Frank’s New Memo

Frank Luntz issued a new memo:

Frank suggests that we drop the word sustainability. According to his research, it conveys the status quo, whereas the American people demands improvement – a better, a safer, and a cleaner environment. For a Conservative who preached for conservation in his earlier memo, that sounds like a concession.

Frank also suggests that we focus on the benefits of addressing climate change, and not only its dangers. That’s fine with me, as long as it does not inject the usual concerns regarding CAGW and as long as we realize that hopes and fears go hand in hand. (Not a bad album, if you ask me.) Frank himself illustrates his suggestion with his recent experience of a wildfire emergency. But who better than Hope (Jahren) to talk about climate hope:

Frank offers other suggestions during his testimony. (See the poster below.) I will let you pay due diligence to them in the comments. Here is my take-away. Climate change has consequences, and we are all in in together.

And that’s the new memo. I would trust this kind of work more than anything armchair wordsmiths can produce, me included. At the very least, Frank bestows fair hints as to how to reach more conservative contrarians.

Everybody’s changing and Frank sure does not seem to feel the same:

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70 Responses to Frank’s New Memo

  1. I have said for years that we will make no significant progress on slowing global warming until the republicans as a political party accept the idea that this is a big problem and we have to do something about it… and fast.

    The people (like Luntz) who have decades of wildly successful work in partisan opposition to effective action need to own their part in our current situation. This isn’t about climate activists using the wrong terms, it’s about a corporatist political party … or two… doing everything in it’s power to wring the last dollar of profit and last ounce of advantage out of fossil fuel systems.

    How do these folks take responsibility for their mistaken opposition and the additional costs that opposition has produced?

    I guess on the positive side, it is happening. Republicans like Luntz are accepting that they can no longer act like it’s not a problem. I am trying to be happy about that. Give me a minute or two.

    Mike

  2. thw New Model Luntz seems an improvement on the old one, but Heartland is still fielding a posse of Same Old Luntz wannabes:

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2019/07/this-is-trump-international-conference.html

  3. Keith McClary says:

    ‘Conservatives for Climate Change’ is a bit ambiguous.
    :>)
    (I see it is actually supposed to be “Climate Action”, which is less ambiguous.)

  4. mrkenfabian says:

    I’m a bit dubious – are we going to just get the rhetoric of conservative-right support for climate action, without real climate action? Will it be about US Republicans addressing the problem or about “a better kind of environmentalism” that, like Ecomodernism, seeks to allay environmental concerns, emphasise the political extremism of climate activism, all whilst proposing “better” policy that no-one, let alone US Republicans, will actually fight for?

  5. jacksmith4tx says:

    Luntz knows this is spiraling out of control. Between him, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney a whole generation of republican leaders have opposed almost every attempt to address climate change.
    Oh well, water under the bridge as they say.
    For a technologically advanced civilization the logical solution is geoengineering, terraforming and genetic engineering.
    Of course that’s not us because we haven’t figured out why creating infinite debt compounding at interest rates faster than global GDP is growing is actually not a paradox. Is there such a thing as a event horizon for behavioral economics?
    “Per Capita World Debt Has Surged To Over $200,000”
    Link to NASDAQ story https://tinyurl.com/yybwvm9f

  6. Keith McClary says:

    @mrkenfabian :
    Canadian Cons are running on platforms to abolish the carbon tax. Their plan is instead to invent our way out of the climate problem, which in practise seems to mean giving tax breaks and subsidies to FF companies to do research. What kind of research exactly? They will set up a government bureaucracy to pick the winners. They also claim to oppose socialist interventionism and planned economies.

    I expect you will see this in the US.

  7. Steven Mosher says:

    Thanks willard

  8. What Frank Luntz say seems reasonable to me. It is easier to seduce people to buy electric cars then to forbid to drive cars on petrol. Peole don’t mind to be seduced but they to be forced. I live in a free society and i hate the thought to live in a non-free society. I’m not a native speaker. I have to check all the long words. But this how i feel about it.

  9. izen says:

    @-W

    It all seems to be focused on the individual rather than the economic system that creates the problem.
    As if the problem of climate change can be rectified by changing how people think rather than by changing how socio-economic forces impose a high carbon ‘footprint’ on even the most Green of citizens in a developed society.

    @-I live in a free society and i hate the thought to live in a non-free society.

    How much does it cost to live in a free society.?

