Category Archives: Gillard’s ETS

June 11 2011 – Miners union says ‘show us the money’

The age-old battle, another skirmish…

ONE of the nation’s largest unions has threatened a blue-collar revolt should the nation’s dirtiest coalmines fail to receive the same level of assistance as they were promised under the original emissions trading scheme.
With industry compensation still being thrashed out behind closed doors, the national secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, Tony Maher, said he is worried coalminers will be dudded to appease the Greens.

Coorey, P. 2011. Mine union digs in over compensation under a carbon tax. Sydney Morning Herald, 11 June, p.4.

Also on this day- 
1997 –   As late as June 1997, the US Ambassador to Australia, Ms Genta Hawkins Holmes, stated that the US would seek “binding, realistic and achievable” targets at Kyoto; she claimed that Australia should make greater use of renewable energy sources and improve its “relatively inefficient use of hydrocarbon energy”27” At the Earth Summit in New York in late June, however, the US did not announce a target and sought to include developing countries in the framework agreement. Europeans interpreted these moves as preparing the ground for a softer US position, possibly reviving an earlier proposal to develop traceable international emission permits. At the G-7 meeting in Denver in June 1997, the US, Japan and Canada refused to endorse the EU position of a binding fifteen per cent reduction target, leaving uncertain what would emerge from Kyoto. The Australian Government may yet retrieve something from the divergence of the European and US positions.
Shared Values Drive US-Australia Alliance”. Australian, 12 June 1997: “Ambassador Holmes Gives Elementary Warning on Warming”, Sydney Morning Herald, 12 June 1997.
Johnston, W.R.  and Stokes, G. 1997.  Problems in Australian Foreign Policy: January- July 1997. Australian Journal of Politics and History, Vol.43(3), pp.293-300.

On June 11, 2003, AEI and an Australian think tank, Institute for Public Affairs (IPA), cosponsored a conference titled “Non-governmental Organizations: The Growing Power of an Unelected Few,” held at the AEI offices in Washington, D.C. The conference laid the ground for the launch of “NGO Watch”-a website and political campaign cosponsored by AEI and The Federalist Society.
(Hardistry and Furdon 2004)

11-Jun-2005 – ACF calls for national deep cuts target on greenhouse

The Australian Conservation Foundation today urged a national commitment to a target of cutting greenhouse pollution by 60% by 2050 and a framework of immediate practical action, following commitments by the NSW Premier to this target and the expansion of gas and renewables to meet electricity needs in that state.
ACF Executive Director, Don Henry, said the NSW target of a 60% cut by 2050 matched that adopted by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and the advice of Australia’s former Chief Scientist, and should offer important common ground for the national working group on climate change established at last week’s COAG.

9 June, 2011 – Productivity Commission

 

On this day in 2011, at the height of the Gillard ETS battle, the  Productivity Commission produced a report.  It had been a condition of two independent MPs – Windsor and Oakestott – supporting Gillard’s minority government.  The report looked internationally at emissions reductions policies and found “much lower-cost abatement could be achieved through broad, explicit carbon pricing approaches, irrespective of the policy settings in competitor economies.”  So, not so much support for Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s “Direct Action”…

[see Garnaut 2014, chapter in Quiggin ed book on carbon taxes..]

 

 

Also on this day

Clark, P. 1989. Unions may as well be talking to the trees. Sydney Morning Herald, 20 June, p13

AN ODDLY portentous scene was played out behind the closed doors of the ALP national executive’s last meeting in Canberra on June 9 by two of the party’s toughest right-wing figures: the Federal Environment Minister, Graham Richardson, and the AWU general secretary, Errol Hodder.

Hodder, who had left the executive meeting briefly, returned to be told that while he was away Richardson had spoken of how the union movement had to reassess its position on the environment, and that someone present had said that the ACTU’s attitude on the issue was “stupid”.

Never backward in coming forward, Hodder leapt up to make a strong defence of the union movement’s reaction to the growing importance of the environmental debate.

