The Clean Power Plan: A Narrative Power Analysis

National People’s Action launched a new phase our work last year and seized the opportunity created by President Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), which sets the first ever limits on carbon emissions from power plants. We believe that as states write implementation plans for CPP there is an opening to slow climate change while also advancing racial and gender equity and economic justice.

As part of our strategy, our Communications Lead Jacob Swenson-Lengyel undertook a narrative power analysis* of media coverage of the Clean Power Plan. The aim of our analysis was to uncover the key elements of the narrative that currently surrounds the Clean Power Plan and identify strategic points of intervention to better guide our communications strategy. The report includes an analysis of 154 media pieces about the Clean Power Plan over a five month period.

One of the most important things we found is that the fossil fuel industry has inserted prominent talking points into their messaging about the impact of the Clean Power Plan on people of color and low- to moderate- income people, while advocates of the plan tend to talk about the benefits in broad terms, rarely referencing race or communities of color. We believe that in order to win a plan that ensures equity together with sustainability, advocates must shift the way we talk, and we have given specific recommendations in this study.  

Click here to download “The Clean Power Plan: A Narrative Power Analysis” from National People’s Action.