  10. Steven Mosher says:

    Interesting list of words

    New careers versus new jobs.

    Career definitely beats job

    Carbon Free Careers even sounds halfway cool

  11. David B. Benson says:

    The smoke from the fires in Siberia has yet to produce additional haze in my sky. But it will.

  12. Kudos to Luntz for changing his mind, not everybody can manage that.

    For me the main problem with the last memo is that it had little or no regard for the truth, just persuasion. I am uncomfortable with focusing on choice of words, rather than on truth (especially after Willard’s comments on Cambridge Analytica on the other thread – we are easily manuipulated).

  13. Joshua says:

    If we keep this non-partisan, we. Can have everything.

    A bit simplistic, IMO, but a good foundational guiding principle.

  14. daveburton says:

    Frank also suggests that we focus on the benefits of addressing climate change, and not only its dangers.

    He should have dropped the word “addressing.”

    That’s not to say nothing needs to be done. Resiliency measures (often mischaracterized as “climate adaptation” measures) do very often make good sense, just as they always have. Here’s a spectacular example, which predates the the first Model T Ford:

    However, the effects of anthropogenic CO2 emissions are overwhelmingly positive. [Snip. No peddling, please. -W]

  15. Willard says:

    > It all seems to be focused on the individual rather than the economic system that creates the problem.

    Systemic causation is hard to grasp. It seems that in the Freedom fighters ontology there are only individuals. I’m not sure if I buy Lakoff’s model of a strict father vs a nurturing mother to explain why things and concepts get personalized. It’s good enough to understand the focus on personal responsibility, although we both know that not every person is equally responsible.

    So we got to work with that. Instead of speaking of financial systems and capitalism, one could speak of financiers and CEOs:

    According to the database Kenner assembled, the directors of 19 major fossil fuel companies for which data was publicly available were responsible for just over 35 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2015, the latest year for which data was available. That’s remarkably close to Bahrain’s national emissions for the same year.

    https://www.desmogblog.com/2019/07/16/database-reveals-how-much-pollution-big-oil-s-top-execs-are-responsible-each-year

    If we want to get more personal, the biggest polluters of the planet all work at Glencore.

  16. izen says:

    @-W
    “Systemic causation is hard to grasp. It seems that in the Freedom fighters ontology there are only individuals.”

    Personally I find the concept of an individual increasing hard to grasp. They are always embedded in historical contingency and socio-economic systems.
    YMMV

    “Instead of speaking of financial systems and capitalism, one could speak of financiers and CEOs:”

    I expect they would wash their hands of responsibility, claiming they were just following…
    profits.

  17. Willard says:

    I too find the concept of individual problematic, e.g.:

    Viskontas tells me her inspiration to study the interplay among musicians arose out of her experiences. “Playing in ensembles is the whole reason I wanted to be a musician,” she says. “It’s just a magical feeling. It made me realize that whatever’s happening when we’re in sync, we’re exchanging a lot of intuitive information, and we use that to feed off each other. It has that intangibility, the stuff that happens below the level of consciousness that we’re all fascinated by. It’s also a different way to think about creativity. How is it that when musicians come together, they produce this wonderful product?”

    When you’re in sync with somebody, are you activating parts of your brain that are dormant when you’re alone? “Yes, the evidence suggests that’s the case,” Viskontas says. “Here’s an analogy. If you forget somebody’s name, the more you think about it, the harder it is to access. The name isn’t dormant. Access to it is blocked because your conscious cognitive resources are going in a different direction. When you start thinking about something else, or leave a room, it pops into your mind. The same can be true for being alone. When you’re alone and intensely focused on something, you’ve got an inner critic going, you’re monitoring yourself. When you have to respond to somebody else, and allow yourself to hear other thoughts, you forget the inner critic. You hear other parts of your brain talking more loudly, more clearly. If you’re a solo performer, it’s really hard to get completely immersed in what you’re doing. When you have to respond to somebody else, it’s easier to forget your inner critic.”

    http://nautil.us/issue/74/networks/were-more-of-ourselves-when-were-in-tune-with-others

    Togetherness may be what brings out the best in each of us.

  18. izen says:

    @-W
    “Togetherness may be what brings out the best in each of us.”

    YMMV

  19. on the individual vs. system question: I am forced to choose individual action – to work hard to make significant reductions in my carbon footprint – because no political party in the US is willing to pursue serious systemic action/change to address the climate catastrophe. I would prefer systemic change and I have a marxist friend who says choosing individual action takes energy away from the struggle to seize the means of production from the capitalists (there’s systemic change for you).

