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John Howard’s climate doubts reveal more about conservative identity politics than anything else


The latest comments from the former PM, who once said he was ‘agnostic’ on climate change, remind us some remain unmoved by science ‘Former prime minister John Howard’s comments about climate change tell us plenty about his regard for the risks and how he wants to frame the issue.’ The former prime minister John Howard remains an elder statesman among conservatives so when he’s asked on primetime television if he doubts that climate change is happening, his response is revealing.

That moment happened on the ABC on Tuesday evening during an interview with actor David Wenham, who asked: “You’re not refuting the fact that there’s climate change?”

Given the decades of scientific inquiry on the subject, the most obvious answer to this question would have been a firm, declarative “no”.

But instead, Howard offered this.

“Well … well … I think some aspects of the debate have become greatly exaggerated,” he said. “Every time there’s any kind of disaster it’s always put down to climate change. In some cases that’s fair and in other cases it’s not fair.”

Howard didn’t say which disasters he was referring to, but those most fresh in the minds of Australians are the devastating east coast floods and the […]

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