ADELAIDE - What passes as the climate debate seems to me to typify what is happening in our world today.
Those who occupy what might broadly be described as a conservative political position seem unwilling or unable to grasp the scale of the problem or its probable consequences.
As a result, they are quite unwilling to contemplate the economic and lifestyle trade-offs required, especially in the so-called developed world, to ameliorate the worst effects of the change process that is clearly and unequivocally occurring now.
Those who have what is called a progressive political outlook see the oncoming disaster but are apparently incapable of galvanising sufficient public support to induce governments to do anything meaningful.
Partly at least, this is because the progressive forces often are also the proponents of the sort of identity politics around sexual preferences, ethnicity, and so forth that have so material assisted the resurgence of ‘white nationalism’ that they despise.
Bernard Corden is right: the only occupants of the middle ground are indeed merely road kill of one sort or another.
This is all part of a bigger picture, which is the world's descent into a sort of collective madness.
We now live in an increasingly dystopian world in which a swirling maelstrom of hot button political, economic and social issues, leavened with a generous serve of rat-baggery as well as truly sinister ideas, has destabilised the world order.
This helps explain why authoritarians claiming to know the answers to the world's problems are once again being elected to office by a disillusioned, ignorant and frightened populace.
Of course, they are merely the usual suspects: pretenders and charlatans whose simplistic nostrums actually make no sense at all and often contribute to the growing madness.
The unhappy role of Papua New Guinea and other Pacific nations is to be the helpless victims of all this, just like they were during the 20th century wars that ended European and Japanese imperialism, replacing it with other, more subtle forms of tyranny.
So, the Pacific Islands Forum members may talk to their hearts' content but their words are just wind really.
The great and the good are no longer listening: they are too busy jostling for power, prestige and money to take any notice of a few tiny islands, far, far away.