How to talk to conservatives about climate change

Sept 2019—Frank Luntz has guided the policy and language of the Republican Party. He’s the one that urged calling the “estate tax” a “death tax” and “climate change” instead of “global warming.” But a wildfire blazing outside his Los Angeles home has him rethinking.

Luntz is now offering his messaging services to the cause of climate action. “I’m here before you to say that I was wrong in 2001,” Luntz told the Senate committee. “Just stop using something that I wrote 18 years ago, because it’s not accurate today.”

Well, it wasn’t accurate then either, but we all accept the facts at a different rate.

While Luntz’s shift could help the Party pivot, the most immediately useful part of what he said is his advice about the language he suggests we use to appeal to their constituents.

USE: Cleaner, safer, healthier. LOSE: Sustainable, sustainability.

USE: Solving climate change. LOSE: Ending global warming.

USE: Principles and priorities. LOSE: Values.

USE: Reliable technology, energy. LOSE: Ground-breaking/State of the art

USE: New careers. LOSE: New jobs.

USE: Peace of mind. LOSE: Security.

USE: Consequences. LOSE: Threats/Problems

USE: Working together. LOSE: One world