Anti energy groups playing catch up
The oil lobby was sponsoring rallies with free lunches, free concerts and speeches warning that a climate-change bill could ravage the U.S. economy.
Professional "campaigners" hired by the coal industry were giving away T-shirts praising coal-fired power.
But when environmentalists showed up in this college town -- closer than ever to congressional passage of a climate-change bill, in the middle of the green movement's biggest political test in a generation -- they provided . . . a sedate panel discussion.
And they gave away stickers.
Next month, the Senate is expected to take up legislation that would cap greenhouse-gas emissions. That fight began in blazing earnest last week, with a blitz of TV ads and public events in the Midwest and Mountain West.
It seems that environmentalists are struggling in a fight they have spent years setting up. They are making slow progress adapting a movement built for other goals -- building alarm over climate change, encouraging people to "green" their lives -- into a political hammer, pushing a complex proposal the last mile through a skeptical Senate.
Even now, these groups differ on whether to scare the public with predictions of heat waves or woo it with promises of green jobs. And they are facing an opposition with tycoon money and a gift for political stagecraft.
The anti energy left has a problem with which ever message it chooses. Both the fear message and the green jobs message are counter factual at this point. While the polling discussed in the story suggest there is some support for the cap and tax bill, it is based on ignorance of the consequences to the economy, which is the most important issue for most voters and the current campaign will make it clear what the cost of the bill will be to consumers and to workers.