensity would mean making it a fight, staking a claim, defining the core values involved, telling vivid stories with heroes and villains and repeating them frequently.  It would mean making climate change and clean energy tier-one priorities — organizing around them, talking about them at every opportunity, pushing them into the news and popular culture.

It would mean, rather than begging Republicans for assent or small scraps of policy assistance, doing everything possible to publicize their intransigence and make it core to their identity.  Tie it around their necks every time a microphone appears; make them own it.

Reality still matters.  What we have in the US is not a “difference of opinion” about climate change, it’s conservatives being mistaken about some very basic facts.  They’re mistaken because they’ve been lied to and misled by leaders and influencers within their own tribe.

That’s the situation.  But it’s not stable.  The weather is only getting worse, young people are only getting more engaged, and clean energy is only getting cheaper.  Climate change and clean energy will be winning issues in the long term.

Why not claim and own them while it’s still possible?   Then the GOP’s motto in the 2020s can be:  “Hey, We Like Clean Energy Too!”

Read more at Conservatives Probably Can’t Be Persuaded on Climate Change.  So Now What?

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