A week out from polling day it’s safe to say John Howard has left it too late to commit to any emission reduction target for Australia. On that basis, voters are entitled to know just how poorly the Howard government’s current position compares with the Liberal Party’s previous policy commitments.

You won’t find the 1990 campaign brochure ‘A fair go for the environment’ on the Liberal Party’s website or even in the Parliamentary Library I’m told—indeed I may be the only person who has an original. Chris Puplick’s glasses were reason enough to keep it, but the greenhouse policy commitments were also noteworthy.

Andrew Peacock committed the Liberal Party to cutting Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20% by the year 2000. He also committed to a 20% reduction in energy use by government authorities, and specific reductions in emissions from motor vehicles and power stations.

Even more startling to some people, in the early 1990s John Hewson retained the 20% national emissions reduction target for 2000 as part of his Fightback package. For more on that see my pre-election presentation here.

15 years on and three IPCC reports later, John Howard still has a far weaker greenhouse emissions reduction policy than Andrew Peacock and John Hewson. He is busy ‘going for growth’ with Australia’s emissions on track to rise 70% by mid century.

If this is leading the world on climate change, Andrew Peacock must have led the universe.

For that reason, the following flier goes out to letterboxes in marginal seats from today—in the hope that the Liberal Party will once again take climate change seriously. (Click on image for full flyer.)

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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