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Top 10 Tory bloggers disagree with David Cameron on climate change

Sunder Katwala, general secretary of the Fabian Society, "The Tory blogs range from different varieties of agnosticism to the absolute certainty that climate change is a fraud,"

He said his findings suggested that the so-called "Tory netroots" of influential bloggers could exert pressure on party policy in the event of a Tory win at the next election.

"It puts barriers on a strong policy response," Katwala said. "It reflects a continued strong belief in a free-market response to climate change – to price in a response. But you can't do that if you're a believer in small government because that means a lot of multilateral governance and regulation of the economy if you're to have working markets."

I'm rather relieved that some Tories still believe in free markets and pricing in a response, and amused that it is apparently impossible to have working markets with a small government because they need "a lot of multilateral governance and regulation of the economy".

Comments

The more we hear from the Conservative Party, the less electable they become. On many issues they are totally out of touch with their one time supporters.

I will not be voting Conservative in the next election. They no longer represent my views.

According to 'The Times' this morning the new front runner to the EU Presidency, Herman van Rompuy, addressed the Bilderberg group and told them at social welfare from green taxes. This would involve specific EU taxes and he hinted that they would be similar to a Tobin tax. The cat's out of the bag now.

I think I agree with you, or am less far from you than you think. The report somewhat garbles the point I was trying to make, which was to make a distinction between those two views rather than to conflate them.

Climate change does not present an existentialist threat to those pro-market voices (I was thinking of The Economist and Financial Times, but the same could be said of European Christian Democrats; Social Democrats; modernising green Tories) who think the answer is to adapt market regulations so as to value environmental resources. The broad consensus of these type of views is to support binding international constraints on CO2 omissions, internationally, and implement these in national policies. So it involves national and multilateral regulation to provide a framework for sustainable markets. There is an analogy here to how social market approaches have sought to maintain public and political consent for a (constrained) market capitalism. And there will be a debate about the "how" where the centre-right and centre-left may differ on the right mix of measures, while agreeing on the objective.

But that approach is rejected by pro-market voices who are instinctively very much more hostile to regulation and multilateralism, from a Thatcherite/Hayekian position of defending the "free market" with as little regulation as possible. Accepting the climate change 'consensus view' could be an existential threat to this position, for example in signing up to the UK climate change bill framework. For those for whom binding limits are anathema, the obvious answer is to reject or challenge the evidence about climate change, because there does not seem to be a "free market" solution as understood from this position.

I think this is what explains the interest of Nigel Lawson and Norman Lamont in climate science. The Tory bloggers consensus on a subject on which they mosty lack expertise or engagement suggests it is this version of being pro-market which dominates much of the British right. If a few more of them read Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, perhaps we could close the gap, but it seems to me very likely that the consensus reflects ideological opposition, rather than a sceptical reading of the evidence, in the majority of cases.


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