A column that appeared in the Helena IR today (not exclusively, but that's where I saw it) makes some of the best points regarding environmentalists wooing conservatives I've ever read. I recommend the whole thing, but here are some points the author, Brendon Steele, made that everyone concerned with finding a broadly supported solution to climate change should consider:
-- Mild entreaties to conservatives that rely on a Teddy Roosevelt-type conservation message to discuss climate change doesn't work. I can't think of how many times I've read columns that try to equate hunting heritage to a massive overhaul to the carbon economy. They don't add up in the conservatives mind because...
-- It's the solutions, not the problem. As is so often the case, if a problem demands an undesirable solution, then the common course of action is to deny the problem. As long as climate change solutions are state-based (and I think they must be), then conservatives are going to deny it.
-- This isn't totally a big-oil conspiracy. While the oil companies have certainly aided and abetted climate deniers, the reluctance to subject the American energy system to a new government regime is entirely predictable given our national narrative.
Liberals are understandably so fed up with conservatives that they don't really even bother debating them about it, instead turning to friendly news outlets that give them another shot of alarmism that proves to them they were right even if they weren't listened to. But Steele seems to be onto an approach, that if heeded, could help the left bring the right back into the conversation.
P.S. A kind of dumb take on climate change: George Oshenski, who is a great dude and usually a good writer, seems to make some pretty big jumps in logic tying his bad hunting weekend to climate change in this column. Again, liberals would love for enough evidence of a problem to make conservatives accepting of any solution. But that's not going to be the case.