Monthly Archives: March 2015

March 31st, 2007 – Rudd declares climate change as “greatest moral challenge”

At a 2007 summit organised by the Australian Labor Party at Parliament House, Kevin Rudd, opposition leader, declared that climate change is the “greatest moral challenge of our generation”.

Rudd made great electoral play of climate change, something that John Howard, the incumbent Australian Prime Minister since March 1996 had resolutely kept off the agenda as much as possible (blocking his Cabinet when it wanted a domestic emissions trading scheme, slowing the growth of renewable energy etc etc etc)

Rudd found governing marginally more difficult than opposition.  If you’re gonna raise expectations, expect trouble… For the gory details, see Philip Chubb’s 2014 “Power Failure” or Macintosh, A, Wilkinson, D. and Denniss. R Climate Change in eds Aulich, C. and Evans M. (2010) “The Rudd Government: Australian Commonwealth Administration 2007 – 2010” Canberra: Australian National University Press.

As ever, see the disclaimers, help the project and comments policy.

March 30th 1992 – Thelma and Louise sum up the human predicament, wins Oscar

In the awesome film “Thelma and Louise” one of the cops chasing down our heroines muses to the effect ‘I can’t figure out if these girls are really smart or just lucky.’ Harvey Keitel replies that it doesn’t matter

“Smarts will get you so far, and luck always runs out…”


[Won best original screenplay Oscar on this day in 1992]

Other things that happened on this day:

2005 Publication of Millennium Ecosystem Assessment publicly launched at press conferences and seminars in London, Tokyo, Beijing, Delhi, Cairo, Paris, Nairobi, Washington DC, Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Stockholm, Rome and Lisbon.

As ever, see the disclaimers, help the project and comments policy.

March 29th, 1995 – Kuwait at first “COP” – oil and gas can’t be blamed…

At the very first “Conference of the Parties” of the Framework Convention on Climate Change, Kuwait produced a climatologist, working for the Oil Ministry, who argued that if global warming was occurring, then oil and coal could not be blamed for it (Guardian, 29 March 1995).

No change there then…


Other things that happened on this day:

2001 James Hansen at “Vice” President Dick Cheney’s Climate Task Force (see Hansen’s “Storms of my Grandchildren,” page 1 onwards, for more gory details

As ever, see the disclaimers, help the project and comments policy.

March 28th, 2001 – Bush kills Kyoto Protocol

On this day in 2001 newly (s)elected President Bush reneges on promises to take action on climate (same playbook as his daddy) and says it’s not in the United States’ national interest to limit carbon emissions. Because droughts and superstorms and all sorts of other madness are in the national interest. Or something…

The Kyoto Protocol ratification process drags on for another four tawdry years, until the Russians can be ‘convinced’ that it’s in their ‘interests’ to do so. And Kyoto, inadequate in 1997, is even MORE inadequate by the time discussions start in Montreal for its successor…

Also on this day;
March 28, 2010: Flotilla aims to block coal ships in Newcastle port

March 27, 1977 World’s deadliest aviation accident caused by impatience and failure to listen

On this day in 1977 theTenerife airport disaster occured: As per wikipedia “Two Boeing 747 airliners collide on a foggy runway on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, killing 583 (all 248 on KLM and 335 on Pan Am). Sixty-one survived on the Pan Am flight.”

And it was down to an impatient and behind-schedule KLM chief pilot not willing to hear the doubt/uncertainty in his co-pilot’s voice over whether they did indeed have permission to take off.

The aviation industry initiated major changes after this, in how crews were trained to interact, and in the language they use when communicating with Air Traffic Control.

Sadly, our ability to learn from slower, but far more deadly, disasters, appears to be fundamentally limited…

March 26th, 2004 – “Just Climate?” conference begins

“On March 26, 2004, the first portion of a three-day conference called ‘‘Just Climate? Pursuing Environmental Justice in the Face of Global Climate Change’’was held at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in the U.S. The conference was billed as ‘‘the first conference convened in the United States on Environmental Justice and Climate Change.’’

Although ‘‘first’’ may have been less than accurate, this preliminary, explicit discussion of environmental justice and climate change marked an attempt to develop and advance the theoretical notion of climate justice,which the U.S.-based NGO, CorpWatch, defined in 1999 as:

…holding fossil fuel corporations accountable for the central role they play in contributing to global warming. This signifies challenging these companies at every level from the production and marketing of the fossil fuels themselves, to their underhanded political influence, to their PR prowess, to the unjust ‘‘solutions’’ they propose, to the fossil fuel-based globalization they are driving. Climate Justice [sic] means stripping transnational corporations of the tremendous power they hold over our lives, and in its place building democracy at the local, national and international levels.”

The above is a quote from Michael Dorsey’s Climate Knowledge and Power: Tales of Skeptic Tanks, Weather Gods, and Sagas for Climate (In)justice, which appeared in Capitalism Nature Socialism Vol 18, no 2 June 2007

March 25th 2013 – Australian Department of Climate Change disbanded

Tony Abbott has a lot to answer for, but the abolition of the Australian Department of Climate Change was a futile attempt by Prime Minister Julia Gillard to bury the issue of climate change before the election. Before the 2013 election she herself was buried by Kevin Rudd, another chapter in a saga that made Macbeth look like a Sunday school story.
There are eerie parallels between the Dept of Climate Change’s fate and that of the “Australian Greenhouse Office” (1998 – 2005). But that’s for another time.

The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency is abolished. Most of its functions are moved to the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, with responsibility for energy efficiency transferred to the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.

Also on this day
“In the absence of an official US initiative, WMO took the lead and held discussions with UNEP on this proposal. Eventually, a slightly modified version was sent out by the Secretary General of WMO on March 25, 1988 to member governments inquiring whether their country would like to be represented on a proposed ‘Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’ (Obasi, 1988).”
Agrawala, S. (1998a, p 615)
March 25 2009 New York Times magazine has a profile/puffpiece on smart guy and climate skeptic Freeman Dyson as “the Civil Heretic”. Dyson was a “JASON” back in the 70s and 80s when they looked at this…