John Howard’s $52.8 million climate change campaign includes  eight glossy pages and a letter from the PM .

You’d have to assume it’s all going to be printed on recycled paper — otherwise it would amount to a substantial deforestation in order to “inform” eight million Australian households about the Coalition’s climate-change credentials, including, ironically, a deforestation initiative.

But aren’t there better ways to spend the money?

Seriously, how many Australians aren’t aware of climate change, and measures they can take personally to make a difference? Last year, the Lowy Institute found 68% of respondents see climate change as a serious threat to Australia over the next 10 years.

The Government’s stated objective for its propaganda campaign is to “increase community understanding of climate change”. But Kyoto was signed in 1997, Tim Flannery’s book, The Weathermakers , which has sold over a million copies worldwide, was released in 2005, and most media outlets and business websites are informing their audiences about climate change.

Some households will be offered more free water-saving shower heads and energy-efficient globes than they can use, from councils , state government, and power companies.

So after all this, if we still need to “understand climate change,” what will be included in the $52.8 million package that isn’t already out there? What else could be done with the money?

Surely some of the existing climate change budget could do with a boost:

  • Global deforestation initiatives: $197.2m
  • Measures to help Australia adapt to climate change: $170m
  • Solar rebates: $150m
  • Subsidies for Greenhouse-friendly transport fuels: $59.6m
  • Reductions in Greenhouse gas emissions in underground coal mining: $18.5m
  • Subsidies for offshore carbon capture and storage: $18.2m
  • Free low-watt light globes: $7.9m

Or for new initiatives, $52.8 million could help with the following:

  • Greater spending on renewable energy: solar, wind, hydro, wave, ocean, tide, geothermal aquifer, hot rocks, and bioenergy.
  • Public transport initiatives to reduce congestion: The New Zealand Government has just allocated $300 million to public transport initiatives, including buying back rail infrastructure
  • Tax credits for energy-efficient cars/ rebates for development, used by some states in the US.
  • Climate change aid: Oxfam is urging Australia to spend more to help poorer countries adapt to climate change.

We’ll probably just have to make do with some expensive ads. Senate estimates was told that $176,000 had already been spent on market research for the “Climate Clever” campaign. Will the campaign even be carbon-neutral? It won’t be propoganda-neutral, that’s for sure.