    I would love to see a thread devoted to a serious discussion of the questions that arise out of the system vs. individual action question.

    As for Luntz: if he wants to make amends, he might choose a moses type role and lead the republican party out of the wilderness of global warming. Talk straight to the Rs about how much change is needed instead of mincing words in another useless round about how things will be different if we select the right words. Things will be different if we change things… in a big way. Like large carbon tax funding wealth redistribution so that emissions drop without making life harder for low income folks scraping to get by. The market might actually work to produce a global green energy system if we stopped subsidizing fossil fuels and allowing the fossil fuel industry to avoid the social costs of their product.

    I don’t know. Trumpism is ascendant globally. It’s the mad hatters tea party. This situation and/or my aging brain is making it difficult for me to pursue rational discourse.

    Mike

  20. Joshua says:

    Mike –

    Yup.

    Selecting the right words won’t change much of anything at all, IMO. Although I do think that de-partisanizing the discussion to whatever extent possible has a chance to make a difference.

    And here I make my standard plug for participatory democratic processes:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participatory_democracy

    And sociocracy:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociocracy

  21. Joshua says:

    In other words, perhaps a more fleshed out or concrete vision of what togetherness might look like in practice.

  22. Willard says:

    > I have a marxist friend who says choosing individual action takes energy away from the struggle to seize the means of production from the capitalists (there’s systemic change for you).

    Tell me about it. I’ve got some that are telling me that we should not focus on messaging a specific deadline because something something. Others are telling me that we should not waste so much time in paying due diligence to systemic racism in the police force and instead focus on police brutality in general. Some more are telling me that Antifa is the real threat, not Neonazis, even if terrorism that kills anyone on American soil is almost exclusively from the far-right. And that’s notwithstanding all the luckwarm ones who tell me that CAGW is what will really cause our doom, because that’s why teh Donald won or whatever.

    We have the friends we have. We can’t change them and they can’t change us. We may be able to influence one another. Only us can change us. Now, if you only you can decide to change, suppose you’re all alone, sitting in an empty room, with nothing and nobody to influence you. You may change. Probably not for the better. Unless you decide to follow the hermit path.

    Nevertheless, there are limits to the boon of being totally isolated:

    Photo Requests from Solitary (PRFS) is an ongoing project that invites men and women held in long-term solitary confinement in U.S. prisons to request a photograph of anything at all, real or imagined, and then finds an artist to make the image. The astonishing range of requests received to date includes “the freestanding columns at the Great Temple of Amun, Karnak,” “A blue rose, cut with all its leaves remaining, held in a crystal/clear vase or a hand and if possible, the Perseids meteor shower as a background,” “a gray and white ‘Warmblood’ horse rearing in weather cold enough to see its breath,” and “Myself with a blue sky.” Taken together, these requests provide an archive of the hopes, memories, and interests of people who live in extreme isolation, surrounded by gray walls.

    https://solitarywatch.org/photo-requests-solitary/

    We together can do very bad things. We can do good things too. What’s the alternative anyway?

  23. Willard says:

    > I would love to see a thread devoted to a serious discussion of the questions that arise out of the system vs. individual action question.

    Write it.

  24. OPatrick says:

    The first one on his list isn’t like all the others.
    How can you not talk about sustainability?
    The other words to use or lose look like perfectly reasonable changes in emphasis. Not being able to acknowledge the need for sustainability looks like a denial of the fundamental issues.

  25. Willard says:

    > How can you not talk about sustainability?

    You can’t, so you need to use another word. People don’t seem to get that sustainability is an improvement.

    In fairness, I never liked the word, so I may be biased. It makes me fall asleep at the second “a”. It indicates a disposition, with all the metaphysical mess (think intelligence, race, etc.):

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/dispositions/

    I really like “plant-based” as an alternative to “vegan.” Perhaps something along these lines. It needs to appeal to the senses. It needs to be short. We need a focus group on this.

    Nice to see you!

  26. Joshua says:

    Ignorance of opponents’ motives leads to needless conflict through what psychologists call “motive attribution asymmetry”: the belief that I am motivated by love but you are motivated by hatred. Today, more than 90 percent of both Republicans and Democrats describe people in their own party as “honest,” “reasonable” and “caring.” Meanwhile, more than 80 percent in each party describe the other side as “brainwashed” and “hateful.”

