B²: Energy + the Environment

On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order to open up U.S. energy resources by removing a ban on off-shore drilling in several key locations. Then, on Saturday, Washington D.C. watched another environmental/climate protest take over the city.

With the environment in the news this week, to say it’s a “hot” button issue is an understatement.

But how do you come out on top in your interviews? Or have an intelligent conversation with someone who believes your science isn’t the same as their science?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here’s this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “Do you think Trump’s Executive Order to allow for more drilling will hurt the environment?”

B²: “Not at all. In fact, it would be both environmentally and economically irresponsible to fail to steward all the resources we have here in the U.S. <Insert talking point>.”

The talking point you pivot to can highlight job creation, economic growth, national security—relying on hostile governments for energy, as well as the environment. Wherever you take the conversation next, emphasize that an all-of-the-above energy strategy will help us better steward our environment for this and future generations.

B²: Going Green

Big things are happening on Friday – 1) it’s Earth Day and 2) the Paris Agreement is scheduled to be signed in New York. Climate change advocates everywhere rejoice!

Especially President Obama. Remember that one time he said, “No challenge  poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.” That’s right. Not ISIS or terrorism or literally anything else. Obama wants desperately to impose regulations he thinks will make a difference before he leaves office in January.

However, (cue the sad trombone) numerous studies have proven the opposite – instead of stopping or reversing climate change, the regulations will be of little help AND place a heavy cost on families. No bueno.

In anticipation of Friday’s events and Obama’s determination to maintain a legacy of climate change reversal, beware of reporters who will want to throw accusatory questions at you. Questions that assume you deny climate change and hate the environment. Do you know how to stand your ground?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “It has been reported that energy regulations are necessary to stop climate change, but you favor not imposing regulations. Why don’t you want to save our planet?”

B²: “I care about the environment, which is why I don’t agree with the regulations the President and others want to impose. Research proves that the Paris Agreement will have little impact on global temperatures but significant impact on people’s energy costs. For example, <insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, make sure you talk about caring for the environment first. Sure, cost matters and it’s important to talk about how American jobs will be harmed and energy costs will likely increase by 20%, but combat the typical rhetoric and embrace your concern for the health of the planet. Because you do care! And it’s ok to talk about it! Not only will you disarm a hostile reporter/host, but you’ll establish common ground with those who favor regulation. All of a sudden, your position doesn’t seem so extreme.

B²: Paris and Climate Change

All eyes are focused on Paris. In the weeks and months to come, the world will watch and pray as the City of Light recovers and begins to move forward in the wake of Friday’s attacks.

Part of the movement forward will be highlighted later this month as leaders from across the world, including President Obama, plan to meet in Paris at the UN Conference on Climate Change with hopes of securing an international agreement aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

The anticipation of this conference combined with the President’s recent rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline, his introduction of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan in August, and his claim that climate change is a national security threat suggest that your next media interview could be tricky to navigate.

While many scholars and policy analysts offer accurate and strong counterpoints, specifically focused on the high costs of these policies without any significant reduction of CO2 emissions, a reporter’s questions can easily throw you off your game. With such varied and vast policies, it’s impossible to know every angle of every question. Instead, you can focus on combating the inevitable label of “polar bear hater” the media will try to affix.

Do you know how to show compassion for the environment while outlining the harmful consequences of these policies?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here’s this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “But these policies will reduce carbon emissions and, therefore, reduce our energy footprint. Isn’t that something we should strive for?”

: “We should strive for policies that make our energy use clean while keeping costs low for those already struggling to make ends meet. Unfortunately, the policies outlined do little to fulfill either goal because <insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, first establish common ground. Once you communicate unity over a shared concern for the environment, then you can call out bad policy and advocate for a better solution. Vilifying those who champion climate change will get you and your narrative nowhere. A winning message starts with common ground, calls out bad policy, and offers a more workable solution – in that order.