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CASE STUDY /

Changing Hearts and Minds: The Threat of Climate Change

"As a Republican from Pennsylvania and a Democrat from Delaware, we have more in common than you might expect. Aside form a shared devotion to the Philadelphia Eagles, we both believe that Congress can and must do more to combat climate change and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure."

 

- Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)

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MEETING VOTERS WHERE THEY ARE

THE CHALLENGE

In a Gallop poll of Americans in 2001, the gap between Democrats who believed the effects of global warming had already begun and Republicans who believed the same was 13 points. In a poll asking the same question in 2021, that gap was 53 points. Only 29 percent of Republicans in 2021 said they believed the world was feeling the effects of global warming.

 

Clear Point Communications was tasked by our client, an environmental group, to create a campaign to find self-described moderates and conservatives in Pennsylvania who might be moveable on the issue of climate change in hopes of helping to secure meaningful climate change legislation.

THE RESPONSE

Our team has the ability to identify and coordinate with organizations, companies, and individual influencers on a range of policy issues. Though this often includes traditional voices, we also seek to work with unusual voices and unlikely allies that might have particular resonance with targeted leaders, policy makers, or other audiences.

 

We supported an aggressive push by the client for federal action on clean energy innovation and clean air, focused on moderate congressional Republicans. We worked closely with the client's legislative team in DC to craft a strategy for specific Republican members of the state’s congressional delegation; managed media outreach in the state; and arranged and staffed events highlighting the impacts of clean energy investment and climate action in various regions of Pennsylvania.

 

We have often conducted analyses of key elected officials to identify potential influencers to engage. We mapped out the influencer network for target Republican members of Congress in the state who were most amenable to supporting clean energy and climate action. That informed EDF’s strategy for reaching these members and moving them toward acknowledgment of the seriousness of climate change and the opportunities for clean energy job growth. The work also included district-level polling by a Republican polling firm that was shared with the members at various meetings and briefing sessions.

 

We also organized influencer meetings and calls with the targeted members. We partnered with other regional environmental organizations to arrange a State of Energy Technology event with Pennsylvania Republican Congressmen Ryan Costello and Patrick Meehan, former Republican Governor Mark Schweiker, and dozens of energy technology companies and investors.

 

For the client, we also developed a “Stewardship & Prosperity” campaign, which was designed to test messaging and tactics to move moderate and conservative voters on climate change. This initiative started with focus groups and polling to set the bar. We convened roundtable discussions and other public events in small urban, suburban and rural communities in central Pennsylvania to engage residents in an open conversation on climate that focused on jobs and economic opportunities, as well as a shared responsibility to take care of our home for future generations. We helped to develop earned and paid media components as well, including op-eds and print and digital advertising.

THE RESULTS

The message developed and carried in this campaign was that there was too much rhetoric, misinformation, and partisanship in the public debate over natural resources and that there needed to be room for calmer, cooler discussion of genuine issues and solutions. Our client used the lessons learned on the Stewardship & Prosperity campaign to develop messaging and tactics for climate action campaigns around the country.

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