What he said, in essence, was that the unions were well aware of the significance of the issue but the Government had to recognise a few things too. A tree might be a pretty thing to look at, but the view palled when you’d been put out of a job and you’d a mortgage to pay and a family to feed.

1990    (TEXT FROM 1997 APH chronology) The first assessment report of the IPCC Working Group I  was released including predictions of global warming and climatic impacts (a supplement was added in 1992). The best estimates from Working Group I (scientific  analysis) were a 3C rise in global temperature and a 0.65m sea level rise by 2100. Australian scientist Dr Greg Tegart was a Co-Vice-Chairman on the Climate Change, The IPCC Impacts Assessment report from Working Group II. Consensus was also reached at the Response Strategies Working Group of the IPCC, Working Group III. The Scientific and Impact Assessment reports concluded   that emissions from human activities were increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, which  was likely to enhance the natural greenhouse effect resulting in global warming.

By 9 June 2000, The Australian was reporting that the trigger proposal ‘faces defeat when it reaches Cabinet’ and that when the issue was discussed by Cabinet, ‘Senator Hill was almost a lone voice of support.’ (Macintosh, 2007: 50)

2005 press conference Carr and Howard –

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, you’ve made progress on water, you’ve got a national scheme to (inaudible), same thing for carbon trading, for emissions trading?

PRIME MINISTER: Well we have, at the present time Mr Carr and I and the other States I think line up, the States line up with Mr Carr and we have just different views. Now let’s be sensible, we don’t agree all the time, but the important thing is to agree as many times as possible and to deliver outcomes that are good for the public.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, how highly do you rate global warming as a threat? The Premier rates it very highly.

PRIME MINISTER: Oh, I’ve said in the past that I think the scientific evidence is very, very strong. I don’t know that I embrace every expression of concern that’s come from everybody who would favour some different policies than I do, but I have a different view about signing the Kyoto Protocol from that of Mr Carr, but that is based not on a belief that we shouldn’t reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, it relates more to the comparability of treatment of an economy such as Australia and that of such Indonesia and China. But that is for a discussion for another day. We have agreed to disagree on that issue, but we haven’t come here to parade with rhetorical flourish our different approaches.

 

Marks, K. 2010. Australian billionaires take to the streets for tax protest. The Independent, 10 June.

Australian billionaires take to the streets for tax protest

It was, by any measure, a most unusual rally. Many of the placard-waving protesters gathered in a Perth park wore suits and ties, and impassioned speeches were delivered from the back of a flat-bed truck by two billionaires, including Australia’s richest woman.

June 5, 2011 – “Say Yes” rallies for ETS

On this day, at the height of the Gillard ETS battle, rallies were held in Australian cities around the theme “Say Yes” (to a price on carbon)

Here’s what some malcontent thought.

We demand innovation of businesses.
We demand courage of our politicians.
We demand of ourselves… not so much.

First, let me say this: I’m glad the “Say Yes” rally in Adelaide happened, and the organisers deserve applause and thanks. They didn’t have a lot of time or money, and they pulled it off.

Opportunities like today – a chance to see that plenty of other people are concerned (despite what you’d believe if you thought the Murdoch press reflected reality) – are valuable. We need occasionally to go to the well to refill the leaky bucket of optimism and passion for climate action.

The event was short, sweet and… not enough.

We have been doing rallies like this – on various issues be it (pro-peace, pro-tolerance, pro-planet) – for a long time. If they worked to build a movement that grew, learned, organised and won, then, well, we would Be “There” by now. But we’re not. (Footnote 1)

The rally followed an entirely predictable format. After some music, there was an entirely competent introduction, followed by three speeches of variable audibility and interest. [For what little it is worth, here’s the speech I would have given.] Nobody said anything that the people attending didn’t already know or agree with. People had no opportunity to communicate what they didn’t know, what they thought could be done, what they wanted to happen next with the campaign for a climate safe Australia (which is a much bigger issue than just a carbon tax/emissions trading scheme)

So here are some questions

Why gather 2000 people who have knowledge, ideas, passion and commitment and have them listen to 30 minutes of music and 30 minutes of speeches telling them what they already know

Why gather 2000 people and disempower them by having them listen for an hour, as if they are simply empty vessels to be filled? Or sheep to be shepherded? I am sure that the organisers do not think that, but their actions create that impression. I looked at the faces of people during the speeches, and many seemed bored and irritated. That’s not the way to enthuse and engage and encourage.

