How the ClearPath Foundation Is Helping to Simplify the Climate Debate
More and more political conservatives and moderates are expressing support for climate solutions – and yet, they still often feel isolated from the climate debate. As this Forbes article points out, since climate messaging tends to come from the left and (to some degree) the far right, there’s been a scarcity of outreach to those in the middle. This may be why so many Americans support climate action, but aren’t engaged enough to consider it a priority.
To help fill this gap, several new groups have arisen with the goal of connecting with those neglected Americans on climate issues. One is the ClearPath Foundation, founded by Republican entrepreneur Jay Faison. ClearPath wants to simplify and de-politicize the climate debate. As Faison says on the organization’s web site, “I was frustrated that there wasn’t a place I could go to learn about the science, consensus, risks and solutions of climate change in a way that was respectful to moderates and conservatives.”
As climate communicators, it’s important to engage people of all political leanings and walks of life – and it’s a mistake to assume that a person holds certain beliefs simply because they identify as conservative or liberal. The more people we include in the conversation, the more progress we’ll make towards real solutions.
Tom Zeller Jr., Contributor to Forbes
It’s been an article of faith for some time now — inside the whispery Washington Beltway, in state legislatures and even among hunting and outdoor recreation groups — that conservative Americans are, in fact, very much at odds with the vacuous climate denialism peddled by many members of the Republican Party’s national leadership.
Polls have, from time to time, hinted at this cleavage, and while a number of high-profile Republicans have begun inching away from a wholesale rejection of the issue, conservative voters remain hard-pressed to find frank and honest talk about climate policy among their political allies.
During remarks delivered at the Yale Environmental Law Association’s New Directions in Environmental Law conference last weekend, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat who has wrestled for years with his Republican counterparts on the issue of global warming, described the GOP as being somewhat at sea on the climate issue. In guarded moments, many Republicans in Congress admit that they are cognizant of the problem, Whitehouse suggested. But those same leaders remain paralyzed with fear at the idea of admitting so publicly — a move, they reckon, that could anger disbelieving right-wing voters and alienate a fossil-fuel industrial complex that keeps the GOP well-financed and on a short leash.