All posts by marchudson

About marchudson

Ex- health care professional, ex-ing activist and ambivalently aspiring academic. Climate doomster. We are so toast.

April 24, 1994 – A Carbon Tax is floated…

It is forgotten history, but in 1994/5 a carbon tax – a small one, mostly for R and D rather than outright emissions reductions – was on the cards.  There’d been some to-ing and fro-ing in previous years, but on 24 of April 1994, shit got real.

“Senator Faulkner said yesterday the plan was a long-term aim but made it clear he was serious about the move.
“All I can say is that I’ve suggested already to some of my ministerial and Cabinet colleagues that I am interested in pursuing the issue of economic instruments,” he told the Nine Network’s Sunday program.”
Peake, R. 1994. Faulkner floats energy tax. Canberra Times, 25 April, p.3.

 

Also on this day

2007Snow joke!
Australia’s biggest renewable electricity source, the Snowy Hydro power scheme, may have to shut down major generating turbines due to the nation’s crippling 10-year drought.
In a desperate attempt to keep running, the Snowy Hydro operator said on Tuesday it had turned to cloud seeding to boost water inflows.
“It is unrealistic for anyone to think that the Snowy scheme could somehow have been immune from the effects of the current severe drought,” Snowy Hydro Ltd Managing Director Terry Charlton said in a statement.
Prime Minister John Howard last week asked Australians to pray for rain in the food bowl Murray-Darling River basin, an area the size of France and Spain that accounts for 41 percent of the nation’s agriculture.
Howard warned that without heavy winter rains in coming months, irrigation in the food bowl would be turned off as the worst drought for 100 years grips Australia.
In a move that local authorities feared could reduce supply of power to the capital Canberra, and major cities Sydney and Melbourne, some of Snowy Hydro’s operations could be stopped by May-July without heavy winter rains, the Snowy Hydro said.

Lewis, P. and Woods, J. 2012. Australians seeing through the feel-good mining ads. The Drum, 24 April.

The mining industry has been dusting off its chequebook again in the lead-up to the federal budget, with feel-good glossy ads in the weekend papers reminding us how much miners love Australia – or at least the bits of it they can dig up and export.

2014 Emissions Reduction Fund White Paper released: The ERF White Paper sets out the final design of the ERF, with a reduced emissions target of 421 million tonnes of CO2-e over the period to 2020, compared to 431 in the Green Paper.

 

April 23, 2013 – Thinking twice about “Direct Action”…

“What we are seeing is the conditions in the market moving so quickly that there is a need to rethink the rules with a view to resetting or rethinking Direct Action,” ESAA chief executive Matthew Warren told The Australian Financial Review on Tuesday (23 April 2013)

So, having sat and watched Tony Abbott destroy the bipartisan consensus on the need for a price on carbon from 1 December 2009, having watched him attack Gillard’s Emissions Trading Scheme as a “Great Big Tax on Everything”, the incumbents finally – with Abbott about to become Prime Minister – start to wonder if his so-called ‘Direct Action’ scheme is such a good alternative.

And now they bleat about ‘policy uncertainty’.  Remind me to go back and see how many pro-ETS press releases ESAA put out in 2011….

I wish it were unbelievable, but it is all too believable

The quote is from

Priest, M. and Daley, G. 2013. Power firms warn Abbott on carbon. Australian Financial Review, 24 April, p.1

which begins

Power companies are demanding the federal opposition rethink its “direct action” plan for reducing carbon emissions, warning that its company baseline approach could be more difficult to operate than Labor’s trading scheme.
The Energy Supply Association of Australia said falling demand for power meant the Coalition must review its energy and climate change policy if it gains power at the September 14 federal election.
The warning comes amid growing support by multinational companies and major business groups for a market-based scheme, such as an emissions trading scheme, linked to the currently low prices set in European and other international markets.
ESSA, which represents big power companies such as Origin, TRUenergy and International Power, has long supported an emissions trading scheme.

