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“Going To The Wall.

It’s a familiar expression. It means putting out the ultimate effort for family, friends and comrades, regardless of the consequences, without considering failure as an option.

The Alliance for Climate Protection and the Climate Protection Action Fund have teamed up to initiate a new ad campaign based on their joint project at the Repower America Wall, an interactive site where anyone can post a video or photo, and send an audio message to their congress persons about the importance of clean energy. The first iteration of the campaign will use testimonials from residents of four states, Arkansas, Indiana, Maine, and Missouri, and will be widely broadcast in order to reach as many people in those states as possible, with a goal of persuading them to contact their Senators and urge them to take positive action on pending clean energy legislation. Other states will be emphasized in later weeks.

This campaign comes not a moment too soon. The bad guys have gotten a big head start and have, so far, done a bang-up job of painting the whole issue as the hysterical ramblings of a few out-of-touch environmentalists whose obsession with a fantastical climate change scenario could cost lots of Missourians, particularly farmers, their livelihoods – claims that seem to have already had the desired effect and turned the spines of many of our Democratic legislators to quivering jelly.

The outstanding question is how effective the Repower America campaign will be in the face of what will, no doubt, be a massive corporate onslaught against any meaningful energy legislation. In a conference call today, Garrett Russo from the Alliance on Climate Protection attempted to address this issue, describing the Wall and the ads as a way to level the playing field and enable “everyday” Americans to speak out and be heard in an environment which, especially after the recent Supreme court decision on corporate political spending, now privileges big money over individual citizens.

During the call, two Wall contributors from each of the four targeted states spoke briefly about why reforming our energy policies is important to them. Reasons included sustainability arguments, quality of life concerns – clean air makes for healthy humans – and worries about the effects of fossil fuel dependency on national security. The predominant theme, though, was job creation, as seen in this ad from the group of three that will be shown in Missouri:

A retired official of the Maine AFL-CIO, Ed Gorham, talked about the steady loss of manufacturing jobs that the U.S. has experienced over the past decades, and pointed out that the transition to green energy could create thousands of new jobs to take their place. La Donna Appelbaum of St. Louis, a small business owner, stressed the importance of transitioning to a cleaner, sustainable energy source in order to create jobs and enable small businesses to survive. Gretchen Wieland, Missouri Communications Director of Repower America, described the potential importance of the wind turbine industry, both as a source of energy and as a source of new manufacturing jobs in Missouri. She claimed that clean energy industries could create 29,000 new jobs in Missouri.

The ads themselves are vague about specifics – but that is inherent in their nature; they are, after all, a “branding” exercise, intended to create a perception that job creation and clean energy go together. But because there are claims to the contrary out there – Kit Bond’s report, Yellow light on Green Jobs, was indirectly alluded to by one reporter, it will be interesting to see if this approach proves effective.

Part of the answer may lie in the media response.  For example, the Bond report’s conclusions are highly questionable, but as long as media figures, such as the reporter on the call, cite the report without questioning its sources – without even indicating that the report has generated controversy – it’s going to be a hard slog ahead.