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The President’s New “Clean Energy Economy” Talking Points
June 23, 2009

Posted by: Matt Dempsey Matt_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov

 

 

 

 

 

 Don’t say “climate change” or “global warming,” or even worse, “cap-and-trade,” anymore; use “clean energy economy.” As the New York Times and LA Times have recently reported, the White House, concerned by the lack of support for their “cap-and-trade” initiatives, is using poll-tested talking points to help push one of the President’s biggest priorities:

 

“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.”  - New York Times, May 2, 2009

 

“Scratch 'cap and trade' and 'global warming,' Democratic pollsters tell Obama. They're ineffective…Control the language, politicians know, and you stand a better chance of controlling the debate. So the Obama administration, in its push to enact sweeping energy and healthcare policies, has begun refining the phrases it uses in an effort to shape public opinion. Words that have been vetted in focus groups and polls are seeping into the White House lexicon, while others considered too scary or confounding are falling away.” – LA Times, May 11, 2009

 

 

In reviewing the transcript from President Obama’s press conference today, it looks like the President has nailed his new talking points:

"Now the second issue I want to address is our ongoing effort to build a clean energy economy. This week, the House of Representatives is moving ahead on historic legislation that will transform the way we produce and use energy in America. This legislation will spark a clean energy transformation that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and confront the carbon pollution that threatens our planet.

This energy bill will create a set of incentives that will spur the development of new sources of energy, including wind, solar and geothermal power. It will also spur new energy savings, like efficient windows and other materials that reduce heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer.

These incentives will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy.

And that will lead to the development of new technologies that lead to new industries that could create millions of new jobs in America -- jobs that can't be shipped overseas.

At a time of great fiscal challenges, this legislation is paid for by the polluters who currently emit the dangerous carbon emissions that contaminate the water we drink and pollute the air that we breathe. It also provides assistance to businesses and communities as they make the gradual transition to clean-energy technologies.

So I believe that this legislation is extraordinarily important for our country. It's taken great effort on the part of many over the course of the past several months. And I want to thank the chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Henry Waxman; his colleagues on that committee, including Congressmen Dingell, Ed Markey and Rick Boucher. I also want to thank Charlie Rangel, the chair of the Ways and Means Committee, and Collin Peterson, the chair of the Agricultural Committee, for their many and ongoing contributions to this process. And I want to express my appreciation to Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer for their leadership.

We all know why this is so important. The nation that leads in the creation of a clean-energy economy will be the nation that leads the 21st century's global economy. That's what this legislation seeks to achieve. It's a bill that will open the door to a better future for this nation, and that's why I urge members of Congress to come together and pass it."

In reality global warming cap-and-trade legislation, no matter how you say it, boils down to this: Waxman-Markey is massive energy tax on American families that will destroy millions of jobs and make America’s businesses and entrepreneurs less competitive in the global marketplace. We don’t think the American public will be fooled anytime soon.

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