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The facts of cap and trade

Environmental Defense Fund has put together a video rejoinder to Annie Leonard’s Story of Cap and Trade. It’s called The Facts of Cap and Trade, and it’s very nicely done:

Like Annie Leonard’s video, it offers a compressed, simplified take on a complex topic. Unlike Leonard’s video, it manages to build a case out of more than just disconnected innuendo. Naturally, there’s an associated web site.

So is this video an effective response to the earlier hit piece? Probably not. Annie Leonard’s video is a populist fairy tale, and populism is big these days. I’m reminded of a post I wrote a long time ago that examined the different types of rhetoric we employ when we try to influence or persuade:

> [According to experts], people offer up four different kinds of explanations. The first are appeals to convention, whether social conventions or just conventional wisdom. These are the explanations that simply say, “This is the way things are done.” The second type are stories, which offer a very specific account of cause and effect and tend to emphasize the personal. The third type are appeals to code, which are similar to conventions, but more formalized. Legal or corporate procedures are types of codes. The fourth type of explanation is a technical account, which relies on specialized knowledge to argue for a more precise or deeper causality.

The titles of the two videos pretty much tell you all you need to know: the *story* of cap and trade vs. the *facts* of cap and trade. Stories beat facts. And if populist anger manages to kill the climate change bill, we’ll all live unhappily ever after.

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