By what kind of distorted logic can global warming be seen as an ideological issue? Why do some people regard the idea of the world getting hotter as a Leftist conspiracy, while others see the failure of government action on climate change as a Right Wing plot? Isn’t the future wellbeing of the planet something we can all agree on?

Increasingly, it is. The conventional view — conservatives = global warming sceptics, left-wingers = converts – is peeling away in the face of reality. Conspiracy theorists and loony-tune columnists only have to look out their windows or turn on a TV to confront the heat, the drought, the bushfires, the early spring, the melting ice, the rising oceans, the abnormal weather patterns. Even if they continue to reject the science, how can they reject the weather outside their doorsteps?

The Australian government, like governments everywhere, is coming to terms with what they see out of their window. As the Prime Minister executes his nuanced u-turn on global warming, his ministers are clearing the path ahead of him. Last week, Environment Minister Ian Campbell told The Bulletin that climate change is by far the biggest challenge facing the world, and if people like him don’t get it right “the Earth will fry”. Nothing ideological in that sentiment.

Today in Crikey we’re introducing a new feature we’re calling State of the Planet. On most days we’ll collate news, views, research and information about the environment and global warming into a single item, with links to read further. That’s in addition to all our longer daily environment stories.

To us it’s an issue about heat, not politics.

Peter Fray

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