Hillary Clinton has made it clear that, under her administration, the US would fight climate change by boosting investment in renewables and nuclear power, cutting tax subsidies for fossil fuels, and implementing the Paris agreement. A batch of WikiLeaks emails has revealed that the Clinton campaign considered a plan to open up another front in this particular war.
A well-funded effort to push back against the dark forces of climate change denialists, especially those given a voice by controversial media tycoon Richard Murdoch, was recently proposed to Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta by David Fenton, the founder of a US public relations agency.
First uncovered by the Guardian, it appears that the focus of Fenton's plan was on targeted advertising. Designed to be featured in Murdoch-owned newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, and on his TV channels and websites, including Fox News, they would have informed their readers and viewers that they are being willfully deceived on the scientific consensus.
Referencing several investment promises from specific contributors, Fenton hoped to make Murdoch’s climate denial a “major issue”. Support from academics, journalists, green organizations, and a wide range of public officials was advocated to boost this effort. The communiques, dated between 2014 and 2015, also advocate the use of civil disobedience, such as encouraging picketing outside WSJ offices and Fox studio buildings.
Outlining his action plan, Fenton says that “Fox News repeatedly reinforces (and helps creates) the view held by almost every single Republican member of Congress that humans are not changing the climate. With the conscious and subconscious power of a television network, it reinforces red state views that climate change is a liberal plot for government control.”
Far from just focusing on the US, Fenton wished to expand this information campaign to Murdoch-owned titles in both Australia and the UK. The Guardian reports that the campaign ultimately never went ahead.
Regardless, it highlights that Clinton’s campaign has acknowledged the hideous scale of America’s climate change denial problem, and this awareness is no bad thing. After all, you can’t effectively fight climate change if huge swaths of the public don’t accept the science behind it.