A new coalition on the environment

“Engaging storytelling is potentially a powerful tool for combating polarization. If used in the right way, it may also catalyze changes in political behaviors needed to build political will to implement policy solutions to address climate change, and ultimately protect our health.”

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Believe it or not, there seems to be a consensus emerging in the US over environmental issues.

The latest Costing the Earth on Radio 4 talked to key groups across the board:

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After four years of the Trump administration, and a hard-fought and much-disputed presidential race, what are the implications now for future American environmental policy? In this programme Tom Heap and a panel of commentators discuss what the election result may mean for everything from energy production to the Paris Agreement.

On the panel: Professor Jody Freeman, Harvard Law School; Bob Ward, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment; Karly Matthews, American Conservation Coalition; Mark Lynas, environmental campaigner and author.

Costing the Earth – American election – BBC Sounds

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This is part of the growing ‘coalition’:

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“The American Conservation Coalition (ACC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing young people around environmental action through common-sense, market-based, and limited-government ideals”:

American Conservation Coalition

Why the Right Should Oppose Bailing Out Oil | RealClearMarkets

American Conservation Coalition Launches Climate Contract | Cincinnati Republic

Youth activists will push for climate action — even with a divided Congress

Conservative climate advocate meets with Texas governor as part of national tour | KXAN Austin

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Interestingly, Republicans are becoming less climate-sceptic:

For Decades, the GOP Has Fought Against Climate Action. ‘Eco-Right’ Groups Are Working to Change the Conversation – Morning Consult

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Forbes shows that “Republicans And Democrats can agree when it comes to climate change”:

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Republicans Combating Climate Change

Benji Backer is the founder and president of the American Conservation Coalition. A conservative himself, he is traveling America to urge other Republicans to take climate change seriously. Along with the ACC, he drafted a conservative counterpart to the Green New Deal – the American Climate Contract

Recently, a team of researchers at George Washington University and North Carolina Central University performed a study, published in the journal Science Communication, on how climate change can be viewed as a non-partisan issue. They had 2015 participants view an episode of the National Geographic documentary “Years of Living Dangerously” on solar energy, coal use, and deforestation. Participants were polled both before and after the study.

Before watching the documentary, Democrats were more likely to understand the risks of climate change and believe that they could take action against it. After viewing the documentary, this difference between parties went away.

The authors pointed to the power of the narrative story. They mentioned that participants who were the most engaged with the story were more likely to come to understand the risk regarding climate change – and what they could do about it.

Dr. Ashley Bieniek-Tobasco, lead author of the study, said that “engaging storytelling is potentially a powerful tool for combating polarization. If used in the right way, it may also catalyze changes in political behaviors needed to build political will to implement policy solutions to address climate change, and ultimately protect our health.”

Republicans And Democrats Can Agree When It Comes To Climate Change

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And, yes, of course it’s political…

This is from just before the US elections:

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A Green New Deal — from the GOP?

“We should be a little nervous,” US Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said to a room full of his fellow conservatives at a political conference in Georgia last October.

McCarthy had little obvious reason to be on edge — the House minority leader was in the majority that day at the Washington Examiner’s annual political summit at Sea Island, a five-star resort. And for the first 15 minutes of his interview with Examiner reporter David Drucker, McCarthy exuded confidence. Republicans would win back the House in 2020, he promised. “The first number I want you to remember from now until the election: 19,” he said. “There’s only 19 seats for Republicans to win back the majority.”

Then the conversation turned to the subject of climate change, and McCarthy’s tone shifted.

“We’ve got to do something different than we’ve done today,” he said. The GOP’s habit of denying climate change was putting the party at risk of alienating the largest generation of American adults: millennials. “What if we show that we can solve it?” McCarthy suggested.

If that doesn’t sound like something a Republican would say, especially to a room of staunch conservatives, that’s because it generally isn’t. For about three decades now, the party has been the enemy of climate action. The fossil fuel industry, one of the GOP’s most stalwart allies, stocks the party’s campaign coffers with contributions, and Republican policymakers can often be heard spouting denial, skepticism, and misdirection.

But a confluence of factors — in recent months, especially — have contributed to a change of heart among some Republican leaders. Intensifying hurricane and wildfire seasons have helped ground climate forecasts in reality for all Americans, including Republican voters. Polls, which have long shown strong support for climate action on the left, are starting to indicate that climate change is becoming an increasingly important issue for voters across the board. And young Republicans, the demographic McCarthy is most worried about losing, are starting to sound a lot like young Democrats on the issue.

“If President Trump wants to get my vote, he’s going to have to prioritize climate change in a way that he has not done over the past four years,” Benji Backer, the 22-year-old founder of a conservative environmental group called the American Conservation Coalition, said in a recent interview.

A Green New Deal — from the GOP? – Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

   
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