At NY Times.com, More on Communicating Climate Change

At ClimateWire, one of the new innovative models for science journalism, Christa Marshall has a great feature on how language will shape the pending political battle over cap and trade legislation.

The syndicated story is picked up by NY Times.com and features insights from George Lakoff, Stanford's Jon Krosnick, various pollsters, and yours truly. Here's what I have to offer, emphasizing similar themes that I have written about at Framing Science and in various articles:

According to Matthew Nisbet, an assistant professor of communication at American University, the slew of phrases poses an additional problem for the president, particularly since opponents appear united around "tax" as an attack mechanism.

With polls showing that the American public continues to rank climate change low on its radar in comparison to other concerns, the pro-cap crowd needs to get behind one set of talking points, he said.

The president should counterattack to a degree, he said, but should use allies from interest groups, the religious community and the Republican party to flood the media with a positive message and control the news cycle. In his view, a monthlong marketing campaign is needed to demonstrate in a tangible way how a global-warming bill could benefit local communities and spur "green" jobs.

"I do think there is a big danger [for Obama] to get distracted by climate skeptics and spend too much time on the defensive," said Nisbet.



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