Scott Morrison was elected Australia’s Prime Minister earlier this year. He is vehemently opposed to tackling climate change and is a denier of the existence of man-made climate change. Australia mines a huge quantity of coal, most of which is exported. The owners of the coal industry are appreciative of Morrison’s support.
Australia has an unusual approach to democracy: Voting in elections is mandatory. It is illegal not to vote. The intended consequence of forced voting is that people who would not normally vote would, if forced to do so, tend to vote for the most visible candidate or for the party whose leader is the most visible. Support for Morrison and his party in the Murdoch media – almost all newspapers in Australia are owned by Rupert Murdoch’s business – made him much more noticeable than his opponents. Mandatory voting caused Morrison to be elected.
In Australia an extreme form of democracy elected an extremist climate change denier. In countries with less extreme democracies there is always the possibility of a government elected that will undo advances in tackling climate change; for example, Trump, Bolsanaro and Orban were elected. Countries whose current governments tackle or give the pretence of tackling man-made climate change could experience a complete reversal of progress if an election produced a climate change denying government.
Elections can change political outlook and switch fundamental policies on any issue but failure to deal with climate change and to make it worse might be irreversible. Five years of destruction of the climate from a government focussed on enhancing the profits of fossil fuel and associated industries could be beyond repair.
Alternative structures of government could be considered to tackle climate change:
- Technocratic administrations
- Separation of climate policy from government via judicial-style quango
- International law
A technocratic administration would by nature not be radical. Even if it had clear focus of tying to address man-made climate change its intrinsic subservience to the status quo would prevail. On non-climate change issues a technocratic government would always choose the least disruptive policy and favour the interests of any established section of society.
An overriding judicial-style quango would be in constant combat with any elected government if the latter was reluctant to fight against climate change. Legal battles and accusations of impropriety, from both sides, would occupy time, resources and money.
International laws can be effective only if all countries apply them. Any government opposed to tackling climate change could simply walk away.
Therefore, we need grommunism.
grommunism n. Green communism