On this day in 2008, an open letter from climate scientist James Hansen arrived in the new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s inbox. Rudd had taken office the previous November, and was enjoying stratospherically high approval ratings.
It’s a letter that came shortly after Ross Garnaut’s first interim report was produced, and careful observers could see which way the wind was blowing. Hansen’s letter is well worth a read. Here’s a taste.
Yet there are plans for continuing mining of coal, export of coal, and construction of new coal-fired power plants around the world, including in Australia, plants that would have a lifetime of half a century or more. Your leadership in halting these plans could seed a transition that is needed to solve the global warming problem.
Also on this day-
In 1999 the ABC’s Radio National ran a programme on Greenhouse Emissions Trading, since the Australian Greenhouse Office was busy trying to get it up the policy agenda.
And in 2001 Senator Bob Brown tried to get parliamentarians roused to get their own house in order. Yeah, good luck with that.
Senator BROWN (2:43 PM) —Madam President, my question is directed to you. I refer to the government’s $3.9 million greenhouse advertising program headed up by Don Burke and ask: have you been approached by anybody, the Prime Minister or the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, to implement that program in Parliament House? If so, how is it going? If not, is it true that there are some 500 television sets which could be turned off at the wall each night in Parliament House but which may not be? Is it true that there are some 300 shower heads in Parliament House which are not AAA shower heads, though householders around Australia have been asked to put AAA shower heads into their showers? Are there 500 or more fridges in Parliament House which could be turned up one degree, which, according to the advertising, would save 50 kilograms of greenhouse gases for each fridge? That is about 25,000 kilograms of greenhouse gases per annum.