How many of those who attended the rally will be able to tell a mildly skeptical friend or neighbour “yeah, it was exciting and inspiring, you should come next time.” (That, to me, is a key definition of success.)

Why not give permission to people to mingle and meet with those stood around them. How else are we to create the loose networks of people across the city?

Why not structure some of the hour so that all the people who are teachers, or health care professionals or students could gather in different parts of the park, just to exchange names and details.

Why not structure some of the hour so that people from different parts of the city could mingle based on where they live. For example, when I was walking down my street about to start putting the “conversation” letters in post-boxes, I met someone who had also been at the rally, and we had a really useful conversation. That was a happy accident. The organisers of the rally could have created many more of those happy accidents.

Why not have a a space after the rally where people who have questions about the science of climate change could talk with experts face to face, and get impromptu lessons. It would make people feel more confident in their (inevitable) dealings with the small number of vocal denialists. It would give the experts valuable experience.

Why not have a “suggestions box” so that people can submit their contact details and ideas for what the movement could be doing to improve its power?”

Why not have an agreed post-rally meeting place for those who want to talk more over a coffee or a sandwich?

Why not have a “video booth” where people can record brief comments that could then be posted on youtube, showing just how many people outside the “latte-drinking inner-city professionals” demographic want action.

So, it’s good that the rally happened. But if we keep on as we have been keeping on these last 30 years or more, then we are not going to “win”

Next up – an analysis piece on the Dangers Ahead… (betcha can’t wait).

If you’re really time-rich with a high tolerance for shockingly clumsy graphics, see these videos
From Cannon-Fodder to Ego Fodder

Meetings from Above

Footnote 1: For good (IMHO) analyses of the state of the Australian climate movement, see these two recently articles.
The first is from the latest “Chain Reaction,” by Holly Creenaune, a member of Friends of the Earth Sydney.

In part she writes

“Bad policy aside, it’s the debate – or lack of it – that is the real problem. The public cannot participate in a discussion about a perfect price or the market that could work magic: the debate is inaccessible, ignores concerns about justice, and is not relevant to our daily lives. We’ve been stuck for decades in a media and policy vacuum of neoliberal market mechanisms and a contest over complex science. Real solutions, community voices, or the elephant in the room – our coal exports – are locked out. It suits government and industry to keep the debate on this limited terrain – but we desperately need to build a message and a movement that can reject false solutions like carbon trading, halt privatisation of energy infrastructure, and put forward new ideas.”

The second is by Anna Rose, one of the founders of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (a more mainstream lobbying outfit – sort of like “Stop Climate Chaos,” only effective.)

“But the time has come to be honest. We are failing because as a whole the Australian environment movement does not understand power, has not built power, and has failed to effectively exercise the power we have built.
“To win campaigns we have to make it harder for those in power to continue with business as usual than it is for them to give into our demands. Yet currently, it’s easier or politicians to continue with business as usual, and to give in to the demands of industry lobbyists from the coal, gas, mining, aluminium, cement and electricity generation industries — everyone, that is, except us.”

 

Also on this day –

1989 ACF advert in Sydney Morning Herald ‘once we’ve used up this planet .’  Also ‘the greening of TV

1990 – The Government’s decision to reduce greenhouse gas emissions came four months after the ACT had approved the same target. The target was part of the ACT Strategy to respond to the Greenhouse Effect launched by the ACT

Chief Minister, Trevor Kaine, on June 5. Mr Kaine said yesterday that the Commonwealth had been “dragging their feet a little” on the issue. “But it’s important that they’ve now done it and the issue, now that they’ve made the decision and set the targets, is: are they in fact going to put it into effect,” Mr Kaine said. The Federal Government would be watched closely to ensure that it did not attempt to withdraw from the decision, he said.
Lamberton, 1990,13 October Canberra Times

Grose, S. 1994. Ecology should go to vote: Kernot. Canberra Times, 6 June p 2.

