chapter  6
19 Pages

Conservative populism and carbon contradictions

ByRebecca Pearse

Unpacking the rhetorical strategies used by the political Right, this chapter illustrates the ways in which conservatives leveraged the contradictions of carbon pricing to undermine public support for climate policy. After illustrating the political Right's objections to carbon pricing, it argues that environmentalists have struggled to respond with a popular alternative in part because of the movement's reliance on technocratic reform strategies. The conservative countermovement in Australia leveraged the contradictions of carbon pricing in a bid to de-legitimise the Gillard government's Clean Energy Future reforms. A key aspect of conservative populist discourse in Australia has targeted a 'new-class' of left-wing elites that conservatives seek to de-legitimise. In Australia conservatives have aligned themselves with the energy and industrial sectors, and at the same time asserted allegiance to the lower and middles classes in decidedly populist tones. Populism is a style of argumentation, not tied to a particular set of views or ideology.