Lilach Litor | Israel Law Review
Action on climate change has enjoyed popular support in most Western countries. Despite this, successive governments have struggled to implement policy to tackle this issue. Using the case of opposition to the Clean Energy Act, passed in Australia to establish an emissions trading scheme, this paper argues that a growing and broad sentiment of distrust in political elites, described as ‘anti-politics’, can explain some of this contradiction. Particular forms of climate policy, in particular emissions trading schemes, have been successfully framed as policies that appeal to the interests of a new class of liberal elites while hurting ordinary working people. This frame was used successfully in Australia by conservative forces to oppose the Clean Energy Act. While used cynically by political leaders in this case, the paper argues that anti-political sentiment reflects genuine concerns about the detachment between the state and voting population. This detachment is reflected in neoliberal climate policies. Through briefly examining the cases of the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and the Gilets Jaunes protest movement, the paper argues that while formulating climate policy we must consider anti-political sentiment, developing responses to the climate crisis from a bottom-up rather than top-down approach.