Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

John Howard, environmentalist

By Jennifer Marohasy - posted Monday, 24 December 2007

According to a recent Liberal Party report, the Howard government had $4.3 billion in its 2007-08 budget for the environment compared with less than $500 million in Labor’s last year of office.

If the prime minister had had his own plan, his own vision and ideas for the environment, his government may have been able to better prioritise issues and better able to consider expenditure in terms of its opportunity cost. But in the end, it seems his legacy would perhaps still be the prime minister who refused to ratify Kyoto and “save the world from global warming”.

Lord Nigel Lawson, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer in the British parliament, recently commented that despite Kyoto and innumerable international gatherings of the great and the good, little in practice has been done to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions. They continue to rise and the reason for this, of course, is that fine words are cheap, whereas the 70 per cent reduction in global carbon dioxide emissions which would be required to stabilise carbon dioxide concentrations in the earth’s atmosphere would be very costly indeed.


The environment, and in particular “stopping climate change”, has emerged as an ideal in which seemingly well-educated people often search for the grand gesture as much as real actions likely to result in practical, lasting solutions. The situation is unlikely to change in the short to medium term, whether global temperatures continue to increase or cool. But what the next Liberal Party leader needs to attempt, at the very least, is to force a consideration of various policy options for Australia, including alternatives, costs and benefits, and global implications.

Environmentalism has been aptly described as the new religion of choice for urban atheists. It is belief-driven. But, hopefully, Australians have not lost all sense of reason - hopefully, Australians are just waiting to be dragged back to reality. After all, facts do not cease to exist just because they are ignored.

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. Page 3
  5. All

First published in the IPA Review, January 2008.

 Institute of Public Affairs Advertisement


Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

33 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Jennifer Marohasy is a senior fellow with the Institute for Public Affairs.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Jennifer Marohasy

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Jennifer Marohasy
Article Tools
Comment 33 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend
Latest from Institute of Public Affairs
 No reality holiday from this population challenge
 For budgets only smaller is tougher
 Government subsidies to green groups must end
 Boot-strapping on a carbon tax
 West's history not complete without reference to Christianity

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy