Category Archives: International

June 4, 1992 – Australia signs the UNFCCC treaty

On this day, 25 years ago, Ros Kelly,  Australia’s Minister for the Arts, Sport, the Environment and Territories signed the United Nations climate change convention (It’s rumoured she was so keen that she almost signed for Afghanistan. Unlike most world leaders, Paul Keating, Prime Minister since December 1991 didn’t attend.

You can read more about Australia and the UNFCCC in my short piece on The Conversation (link goes up tomorrow).

According Matt McDonald, 2005 Fair Weather Friend  “The opposition’s delegate to UNCED in 1992, for example, had criticized the Labor Government’s willingness to give away Australia’s sovereign rights and had emphasized the debilitative economic costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” CPD, Senate, 4 June 1992, p. 3350.

Also on this day
Anon, 1989. Environment focus of global TV show. Canberra Times, 4 June p. 3.
SYDNEY: Australians play a part in a television program on the environment to be seen live in almost 100 countries today.
Our Common Future, based in New York, will bring celebrities and world leader together to spearhead the push towards environmental awareness.

1996 – Cabinet says nope… Callick, R. 1996. Coalition backs industry on climate change. The Australian Financial Review, 5 June, p.2.
Australian industry has applauded the Federal Cabinet’s decision yesterday to oppose a targets and timetables approach to international climate change negotiations, made on the eve of World Environment Day today.
The Howard Government’s position effectively reaffirms that taken by the Keating government and its minister for the Environment, Senator John Faulkner.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Alexander Downer, the Minister for the Environment, Senator Robert Hill, and the Minister for Resources and Energy, Senator Warwick Parer, said in a joint statement: “Australia will insist that the outcome of current international negotiations on climate change safeguards Australia’s particular economic and trade interests.” Mr John Hannagan, chairman of the Australian Aluminium Council’s major policy group, said industry welcomed this statement, “reinforcing its no-regrets position as its negotiating stand at the forthcoming Geneva talks”.

1998 http://23.101.218.132/prod/parlment/hansart.nsf/V3Key/LC19980604025
It is amazing how up to the mark the Hon. R. S. L. Jones is. This very day, Thursday, 4 June, the New South Wales Premier, the Hon. Bob Carr, signed the first carbon credit trade in Australia as part of an innovative program tackling greenhouse gas emissions and creating new jobs in New South Wales. Today the international finance company Bankers Trust and resource consultants Margules Groome Poyry certified the trade. This is the first time in Australia that major players in the finance and resource sectors have backed a carbon sink plantation in Australia.

2001 John Faulkner and Nick Bolkus grill Gwen Andrews and Robert Hill on the Don Burke adverts

Campbell, C. 2007. Back to the future with ad blitz. Canberra Times. 25 June.
In the next fortnight just as Parliament has risen for winter a $23 million climate change campaign will be broadcast, mailed, and plastered in newspapers. It’s not the first. In May 2001, the viewing public enjoyed a six-week ”burst” of ads on the greenhouse effect featuring gardening guru Don Burke. It cost almost $5million. On June 4, 2001, in the hush of Senate committee room 3, floor 2, in Parliament House, Canberra, a Greenhouse Office bureaucrat revealed, ”In a six-week period, we had 425 60-second advertisements, 375 30-second advertisements, 660 15-second advertisements and a further dozen advertisements, and my figures seem to have some problem qualifying whether those were 60 or 30 seconds.” The same officer revealed that post-campaign research of 1000 respondents showed that 88 per cent of respondents considered the greenhouse effect to be a real problem and only 9 per cent considered it a myth.

May 28, 1990 – “Global warming is really here”

You can read it here. It’s depressing.  So much for “knock out blows”, eh?

1990 05 28

Also on this day-

2001 The World Today Archive – Monday, 28 May , 2001 00:00:00
Reporter: David Mark

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/stories/s303764.htm
JOHN HIGHFIELD: And now on The World Today let’s go to the third in our series of stories on the global warming crisis. It’s now been established of course that the greenhouse effect is more than just fanciful scientific theory.

In March, scientists in Britain published the first evidence that global warming is happening as a result of the greenhouse gas pollution of our planet. And the impact could be catastrophic unless remedial measures are taken urgently.

The United Nations Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted the world’s temperatures could rise by almost six degrees centigrade over the next century leading to the flooding of many island nations, particularly those in the south and western Pacific in our region, as well as climate chaos, including prolonged droughts and violent storms.

Well, two of the world’s worst offenders on a per capita basis when it comes to producing carbon dioxide (CO2) are the United States and Australia of course. And we seem to be stepping away from things and the International Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, which it was hoped to change the world’s attitude.

Well, in this third story, David Mark looks at the green record of our political parties in this federal election year.

2014 Abbott remarks to Mining Industry dinner

March 16, 1994 – Australian Environment Minister reminds everyone of some caveats

Australia made some big promises in the first years of the climate issue, but these were always tinged with an awareness that the USA was unlikely to allow diplomatic work towards emissions targets for rich countries to progress very quickly.  And so therefore Australia would be able to move in Uncle Sam’s slipstream, able to say ‘shucks, we’d like to do more, but the international consensus says….’.  While they weren’t exactly shouting this strategy for all to hear, nor were they lying or dissembling. This report, from Peter Gill, who wrote lots of well-sourced reports on the issue for the Australian Financial review, is a good example, dealing with Graham Richardson during his very brief return as Environment Minister (after Ros Kelly’s resignation and before Richardson’s past caught up with him).

“Cabinet is understood to have agreed in January 1991, before talks on the UN convention, that Australia would not proceed with measures which had “net adverse economic impacts nationally or on Australia’s trade competitiveness in the absence of similar action by major greenhouse gas-producing countries”.
Former environment minister and former senator, Mr Graham Richardson, used exactly the same words when he described the joint Commonwealth-State position on climate change to Parliament on March 16.”
Gill, P. 1994. Minister signals change of policy on greenhouse gas. Australian Financial Review, 26 May, p.6. [Gareth Evans using exactly the same words on 24 May]

Also on this day –
Ritchie, J. 1988. Development of a Strategy for the Australian Coal Industry. Australian Coal Association, paper to the Petroleum & Minerals Review Conference, Canberra, 16 March. [This was the first half of 1988. So climate change wasn’t mentioned.]

1993 Australia’s Ambassador for the Environment and Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ms Penny Wensley,was elected to a position of Vice Chair of the INC on Climate Change during the meeting of the committee in New York, USA. [source]

Pheasant, B. 1995. Vic takes stake in $100m coal R&D. Australian Financial Review, 17 March, p.9.
“THE Victorian Government is to participate in the country’s largest research and development syndicate, a $100 million joint venture for research which could make the State’s four baseload brown coal power stations up to 30 per cent more efficient.
The syndicate arranged by Bain and Company includes Perth entrepreneur Mr Kerry Stokes’ Australian Capital Equity as majority investor, with ABN Amro Australia , Mercantile Mutual , Babcock & Brown , and Deutsche Bank AG .”

Anon. 1997. ‘529bn Greenhouse Threat: Downer,” Australian Financial Review, 17 March.
“Official estimates suggested that stabilising emissions at 1990 levels by 2010 would lead to a 3.5 per cent fall in gross national expenditure. [Foreign Minister Alexander] Downer warned that projects worth more than $22 billion were at risk.”

2004 “International Climate Change Taskforce” launched by Bob Carr

2005 DEH Minister Launches ‘Greenhouse Challenge Plus’.
https://www.iea.org/policiesandmeasures/pams/australia/name-21656-en.php

2006 CANBERRA, Australia, March 16 — Australian Sen. Christine Milne (Greens-Tasmania) issued the following news release:
The coal industry’s plan to fund research into its own greenhouse gas emissions is long overdue but it reflects self-interest and is not a serious commitment to address climate change, Australian Greens climate spokesperson Sen. Christine Milne said today.
US Fed News (2006) AUSTRALIA: COAL INDUSTRY’S GREENHOUSE FOCUS IS SELF-INTERESTED SPIN US Fed News 16th March

