If Richard Farmer’s reality check is anything to go by, people aren’t losing sleep over the Garnaut report:

On Friday night the radio and television were full of it. The Saturday papers had page after page of it. The media had decided the Garnaut Report and global warming was a big story. And by Sunday what did the people, the ordinary readers think?

The story made only one of the top 10 on the Murdoch and Fairfax web sites. And what was that item about? Glenn Milne explaining how Kevin Rudd wants all Australians except himself to share the pain of increased costs to help save the planet from climate change because Rudd would continue to allow taxpayers to pick up his petrol and power bills.

Things aren’t much different this morning with only one story making the lists of The Australian and The Age.

Crikey consulted talkback and the letters pages of your local newspaper to further gauge the public reaction to the Garnaut report. By the looks of Alan of Logan, caller Amanda and Stewy, who’s “not too worried about climate change”, there’s still a lot of scepticism about the science out there, not to mention concern about the price of food and fuel.

But that’s not to say that everyone is horrified by the implications of the Garnaut report. In fact the commentary is fairly evenly split…

Here’s a neat little summation from Perth, straight from the mouth of a working family:

ABC 720 Perth (Perth): Caller David thinks climate change is a great hoax. He compares it to the outrageous claims made about the hole in the ozone layer.

ABC 720 Perth (Perth): Caller Chelsea says she is part of a struggling working family and thinks investing in stopping climate change is still wise.

In Queensland, they’re pretty evenly divided:

In Melbourne’s Age , a letter entitled “Time to close ranks and do it for Australia”:

But if talkback is the true measure of the nation’s pulse, then the fate of the planet rests on caller Norm’s way of life (he still darns his socks and re-heels his shoes), caller Peter who describes himself as a “pig-shooting climate change non-believer” and caller Denise who says when she was in high school, the ‘hysteria du jour’ then was over-population and she doesn’t believe ‘all this crap’ about climate change. Over to you, Australia:


3AW (Melbourne), Mornings, 07/07/2008 09:21AM Compere: Neil Mitchell

Caller George criticises the emissions trading scheme. Mitchell says prices for food and petrol will rise with the emissions trading scheme and there has been ambiguous talk of compensation. Mitchell says $18b is to be taken in carbon trading permits. Mitchell says 2010 is too soon to implement the scheme. Mitchell says Australia’s example will not change India’s and China’s stance on climate change. 

3AW (Melbourne), Mornings, 07/07/2008 08:48AM Compere: Neil Mitchell

Caller Mark asks why it is Aust’s responsibility to fix climate change. He says Aust is only one per cent of the population and it will not make any difference. Mitchell notes the Fed Govt saying it will lead the way on climate change and the rest of the world will follow. He says there is no chance of it happening.

ABC 774 Melbourne (Melbourne), Breakfast, 07/07/2008 05:46AM Compere: Wendy Harmer

Caller Norm explains he still darns his socks, saves soap and heels his own shoes. He says it is a way of life he has always lived. Harmer suggests people will have to get used to Norm’s way of life as a result of climate change. She remarks on the amount of packaging food comes in, noting tea bags and biscuits which come individually wrapped.

3AW (Melbourne), Sunday Mornings, 06/07/2008 11:49AM

Caller John says that developing countries need to be included in an emissions trading scheme for it to be effective. The hosts discuss the use of natural gas and geothermal energy. McCallum says that we need a better public transport. Howson says that people love their cars.

Caller Sarah says that the proposed emissions trading scheme will make Aust the white trash of Asia. Sarah says that Kevin Rudd, Australian Prime Minister, has decimated the Austn economy.

3AW (Melbourne), Sunday Mornings, 06/07/2008 11:37AM

Caller Alan says that if we sit and do nothing there will be massive damage to the environment and we must look at clean energy. Alan says we should embrace change and accuses the hosts of wanting to stand in the road of change.

Caller Margaret suggests people start cleaning up in their own backyards before we combat climate change.

Caller Sally accuses Murphy and McCallum of talking over the top of Howson. Howson says that the hottest days in Vic were recorded 60 or 70 yrs ago. Howson says that climate change is merely fear-mongering.

Caller Barry discusses the amount of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere. Barry says that climate change is typical civil servant garbage.

ABC 774 Melbourne (Melbourne), Mornings, 04/07/2008 10:17AM
Regular Segment: Friday Wrap with Liberty Sanger, Partner, Maurice Blackburn and Josh Friedenberg(*) Investment Banker and Liberal Party Member.

Caller John says he does not agree with global warming’s anthropogenic and suggests Govt’s need to look at tidal generation. John also believes society needs to go back to whaling because whales take too much zooplankton and that is what is destroying the eco-system. Sanger wonders whether John is a climate change sceptic.

3AW (Melbourne), Mornings, 04/07/2008 09:27AM Compere: Neil Mitchell

Caller Tony says that he wants to be shown the data that validates the climate change theory before the Aust’n economy is changed forever. Tony says that many Aust’ns will be disadvantaged which is, in his opinion, based on a lie. Mitchell says that climate change can no longer be described as a lie, but the extent of it is perhaps still arguable and debatable.

