Senate Dems Ask Conservatives for Help in Messaging Climate

Senators Smith, Whitehouse, Schatz, and Bennet questioning the witnesses in yesterday’s climate hearing.

Yesterday the members of the Senate Democrats Special Committee on the Climate Crisis interviewed Republican witnesses during a hearing about how Democrats might reach out to conservatives on the issue of climate change. No Republican senators participated and committee chair Senator Brian Schatz drove the point home in his opening statement:

Today we continue to build the case that climate action is doable and not the exclusive domain of progressives. But right now Democrats don’t have a dance partner on climate action in the United States Senate. Our Republican colleagues have chosen not to be here.

Witnesses for the hearing included: 

  • Dr. Frank Luntz, Founder and CEO, FIL, Inc. and a veteran Republican pollster
  • Kiera O’Brien, Vice President of Students for Carbon Dividends at Harvard
  • Nick Huey, Founder of the Climate Campaign

While each witness had a different suggestion for how Democrats can best communicate climate change to unlikely constituencies, it was Dr. Lutz who came prepared with a graphic detailing specific word swaps:

The Overall Message: When it comes to talking climate, the left was advised to talk about the opportunities that can exist to better our nation rather than what the worst-case scenario might be. Additionally, the witnesses suggested that listening to conservatives who are willing to talk about climate change goes a long way, and creating dialogue where it can exist can lead to political action (like on a price on carbon). Listening to businesses and their needs was also a big theme, which was timely just as some of the largest automakers announced yesterday that they have been working with the state of California on emissions regulations despite President Trump’s regulatory rollbacks.

Why This Matters: This hearing was incredibly respectful and senators Schatz, Smith, Whitehouse, Heinrich, and Bennet truly took the time to listen to the witness panel and ask thoughtful questions. While there was a lot of talk of reaching across the aisle, extending a hand, and inviting colleagues to the table the stark reality was that those colleagues chose not to attend yesterday’s hearing. Certainly, there are republicans in the Senate who acknowledge climate change but when the Senate Majority Leader has committed to blocking any legislation that Democrats put forward it seems as if bipartisanship is DOA. Hopefully, the fact that young Republicans view climate change with urgency will mean that partisanship on climate won’t always be an issue.

Up Next

Climate Protesters Held Marches All Over France on Sunday

It’s spring in Paris, they are still struggling with COVID, and yet thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Paris and numerous other French cities to protest climate change.  The French legislature is considering a law to impose tougher measures to combat climate change, but many believe the proposals are not sufficient and so they staged marches in Nancy, Toulouse, Rennes, Lyon, Grenoble, as seen in social media posts.

Why This Matters:  Because of the Paris Agreement, France is associated with climate change progress.

Continue Reading 424 words
California to Nestlé: Stop Draining Our Water

California to Nestlé: Stop Draining Our Water

As California’s drought conditions are worsening, Nestle is pumping millions of gallons of water from the San Bernardino forest. State water officials have drafted a cease-and-desist order to force the company to stop overpumping from Strawberry Creek, which provides drinking water for about 750,000 people. 

Why This Matters: It’s not the first time other states have also tried to reign in Nestle for its water grabs.

Continue Reading 377 words
Climate Report Card: Biden’s First 100 Days

Climate Report Card: Biden’s First 100 Days


by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer In the Biden administration’s first 100 days, the climate crisis and environmental issues have been at the forefront of the administration’s agenda. As Environment America writes in their progress report, “despite the need to rebuild many federal agencies and tackle the COVID-19 crisis, the Biden administration has already taken […]

Continue Reading 364 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.