    Hmmm. Never seen that before!

    Speaking of togetherness…

    Motive attribution asymmetry makes us unwilling to cooperate.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/youre-probably-making-incorrect-assumptions-about-your-opposing-political-party/2019/07/26/9f888f0a-a995-11e9-86dd-d7f0e60391e9_story.html?utm_term=.d17db665e022

  27. Willard says:

  28. OPatrick says:

    Thanks – yup, still here.
    In contrast to you, I may be biased in the other direction. I view sustainability as an existential necessity (and self-evidently so, I’d argue) and so find it hard to imagine finding any common ground with someone who recommends jettisoning it.
    Sure, if you want to find other words for it for those easily scared by accepting reality, but ‘cleaner, safer, healthier’ isn’t it. Driving towards the cliff-edge, slower is not the answer.

  29. izen says:

    @-OPatrick
    “Sure, if you want to find other words for it for those easily scared by accepting reality, but ‘cleaner, safer, healthier’ isn’t it. ”

    You could try smuggling it in under the disguise of (system?) resilience.

  30. Willard says:

    System resilience looks more promising that psychological resilience, which makes me shiver:

    Published in a prestigious journal, Perspectives on Psychological Science, this recent paper—by Frank Infurna, an assistant professor at Arizona State, and Suniya Luthar, also a professor at Arizona State and a well-known scholar of childhood resilience—is entitled: “Resilience to Major Life Stressors is Not as Common as Was Thought” (Infurna & Luthar, 2016). As it suggests, they maintain that previous estimates of resilience (and the entire resilience literature) are wrong.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/rethinking-trauma/201706/are-human-beings-psychologically-resilient

    I hope y’all have been saved from the Boris Cyrilniuk craze. That said, we may be reinvinting the wheel:

    SIDS are big ocean sustainable States (BOSS). Protecting their terrestrial, aquatic and marine biodiversity, as well as their heritage, and securing equitable access to land and ocean resources are essential for their sustainable development.

    http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/priority-areas/sids/environmental-resilience-and-sustainability/

    Let’s generalize, and switch “ocean” to “organization”.

    BOSS.

    Let’s BOSS like a boss.

  31. Willard says:

    Our extreme centrists can’t really be against resilience:

    [T]he real secret to happiness isn’t more high fives; it’s developing emotional resilience. In our mania for physical safety, coupled with our recent tendency to talk about “emotional safety,” we have systematically deprived our children of the thousands of challenging—and sometimes upsetting—experiences that they need in order to learn that resiliency. And in our quest to protect them, we have stolen from children the best resilience training known to man: free play.

    https://reason.com/2017/10/26/the-fragile-generation/

    This may not lead where we want to go. Unless we want to go wild:

    Have we found a common cause between Frank Luntz, Jonathan Haidt, and George Monbiot?

  32. Joshua says:

    Yet looking back on dozens of studies published over the past decade that have tested the effectiveness of different strategic messages to reframe climate change, I now believe it was a mistake to advocate that social scientists join with the scientific community to fine-tune science communication in the service of advancing hoped-for policy goals.

    I was once an advocate for framing research and social science expertise generally to benefit science communication. Now I am a skeptic.

    h/t Judith (Climate Etc.)

  33. OPatrick says:

    I prefer resilience to Luntz’s vapid euphemisms, but it’s still ducking the issue. Seems to me if we concede sustainability then we’ve essentially lost. This is where my line in the sand is.
    Resilience is more of a disposition than sustainability. There can be degrees of resilience, but, fundamentally, sustainability has to be an absolute. Maybe though that distinction is personal to my understanding of the concept.
    I’m trying to understand the aversion to the concept of sustainability. Is there a religious element here? Sustainability implies (to me, at least) a continuous existence through time – but that would mean the existence (that which is sustained) is independent of the individual. Is it perhaps a fear of the implied socialism, then?

  34. Willard says:

    Luciano Floridi chimes in:

    Sometimes, usually at a conference, I am asked what we can do to save the world. It is a blunt and difficult question. And my answer is always: get together, join forces, participate. Do not go solo, do not create another party, another movement, another initiative, another fragment. It is time to heed my own advice.

    The problem with political evil is the weakness of good.

    Political evil is effective, because it pursues only its own success. It is efficient, because it agrees only with itself. And it is powerful, because it needs only our weakness.

