Guest essay by Eric Worrall
PHD student Christian Elliott is worried that democracy, the tendency for Conservatives to sometimes win elections, is impeding vital progress on climate change; though he hopes that reframing the issue and tackling negative stereotypes may bring Conservatives on board.
Both conservatives and liberals can agree on action on climate change
October 16, 2019 9.18am AEDT
Christian Elliott PhD Student and Researcher, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto
We tend to assume that democracies, over the long arc of history, work towards progress and justice. But with an issue like climate change, we’re running out of time.
It may come as a surprise, but at the moment, democracy may be an obstacle to the rapid action we need on climate change.
Democratic governments naturally swing back and forth between conservative and liberal control. But environmental issues are increasingly associated with liberal values exclusively in countries like Canada and the United States.
The transition from a liberal government to a conservative one often leads to a relapse of environmental policies, including program cuts, delays and even outright rejections or silencing of the science underlying climate change.
If political psychology is any indication, there’s clearly an opportunity to bring conscientiously minded conservatives into the environmental movement.
We have real world examples of this approach at play. Though by name the “Green New Deal” is associated with large-scale American public investment and thus “big government,” it’s also sensitive to the plight of citizens that might otherwise embody a conservative anti-environment sentiment.
…Read more: https://theconversation.com/both-conservatives-and-liberals-can-agree-on-action-on-climate-change-124878
Christian goes on to argue coal miners and oil rig workers will ultimately embrace the green new deal, because the GND will provide renewable jobs to replace lost fossil fuel jobs.
No doubt Christian will soon find a home for his political science skills in a policy think tank or ministerial advisory panel, where he will work hard to reduce the scope for Democracy and partisanship to interrupt efforts to save the world from climate change.