Among the most discussed environmental topics in the 1980s in Australia, as elsewhere, was the greenhouse effect. Articles about ‘greenhouse effects’ are no longer quite as pervasive in journals and the media, in part because the environmental agenda appears to have evolved to concerns about ‘ESD’, Ecologically Sustainable Development, and the ‘green design’ of communities. Greenhouse impacts were also seen by many local governments as beyond their planning time horizons. ESD concerns about conservation of resources, patterns of energy use, and energy efficient designs certainly overlap with greenhouse issues, and have tended to be more easily translated into local community applications. One of the issues posed in this paper will be to see if Australian local governments in 2000 appear more attuned to ESD than they did to greenhouse issues in 1989.