On 1st December 2009, by a single vote, Tony Abbott defeated Malcolm Turnbull for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Australia. The issue at stake – Turnbull’s support for Kevin Rudd’s emissions trading scheme. Abbott, who had recently declared climate science to be ‘absolute crap’ (in Beaufort, Victoria, on 30 September 2009) took over. He said that the Liberals would meet the 5% reduction by 2020 target that Rudd had set… by planting trees, basically. After the summer break, he explained what the Liberal ‘policy’ would be.
You can read his media release here.
Direct action on the environment and climate change.
There will be more about ‘Direct Action’ in due course. Suffice to say that ‘we will plant trees instead of putting a price on carbon’ was Liberal Party policy from 1995 onwards.
Also on this day –
2010 Australian ETS legislation introduced a third time. The recently deposed Malcolm Turnbull would cross the floor to vote for it, symbolic action that it was.
On this day 25 years ago the then Environment Minister Ros Kelly stated what anyone who could do sums and think about the active and passive resistance to change that institutions have already knew – reaching the 20% reduction by 2005 which she had taken to the Second World Climate Conference in Geneva in November 1990 was going to be a leeeetle bit challenging. Yes, huge energy efficiency gains might in theory exist, but getting individuals and companies to change their habits was going to be tricky. And by now, the idea of a carbon tax, floated by both three ESD Working Groups and alsothe Industry Commission in late 1991 had been comprehensively defeated by a determined industry campaign. Two hacks for the Fin wrote –
The Federal Minister for the Environment, Mrs Kelly, conceded yesterday it would be “very difficult” to achieve global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent – a target endorsed by the Federal Government.
1992 Garran R. and Lawson, M. 1992. Kelly concedes greenhouse difficulties. Australian Financial Review, 29 January, p.5.
The Toronto target limped on, and mostly served to give industry some cheap shots, until early 1995. But more on that later….