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Written by Katie Fehrenbacher .

Climate As the New Dirty Word

A new movie on climate change, called Carbon Nation, debuts this week. It’s positioned as the anti-Al Gore climate change movie. Basically, you don’t have to believe in the science of climate change to watch the movie and want to support clean power and greener transportation.

While I’m not supporting ignoring science, there’s clearly been a growing movement around re-marketing climate change over the past few months, and I think that’s generally a positive move. In President Obama’s State of the Union Speech, he called for 80 percent clean power and touted green businesses, but didn’t state the issues of climate change head on, much to the dismay of environmentalists.

But clearly, the climate change coinage isn’t working all that well. A year ago, the now-infamous Gallup poll found that almost half of Americans thought the threat of climate change was exaggerated. And as The Daily Show‘s John Stewart has spoofed so well, there’s been a lack of successful federal energy policy over the past eight Presidents. From the Obama administration’s perspective, why play into American skepticism? Instead, focus on the economic benefits of a green economy

That’s essentially what Carbon Nation is shooting for: not to guilt people into caring about climate change, but to generate interest in the economics of green business. The movie features interviews with former CIA, now VantagePoint Venture Partner, James Woolsey, as well as the New York Times‘ Thomas Friedman and Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers. Will the movie catch on in circles where An Inconvenient Truth hasn’t?

At the end of the day, the success of green technologies could simply come down to the notion of branding. Finding the right combination of marketing for climate change issues (clean energy? the green economy?) could help drive wider public support for green technologies, and maybe one day carbon legislation, and consensus over more aggressive carbon reductions.

Perhaps success of the movie could have a shorter-term — but much-needed — effect: help convince Republican lawmakers to back away from recent moves to weaken clean power laws. As we wrote yesterday, a group of Republican lawmakers have clearly moving in earnest to weaken the regulations that will add more solar, wind and other clean power sources into the national energy mix.

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