Unfortunately, action on climate change seems to be a case where the right has, effectively, won. Human activity is making the earth warmer. Quickly. Most people don’t buy into the notion that it’s a big conspiracy. But the consensus does seem to be that doing something about it would be too hard, or would destroy the economy, or maybe we should study it more…
As I noted at the discussion thread, I find both the above comment and further observations on climate denialism and a “both sides/open question” framing in the mass media to be “true enough.”
On a practical level, a rational left-liberal response to this predicament might be to set down markers, remain open to unexpected alterations in the political terrain, and carefully prepare for the eventual crisis, which will probably arise “too late” from multiple perspectives: It’s the same stance that any radical oppositional perspective requires of the oppositionalist who is unable to describe precisely how the politician or administrator can employ – actually implement – whatever recommendations.
The further problem, however, is that most on the “liberal left” are as incapable of coping with climate change as those who openly call it a “hoax.”
Climate change is a typical, perhaps the typical, product of democratic capitalism as a world system. The idea of the fundamental disruption of the environment itself, a kind of “crack in the world,” stands as that system’s ultimate externality. Ecological catastrophe appears to be, equates with, the inevitable destination of democratic capitalism because full comprehension of the problem of externalities requires practical, effective acknowledgment of ultimate, primary, and determinative transnational social-collective ownership of the means of production. In other words, avoiding climate catastrophe requires of democratic capitalism that it embrace its own absolute contradiction – catastrophically.
The neoliberal right and left – “conservatives” and “liberals,” as per the plain Sunday questions – each respond with their own versions of denial, and modern political science can produce reams of literature explaining why neither group, on this question members of the same group, will ever overcome the challenge before it overcomes them instead.