Actually doing substantive things about climate change – like transitioning from fossil-fuel based generation of electricity and energy to renewables/efficiency etc – would cost political capital, financial capital. It would cause disruption, and piss off powerful people. And the unborn don’t both to vote, the lazy sods. So, we keep kicking the can down the road. But we can’t admit that (to ourselves or anyone else). And so, we do television adverts instead. And on this day in 2001 a bunch of climate change adverts started on Australian Television, starring television personality Don Burke (who was not, to be clear, paid for his time).
The Federal Government is spending $3.9 million on an advertising campaign on greenhouse gases featuring celebrity gardener Don Burke, two months after criticism of its $3.6 million ad campaign on the Natural Heritage Trust.
In the ads, on prime-time television and in newspapers, Burke says: “I love greenhouses. Wouldn’t want to live in one, though … and that’s why the Commonwealth Government is doing something about it.
“They’re investing $200 million a year to lower greenhouse gases. They’re working with over 300 major companies, helping them to clean up their act.”
He goes on to introduce 10 ways Australians can make a difference including turning off the TV at the power point, instead of using the remote, washing clothes in cold water and taking shorter showers.
The Opposition’s environment spokesman, Senator Nick Bolkus, said yesterday the ad campaign was an “outrageous abuse of taxpayers’ money”.
… The Government’s Australian Greenhouse Office confirmed the full cost of the advertising campaign was $3.9 million, with the ads to run for six weeks.
2001 Clennell, A. 2001. Pitched Battle Over Don Burke Ads. Sydney Morning Herald, 13 March, p.5.
Burke responded to critics the following day –
“I knew in doing this … the Opposition would come back with various statements. As I say, I’m not an apologist for the Liberal Party.”
Anon, 2001, Greenhouse ads raise ire. Daily Telegraph, 14 March, p. 20.
Also on this day-
In 2002 the European Commission’s Delegation to Australia issued an unambiguous denial of the idea that Australia could trade carbon permits without, you know, ratifying the Kyoto Protocol…
“On the question of carbon emissions trading, the Kyoto Protocol clearly states that carbon trading is allowed between those Parties who have ratified the Protocol. Countries that are not Parties to the Kyoto Protocol are not eligible to participate in emissions trading under it. Nor can emission reduction projects or carbon sequestration efforts taking place in its territory be rewarded under the Protocol.20″
[Hamilton, 2004, 1st September talk]
2010 – second Australian Climate Action Summit