April 22, 2001 – Unions lukewarm on Kyoto Ratification

Mind you, would you trust a bunch of latte-sipping ‘intellectuals’ not to sell your job down the river?

2001– Labor is under pressure from some unions. Australian Manufacturing Workers Union national secretary Doug Cameron told Channel 10 on April 22 that, “We would want to talk to Labor about the effect of any protocol or any treaty on manufacturing jobs”.

“I think there can be sensible co-existence between manufacturing, and manufacturing can be very clean these days”, Cameron said. “There can be sensible coexistence between manufacturing and ensuring the green vote is delivered [to Labor].”

https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/canberra-covers-bush-greenhouse

Also on this day

1990– NSW Premier Nick Greiner getting in on the act –
“The new environmentalism : a conservative perspective” Text of speech delivered on Earth Day Sunday 22 April 1990. Photocopy. “Earth day, Sunday 22 April 1990” http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/18085038?q&versionId=21226780

1993 Garran, R. 1993. Clinton pledge cuts new key to the greenhouse. The Australian Financial Review, 23 April, p.9.

A PLEDGE by the US President, Mr Clinton, to cut emissions of greenhouse gases will raise the pressure on Australia to take tougher action, according to a senior Australian bureaucrat and Australian business and environment groups.

A first assistant secretary of the Department of Primary Industries and Energy, Mr Peter Core, told business lobbyists yesterday at a private seminar organised by the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs, that Mr Clinton’s announcement would put renewed pressure on Australia’s stance on the issue.

And an assistant director of the Business Council of Australia, Ms Chris Burnup, said yesterday the move would dramatically change the complexion of talks on global climate change.

2007 John Howard tells people to pray for rain.

“It’s very serious, it’s unprecedented in my lifetime and I really feel very deeply for the people affected,” Mr Howard told ABC Television.

“So we should all, literally and without any irony, pray for rain over the next six to eight weeks.”

April 21, 2007 – ‘Scorcher’ plugged (a good book, btw)

In 2007 the climate issue went ballistic in Australia Two excellent books were published. One was Guy Pearse’s ‘High and Dry’, which is still essential reading.  The other was Clive Hamilton’s ‘Scorcher,’ an update and extension of his 2001 ‘Running from the Storm’.  On this day, 10 years ago, he was on Radio National plugging  it….

Doogue, G. 2007. Clive Hamilton on Saturday Extra. Radio National, 21 April. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/saturdayextra/clive-hamilton/3238974

Also on this day-

1993 [Clinton’s] stand is a reversal of that taken by the former US President, Mr Bush, who refused at the Earth Summit to support specific targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions or to back the biodiversity treaty.
At the start of his speech, Mr Clinton made an unexpected acknowledgement of Australia’s Minister for the Environment, Mrs Kelly.
“We should introduce a guest from another country who is here with us – the environmental minister from Australia, Ros Kelly,” he said. “Would you stand up? We’re glad to have you here.”
Garran, R. 1993. Clinton pledge cuts new key to the greenhouse. Australian Financial Review, 23 April p.9.

21 April 2010: Failures of the Howard government’s Greenhouse Gas Abatement Program which was a version of direct action exposed by audit report and reported by Lenore Taylor. (From Mark Butler’s Direct Action Timeline)

21 April 2011: The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency publishes detailed estimates of potential land sector abatement which are significantly at odds with those promised by direct action, they put out a range of 5 to 15 Mt and set out why this was different to technical potential quoted by Greg Hunt. (From Mark Butler’s Direct Action Timeline)

April 20, 2009 – “6 years to act on #climate change.” Oops.

On this day, Australia’s new (and first female) Chief Scientist said that Australia did not have long left to act…. Sackett stepped down in February 2011 btw, about halfway through her five year term…

The Government’s chief scientist wants the country to set the toughest possible targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, warning that action must begin now against climate change.

The Government has committed to cutting Australia’s emissions by 5 to 15 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020 and wants to start an emissions trading scheme next year.

