Suggestion for our messaging

I'd like to suggest that we consider a better name for our principal policy agenda. Some time ago, we realized that the phrase “carbon tax” was not well received, and led to a lot of anger and pushback, because Americans generally hate the idea of taxes. So, we changed it to “carbon fee and dividend”. I think that this is an improvement, but still pretty weak and likely to annoy people who don't like fees, either. I'd like to propose that we consider using something like “Coal, Oil, and Gas Royalties” which could have the acronym “COG Royalties”. (I also like “CONGA Royalties”, for Coal, Oil, and Natural Gas Royalties). People hate fees, but they love royalties--just look at the Alaska oil royalty program. Just think of the messagin we could do with that. Something like--"how would you like to start getting royalties on all the coal, oil, and gas that the big fossil fuel companies are digging up out of the ground? They've been taking our natural resources for years without paying you a dime--isn't it time we all started getting a share of it?"  I know that “carbon tax” and “carbon fee and dividend” are pretty entrenched right now, so it would be a long, slow process, but I think we'd have a lot more success selling people on royalties than on fees or taxes. What does everyone think?

8 Replies

@David Emberling
Like it that reframing.  How about a universal monthly "CDP, Climate Damages Payout" for every American.  

@David Emberling I heartily endorse new ideas for terminology and framing, but CCL should put aside some money to test them in focus groups so we have empirical evidence to back up our opinions.

As for “COG Royalties,” that term might generate special excitement in certain quarters. Consider the 2016 book by Ronald Goulden, Continuity of Government: The Most Insidious Threat. Here's the start of its blurb on Amazon:

Continuity of Government (CoG) is an evil, artificial construct that is the greatest deception ever imposed on any civilization. CoG is the act of providing the governments of the world with the ability to continue to function in the event of an emergency. By definition, CoG will only protect the important ‘leaders’. What is the government likely to do while working under the auspices of CoG? If it does anything, it will most likely enact some form of Martial Law and invoke any or all of the following Executive Orders, in which, among other things, the government has granted itself the right to force you and your family into FEMA ‘concentration’ camps and disperse you and your family to forced labor sites at their discretion, you may never see your family again.”

I think you get the idea. 😀

@Jonathan Marshall--Thanks. I wasn't aware of that. It would be great to find an acronym that doesn't carry that kind of baggage. I also agree that we should do research and focus groups before making any big changes like this. 

@George Kralovec
Sure. I'm not certain that “royalties” is the best word to use, but something with a positive connotation, like royalties or payout, would be a big improvement over “fees”

@David Emberling I like where you are headed with this, but we can't say that oil and gas companies don't pay us royalties.  They most certainly do, they're just embedded in the general budget and we never see them.  I agree that a carbon fee just sounds like a euphemism for tax and sounds like we're trying to be slick.

@David Emberling CCL introduced optional phrasing a little while ago--"Polluters Pay, Get a Carbon Cashback".  It 's possible they have not eliminated “Carbon Fee” completely, but have given this option, which says a similar message as what you are proposing.


@Jonathan Berman--Good Suggestions. I'm putting this out as a general, initial idea. I'm sure we can come up with better ways to phrase it.

T Todd Elvins
2721 Posts

@David Emberling @Jonathan Berman @Lynn Dransoff 

You might like to join the next meeting of the CCL Strategic Planning Action Team to bring up this topic, or post in their team forum. 

Here's an excerpt from Brett's post in a forum thread from 2022 on this topic with a mention of CCL's marketing department doing some testing

"Our volunteers in the northeast used "carbon cashback" very intentionally in some state-level efforts and found it very effective, and our marketing team did some testing with that phrase and found that it helps people understand the policy a little more quickly. So it's another option for describing the policy, and we have started to mix it into our language at the national level. "

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