Category Archives: denialism

April 26, 1992 – “No carbon tax,” says Ros Kelly..

On this day 25 years ago the Sun Herald reported that a spokesman for Environment Minister Ros Kelly had said that Keating’s Government was not considering a “carbon tax” but instead  favoured “no-regret” options. It was framed as a ‘win-win, with the spokesman adding “This Government would be delinquent if it did not take a precautionary rather than a cavalier approach to the greenhouse effect. The worst-case scenarios are terrifying.”

The Sun Herald continued

BCA spokesman Mark Emerson said Australia should not support the EC proposal for a commitment by developed countries to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2000. “Business is concerned that, against the background of the enormous scientific uncertainties, inappropriate policy responses might be applied which would have devastating economic and social effects without any discernible environmental benefits,” he said. “None of Australia’s regional trading partners or competitors – except New Zealand – will agree to the EC option.”

1992 Skinner, S. 1992. Greenhouse: Aust yet to set its policy. Sun Herald, 26 April, p. 13.

Also on this day-

2007 If you need a laugh –  Ray Evans Global Warming Debate A revised version of an address delivered at the ACT Caucus Room, Wellington, NZ on 26 April 2007

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)

April 11, 2001 – John Quiggin eviscerates the Lavoisier Group.

John Quiggin is a take-no-prisoners economist who isn’t afraid of a fight.  In 2001 he had an article entitled “Wishful thinking of Walsh’s true believers” in the Australian Financial Review. You can read the whole thing here, but these are the choice bits.

Along with a range of right-wing luminaries, [Peter Walsh, Hawke’s Treasurer] is a leading figure in the grandly-named Lavoisier Group. This body is devoted to the proposition that basic principles of physics, discovered by among others, the famous French scientist Antoine Lavoisier, cease to apply when they come into conflict with the interests of the Australian coal industry.

and

The Lavoisier Group serves one useful social purpose. There are always participants in the public debate who will happily put forward any proposition that supports their position, whether or not it has any basis in fact and logic. The arguments of such commentators should be discounted appropriately, but it takes time and effort to identify them on an individual basis.

The Lavoisier Group has collected a number of prominent commentators who indicate, by their membership, that they are prepared to rely on wishful thinking whenever it suits their turn. These true believers in fairies at the bottom of the garden should be accorded the credibility they deserve.

Also on this day- 

On 28 February 1997  Federal Environment Minister Senator Robert Hill announced the release of a discussion paper, ‘Future Directions for Australia’s National Greenhouse Strategy’, prepared by the Intergovernmental Committee on ESD with a deadline for submissions of 11 April 1997.

April 4, 2001 – ALP has cold feet on Kyoto ratification

So, in late March 2001 George ‘hanging chad’ Bush had pulled the USA out of the Kyoto negotiations for an emissions reduction target (grossly inadequate, of course) for developed countries.  The Howard Government was very happy with this, and Howard sent Bush a mash note on April 1st.

According to Green Left Weekly:

“On April 2, the Senate passed a motion moved by Greens Senator Bob Brown condemning the US and Australian governments “for their efforts to derail the Kyoto Climate Change Convention”. Labor supported the motion, but on April 4 the ALP rejected a motion put by Brown calling on the government to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Bolkus said it would be “premature” to support the motion.”

The ALP was in flux on this in 2000-2001 (i.e. they were listening to the unions), but went to the 2001 Federal Election with Kyoto ratification as a manifesto promise…

Also on this day – 

1978–  Paddy McGuinness  article – “Where Friedman is a pinko” – in the Australian Financial Review that helps the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS), a libertarian thinktank, immensely, helped put them ‘on the map.’

2005 APEC conference at Parliament House “Managing Climate Change: Practicalities and Realities in a post-Kyoto future”. The conference website was designed by International Trade Strategies, a consultancy run by Alan OxleyProgramme here http://www.apec.org.au/mccprogram.pdf

April 3, 2000 – Greenhouse gas conference ‘stacked’ to ignore sea level rise…

So, Australian diplomats and senior politicians had in the late 1980s made some of the right noises about sea level rise as a consequence of anthropogenic global warming.  Those days were long ago and in another country by the 2000s. And besides, the wench was dead…

Mr Hare said he had recently been to a Pacific greenhouse conference in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, [3-7 April ]  where Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials had tried to play down the impact of the greenhouse effect.

He said they had put up arguments that sea level rises were not as high as had been reported and might not necessarily be a result of global warming.

Senator Hill said if the department’s officials were mounting that argument, it might be on the basis of scientific uncertainty in the area.

2000 Clennel, A. 2000. Greenhouse Gas Conference `stacked’. Sydney Morning Herald, 15 April, p.15

Stay classy, Australia…

Also on this day- 

2001 “The Australian government is being applauded by corporate polluters and corporate front groups at home and abroad. The Global Climate Coalition, the major front group for US corporate polluters, features on its web site an article by Alan Wood in the April 3 Australian (<http://www.globalclimate.org>). Wood’s article, titled “Killing Kyoto in Australia’s best interests”, urges Australia to back the US in pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol.

