An Environmental Protection Agency memo sent to top officials implored the agency to build up support for its agenda by tying its regulatory agenda to the “personal worries” of Americans.
“Polar ice caps and the polar bears have become the climate change ‘mascots,’ if you will, and personify the challenges we have in making this issue real for many Americans,” reads a memo sent around to top agency officials in March 2009, just months after President Barack Obama took office.
“Most Americans will never see a polar ice cap, nor will most have the chance to see a polar bear in its natural habitat,” the memo reads. “Therefore, it is easy to detach from the seriousness of this issue. Unfortunately, climate change in the abstract is an increasingly — and consistently — unpersuasive argument to make.”
“However, if we shift from making this about the polar caps and about our neighbor with respiratory illness we can potentially bring this issue home to many Americans,” the memo adds. “There will be many opportunities to discuss climate-related efforts this year. As we do so, we must allow the human health argument to take center stage.”