The gist:  We all rely on “mental shortcuts” to make sense of new information. Often, metaphor and analogy—or pictures—help us get a handle on abstract ideas.

Right now, far-reaching climate and energy policy stands before Congress—all the more reason to come to the table equipped with the most compelling illustrations of how smart policy works.

The Flashcard

Relief from the Fossil Fuel Rollercoaster:

Three pictures: roller coaster, cap, and stairwayVolatile fuel prices whiplash family budgets. Investing in clean-energy will finally unhitch us—and our economy—from the fossil fuel rollercoaster. Fortunately, the same actions that will curb greenhouse gas emissions will also let us break through to a more prosperous and stable clean-energy economy—an economy that ends our addiction to oil and other dirty fossil fuels.

A Solid Cap for Safety:

Only a solid cap can stop the dangerous carbon overload of our atmosphere. A cap is our commitment to climate and energy security. No policy measure can substitute for setting a solid cap on the greenhouse gas emissions that are allowed into the atmosphere; it’s our firm guarantee that we will meet crucial pollution targets.

Our Stairway to Energy Stability:

We stand atop a hazardous pollution staircase. Cap and trade steps our economy down to stability, stair by stair, at a manageable pace. It would be dangerous and risky to jump to the bottom or run down too fast. Cap and trade offers us a path to success in the new energy economy: maximum flexibility, clear and feasible goals, and a predictable timeline.

More climate and energy messaging tips

Climate Communications Checklist>>

The fundamentals of effective messaging about climate policy and why it matters.

Talking About Cap and Trade>>

The basics of cap and trade in plain termsconnecting policy to values, quality of life, and common sense actions.

Cap and Trade: Winning on Economic Terms>>

With the opposition clinging to an old, dirty fuel economy, we need to win on economic terms, connecting the dots between energy security, economic recovery, and smart climate policy.

Energy Policy: Messaging Checklist>>

A round up of recent polling on climate and energy policy and powerful messaging implications we can draw from it.

August 4, 2009