Paul Krugman had it right when he denounced climate change denialists as "depraved." And the depraved, also known as right-wing populists, will be out in force at next week's COP24 climate summit.
Germany faces its own threat in the form of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
The environmental affairs spokesman for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), Karsten Hilse, is someone who rarely raises his voice or breaks into the sneers of party heads Alice Weidel and Alexander Gauland — to say nothing of the climate-change-denier-in-chief, US President Donald Trump.
But Hilse's message is just as radical. The 53-year-old father of three says that the mainstream political parties and media have created nothing less than an irrational environmentalist religion, forcing ordinary people to do penance for imaginary sins in changing the planet's environment.
Hilse's goals are to have Germany leave the Paris Agreement, overturn the country's ambitious German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) and, above all, to get people to stop asking what can be done about man-made climate change in favor of questioning whether it's a gigantic hoax put forth by politicians and journalists.
...Since the dramatic decline of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the AfD have been vying to establish themselves as Germany's second political force. In recent regional elections and national opinion polls, the environmentalists have moved past the far-right populists, and not surprisingly the AfD has markedly stepped up its direct attacks on the Greens. In the future, these two parties could represent the main poles on the left and right of Angela Merkel's weakening CDU/CSU in the middle.
Right wing populist Poland is hosting this year's climate summit, COP24, in Katowice, smack dab in the heart of Poland's revered coal country. Among European countries, the Green 14 - Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom - back faster and deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Whether Italy's new right wing populist government will stay that course isn't clear although Italy, like all European Mediterranean nations, is squarely in the climate change crosshairs.