    Political good is ineffective, because it cherishes pluralism. It is inefficient, because it welcomes diversity. And it is powerless, because it requires our strength.

    Political evil is organised, good is not. And so, political evil prevails today, culturally, economically, environmentally, socially. We are hurting each other, killing the environment, devastating our best legacies, undermining our future. To save the world and ourselves in it we must join all good forces. Not on the basis of selfish interest, because that is one of the roots of political evil, but through the strongest of all forces motivating humanity: hope.

    Political hope is not whimsical wish, but the rational desire that things may go well, for all. Hope breeds commitments, supports efforts, bears sacrifices. Hope goes the extra mile. It is not blind faith, but intelligent toleration towards different choices and even mistakes. But above all, hope is almighty, because it can prevail even over self-preservation. It is hope that makes political good effective, efficient, and powerful.

    In politics, good and hope are invincible together. They are the enthusiasm and intelligence that can defy any evil. They are us at our best. Political evil tries to keep them apart, degrading good into righteousness, and hope into selfishness. But good and hope can get organised. The difficulty is to embrace less individualism and a greater sense of community. The strongest taste of “we” is an acquired taste.

    There is much that is not going well today, but even more that can be done to put it straight, if we work together. The time has come to take side and be part of a larger project. “All good wills on deck”, because the ship is sinking and there is no more time to waste.

    A pity it’s to join the LibDems.

  35. Willard says:

    > Seems to me if we concede sustainability then we’ve essentially lost.

    People want improvements. That’s stronger than sustainability-as-status-quo. People want a strong ecology like they want strong economy, e.g.:

    Government can’t stand on the sidelines in our efforts. Because government is us. It can and should reflect our deepest values and commitments. And if we refocus our energies on building an ecology that grows for everybody, and gives every ecosystem in this country a fair chance at resilience, then I remain confident that the future still looks brighter than the past, and that the best days for this country we love are still ahead.

    Let’s give them (and us) sustainability. Let’s just not sell it.

  36. OPatrick says:

    Hmmm, interesting thoughts from someone who has just joined a party who’s leader has ruled out working with their main potential allies. And Boris Johnson peddles hope and improvements. These are easy things to peddle.

  37. OPatrick says:

    Ah, not the version of Johnson’s speech I’d intended to link to – but actually, it’ll do.

  38. Willard says: July 27, 2019 at 11:02 pm
    > Seems to me if we concede sustainability then we’ve essentially lost.
    People want improvements. That’s stronger than sustainability-as-status-quo.

    Be careful what they wish for:
    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2019/07/hybrids-are-for-wimps-charcoal-is-new.html

  39. Willard says:

    I see your charcoal. I raise with cement:

  40. Steven Mosher says:

    “I prefer resilience to Luntz’s vapid euphemisms, but it’s still ducking the issue. Seems to me if we concede sustainability then we’ve essentially lost. This is where my line in the sand is.”

    Frank is talking about the word, not the concept.

    we want cleaner, heathier and safer, because dirty unhealthy and unsafe is not sustainable.

    In simple terms, its hard to oppose cleaner, healthier and safer, but sustainability as a word
    carries with it for some connotations that suggest no improvement, and people want improvement. they dont just want to sustain, they want to improve.

    I imagine Frank studied this, you know empirically

    So hey the planet is at stake. you have a zero cost option of using the words
    safer, cleaner, healthier when you want to say sustainable. That zero cost option
    has no negatives, and at worst will make no difference. If you reject trying zero cost
    options, how can you imagine people will take you seriously when you suggest options
    that have a cost? you can’t.

    So lets get rid of coal. It’s unhealthy, dirty and not safe. Millions die before they need to because
    of PM 2.5. There are safer, cleaner, healthier alternatives.

    I could have said it was not sustainable, but I am not giving up sustainablity by using different words.

  41. Steven Mosher says:

    “I’m trying to understand the aversion to the concept of sustainability. Is there a religious element here? Sustainability implies (to me, at least) a continuous existence through time – but that would mean the existence (that which is sustained) is independent of the individual. Is it perhaps a fear of the implied socialism, then?”

    sustainability has connotation of treading water. no progress, no improvement, anti growth, rationing, fear of running out. definitely fear based as opposed to hope based.

