"Global warming is the issue that can change everything - we know this from the irrational right-wing response to climate change," according to former ALP leader Mark Latham.
Mr Latham was speaking to a big, sell-out public dinner hosted by the Bermagui Institute last month.
"The Industrial Revolution created two pervasive institutions: market based capitalism and carbon-based production," he said.
"The two go together like husband and wife. An attack on one is an attack on the other."
In Mr Latham's view, this is how the far-right views global warming - not as a scientifically proven phenomenon, endorsed by every national scientific academy in the western world, but as a political assault on the legitimacy of capital.
Other than through carbon pricing and mandatory renewable-energy targets, there is little that Australian governments can do to establish a low-carbon economy, Mr Latham believes.
In the long history of capitalism, there is no evidence of government-led industry programs developing new technologies, he said.
"Throwing public money at companies will not lead to greenhouse gas abatement," Mr Latham stated.
"The only effective way of stimulating alternative energy sources and corporate investment is through a pricing mechanism."
In a question-and-answer session following his address, Mr Latham expressed disappointment in the fact at that time neither of the two current candidates for the ALP leadership, Anthony Albanese and Bill Shorten, had yet to outline any policy aimed at further reforming their troubled party.