When being right isn’t quite enough… The political mainstream, climate change and the Greens October 30, 2006Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Labour Party, climate change, Global Warming, Greens, Irish Politics.
It was truly startling to see the co-option of the Stern Report on climate change by the British Government today. The report makes for depressing reading, positing a future which would see a 20% decrease in global GDP in the event of uncontrolled climate change – and lest that sound not so bad it’s worth considering that in the crassest terms it’s the developed world which would be hit hardest by that decrease in GDP in terms of material comfort while the developing world would be hit as hard or worse in terms of the human effects.
But the stray thought that struck me was that the impact of the implementation of Stern et al would mean, to a significant degree the validation of a broad range of ideas generally associated with the Greens (both in political and social terms). This is, to my mind at least (and as someone long influenced by the red-green thinking of those such as that of Bahro and Gorz), welcome in terms of conversion away from a high carbon economy to one which utilises technological improvements and considered use of resources in the framework of a low carbon environment.
But isn’t this also the point at which Green ideas are subsumed, as socialist ideas were before them, into the general paradigms of mainstream politics. The UK example is particularly instructive. Here we have all three major parties, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives engaged with considerably more determination than one might have ever previously anticipated in such ideas.
I’m not suggesting for a moment that it sounds the death knell of Green parties, but it does perhaps indicate that their political role will remain perhaps more marginal than they or we might hope for in the future, that their relationship will be similar to that of Sinn Féin to Fianna Fáil as regards ‘Republicanism’ where the larger more mainstream party picks the elements that are most voter friendly, or indeed both the larger parties Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in relation to social democracy.
Of course, is this a surprise? No-one has expected the Greens to coast to state power on the back of simply being right on many of the big issues, but it seems to me slightly unfair that they may not reap any reward for sterling work over the past number of decades. And while the current poll ratings for the Greens, as seen in the RedC figures from the weekend are good, it’s hard to believe they reflect anything much more than our local political concerns rather than – say – the influence of those who have seen ‘An Inconvenient Truth’.