Any national referendum to decide the republican issue should also include a proposal to give the Federal Government increased powers and responsibility to protect the environment, Democrat Leader Senator Cheryl Kernot said yesterday.
“The debate on constitutional reform must be broadened to include concerns about the environment,” Senator Kernot said, marking World Environment Day.
Senator Kernot said the Democrats supported a proposal by a former executive director of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Phillip Toyne,

2000 MP calls for treat inquiry.  Andrew Thomson getting Treaties Committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade to investigate Koto. See Horden Piece in the Fin.

2001 Woodford, J. 2001. Carr Promises $17.5m TV Blitz For Green Ads. Sydney Morning Herald, 6 June, p.3.
The Carr Government has promised a $17.5million advertising campaign on environmental education, provoking conservationists to demand that the Premier should lead with actions – not words.
The campaign, to run over 31/2 years, began on television last night, featuring the theme song It’s a Living Thing, sung by Christine Anu.
The launch follows Labor criticism of Federal Coalition advertising campaigns, most recently attacks on the $6million Agriculture Advancing Australia campaign, a $3.6million promotion of the Natural Heritage Trust, and a $3.9 million greenhouse campaign featuring Don Burke.
The NSW campaign will focus on electricity, water and paper.

2002  Howard tells parliament won’t ratify ‘It is not in Australia’s interests to ratify. The protocol would cost us jobs and damage our industry.’

2005 Australian Environment Foundation set up by IPA (see Fyfe on 8th)

2006 Rising Tide boat blockade Newcastle

May 18, 2011 – Turnbull on “Direct Action” and broadband

Having lost his job as opposition leader at the end of 2009 because of his support for carbon pricing, Malcolm Turnbull almost quit politics.  By 2011 he was fully back in the fray. With climate change again/still a hot issue, Turnbull was on the ABC programme Lateline, on this day 6 years ago, explaining that

if you want to have a long-term solution to abating carbon emissions and to achieve – if you want to have a long-term technique of cutting carbon emissions, you know, in a very substantial way to the levels that the scientists are telling us we need to do by mid-century to avoid dangerous climate change, then a direct action policy where the Government – where industry was able to freely pollute, if you like, and the Government was just spending more and more taxpayers’ money to offset it, that would become a very expensive charge on the budget in the years ahead.

Well, thank goodness that didn’t happen, eh?

Also on this day
18 May 1993 Australian National Audit office Implementation of an ‘Interim ‘Greenhouse Response’ Media Release’ (Crowley 2013)

May 13, 2011 – “Say Yes” (to what?) campaign launched

So, bruised and bloodied from the CPRS debacle, the established Big Green groups decided they should get behind the next version of an emissions trading scheme. ON this day in 2011, six very very long years ago, the Climate Institute sent out a press release about the ‘Say Yes’ campaign…

Also on this day –

Twenty-five years ago today two more industry commissioned studies say the sky will fall if so much as one lump of coal is not burnt….

1992  Brown, B. 1992. Pressure builds on Aust over greenhouse emissions. Australian Financial Review, 14 May, p.11.

Australia may come under pressure to sign a declaration to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions, although a convention adopted at a United Nations meeting in New York last weekend set no target.

Developing and European nations that could achieve stabilisation of greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2000 are expected to push for this target at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in June.

A United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Control agreed last weekend on a text to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but without a specific target. The target will be considered by member governments before the Rio meeting.

But to reach the stabilisation target, Australia would need “excessively stringent government intervention”, according to one of two industry-commissioned studies released yesterday.

The studies, prepared by the Canberra-based economic consultants ACIL Australia and Swan Consultants for the Business Council of Australia, said advice to the Government had seriously underestimated the economic costs of stabilising greenhouse emissions.