The environment movement has been united since 1972 on the fundamental issue of the polluter pays principle, stating that polluters must pay to clean up the damage they have created. It is the principle which underpins emissions trading schemes, and which drives the campaign in recent months to cut the massive subsidies to fossil fuels from the upcoming Budget.

By abandoning the polluter pays principle, WWF and the Climate Institute should be seen to have abandoned any remaining pretence of being part of the mainstream environment movement. But is this a split, or confirmation that these groups are not truly part of the movement?