  42. Jeffh says:

    The problem with the term ‘sustainability’ is that it has a million definitions, depending upon the perspective of the user. To a neoclassical-thinking economist, who views nature as nothing more than a commodity to be exploited for profit, it means economic growth that continues unabated. Thus, a sustainable increase in the production and consumption of natural capital, as if the Earth was infinite. To an ecologist like myself, it means that economic systems are reconciled against the health and functioning of ecosystems across the biosphere; that the material economy is sustainably managed to ensure that natural systems and the services emerging from them remain resilient. Given that our understanding of ecological complexity is still quite poor, an inability to reconcile sustainable economic growth with the health and functioning of our ecological life-support systems is both short-sighted and foolish in the extreme.

  43. OPatrick says:

    I, quite naturally, don’t trust Luntz. I don’t trust that he cares about the concept of sustainability. Maybe he does, but then if I’m going to believe him on this he needs to make more effort to convince me – why would choice of words matter only in one direction?

    I am aware that many have peddled the idea of sustainability having those connotations. I don’t object to the language he chooses to use. I don’t reject his use of the words ‘cleaner, safer, healthier’. I object to his explicit suggestion that these are a replacement for the fundamental idea of sustainability. If you can’t bring yourself to argue for, to accept, the fundamental necessity of sustainability then I’m always going to be suspicious that this is nothing more than another delaying tactic. I welcome this latest intervention from Luntz. But I’m still sceptical of his motives.

  44. izen says:

    Part of the attention and ‘authority’ given to Luntz in this situation has parallels to the born again christian.
    The greater the sinner they were in the past, the more value is ascribed to their Damascene conversion.
    And more credence is accrued to their ‘insights’ into the best way to convert other sinners.

    It may be that the main outcome is to imbue the convert with greater status than is justified.

  45. OPatrick says:

    I was searching for a thread on Planet3.0 where the idea of defining sustainability was discussed and came across this: Beyond Sustainability: A Manifesto.

    Perhaps such an acknowledgement that sustainability is a minimum, but not a limiting, bar, would be a saleable concept?

  46. Joshua says:

    Steven –

    > sustainability has connotation of treading water. no progress, no improvement, anti growth, rationing,

    I see it rather differently. I think the main problematic connotation of sustainability is that it is rather vague and unspecific.

    > fear of running out. definitely fear based as opposed to hope based.

    More along those lines, IMO. In being vague, it also feels overwhelming and unattainable…more along the lines of stimulating fear.

    That said, this all looks like reassembling deck chairs on the Titanic to me…worrying about the horse that’s already left the barn – thanks in no small part to Frank’s efforts. Climate change (at least in the US) has become about who you are, not what you know or which words you use, IMO. It doesn’t matter, for example, whether Obama uses “sustainable” or “cleaner.” It doesn’t matter which word the IPCC chooses, or an editorial writer for the NYTimes.

    It might matter, to some extent, to Pubz which word Luntz uses, or if Tucker or Sean chose to promote “cleaner” over “sustainable.” (In reverse, I doubt it would matter much to Demz whether Al used “cleaner” or “sustainable.”)

    But in the end, the difference would be marginal, at best, IMO. All in all, I think this focus on which words people use mostly works out to be blaming the messenger, and just another feature of the climate wars: I.e., “But, the climate scientist used the wrong expression.” could be an entry in Willard’s matrix.

    My belief is that what might really work is to focus on the polarization and partisanship more directly, not through the back door by tweaking the words people use. But that isn’t likely to happen, and so, IMO, significant progress will only happen at the point that the signal of climate change becomes overtly and unambiguously obvious on a day-to-day basis to people in wealthy countries.

  47. Joshua says:

    Steven –

    > So hey the planet is at stake. you have a zero cost option of using the words
    safer, cleaner, healthier when you want to say sustainable. That zero cost option
    has no negatives, and at worst will make no difference.

    I agree that it’s pretty much a no-cost option. I don’t think it will make a difference, but I don’t see why it would hurt

    > If you reject trying zero cost
    options, how can you imagine people will take you seriously when you suggest options
    that have a cost? you can’t.

    I don’t think that on issues like climate change people reason in such a fashion. On such polarized topics, I don’t think people go from seeing other people not exercising no-cost options to rejecting their views. I think they start with rejecting their views, because of who they are (not what words they use) and then go on to reverse engineer reasons for rejecting their views. In other words, I don’t think people say “Obama was wrong about climate change because he rejected no-cost options like saying “cleaner” instead of “sustainable.”

