If I were to say what my biggest fear is over the climate, and how we humans tackle it, I might easily turn to the term Humza Yousaf used last week. "The culture war”.

It’s a conflict I’ve watched roil up over the past few years and my fear is that, even at this vital time, even as the world’s temperature records are being shattered, progress will stall, or even shift to reverse, because vital policies will be shelved and sent back to the drawing board.

And this will happen not because the policies are flawed - as almost all policies are - but because of the sheer shock and awe of culture war politics.

We’ve already seen this in Scotland - from the slaying and delaying of Deposit Return and HPMAs to the backlash against Glasgow’s LEZ and the future emission zones to come across Scotland, or even the heat already building on the Heat in Buildings strategy.

We don’t have to look as far as the Uxbridge Tory by-election victory, attributed to Ulez backlash, to see that anything climate or biodiversity-related is caught in the frontline of a burgeoning culture war.

Perhaps part of the problem is that all these policies are not chiefly about greenhouse gas emissions, but other environmental issues. But I don’t think it’s wholly that. The guns are coming out against anything green, which has now firmly been placed in that box called ‘woke’.

It's against this that we need to fight - the biggest question being how do we create a political climate in which people, businesses and communities, behave, on this key issue of our times, in good faith, and with sincerity. 

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The climate culture war, of course, is not just happening here. It is happening across the globe, and particularly strongly in Europe, the United States, and Australia. Only just last month, the economist Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times: “Climate denial has also become a front in the culture wars, with right-wingers rejecting the science in part because they dislike science in general and opposing action against emissions out of visceral opposition to anything liberals support.”

But there are factors in Scotland that exacerbate it further. Here, there is not just the matter of right and left, progressive and conservative, but also independence and unionism, and the bunfight around that, in which SNP/Green policies are brought down, or reified, in the creation of narratives that are really about sovereignty.

There is also clearly an identity element in some of this opposition - a sort of real men and freedom lovers have to stand by their cars, eat red meat, and defend the maxing out of fossil fuel extraction.

Paul Krugman quoted the American commentator David Brooks, who, in a television interview talked about the “political machismo” around climate in the United States. Brooks said: “If polite opinion says A, then we say Z. And so, drill, baby drill, is a way to offend the elites.”

Are we seeing an anti-climate mitigation machismo here too? A desire to offend? Are we seeing a reshaping of the story to make it seem as if what is really at stake is some aspect of freedom?

Quite clearly we are. And it's the kind of thing that can lead to Rishi Sunak jumping to say that he was “on the side of the motorists”. When did a motorist become a demographic, like hard-working families, that needed to have a prime minister on their side? We see it in some of the triumphant fanfare around the new oil and gas licences.

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Freedom and offence have been tied to a kind of machismo that seems increasingly like a glorified death wish.

Lately, I've noticed more and more people, even friends, openly expressing a degree of climate denialism, from the full-throttle claim that the climate is just changing and we have little to do with it, to the more moderate positions such as ‘there’s little point because it's all about China' or ‘technology and green capitalism will sort it out’.

Meanwhile, too often, the focus shifts to small policy details, whilst the elephant in the room is barely mentioned. I know this summer was a bit of a wash-out in Scotland, but this July was the global hottest month on record, and that’s since 1880. 

All of us should be examining how we can tackle this issue without ramping up conflict, division and toxicity. But it’s hard. Even those of us keen to push for climate action easily find ourselves drawn into wedge debates that split us apart.  

One clear thing is that more needs to be done to emphasise the positive impacts of many of these policies and make people feel they can have a part in that.

But also, we need to find some way to come together in good faith. Yousaf’s proposed emergency climate summit answer is not a bad idea. But the war is already on and too many are deep in their trenches.

Can we avoid it being the trigger for another anti-woke onslaught? For the sake of all our futures, we have to.