Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), which at one time received almost one-third of its budget from mining and manufacturing companies, has produced articles and media statements challenging the greenhouse consensus. In 2007 it invited Nigel Lawson to Australia to deliver a speech, the HV McKay Lecture, in which he began:
Over the past half century we have become used to planetary scares of one kind or another. But the latest such scare—global warming—has engaged the political and opinion-forming classes to a greater extent than anything since, a little over 200 years ago, Malthus warned that, unless radical measures were taken to limit population growth, the world would run up against the limits of subsistence, leading inevitably to war, pestilence and famine.
According to Guy Pearse, in his book on the Howard government's climate change policies, the IPA was "inside the loop with the Howard government on climate change" and it was one of the key voices that prime minister Howard listened to.
In IPA Review, Aaran Oakley accused Australia’s public broadcaster, the ABC, of bias because “ABC reporters made the assumption that global warming is real, some even making assertions to that end.” He complained that ABC reporting therefore “represents a pernicious mixture of science and environmentalism.”
’s Ockham’s Razor he stated that “unchallenged climatic disaster hyperbole has induced something akin to a panic reaction from policy makers, both national and international.” In the talk he ignored the scientific consensus represented by the IPCC 1995 statement and argued that global warming predictions are politically and emotionally generated:
[T]here is little evidence to support the notion of net deleterious climate change despite recent Cassandra-like trepidation in the Australian Medical Association and exaggerations from Greenpeace. Why then has so much alarm been generated? The answer is complicated. In my opinion, it is due partly to the use and abuse of science to forment [sic] fear by those seeking to support ideological positions, and partly due to the negative and fearful perspective that seems to characterise some environmental prejudices.
Tucker’s article The Greenhouse Panic was reprinted in Engineering World, a magazine aimed at engineers. The article, introduced by the magazine editor as “a balanced assessment,” argues that “alarmist prejudices of insecure people have been boosted by those who have something to gain from widespread public concern.” This article, which would have been more easily dismissed as an IPA publication, has been quoted by Australian engineers at conferences as if it were an authoritative source.
The IPA also promotes other climate deniers, including Bob Carter and Ian Plimer.
"The outcome of Copenhagen gives us the opportunity to quietly adopt a wait-and-see policy". Elsewhere he argued that the economic cost of global warming is very small: "For Australia, the costs of doing nothing by the end of the century were estimated by Treasury at 5 per cent of GDP. Significant though this may be, it is dwarfed by the increase in GDP - sixfold - that is estimated to take place under business-as-usual."
Chris Berg, research fellow with the IPA argues that we should forget trying to prevent global warming and instead adapt to it:
We could keep trying to stop global warming with taxes, industry plans, corporate welfare, solar panel and insulation subsidies, and fruitless diplomacy. Or we could try to adapt to it. After all, the problem with global warming isn't the warming per se, it's the consequences of warming...Growth will fortify us against a climate that always changes. For if you can't cure the disease, manage the symptoms.
In 2008 the IPA was the conduit for a $350,000 donation from climate denier Bryant Macfie to the University of Queensland for three doctoral scholarships, two of which are on topics suggested by the IPA. One topic is the effectiveness as tree clearing bans as a contribution to reducing atmospheric carbon.
As part of its [climate denial] campaign, the institute sponsored a visit to Australia by Vaclav Klaus, then president of the Czech Republic, who came to talk about the 'mass delusion' of climate change, and former Thatcher-era frontbencher Lord Nigel Lawson.
Such moves have alienated some of its corporate backers. Companies that once provided financial support to the IPA but no longer do include BHP, Shell and even ExxonMobil.