Memo to Climate Change Activists: Avoid Talk of Economy

Wednesday, 26 Jun 2013 04:14 PM

By Greg Richter

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Environmental activists were told to avoid economic arguments and words such as "regulations" prior to President Barack Obama's climate change speech this week.

The memo includes a list of phrases to use and to avoid, and was sent to supporters Monday night ahead of Obama's Tuesday speech, National Journal, reports.

The memo was distributed by the Energy & Environment Team to about 1,300 people who supported climate-change policies during the Obama campaign, National Journal said.

Ken Berlin, head of the group, said the memo was written by Climate Action Coalition. That group is led in part by Kevin Curtis, who is part of The Climate Reality Project, founded by former Vice President Al Gore.

"Do discuss modernizing and retooling power plants and innovation that will create green jobs. … Don't try to suggest net job increases," the memo read.

Other do's and don'ts: "Do inform audiences about the nature of the problem, who is at fault, and what can be done … Don’t debate the increase in electricity rates. Instead, pivot to health & clean air message … Do use 'cutting carbon pollution from power plants' …Don't use 'regulations to control greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants.'"

Berlin admitted that the 14-page memo could be construed as an attempt to move the conversation away from the economy, but he told National Journal that was not the intent.

"Essentially, we think the priority arguments to make are the ones that climate change is having an impact now, hurting people now, hurting the economy now," Berlin said.

Obama said in his speech that fighting climate change and fixing the economy are not mutually exclusive. "We've got to look after our children; we have to look after our future; and we have to grow the economy and create jobs," Obama said

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