“Climate change was once a scientific issue prompting relatively universal concerns. How did it get labeled left-wing?“
In truth the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis was an academic coffee table discussion and so it should still be since we really have not significantly advanced our understanding of the atmosphere so much as we have added vast amounts of ambiguous data.
We do know that “runaway greenhouse” is not possible on our watery planet, that warming is not increasing at any appreciable rate and that earth is really not in any danger from a trivial increase in an essential trace gas.
The only real danger comes from the possibility that wannabe social engineers might succeed in using this non-issue to stampede populations or at least their politicians into doing the bidding of the Socialists to “protect us”.
That is what makes it a “Left-wing” issue.
Climate change, the battleground of modern Australian partisan politics, was once more of a scientific subject supported by a broad if tenuous political consensus.
Not so anymore. Although the scientific community is as close to consensus on the issue as you can get, there are vocal dissenters, who argue climate change is either not real or real but not caused by humans (and therefore not something we should try to control). The dissenters are having an impact: fewer people than three years ago believe that climate change is a problem.
Former Prime Minister John Howard is one. In office, after many years of equivocating, Howard said he believed climate change was happening and government must act. He has since stepped back from that position. These days Howard describes himself as a climate change agnostic.
“In a sense the climate change debate has fulfilled the ideological hunger for one side of politics to have a cause, and I don’t think they will lightly abandon it. This is the new religion of the global left. It has become a cause célèbre for the early part of the 21st century,” he said when he launched a book by climate sceptic Ian Plimer in Sydney in December 2011.
The issue has become one less of science, policy and evidence than of ideology, politics and faith.