Energy & Environment

Obama official pitches ‘Frozen’ spin-off about climate change

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An Obama administration official wants to hire the Walt Disney Co. to teach children about climate change using the wildly popular animated franchise “Frozen.”

Robert Papp, the State Department’s envoy for the Arctic, recent met with a Disney executive to discuss the idea of using “Frozen’s” characters to teach children about the impact of a warming planet on the polar bear.

“I said, ‘You’ve taught an entire generation about the Arctic, ” Papp recalled telling the Disney official, speaking this week at a conference in Norway. “Unfortunately, the Arctic that you’ve taught them about is a fantasy kingdom in Norway, where everything is nice,” Papp said.

“And I said what we really need to do is educate the American youth about the plight of the polar bear, about the thawing tundra, about Alaskan villages that run the risk of falling into the sea because of the lack of sea ice protecting their shores,” Papp said.

The Disney officials were cool to the idea, and told Papp that the company prefers optimistic stories.

“We’re regrouping on our story line and we still have Disney engaged, but there’s more yet to come there,” Papp said.

The 2013 musical film about a princess’s journey with an iceman in Norway has been a massive financial success, won two Academy Awards and is the highest grossing animated film of all time.

Papp, who was named the Obama administration’s top diplomat for the Arctic in July, said he has seen “Frozen” about 20 times, thanks large to his two granddaughters who are obsessed with it.

Papp credited a staffer in his office with the idea to use the movie to teach about climate change.

“Responding to Climate Change” first reported Papp’s comments.

A report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in December found that the Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world.  

Tags Climate change Frozen Robert Papp State Department

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