ABC 774 Melbourne (Melbourne), Mornings, 04/07/2008 08:43AM Compere: Kathy Bowlen

Caller Amanda says she is annoyed about the paradigm that the media and the Aust’n Govt is stuck in about climate change. Amanda notes reading the book Cool It by Bjorn Lomborg, Scientist


2GB (Sydney), Breakfast, 07/07/2008 08:58AM Compere: Alan Jones

Caller Stewy isn’t too worried about climate change.

2SM (Sydney), Grant Goldman, 07/07/2008 08:41AM Compere: Grant Goldman

Goldman criticises China’s inaction over climate change when other countries have to act. John says Aust should set a standard for what the developed countries can do about climate change.

2SM (Sydney), Grant Goldman, 07/07/2008 07:37AM Compere: Grant Goldman

Caller Alan discusses Professor Gonzo’s [Ross Garnaut] 500 page report which no one can understand even himself. Alan says the report recommends attacking the energy suppliers “who drive the economy”. Alan points to the problems in WA after their gas fields went up in flames…

2UE (Sydney), The George and Paul Show, 05/07/2008 10:13AM Compere: George Moore & Paul B Kidd

Caller, Allan, is a ‘climate change atheist’. He was trapped in a lift in New York in 1968 during a massive blackout.

2GB (Sydney), Sydney Drivetime, 04/07/2008 06:41PM Compere: Philip Clark

Caller Patrick asks ‘Are Ross Garnaut and Kevin Rudd going to go to India and tell them to stop developing that car they’re going to sell for $4000 to how many millions of people…’ They discuss the usefulness of the Emissions Trading Scheme in relation to Global Warming.

2GB (Sydney), Sydney Drivetime, 04/07/2008 05:57PM Compere: Philip Clark

Caller Peter describes himself as a pig-shooting climate change ‘non-believer’ and believes that farmers have caused the problem of scarce water. Peter blames cotton farms in particular. Peter says the ‘Garretts’ of the world will never understand.

2GB (Sydney), Sydney Drivetime, 04/07/2008 05:53PM Compere: Philip Clark

Caller Aaron says there’s a ‘global agenda’ to climate change and Al Gore is a ‘globalist’. Aaron says the PM is ‘going against his own faith’ because the Bible guarantees that God will keep the seasons to the end.

2GB (Sydney), Sydney Drivetime, 04/07/2008 05:25PM Compere: Philip Clark

Caller Alan says he believes the Labor Govt shouldn’t go the way they’re going and disagrees with the whole premise of climate change. Alan says everything is going up with the price of petrol.

2GB (Sydney), Sydney Drivetime, 04/07/2008 05:16PM Compere: Philip Clark

Caller Robert says he thinks climate change is ‘just another tax on all of us’ and they’ll just ‘rip us off again’.

2GB (Sydney), Sydney Drivetime, 04/07/2008 05:09PM Compere: Philip Clark

Caller Denise says when she was in high school, the ‘hysteria du jour’ then was over-population and she doesn’t believe ‘all this crap’ about climate change. Denise says even if Australia becomes carbon neutral, it will make no difference to the world.

2GB (Sydney), Sydney Drivetime, 04/07/2008 04:50PM Compere: Philip Clark

Caller Robert says Prof Garnaut, the Fed politicians and State politicians as well as those running green groups are earning upward of $150,000 a year and it’s ok for them to make decisions like the carbon emissions trading scheme. Robert says there has never been such a level of community concern about an issue before.

2UE (Sydney), Mornings, 04/07/2008 09:52AM Compere: Steve Price

Caller Kevin is disabled and remembers an invention that could prevent climate change.

2SM (Sydney), Mornings, 04/07/2008 09:17AM Compere: Leon Delaney

Warren says Ross Garnaut is going to affect the Austn economy. Warren says he is a “globo-sceptic” like a lot of scientists. Warren says Garnaut is telling “our industry how it should run” and complains about the “Labor nonsense” going on in the Murray-Darling “with farmers getting hit in the face”. Warren says Aust is “intent on destroying itself”. Delaney says a NewsPoll poll says 54% of people believe that global warming is having some effect. Delaney says we have to go along with what the majority thinks. Warren says there isn’t enough debate about it in the media and suggests there may be “global cooling”. Delaney says people are “under the misnomer” that global warming means things will just “get hotter”. Warren says 54% of Austn’s are “not informed” and claims Aust is only contributing .1% to global warming. Delaney says he’s tuned out and calls Warren an “idiot”. Delaney says we can’t ignore the facts that scientifically prove the effects of climate change. Delaney says we know weather is “cyclic” but that we are “expediating the situation”. Delaney says it should be discussed without the “emotive nonsense” surrounding the issue.


ABC 666 Canberra (Canberra), Breakfast, 07/07/2008 08:52AM Compere: Ross Solly

Talkback caller Margaret says that there is not enough emphasis on what will occur if nothing is do not to combat climate change.


