Will the Conservatives cleave over climate change?

Conservative Home asks this very question and it is an interesting one given events in Australia where the leader Australian Liberals was ousted following their deal with Kevin Rudd over climate change.  I am not convinced by some of the arguments; especially, the ones that pigeon-hole the ‘Left’;

“The British Left is united in its Euroenthusiasm and its embrace of climate change.”

While it is true that virtually across the left-wing spectrum there is unanimity on climate change the diagnoses and subsequent perceptions change. My view is that climate change is a structurally created problem with the only meaningful solutions being structural in basis. However, the mainstream view is that the structure is capable of providing solutions and the onus should instead be on individuals and businesses orchestrated by the state provide the solution.  So, to present the ‘Left’ as having a monolithic view on climate change is as false as to present it as having one on Europe (and it also forgets that until relatively recently mainstream leftist opinion was Eurosceptic).

The author undermines his own second premise;

Both are built on ideas that are very controversial for conservatives:(…)climate change is built on the idea that climate change is man-made (which I largely accept) and we can do something about it (where I largely dissent).

 In other words it’s perfectly possible for people to talk-the-talk on climate change without actually doing anything about it. Since, practically, the author would not push action further than somebody who denies the fact that climate change exists or is man-made (because neither see the point of acting for different reasons) I see little reason both strands could not happily co-exist within the same party.

For obvious political reasons the Conservatives are not positioning themselves as deniers; what they are doing is merely saying that policies have to pass the test of being beneficial in other areas. Meanwhile, the left is hamstrung by the contradictions in its own discourse; having lost a narrative which calls for a radical alteration in social structure it is now presented with a problem that demands precisely that but, of course, that is off the agenda.

Hence the piecemeal nature of the reforms that issue forth from the likes of Copenhagen. The sad truth is that it is events which will at the end of the day determine the outcome of these contradictions and the likelihood that we will be backed into a corner by an unforseen event is increasingly prevalent in speculative form in popular culture.


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About darrellgoodliffe


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