John Vidal

Reveals radical global warming treaty push, efforts to “bypass” and spin media

Guardian environment editor John Vidal obtained a confidential U.S. climate strategy document from a “hotel computer” at the Bonn climate talks.  Vidal did not reveal to CFACT’s “Mission Bonn” team what was afoot, but came to the CFACT display obviously quite excited and pumped our American members for information on the format used in the U.S. to display dates.  It appears he was seeking background for his evaluation of this strategy document.

CFACT readers will remember Mr. Vidal as the fellow who interrupted our Climate Sense conference in Copenhagen and launched into a long point about sea level rise which was immediately rebutted  by leading expert Nils Axel-Morner.  Here’s the exchange on video.

The document reveals a U.S. administration determined to push a radical global warming agenda that intends a binding global warming treaty, doubts its political ability to ratify a treaty in the U.S., intends to lock the U.S. into its climate policy with or without a treaty and as always cares most about perception.  Placating radical NGOs is high on the list.

Here is the text of the leaked U.S. strategy according to Mr. Vidal.  You can evaluate it for yourself:

Strategic communications objectives

1) Reinforce the perception that the US is constructively engaged in UN negotiations in an effort to produce a global regime to combat climate change. This includes support for a symmetrical and legally binding treaty.

2) Manage expectations for Cancun – Without owning the message, advance the narrative that while a symmetrical legally binding treaty in Mexico is unlikely, solid progress can be made on the six or so main elements.

3) Create a clear understanding of the CA’s standing and the importance of operationalising ALL elements.

4) Build and maintain outside support for the administration’s commitment to meeting the climate and clean energy challenge despite an increasingly difficult political environment to pass legislation.

5) Deepen support and understanding from the developing world that advanced developing countries must be part of any meaningful solution to climate change including taking responsibilities under a legally binding treaty.

Media outreach

• Continue to conduct interviews with print, TV and radio outlets driving the climate change story.

• Increase use of off-the-record conversations.

• Strengthen presence in international media markets during trips abroad. Focus efforts on radio and television markets.

• Take greater advantage of new media opportunities such as podcasts to advance US position in the field bypassing traditional media outlets.

• Consider a series of policy speeches/public forums during trips abroad to make our case directly to the developing world.

Key outreach efforts

• Comprehensive and early outreach to policy makers, key stakeholders and validators is critical to broadening support for our positions in the coming year.

• Prior to the 9-11 April meeting in Bonn it would be good for Todd to meet with leading NGOs. This should come in the form of 1:1s and small group sessions.

• Larger group sessions, similar to the one held at CAP prior to Copenhagen, will be useful down the line, but more intimate meetings in the spring are essential to building the foundation of support. Or at the very least, disarming some of the harsher critics.