Conservatives Win Shock Victory in Australia, NYT Laments Climate Alarmist Loss

On Saturday, the conservative party — the Liberal/National coalition — held on to its majority in Australia's parliament, even picking up a few seats and stunning observers who had predicted a Labor Party victory. In fact, The New York Times ran a lament that the climate alarmists lost their election.

Voters elected the 46th Parliament of Australia, and all 151 seats in the House of Representatives were up for election. A party needs 76 seats to control a majority and form a government. As of Sunday afternoon, the Liberal/National coalition had taken 75 seats, while the Labor Party took only 65 seats.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison called his coalition's victry a "miracle," since polls had predicted a Labor victory. Labor leader Bill Shorten called Morrison to concede.

For over two years, Labor has led in the polls, but Morrison turned things around, the BBC reported. Voters focused on the economy, the cost of living, environment, and health care. Morrison focused on economic issues while Shorten promised to raise taxes on the wealthy and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

"The polls said this would be Australia’s climate change election, when voters confronted harsh reality and elected leaders who would tackle the problem," The New York Times' Damien Cave lamented. While that was true in some districts, "over all, Australians shrugged off the warming seas killing the Great Barrier Reef and the extreme drought punishing farmers. On Saturday, in a result that stunned most analysts, they re-elected the conservative coalition that has long resisted plans to sharply cut down on carbon emissions and coal."

The causal relationship between climate change and greenhouse gas emissions are debatable and unproven. After all, climate alarmists have notoriously failed to predict future temperatures, so they settle for blaming current climate threats on fossil fuel emissions.

Damien Cave quoted climate alarmists who claimed that man-made climate change is becoming impossible to deny. "And yet the path to victory for Scott Morrison, the incumbent prime minister, will make agreeing on a response more difficult," Cave wrote. "He and his Liberal-National coalition won thanks not just to their base of older, suburban economic conservatives, but also to a surge of support in Queensland, the rural, coal-producing, sparsely populated state sometimes compared to the American South."

"The coalition successfully made cost the dominant issue in the climate change debate. One economic model estimated that the 45 percent reduction in carbon emissions proposed by the opposition Labor Party would cost the economy 167,000 jobs and 264 billion Australian dollars, or $181 million. Though a Labor spokesman called the model 'dodgy,' Mr. Morrison and his allies used it to argue against extending Australia’s existing efforts to reduce emissions and invest in clean energy," Cave noted.

This message resonated in Queensland, home to the proposed Carmichael coal mine. Last month, environmentalist activists in Clermont faced off against pro-coal activists. According to Susan Harris-Rimmer, a law professor at Griffith University in Queensland, "The predominant Queensland characteristic is pride and you can't pour scorn on them."

Attacking these voters was a mistake similar to Hillary Clinton's disastrous attack on Trump supporters as "deplorables," Harris-Rimmer said. "You can't trigger the pride response."

"Scholars of Australian populism agree, arguing that the weakening of the major parties and the country’s tilt to the right have been driven mainly by class envy and alienation, including the belief that the elite do not understand the needs and values of the working class," Cave wrote. Morrison won by representing himself as an everyman.

Cave lamented the conservative victory, but it shows that Australians care about the high cost of environmental activism based on questionable climate alarmism. Just as the high cost of the Green New Deal drives people away from that radical legislation, so Australia's Labor Party lost by championing climate alarm at costs that voters are not willing to stomach.

Yet The New York Times seems bent on climate alarmism, and liberals seem unwilling to learn the lesson that voters aren't willing to suffer in the name of fighting questionable climate threats.

It is also important to note that cheap electricity helps the poor become wealthy. Climate alarmism targets the engine of prosperity, but voters often choose to defend it.

Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.