Climate researcher Dr. James Hansen headlines gathering at Arcadia University

    Industry on the Delaware River near the Commodore Barry Bridge in Pennsylvania (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

    Industry on the Delaware River near the Commodore Barry Bridge in Pennsylvania (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

    It’s not what you say, but how you say it.

    That’s part of the message climate change activists can expect to hear as they gather for a conference this weekend at Arcadia University.

    The event is organized by local chapters of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a national group that supports federal “carbon fee and dividend” legislation, which it argues should appeal to both Republicans and Democrats concerned about a warming planet.

    “Our politics is no longer set up to serve the public. It is serving special interest,” said Dr. James Hansen, a professor at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, who will deliver the keynote address Friday evening. He says with the scales of government tipped in favor of lobbyists, citizens need to have a louder voice.

    Exactly what citizens say, and who they say it to, will be the focus of some training seminars.

    “We need to be able to talk to people in language that they can hear,” said Peter Handler, group leader of the CCL Philadelphia chapter. “So you might talk to a conservative, or a Tea Partier, with different language than we would talk to a progressive.”

    The group’s plan to combat climate change involves placing a steadily rising tax on greenhouse gas emissions, and then distributing the revenues directly to U.S. households. It believes the revenue-neutral proposal will give people incentives to use less and less fossil fuel without placing extra costs on them.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.