  48. Willard says:

    > I, quite naturally, don’t trust Luntz. I don’t trust that he cares about the concept of sustainability. Maybe he does, but then if I’m going to believe him on this he needs to make more effort to convince me – why would choice of words matter only in one direction?

    I don’t trust Frank. I only trust his focus groups. How he inflates his own importance can make one doubt his interpretations. He surely seems to be stretching the conservative perspective to what Americans want in general.

    In my ClimateBall experience, conversion stories top these considerations. He provides one. That Frank remains untrustworthy only adds to the importance of his conversion story.

  49. I see Willard’s cement conundrum and raise an exhaust-eating acetylene cycle diesel:
    CaCO3 + Coke = CaC2
    CaC2 + H2O -> C2H2 + Ca(OH)2
    C2H2 + 2 O2-> 2 CO2 + H20

    Ca(OH)2 + CO2 -> CaCO3
    back to top

    Trouble is that Luntz might take it seriously

  50. Steven Mosher says:

    “That said, this all looks like reassembling deck chairs on the Titanic to me…worrying about the horse that’s already left the barn – thanks in no small part to Frank’s efforts.”

    I suspect but dont know that Frank has done some testing on republicans. Seems that if we want to attribute great powers to his prior work, that maybe he is on to something. maybe not.
    With all these things I ask: whats the cost of trying.

    Others however are intent on punishing Frank. It’s interesting to watch.

    Seems to me willard has it right. we are all in this together.

    Choice A: A few folks change their minds like Frank and you demand some penance, punishment
    for them coming to their senses, discouraging others of course.
    Choice B: a few folks change their minds, you welcome them to tribe, maybe others join, maybe
    not.

    It’s really up to ya’ll. It might be smart to highlight the conservative folks who have changed their
    minds and even foreground them.

  51. Steven Mosher says:

    Joshua I get that ya’ll think words, images, ect are trumped by identity.
    Identity is hard to undo, it requires a conversion. And people will always suspect
    conversion cases. Always. send them back home!

    I’ll just say one thing. I do enjoy climate brawls where people attack me for being a leftist.
    it makes for some interesting retreats on their part.

  52. mrkenfabian says:

    I suspect Luntz 1.0 operated in a partial vacuum; minds had not been made up, political framing was not fixed. Luntz 2.0 faces a bloc that has been taught how to reject arguments based on expertise and facts.

  53. mrkenfabian says:

    I tend towards Joshua’s view, however I would very much like to be wrong; it’s been going on so long now it is hard to imagine a seismic shift. Yet if this conversion is indicative of a significant and growing conservative-right bloc that does take global warming seriously, and this rhetorical effort is those conservatives talking to conservatives – that seeks to bring their party position back to taking science seriously on this – I would be very pleased.

    Surely, ultimately, denying reality is not a tenable long term position for a mainstream political movement to take. Perhaps when the position of Parties like US Republicans or Australia’s LNP do shift on this it will surprise everyone with how quickly.

  54. Luntz might do well to take a moment and read how Joshua Harris handled the realization that he had been wrong and probably did a lot of damage. Harris is a source guy for the christian purity movement, but he has had an epiphany: he was convinced, persuasive and wrong. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/29/author-christian-relationship-guide-joshua-harris-says-marriage-over?utm_term=RWRpdG9yaWFsX0d1YXJkaWFuVG9kYXlVUy0xOTA3Mjk%3D&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GuardianTodayUS&CMP=GTUS_email

  55. Frank is telling Republicans to enjoy what Obama changed his mind to accept- that the natural gas revolution means you can have economic growth and emissions reductions. There is now bi-partisan agreement on that. Climate warriors are left trying to explain why the natural gas revolution was great under Obama, but now has to be reversed.

    Obama on combating climate change:
    “Since 2008, the United States has experienced the first sustained period of rapid GHG emissions reductions and simultaneous economic growth on record. Specifically, CO2 emissions from the energy sector fell by 9.5% from 2008 to 2015, while the economy grew by more than 10%.”

    “The American electric-power sector—the largest source of GHG emissions in our economy—is being transformed, in large part, because of market dynamics. In 2008, natural gas made up ∼21% of U.S. electricity generation. Today, it makes up ∼33%, an increase due almost entirely to the shift from higher-emitting coal to lower-emitting natural gas, brought about primarily by the increased availability of low-cost gas due to new production techniques (2, 15).”

