Cross posted at The Real Ewbank.
The climate blog It’s Getting Hot in Here featured an excellent post on the framing of climate change at the weekend. Taj Schottland, a senior at the College of the Atlantic, has developed three frames for communicating climate change and associated policies to political conservatives. To appeal to conservative audiences, Schottland recommends:
- Replacing the term ‘climate change’ with ‘climate security’ to better explain the ways in which the changing climate adversely affects America’s economic health, national security and prosperity.
- Highlighting clean ‘energy advancement’ as a way to avoid the negative connotations associated with reducing emissions and by implication economic growth.
- Emphasising the objective of cap-and-trade policies to ‘harness the power of the market.’
Regardless of whether you agree with Schottland’s suggestions, it is encouraging to see that climate advocates are examining the ways in which climate change is framed. And perhaps more importantly, that they are developing new frames to communicate the impacts of the phenomenon to a wider audience. Given that the construction of one capture-all frame is virtually impossible, we need multiple frames to appeal to people across the political spectrum, and build the broad public support needed for government action.
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Published by On Line Opinion, Australia’s leading e-journal of social and political debate.
Recently, the Australian Greens challenged the Rudd Government to “break the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) deadlock” by implementing an interim price on carbon. The move no doubt stunned many with its pragmatism and has since won the backing of the government’s former chief climate change adviser Ross Garnaut. While the move may give the Greens a PR boost, the proposal will work to strengthen the Coalition’s recent framing of carbon pricing as a “great big tax”. This of course has implications for Labor’s climate policy agenda in an election year.
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In a promising development for aspiring clean energy scientists, engineers, and technicians, the Obama administration’s 2011 budget request includes a proposal for the nation’s first comprehensive federal education initiative focused on the clean energy sector, called RE-ENERGYSE (Regaining our Energy Science and Engineering Edge).
The initiative was originally proposed by President Obama in his April 2009 speech to the National Academy of Sciences, which he said would inspire and train young Americans to “tackle the single most important challenge of their generation — the need to develop cheap, abundant, clean energy and accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy.”
If appropriated by Congress, RE-ENERGYSE will be coordinated by the Department of Energy (DOE) and National Science Foundation (NSF), beginning with an initial investment of $74 million in clean energy-related education at universities, community and technical colleges, and K-12 schools. This will include a new $50 million program within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (see full proposal), a $5 million program in DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy (see full proposal), and a $19 million program within NSF (see overview and fact sheet). A summary of each program is included below. DOE’s well-known Solar Decathlon is also proposed to become part of RE-ENERGYSE in FY2011.
This proposal comes after Congress rejected the original RE-ENERGYSE proposal in the administration’s FY2010 budget request, despite support from over 100 universities, professional associations, and student groups. The administration was forced to reduce its request from $115 million to $74 million — an unfortunate reduction, especially given the nation’s lagging position in STEM education and the global clean-tech industry — but the program is a very important step toward a full federal clean energy education initiative. Despite the current budgetary environment, the administration sees RE-ENERGYSE as a significant priority for supporting the nation’s clean energy transition and improving U.S. competitiveness in this sector. As the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy wrote in its proposal:
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