5AA (Adelaide), Evenings, 06/07/2008 08:53PM Compere: Sean Perry

Caller Jim talks about the polar shift and its contribution to climate change. He says nobody’s mentioned the death of sea grass as a result of the effluent from the desalination plant in Adelaide. He says once they die, they’re no longer there to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Jim talks about the dangers of “mercury vapour lamps”.

ABC 891 Adelaide (Adelaide), Mornings, 04/07/2008 08:55AM

Caller Ian says he has been waiting for someone like Ross Garnaut to make these announcements on climate change. He says we need to remove the state Govts. SMS: Ben suggests military intervention.


4BC (Brisbane), Drive, 04/07/2008 04:36PM Compere: Michael Smith

Caller Darren says he watched the Al Gore movie and has listened to all the subject, but he is concerned that those who believe in climate change are basing their evidence on the last 100 years. He notes that from a statistical point of view, due to the age of the earth, looking at the past 100 years is laughable.

4BC (Brisbane), Drive, 04/07/2008 04:33PM Compere: Michael Smith

Caller Mark says whilst he doesn’t mind scientists on the program, he does have an issue with the objectivity of someone who is making their career last being an expert on climate change. He says the solution of imposing financial measures to change behaviour is all well and good but there are no viable options to our current methods.

ABC North Queensland (Townsville), Drive, 04/07/2008 04:18PM Compere: Pat Hession

Caller Bill refers to earlier discussions about climate change. Bill says that all living things ‘store carbon’, and the carbon is released when an organism dies. Bill says that the emissions trading scheme has to happen for our grandkids and the world to come.

4BC (Brisbane), Greg Cary Morning Show , 04/07/2008 10:42AM Compere: Greg Cary

Caller Louise says she does not believe there has been a rational discussion about climate change among scientists. She declares that much of the discussion on climate change is driven by faith, not evidence. She expresses concern about Australia unilaterally introducing an emissions trading scheme which will destroy jobs and the economy. Cary counters Louise’s suggestion that an emissions trading scheme will destroy jobs and the economy. Louise claims that the debate on climate change is ‘abusive’. She accuses Robyn Williams of The Science Report of being ‘abusive’ rather than rational on climate change. She argues that too many people are coming into Australia. Cary expresses scepticism about Al Gore, describing him as ‘inflated beyond what he is worth’. He says that he attended a lecture by Graham Pearman, former head of the CSIRO, a couple of years ago and the lecture convinced him that ‘something is going on’ with climate change.

4BC (Brisbane), Greg Cary Morning Show , 04/07/2008 10:08AM Compere: Greg Cary

Caller Julie asserts that Mother Nature has always taken care of the climate and always will. Cary says that he largely agrees with Julie, but he points out that people have inflicted terrible destruction on the environment. He expresses concern that the Federal Govt will announce measures to tackle climate change when larger countries with greater responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions have not committed to anything. Julie claims that a lot of people will make money out of climate change. Cary notes that many scientists are saying that climate change is real. Cary asserts that Kevin Rudd is smart enough to avoid doing anything on climate change which alienates voters. Julie insists that people lack faith in Mother Nature.

ABC Southern Queensland (Toowoomba), Mornings, 04/07/2008 09:48AM Compere: Vicki Thompson

Caller Shirley says it is unrealistic for the government to fix all the climate change problems in six months when they have been happening for years. Shirley says water attracts water, and the idea to pump sea water into South Australia to attract rain was a good idea.

4BC (Brisbane), Greg Cary Morning Show , 04/07/2008 09:48AM Compere: Greg Cary

Caller Eric complains about ‘global warming nonsense’ that people are ‘going on about’. Eric says he saw a BBC series called Earth Story by Professor Aubrey Manning, who says we are at the end of an ice age and things are not getting warmer due to CO2, saying it is different to ‘that Al Gore story’. Eric says he read an article from Science and Technology that talks about the ‘big Arctic melt’ being ‘hype and scare’, saying the media has not reported on the Arctic Ocean going through ‘record re-freezing again’. Cary says it is hard for people who are not professional scientists to sort out what is going on. Cary notes a scientist said to him that a lot of what is being talked about is based on certain models and there is no guarantee that these are right. Cary says a lot of researcher Ross Garnaut’s thinking and what PM Kevin Rudd will talk about is based on the fact that if something is happening and something is not done we are ‘history’ in 40 or 50 years.

AM Radio radio item
ABC Southern Queensland (Toowoomba), Mornings, 04/07/2008 09:40AM Compere: Vicki Thompson

Caller Ron wonders how long it will be before people wake up to the climate change scam.


ABC 720 Perth (Perth), Mornings, 04/07/2008 11:54AM

Caller David thinks climate change is a great hoax. He compares it to the outrageous claims made about the hole in the ozone layer.

ABC 720 Perth (Perth), Mornings, 04/07/2008 11:43AM

Caller Chelsea says she is part of a struggling working family and thinks investing in stopping climate change is still wise.

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.