“…global warming is no longer a philosophical threat, no longer a future threat, no longer a threat at all. It’s our reality. We’ve changed the planet, changed it in large and fundamental ways. And these changes are far, far more evident in the toughest parts of the globe, where climate change is already wrecking thousands of lives daily…” – Bill McKibbin, Eaarth
Extraordinary things are happening in Australian politics today.
Kevin Rudd, who lead the Labour part to a “smashing” victory in 2007 – and was once Australia’s most popular Prime Minister – has been ousted and replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gaillard.
There are far more qualified people who can comment on this, however thinking about this in the context of climate change I believe this is a harbinger of things to come.
In less than twelve months a Prime Minister and a Leader of the Opposition have been deposed because of the politics surrounding climate change.
Late last year, Malcolm Turnbull was ousted by right-wing elements of the Liberal Party who rejected not only the ETS, but the idea that humanity was causing global warming.
Rudd was elected in large part because many Australians wanted action on climate change. There are many reasons for the collapse in public support for Rudd, however the key moment was his “back flip” on the Emissions Trading Scheme that destroyed people trust in him and the governments willingness to take action:
By November, the Rudd government appeared unassailable, enhanced by the faltering state of then opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull.
Mr Rudd went to Copenhagen with fading hopes of climate glory on either the international or national stage.
This was to mark the beginning of his slide.
As Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, who had been hoisted by the vigorously anti-emissions trading scheme agitators within the Coalition, began to badger Mr Rudd over the ”great big new tax”, his climate ardour cooled.
His backing away from legislation, let alone a double dissolution, on the climate issue became corrosive.
The politics of climate change destroyed two political leaders: what’s next?
The politics of climate change is not the sole driver of these events.
However, I think we can say climate change is no longer an issue politicians can afford to ignore.
The majority of Australians (let’s ignore the highly vocal, but significant minority of “sceptics”) want action on climate change. Rudd disappointed with his ETS back flip.
Conversely, sceptics of climate change backed the new Liberal leader Tony Abbot whose acceptance of the science is at best tenuous.
I think it goes without saying that climate change issues will completely reshape the political landscape over the next few years.
As it’s effects begun to be felt even more, politicians who once chanted the “growth” mantra will struggle to develop policies that will mitigate the effects of global warming and put a price on carbon.
The public will become even more divided on what they believe is an adequate response to climate change. This in turn may drive even wilder swings in opinion polls.
Perhaps politics will become even more partisan. Having delayed action for nearly twenty years, governments and politicians around the world will scramble to develop effective and popular strategies.
But what will this mean for us, the ordinary citizens of democracies such as Australia?
New politics for a new planet: the “Green-Security” political paradigm
As Bill McKibben said in his recent book Eaarth, we live on a new planet.
Thus it makes sense that we will see a new form of politics emerging, one very different from the neo-conservative politics of the last few decades that have placed a primacy on economic growth and management.
It won’t be “It’s the economy stupid” but “It’s the planet, stupid”.
Economic issues, once the predominant concern of politics is going to take a back seat.
The old distinctions between left, right, liberal, green, progressive and conservative will become increasingly meaningless.
Instead, we may see a politics that is focussed on conversation and security.
The politics of green parties will merge into the mainstream, as we see the effects of climate change become even more apparent – protecting the environment will become the central position of most parties. .
Twinned to this will be a concerns about security: food security as agriculture suffers under climate change; border security as populations become displaced and waves of refugees shift in response to weather; economic security as we struggle with the costs climate change will wreck on our economics; energy security; and military security, as conflicts escalate.
This hybrid “Green-Security” politics will be a direct product of climate change. 
We will lurch between wanting to mitigate the effect of global warming, desperately trying to reduce the volume of CO2 we put into the atmosphere and dealing with the political and economic impacts all this entails.
We’ve left Earth with its familiar climate, cultures and politics.
We’re about to land on Eaarth, a very different planet.
 This won’t stop the denial movement, even as the seas rise they’ll claim it’s the sun, faulty weather stations or a conspiracy orchestrated by green-socialist-bankers.
 I’m struggling for an adequate definition, happy for other suggestions