Jan 22, 1992 – “greenhouse action will lead to poorhouse” warning

On this day 25 years ago, as business interests fought a fierce battle to ensure that Australia’s negotiating position at the June ‘Earth Summit’ in Rio would be suitably timid,  the then chief executive of the Australian Institution of Engineers, Mr John Enfield, told a Canberra Times journo that

Australia would be sent to the poorhouse by the Federal Government’s attitude towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions … it would be “grossly wrong” for Australia to do this at the expense of living standards in a time of recession….

He criticised the Minister for the Environment, Mrs Kelly, for acting “prematurely” on the issue, before further research confirmed or disproved predictions on the greenhouse effect.

Chamberlin, P. 1992. Green govt warned of poorhouse effect. Sydney Morning Herald, 23 January, p.3.

This focus on (alleged) financial costs of action, without focusing on the financial benefits of action (new industries, new employment) and the financial costs of inaction is, well, typical.  Nothing has really changed on this in the last 25 years….


Also on this day –

2008 – even extreme weather events are helping the mining boom (or at least, raising prices)…

Chaos at central Queensland coalmines as a result of heavy rains is set to exacerbate supply disruption, send coking-coal prices higher and play into the hands of BHP Billiton as it tries to take over rival Rio Tinto.

Flooding has forced mines across the Bowen Basin to shut as staff rush to move equipment to higher ground, affecting companies such as Xstrata, Macarthur Coal and Ensham Resources.

Wisenthal, S. and Garvey, P. 2008. Coal washout has bright side for BHP Australian Financial Review January 22

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