However, the target has been slammed by the Greens and environmental groups as being too low and the Opposition has also recently signalled it would support a stronger cut in emissions.

Professor Penny Sackett would not put an exact figure on what she thought the target should be but she said she has advised the Government to set the steepest target possible.

Anon. 2009. World has 6 years to act’ on climate change. ABC, 20 April.

Also on this day-
The 2020 summit took place in Canberra, 19-20.  Anna Rose was underwhelmed-

The 2020 Summit: Coal Industry Chiefs overheat Kevin’s Climate – “I found myself in the climate stream with representatives of coal mining companies including Xstrata and Shell, yet not a single person from an environment Non-Government Organisation. No-one from Friends of the Earth, the Australian Conservation Foundation, Greenpeace, Climate Action Network Australia or any of the State Conservation Councils.”

April 19, 2001 – Kyoto is popular with Aussie voters? Oops…

Howard had never wanted any kind of emissions reductions target, even the generous ones negotiated at Kyoto.  So, Bush pulling out in March 2001 gave him space.  He wouldn’t actually announce that Australia was doing likewise until after the 2001 Federal election.  Conviction politicians – donchajustlovethem.

“The difficulty for the Howard government is that its position on climate change is deeply unpopular and will cost it votes at the next federal election. A survey commission by Greenpeace Australia and released on April 19 found that 80.4% of respondents believed that Australia should ratify the Kyoto Protocol, without the US if necessary.

The Greenpeace survey drew an angry response from industry minister Nick Minchin. “I think it’s irresponsible to be pushing this line without informing people how many jobs will be lost”, he said in an April 20 media release.

“ABARE [the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics] estimates that, even with the most optimistic assumptions, the costs to Australia of meeting the Kyoto Protocol commitments would be significantly more than a severe recession and several times that of a major drought”, Minchin said.

https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/canberra-covers-bush-greenhouse

Also on this day-

19 April 2013: Climate Spectator points out mysteries, questions and problems after Greg Hunt’s address to ANU. The Government also releases a detailed line by line rebuttal of Greg Hunt’s speech. (From Mark Butler’s ‘Direct Action’ timeline)

April 18, 1992- Shock, horror; climate denial in The Australian?!

The Murdoch press has been at this for a Very Long Time Indeed.

New and conflicting predictions continue to be made. For example, on 18 April 1992 the Australian carried a page one headline ‘Global Warming May Lower Sea Levels’, while later in the business section a case was made against a carbon tax on fossil fuels.  Business interests remain unimpressed by the call to tax themselves.

Love, R. 1992. Stranger Weather Still.  Arena 99/100 pp.39-46.

Also on this day

1996

“Australian environmental education has been launched onto an international stage, with local group ARK Australia yesterday going live on the Internet with a World Wide Web site called Planet Ark.

“The product of a significant co-operative effort involving the Seven Network , Austereo, Reuters and Sanitarium, the site will provide on-demand 24-hour environmental radio news on the Net, along with environmental software and celebrity campaigns that can be downloaded free of charge, including the “Save the Planet” videos featuring stars such as Pierce Brosnan, Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.”

Helen Meredith, 1996 “Planet Ark launch – Planet Ark’s world-first on the Net” The Australian Financial Review, 19 April, p. 48

 

2007 How competitive is gas in carbon-priced power generation? APPEA Conference  Adelaide See John Daley (for AIGN! comments). For example, Michael Chaney, BCA President, writing in The Australian on 18 April 2007:

“Climate change and the development of a long-term strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are complex challenges facing Australia’s economy and will be the subject of significant debate in the election campaign. Yet the issue does not lend itself to quick fixes or simplistic political posturing.”

2013: “Lateline follows up with CSIRO on soil carbon and proves again that Greg Hunt’s soil carbon plan would require up to “two thirds of the land mass of Australia.” (From Mark Butler’s Direct Action Timeline)