Worse, there is no pursing the middle ground on the climate crisis. The stakes, both politically and environmentally, are too high. The habitability of our planet is not a voting constituency to be weighed up against another. When Shorten endorsed the false opposition between workers’ interests and the environment, he showed that he doesn’t understand this.
However, the dilemma only applies within a neoliberal worldview. It also risks accelerating the rapid growth of far-right parties who win votes whenever environmental reforms are seen to lower living standards.
By contrast, the proposal for a Green New Deal radically and popularly connects improved livelihoods with protecting the environment. The only problem is that endorsing policies like these would require a break with neoliberalism.