Tuesday 02 September 2014

Howard says climate support was political


Australia’s former conservative Liberal-National prime minister John Howard has cast doubt on the possibility of a global climate change agreement.

At the same time he has admitted he only backed emissions trading before the 2007 election because he faced a “perfect storm” on the issue.

doha-climate-change-conferenceAAP Newsagency reports Mr Howard expressed the views while delivering the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s annual lecture in London last night.

Former Thatcher minister Lord Nigel Lawson, who is sceptical about the impact of rising temperatures, established the foundation.

“I’ve always been agnostic about climate change,” Mr Howard said in London before his address.

“I don’t completely dismiss the more dire warnings but I instinctively feel that some of the claims are exaggerated.

lord-nicholas-stern-british-economist“I don’t accept all of the alarmist conclusions.”

Mr Howard said he’d grown up being told ulcers were caused by stress but it was later revealed a virus was to blame.

“You can never be absolutely certain that all the science is in.”

Before the 2007 federal election Mr Howard pledged a re-elected conservative government would introduce an emissions trading scheme (ETS).

AAP reports he now says that was because by late 2006 his government hit a “perfect storm” with on-going drought, severe water restrictions, bushfires and the release of the (Lord Nicholas) Stern Review and Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth.

kevin-rudd-Labor-PM-Mk2“To put it bluntly, ‘doing something’ about global warming gathered strong political momentum in Australia,” Mr Howard said in his written lecture.

Regardless, Labor, led by Kevin Rudd, won the 2007 poll.

Mr Howard says that was partly because the party had even “more fashionable” views on climate change.

However, six years on, Australia’s second-longest serving prime minister insists the high tide of public support for “over-zealous action” on global warming has passed.

tony-abbott-LIB-leader-speaks“I am very sceptical about the possibility of a global agreement ever being reached when you look at what happened in Copenhagen,” he said.

Mr Howard added that in his view there was no real prospect of a deal between the major emitters Europe, the United States and north Asia.

The former Prime Minister said he believed anti-global warming policies should never stand in the way of economic growth in developing countries.

Most economists believe current Liberal-National Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Direct Action approach to curbing carbon emissions will be more expensive than an ETS.

AAP reports Mr Howard refused to be drawn on his protégée’s policy.

john-howard-former-PM-Liberal-AustraliaIt’s better for the government that’s proposing the Direct Action plan to engage in the debate,” he said.

The former Liberal leader was forced to defend his decision to read Lord Lawson’s book An Appeal to Reason twice despite not having picked up any other book on global warming.

Asked if that was unbalanced, the former-PM said he re-read the work as a courtesy after being invited by Lord Lawson to deliver the lecture.

Mr Howard said it was a “counterbalance” to advice previously received from government departments and stressed he’d read “numerous articles” on climate change.

The 74-year-old also used the lecture to argue nuclear power “must be part of the long term response” to global warming.

“It is a very clean source of energy,” Mr Howard added.


  1. Neil says:

    John Howard has shown yet again that the conservatives will say and do anything to get re elected. He was prepared to tell an opportunistic lie about his intentions if reelected.
    Since when did his politically inspired instincts become more credible than the rigorously researched findings of the huge majority of the worlds climate scientists.
    He will only be convinced when the perfect storm of global climate change actually breaks down his door.

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  2. Ruth Lipscombe says:

    What sort of world does this dreadful man and his clones want to leave their

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  3. Rocky says:

    ‘Conservative’ political parties have made a huge mistake by letting their cart be pulled by the lame donkey of climate denial.

    Even in Canada a tiny LED has gone on:

    One of the first ‘socially conservative’ parties to change on this are the Wildrose Party in Alberta, Canada. Last week they switched from ‘climate science denial’ to:

    “Alberta Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith now says she believes that climate change exists and that mankind is at least partially to blame”

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  4. Maat says:

    But even the head of the IPCC’s Climate Research Unit professor Phil Jones had admitted there has been no global warming in over 15yrs – & did you not see the latest NASA images showing both Polar caps have record ice coverage?

    These are inconvenient truths……i hope your denial stems from wanting to ‘do the right thing’, but don’t promote global taxation and restriction of freedom for such a massive bunch of embarrassing lies such as Global Warming or Climate Change – do your research, these are methods of command & control for the elite, not gateways of freedom, health or wealth for the average person.

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    • Shermy says:

      First, a reply to Maat (and those convinced by these unfortunate but no doubt well-meaning inaccuracies):
      Prof Phil Jones saying this? Citation please.
      “No global warming in over 15yrs” from the IPCC? Incorrect.
      (see “The Australian”) link below – note the EDIT they were forced to make in the article.
      Please note the degree of significant global impact is a matter of 3 degrees in total, at last check. Less if you consider any seasonal variation on something like beans can mean failure to germinate within a 2 degree range on the wrong 2-3 day period.

      Your comments on taxation are pertinent to the politicization of global warming / climate change, not from the science itself. Reality check:

      John Howard is a conservative, a former politician – and not a climate scientist.
      Howard spoke at the behest of Nigel Lawson: a reporter, a conservative and former politician – and also not a climate scientist.

      Howard sited the majority of his opinions based on Nigel Lawson’s book – twice read, apparently, and conceding no other research other than non-specific “articles”. It seemed his speech was for the benefit of thegwpf.org the director of whom, even acknowledges:

      “I do not think anyone is questioning that we are in a period of global warming. Neither do I doubt that the overwhelming majority of climatologists is agreed that the current warming period is mostly due to human impact”

      Benny Peiser is also not a client scientist – I would call him “Dr Peiser” if his sports anthropologyical and sociology credentials in any way merited relevant mention. Although he has studied catastrophe paranoia, apparently – so if anything there’s reasonable grounds for suspicion of confirmation bias.

      Next: who is ‘the average person’ and how is their wealth detracted by climate action? Answer: depends on the type of action. Coal use, for the generation of power, is subsidized in Australia to the tune of whatever it takes (thus far!) to make coal affordable for domestic generation.

      If this doesn’t make Howard’s statement on renewable energy something of a double standard, then it’s hard to imagine what possibly could be.

      Finally, the country most in protest over generation is doing so via a government that has all but exterminated the source of scientific research. The only freedom impinged upon was that of the top polluters right to do so without paying a fee that would help minimise long term potential effects of pollution – industrial polluters paying an industrial levy. Instead, this was passed on to domestic consumers – the little people – yet still, at a rate lower than the inflation of electricity at the time, irrespective, and at a cost-by-inputs component so small it barely amounted to a double figure percentage, while infrastructure on-costs in NSW and VIC were approaching 75% of total cost.
      The new climate science institution is crowd funded – I personally will respect their conclusion regardless of which way it goes. Why would I (or anyone) *want* to believe in devastating all-but irreversible climate change?

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  5. Maat says:

    Hey Shermy – i’m not a fan of Howard or any Politician or party – yes there is climate change and always will be, its just that its on record that the Banks want to fund themselves with 100 Trillion via carbon Taxes – its stated on the World Banks own web-page and they announced it at DAVOS last year.

    The tax (or trading scheme) is to be employed as a deterrent to individuals and business to use less & do less – this will only work to shut down clean countries like Australia and move our industry to dirty industrial nations like China & India etc…this makes no environmental or economic sense.

    It will create more monopolization of the big industrial players as they can afford the tax and have been made largely exempt (by Ms Gilliards Gov) so if you are against ‘big corporate business’ then bad luck…..

    People need to move beyond the emotional propaganda and see the bigger picture – Government and the big players historically feed off the average person – and they and taking a big bite with this one….

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