    He sounds like Frank Luntz’ clients.
    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/355/6321/126.full

  56. Willard says:

    > Frank is telling Republicans to enjoy what Obama

    You’re working too hard for “but Obama,” JeffN. Drive-by done.

  57. Willard says:

    > it’s been going on so long now it is hard to imagine a seismic shift

    If conservatives are remotely like we expect them to be, the conversion should go top-down. If Frank can help convert the top, the shift will happen. So much the worse for all the concerns we may raise.

    The question is how to separate Frank’s research from Frank’s political move. It’s public knowledge that he’s from the old guard. He’s not a Donald fan. His memo could be seen as a way to make a push against him.

    The madness of our king troglodytes is far from over. Witness Boris.

  58. Joshua says:

    An indication of Frank’s current political state:

    But w/r/t Boris:

    > If Frank can help convert the top, the shift will happen. So much the worse for all the concerns we may raise.

    The question is how to separate Frank’s research from Frank’s political move. It’s public knowledge that he’s from the old guard. He’s not a Donald fan.

    ======

    In the current state of affairs, to the extent that there’s an association of climate change policy to pushing against Trump, the effect on Pubz would be negative from a mitigation perspective (at least in the short- to near-term) . Trump is daddy now. Pubz pushing back are bad boys in need of discipline.

  59. Willard, what about the troglodyte memorandum writers commissioned by Obama’s Chief of staff?
    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-good-old-days-of-bipartisan.html

    Will Luntz take over Podest’a pop culture franchise, or move to London to exhort Johnson, who relaxes by making model buses out of wine crates, to bang out wooden Tesla’s instead?

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2019/07/if-nature-s-publisher-could-be-pm-why.html

  60. Willard says:

    > what about

    Exactly, Russell. What about.

    ***

    From Frank’s FT op-ed, I point at this:

    On a personal level, I have never met someone in politics who is so obviously talented and surprisingly humble, yet so underestimated and dismissed by his critics because he doesn’t conform to their expectations. There is only one Boris Johnson. He is the same in private as he is in public — and that hasn’t changed since we met during our days at Oxford.

    That is all.

    ***

    I forgot to cite the first Memo. Here it is:

    https://www.sourcewatch.org/images/4/45/LuntzResearch.Memo.pdf

  61. “hey’re wrong – he’s the UK’s Ronald Reagan.https://t.co/VlL3WVepaA

    I don’t think he could have got their characters more wrong. Much more the UKs Richard Nixon if not Trump. Reagan came across as being quite sincere in his beliefs, but then I was only a teenager at the time and he was an actor (of sorts). There is nothing remotely sincere about Boris!

    I have conducted focus groups in the US and UK for 30 years. Mr Johnson is singularly the most difficult politician to label or categorise …

    “Bullshitter” (Boris would probably prefer “sophist”); not difficult at all.

  62. I’m afraid Frank has cancelled out the kudos I gave him above.

  63. Willard says:

    You made me look, Russell:

    ThinkProgress is an American news website. It is a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAP Action), a progressive public policy research and advocacy organization. Judd Legum, founded ThinkProgress in 2005.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ThinkProgress

  64. Joshua says:

    Part of what should be used to keep sustainability vs. cleaner framing in context, IMO.

    Greenwald may be sometimes malevolent, but this is some amazing shit, and is directly tied into climate change via the Amazon.

    https://theintercept.com/2019/07/28/bolsonaro-attacks-show-why-reporting-on-secret-brazil-archive-is-vital/

    This is truly frightening:

  65. Joshua says:

    Background for those who might be interested but don’t want to listen to a pod, starts here:

    https://theintercept.com/2019/06/09/brazil-lula-operation-car-wash-sergio-moro/

  66. To give credit where due, Montesquieu started the Troglodyte Narrative in Persian Letters:

    In Arabia there were a few people named Troglodytes … so wicked and brutish that they were strangers to the principles of justice and equity.

    which I think fits both sides of K Street to a T.

  67. Joshua says:

    JCH –

    Am I mistaken, or did Judith predict an Arctic sea ice rebound right about now?

  68. JCH says:

    I don’t think so. I think she points at precursor events for the Stadium Wave, one of which is the recovery of sea ice in some sea in the far North Atlantic. More like “this is what it will look like” than “this is it.” It’s on the Stadium Wave Wheel of Fortune.

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