Global Cooling?

Has the romance between evangelicals and climate activists failed?

Climate change is today one of the most polarizing issues in American politics. Though Americans accept that the Earth is warming, they split along party lines as to whether humans are the cause and whether policy responses are warranted. This was not true just ten years ago. Public opinion was more closely divided, prominent conservatives backed a cap-and-trade mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and a “climate care” movement, making a faith-based argument, gained prominent notice in mainstream media.

In 2009, however, the unlikely partnership between environmental funders and prominent evangelicals collapsed in a wave of intra-movement recriminations. The failure of cap-and-trade, that decade’s signature climate initiative, followed soon after.

As Pope Francis reframes global warming as a moral issue, and a new generation of climate activists emerges, the failure of “climate care” holds critical lessons. Join a panel of thought leaders from across the political spectrum to hear the story of what green funders and faith activists attempted, how political leaders turned back their initiative, and what a new generation of climate funders and activists on the left and right can learn.

The event will also mark the release of the third in a series of New Models of Policy Change case studies, examining the successes and limits of transpartisanship. Was the failure to build a sustainable left-right climate coalition inevitable? What could funders and activists have done differently?

Lunch will be served.

Follow the discussion online using #ConservativeCooling and follow us @Polyarchy.


Lydia Bean
Author, Senior Consultant, PICO National Network

Jerry Taylor
President, Niskanen Center

Ted Nordhaus
Chairman, Breakthrough Institute 


Steven Teles
Author, Associate Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University and Fellow at New America