What Would Frank Luntz Do with the Copenhagen Climate Treaty?

What Would Frank Luntz Do with the Copenhagen Climate Treaty?
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When I’m trying to unravel public relations spin, I frequently find myself asking WWFLD (What Would Frank Luntz Do)?

As you’ll recall Frank Luntz is a chief Republican spin-doctor famous for his memo on climate change.

We have seen a lot of spindoctoring at the Barcelona climate talks underway this week in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate treaty summit to be held in mid-December.

As I’ve pointed out in previous posts, the most egregious spin has been the attempts by politicians to re-frame a successful outcome in Copenhagen as being a “politically binding” deal as opposed to a “legally binding” one.

“Politically binding” is great Luntz-speak. The term looks impressive, but is completely meaningless.

So WWFLD?My guess is that his communications memo would look something like this:

MEMO: Copenhagen Agreement “legally binding” language recommendation

Situational Analysis:

There is heavy pressure on the United States and other countries like the EU, Denmark, Canada and Australia to deliver a “legally binding” agreement at the upcoming UNFCCC summit in Copenhagen, Denmark scheduled for mid-December.

Many developed nations are not in a position to deliver a legally binding deal due to various reasons. At the same time there is great pressure being put on politicians by civil society, grassroots organizations and environmental groups for there to be a successful outcome at the Copenhagen meeting.

In order to consolidate the opposing goals of a “legally binding” and the need for the public to perceive a successful outcome in Copenhagen, I would recommend reframing the definition of what is considered a success. To do this, political leaders must shift the perception of success as being a “politically binding deal as a opposed to a “legally binding” one.

Key Messages:

We are committed to seeing a successful outcome in Copenhagen that is politically binding.

We are working towards a deal with a strong commitment by all nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

What Would Frank Luntz Do with the Copenhagen Climate Treaty?

Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog.

He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.

Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.

Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.

Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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