March 11 1989/2008 -Fine Australian words on #climate change

Nineteen years separate two Australian declarations of motherhood, apple-pie and peace/love/understanding.   In 1989, with climate change on everyone’s lips, Australia was a signatory of the Hague Declaration=

“The right to live is the right from which all other rights stem. Guaranteeing’this right is the paramount duty of those in charge of all States throughout the world. Today, the very conditions of life on our planet are threatened by the severe attacks to which the earth’s atmosphere is subjected. Authoritative scientific studies have shown the existence and scope of considerable dangers linked in particular to the warming of the atmosphere and to the deterioration of the ozone layer. The latter has already led to action, under the 1985 Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the 1987 Montreal Protocol, while the former is being addressed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climatic Change established by UNEP and WMO, which has just begun its work. In addition the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 43/53 on the Protection of the Global Climate in 1988, recognizing climate change as a common concern of mankind. According to present scientific knowledge, the consequences of these phenomena may well jeopardize ecological systems as well as the most vital interests of mankind at large.”

And then, in 2008, after Kevin Rudd had won the ‘first climate change election’ and ratified the Kyoto Protocol as his first official act, on this day that ratification came into  effect. The Government issued the Initial Report under the  Kyoto Protocol detailing how Australia aims to reduce  greenhouse gas emissions.

“Words. Words. Words”, as the doomed Danish dude declared.

 

Also on this day- 

2006: Burning Coal and burning the planet – “The Australian Labor Party has just released its environmental policy blueprint, and on the face of it, the policy looks ‘half decent’, but, as always needs to be asked, is the ALP policy all it’s stated to be? And, how vulnerable is the stated target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2050?”

2011 Ian Plimer, Professor of Mining and Geology at the University of Adelaide and author of ‘Heaven + Earth’ (published in 2009), appears on the Sydney-based “Chris Smith Afternoon Show,” a talk-back radio programme. Plimer expressed a view that there is no evidence that ‘human emissions of carbon dioxide gives us catastrophic climate change’ and took pops at the Gillard government’s so-called ‘carbon tax’.

 

March 7,2012 – George Christensen wants Gina’s money for defense of NQ Way of Life’

Bloody greenies. Probably getting money for their pagan attacks on our precious bodily fluids and sacrosanct way of life from foreigners. Moscow. Or Beijing. Or Cuba (subs, please check).  Only vigorous and brave – and funded- action can stop them!  In 2012 North Queensland Liberal MP George Christensen wanted to launch an organisation to counter the ‘the radical Green movement.’  He emailed Gina Rinehart.

According to Laurie Oakes

Christensen wrote: ‘One quick thought was to hold a major rally “In Defence of the North Queensland Way of Life” in Mackay where we would encourage people in farming, fishing and mining to descend on the town for a mass show of support against the southern Green interests. If this was to be successful, we could then quickly move this movement into a formal blue collar/workers organisation that advocated for the North and against the greenies.”
There was a need to act quickly, he said, but the plan could only succeed if Rinehart and others like her got behind it. Not surprisingly, the email, dated March 7 [2012], specifically mentioned financial support.
Oakes, L. 2012. Gina and Clive are Labor’s best assets. The Australian, 26 May.

 

Also on this day-

1991 Environment Minister Graham Richardson claims that Australia’s greenhouse commitment was “the most progressive policy, I might say, of any nation in combating the threat of greenhouse climate change.”
Senate Hansard 1439

1996 1996 at Ad Hoc Group for the Berlin Mandate,
On 6th or 7th “TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO said Brazil’s proposal on QELROs provided a logical way forward and Germany’s proposal provided impetus to the work of the AGBM. He said the gas-by-gas approach is the simplest and most effective, and expressed surprise at Australia’s idea of equity. Each country could propose an idea of equity that suits its own needs.”

