New Mobilization For Climate Action: World War Zero

Yesterday, with an all-out media blitzkrieg, former Secretary of State John Kerry and former California Governor and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and a group of high profile leaders from business, entertainment, the military and politics launched a campaign called “World War Zero” to mobilize Americans and people around the world to tackle climate change the same way a previous generation came together to fight the 20th century world wars. They plan to unify a disparate coalition of Democrats and Republicans, business leaders and environmental advocates, experienced statesmen and youth activists, men and women, military leaders, diplomats, and progressive activists to fight climate change together.

Why This Matters:  This is the most powerful group of leaders to mobilize yet — and leadership on this issue right now is in short supply.  The U.S. government is failing, and the latest polling shows that the American people want to see this issue addressed.  According to the Pew Research poll released late last week, a majority of Republicans believe that policies addressing climate change hurt the economy and don’t have a beneficial impact on the environment, but Millennial and Gen Z Republicans are about evenly split.  Democrats and young people have a lot of convincing to do. Chuck Todd asked whether talking about climate is enough?  We must get climate change more into the public conversation as a first step, but actions must quickly follow.

Goals of World War Zero

World War Zero intends to build a “grassroots army” to educate a broader swath of the Americans about climate change’s impacts on our health, our economy, and our national security. They are setting some aggressive goals for this effort.

  • Between now and November of 2020, their goal is to have 10,000,000 climate conversations with Americans across the political spectrum.
  • They want to elevate climate as one of the most important issues to the American public.

They believe this level of engagement will force greater accountability for our leaders, while also galvanizing an international community to go beyond the Paris agreement in 2021.

Pew Poll Results In More Detail

The biggest takeaways from the poll are:

  • “About two-thirds of U.S. adults (67%) say the federal government is doing too little to reduce the effects of climate change, and similar shares say the same about government efforts to protect air (67%) and water quality (68%) – findings that are consistent with results from a 2018 Center survey.”
  • “A majority of moderate or liberal Republicans (65%, including GOP-leaning independents) say the federal government is doing too little to reduce the effects of climate change. In contrast, only about one-quarter of conservative Republicans (24%) say the same, while about half (48%) think the government is doing about the right amount and another 26% say it is doing too much.”
  • “Among younger Republicans – adults in the Millennial generation and Generation Z, ages 18 to 38 in 2019 – 52% think the government is doing too little on climate. By comparison, 41% among Generation X and 31% of Baby Boomer and older Americans say this. Republican women (46%) also are more inclined than GOP men (34%) to think the government’s efforts on climate are insufficient.”
  • “Overall, about three-quarters of Americans (77%) agree that the more important energy priority should be developing alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power and hydrogen technology rather than increasing U.S. production of fossil fuels.”

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