Many environmentalists are embittered by the perception that President Obama has given up the fight on climate change. Few know that at a Martch 2009 off-record meeting, the leaders of most major U.S. environmental groups agreed with Obama political advisers to stop talking about climate change and reframe the message as one of clean energy.
President Obama came to office promising to tackle man-made climate change head on -- but after ardent fossil-energy supporters fought him to a draw in Congress in 2009, the issue seems to have vanished from politicians' talking points. At a Climate Desk forum on Capitol Hill October 10, strategist Betsy Taylor made a startling revelation. At a meeting in March of 2009, the environmentalist-Obama coalition made a messaging decision: "'By the spring of 2009, with the fiscal crisis, there was a decision made, and adopted, not to talk about climate change,' she related. 'That was adopted by the majority of the environmental groups, and by the White House. I was at that meeting. Bill McKibben stood up and said, 'This is a mistake — it's going to come back and haunt us.' Talking about clean energy jobs was fine, she continued. But the 'C-word' was a no-go." Progressive columnist Joe Romm went further, saying White House political advisor David Axelrod led the move to shut down talk of climate change.