AGBM ENB on REPORT OF THE THIRD SESSION OF THE AD HOC GROUP ON THE BERLIN MANDATE: 5-8 MARCH 1996

2001 Environment Minister Robert Hill’s plan for Australia to be a bridge between US and Europe squashed b the Greenhouse committee- (see Hordern AFR report 16 March 2001)

2006 Opposition Leader Kim Beazley releases an energy policy.  If you listened carefully, you could hear Rudd breathing down Kim’s neck.  By the end of the year it was on…. Beazley releases energy policy. ABC, 7 March .

 

March 1, 1989 – Australian government calls for international treaty on #climate

Hard to believe it, almost 30 years later, but in 1989 the Australian Federal Government – caught up in the concern about climate change, and aware that Australia was vulnerable, and that the problem needed co-ordinated global action – favoured action. This was all in the pre-UNFCCC period (the negotiations for that did not start until January 1991). This below came a week before Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans went to The Hague for a conference on climate change, part of the flurry of the years 1989 and 1990…

Federal Cabinet is set to back calls for an international treaty to protect the environment, a move which could drastically alter the nation’s future pattern of trade and the development of its resources.
Australia would support an international treaty to guard against potentially dangerous shifts in the earth’s climate and atmosphere, under a submission expected to go before Cabinet’s structural adjustment committee today.
Dunn, R. 1989. Environmental pact backed. Australian Financial Review, 1 March.

Also on this day –
1990

“Products that pollute should be taxed to be more expensive than environmentally friendly goods, a leading environmental economist said yesterday.”
Polglaze, K. 1990. Polluting products should be taxed’. Canberra Times, 2 March, p10.

1995 (after the defeat of the carbon tax proposal)

Canberra — Conservationists yesterday called on the Federal Government to overcome its “policy paralysis” after Cabinet again deferred finalising a greenhouse emission-reduction package. On Tuesday night, Cabinet agreed to hold off on a decision to allow all Government departments to work out effective proposals to curb emissions.
Boreham, G. 1995. ACF Slates Greenhouse `policy Paralysis’. The Age, 2 March, p.8.

Feb 22, 2000- Trees for coal swap announced…

In the late 1990s there was a lot of interest in Australia becoming a hub for carbon trading, and being able to use its forests for ‘off-setting’. This was being pushed by a number of credible policy entrepreneurs, not least among them New South Wales Premier Bob Carr, who was frustrated with the Howard government’s bullshit (that’s a technical policy analyst term) on climate change. This from the Guardian covers it nicely-
If you’re interested in the theory behind offsetting, then CheatNeutral is for you…

Zinn, C. 2000. Japan in eco-credit deal with Australia. The Guardian, 22 February
Australian forest authorities have been contracted to plant 40,500 hectares of trees (about 100,000 acres) on behalf of one of Japan’s largest power companies in a controversial scheme to fight global warming.
The trees are meant to offset some of the greenhouse gas emissions generated in Tokyo.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company signed the deal, which could cost up to £50m, with the New South Wales’s forestry division to grow hard and softwood plantations to capture carbon dioxide (CO2).
But environmentalists question whether the project, scheduled to run for 10 years, will work. They claim the area is too small and that the forests must be maintained forever or the CO2 will go back into the atmosphere when the trees are processed.

Also on this day-

As the ‘Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme’ that was announced to universal contempt and derision in the White Paper in December 2008 limps on (ahead of secret negotiations in April), on this day in 2009  “Economists speak out against carbon scheme

According to Opposition Environment Spokesman Mark Butler, in his epic demolition of “Direct Action” –  “22 February 2011: Geoff Carmody, now a Coalition adviser on costings, makes clear in an opinion piece rhetoric on direct action is “unconvincing bluster” which should be subject to Productivity Commission review.”

And this great acronym for a group – bravo!!

Anon, 2013  Goldfields lobby group opposing ‘green extremists‘ ABC. 22 February.A Goldfields lobby group is planning to launch an eleventh hour campaign against what it calls “green extremists”.

The group DAMAGE, Dads And Mums Against Green Extremists, is planning advertisements in a Kalgoorlie newspaper in the last week of the state election campaign.