Communicating About the Energy Innovation Act
Using the five main messages
When talking about the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act we always want to stay focused as much as possible on our high level messaging as found on the Energy Innovation Act website or on our Energy Innovation Act Fact Sheet.
The Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act will drive down America’s carbon pollution and bring climate change under control while unleashing American technology innovation and ingenuity. It’s:
This policy will reduce America’s emissions by at least 40% within 12 years. It’s supported by economists and scientists as simple, comprehensive, and effective.
Good for people
This policy will improve health and save lives by reducing pollution that Americans breathe. Additionally, the carbon dividend puts money directly into people’s pockets every month to spend as they see fit, helping low and middle income Americans.
Good for the economy
This policy will create 2.1 million additional jobs over the next ten years, thanks to economic growth in local communities across America.
Republicans and Democrats are both on board, cosponsoring this bill together. The majority of Americans support Congress taking action on climate change. Solving climate change is too urgent to get caught up in partisan politics.
The fees collected on carbon emissions will be allocated to all Americans to spend any way they choose. The government will not keep any of the fees collected, so the size of the government will not grow.
Similarly when describing how the bill works we want to keep it simple and high level like we do on the How it Works page on the Energy Innovation Act website or on our Energy Innovation Act Fact Sheet. Our Infographic also has some good high-level points.
Communicating depends on your audience
How you engage in dialogue while communicating about the Energy Innovation Act will depend largely on the context of the discussion you find yourself in.
In one-on-one situations:
- Listen, draw them out, and acknowledge what they are saying so they feel heard and respected
- Ask permission to share your perspective
- Share briefly and then ask them what they think about it.
In a presentation:
- Connect with your audience first, by acknowledging shared values
- Highlight some of the words of support from a trusted messenger in the Energy Innovation Act slides
- If you are responding to a question, appreciate the intent or values of the questioner first
- Respond with the high level message you want them to remember: effective, good for people, creates jobs, bipartisan, and revenue-neutral.
- Add a supplemental point or two, and don’t get too complicated
Dealing with criticism
Our organization, our communities and our country is blessed with diversity, including a diversity of opinions. And a big part of politics is the art of compromise so that legislation can appeal to enough people that it can be passed into law. This means that it is inevitable that parts of the bill will not appeal to some people. So when communicating about the legislation, you may get pushback about various provisions within it. It’s tempting to just be mad about given this criticism disregards the many strong components of the policy.
Each situation will entail different responses, but in general, ahead of time try to get your emotions out of the way.
Appreciating common values is a good place to start.
- List possible reasons why someone disagrees with you--look at their criticism through their eyes
Practice your response.
- “Thank you for that question, I can tell that solving climate in the most effective way is important to you, and I share your urgency.”
If you are 1-on-1:
- Draw your partner’s thoughts out so you understand their point of view.
- Reflect back to them what you are hearing.
- "Would you like to hear what I think about that provision of the legislation?”
If you want more training, check out the resources on the Effective Communication Action Team.
What if I get more detailed questions?
Use the Responding To Public Questions resource to help you practice and anticipate many commonly asked questions and some potential responses that you can use. It can be a good study guide to have available when doing outreach and like all of CCL's communication resources, feel free to modify to fit your circumstance.
There is also a Energy Innovation Act Q&A page written for volunteers that may have additional detail beyond what the public generally needs.
Why We Need Focus
Why We Need Focus