“Wood comments favourably on a paper written by climate sceptic Alan Oxley for the Lavoisier Group, an Australian “think tank” which argues that the Kyoto Protocol poses “the most serious challenge to our sovereignty since the Japanese fleet entered the Coral Sea on 3 May, 1942”.

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

And that article is this one –

Wood, A. 2001. Killing Kyoto in Australias best interests. The Australian, 3 April, p13.

The US has called Europe’s bluff. Listen to the Europeans and you could be forgiven for thinking George W. Bush has just sent the world to the gas chamber – the greenhouse gas chamber, that is. What Bush has really done by rejecting the Kyoto Protocol is shatter a European dream of running the international energy market, or at least a substantial bit of it.

This dream arose from a mix of Europe’s quasi-religious green fundamentalism and cynical calculation of commercial advantage. Jacques Chirac gave the game away at the failed COP6 talks at The Hague last November, when he described the protocol as “a genuine instrument of global governance”.

Meanwhile, in 2007 John Howard was coming under pressure not just from Kevin Rudd, but business…

Murphy, K. 2007. Business counters PM to back emissions targets. The Age, 4 April.

New consumer petrol tax floated

AUSTRALIA’S top companies say the country must set concrete targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years as the centrepiece of policies to combat climate change.

In a message that undercuts Prime Minister John Howard’s recent political attack on Labor’s pledge to slash carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, the Business Council of Australia has endorsed immediate and long-term emission reduction targets.

Mr Howard has criticised Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd’s pledge to cut emissions by 60 per cent by 2050, claiming it would damage the economy.

But while not endorsing Labor’s specific target, the Business Council accepted the principle, saying targets were necessary to find a solution to rising carbon dioxide emissions.

The council yesterday released what it called a “strategic framework for emissions reduction” – a document setting its policy on climate change – which argues that Australia should implement a “cap and trade” emissions trading scheme.

A year later a CCS demonstration plant opened…

Thursday, 3 April 2008 World’s largest CO2 storage demo plant opens in Victoria

“THE launch of Australia’s first carbon dioxide storage demonstration project is a “key strategic initiative in the global challenge of addressing climate change”, according to Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Mitchell Hooke. “

2 April 1978 – Australian Coal Association starts having conferences…

On this day 39 years ago, the first Australian Coal Conference began in Surfers Paradise, Queensland.  2 – 6 April 1978.

These shindigs, which happened every second year, would continue until 2000.  Climate change got a super-brief mention in 1988 (the conference happened in April) and a heckuva lot more coverage in 1990 (with the usual mix of denial and technology will fix it). The conferences hosted scientific luminaries like Fred Singer and Pat Michaels too. The industry, which saw these conferences as a chance to sniff out deals and schmooze, finally got fed up with a (to them) excessive focus on climate policy after the 2000 conference, and the Australian Coal Association stopped having a conference.  Other outfits (Coaltrans for example) took up the slack a bit…  But that’s for another day…

 

Also on this day –

In 2001, a day after John Howard sent a ‘good on you mate’ letter to George ‘hanging chad’ Bush, his Federal cabinet went ‘heh heh, yeah, me too’.

“A string of federal ministers, led by Prime Minister John Howard, voiced support for the US position following the March 29 announcement by Washington that it would not support the Kyoto Protocol. Federal cabinet decided on April 2 to support the US decision. The government declared that it will not ratify the Kyoto Protocol unless the US does.”

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

Meanwhile, The April 2 Age 2001 printed an article by Ray Evans from the Lavoisier Group, in which he stated: “President Bush has shown courage and provided world leadership by announcing that the United States will not support the Kyoto protocol on greenhouse gas emissions. What is baffling, however, is that some senior members of the Australian government do not seem prepared to immediately lend support to Bush. In the interests of good policy and good science, they should do so.”

March 22, 2007 – Fairfax limbers up for ‘Earth Hour’

The late Ray Evans was a culture warrior of the old school. There wasn’t a rightwing pie (union bashing, opposing aboriginal land rights etc, you name it) that he didn’t have an opinion on, a finger in the pie.  In an April 2007 speech about climate change, he quoted this email from Fairfax (owners of the Sydney Morning Herald, the (Melbourne) Age and the Australian Financial Review)

Sent: Thursday, 22 March 2007 9:06 AM

Subject: EARTH HOUR – A MESSAGE TO ALL STAFF

When the lights of Sydney are turned off for one hour at 7.30pm on Saturday, March 31, we should take a moment to reflect, with pride, on the role Fairfax Media has played in Earth Hour.

For the past eight months, the Earth Hour working group has been meeting every Tuesday on Level 19 at Darling Park to plan this bold event.

Every strand of our business – management, editorial, online, commercial, marketing and production – has been involved in the planning process.

For Evans “What is important in this context is that the senior management of one of Australia’s most important media companies, Fairfax Ltd, publisher of the Melbourne Age, the SMH and the Australian Financial Review,sees no difficulty in enlisting all Fairfax staff in the prosecution of a cause which has been described by Cardinal George Pell as a manifestation of ‘pagan emptiness’.”

Also on this day-

2013 Martin Ferguson, seen by some as an unusually pro-mining Resources Minister  resigns, in the aftermath of the leadership challenge that never was.