Category Archives: Kyoto Protocol

May 30, 2007 – Kevin Rudd promises 60% by 2050 reduction…

Referring to Kevin Rudd’s  An Action Agenda for Climate Change, Annual F2007 05 30 rudd action agenda for climate changeraser Lecture, Belconnen Labor Club, Canberra, 30 May 2007 (Australian Labor Party, Canberra: 2007).
Macintosh, (2008, page 52) notes that 

“The Labor Party, led by Kevin Rudd, promised a more progressive approach. It pledged to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, establish a target of reducing Australia’s emissions by 60 per cent on 2000 levels by 2050 and create an emissions trading scheme by 2010.”

Also on this day

1995 AMIC begins to rebrand itself as the Minerals Council of Australia…

Davis, M. 1995. Mining Council does post-Mabo revamp. BRW, 29 May

1996

Callick, R. 1996. Greenhouse tax off the agenda, Hill tells miners. The Australian Financial Review 31 May.

The Federal Government’s promise of no new taxes included carbon and other so-called greenhouse taxes, the Minister for the Environment, Senator Robert Hill, told the Minerals Council of Australia in Canberra yesterday.

May 29, 2007- Howard disses Nick Stern for … being English?!

By early 2007 all of John Howard’s intransigence on climate change was coming back to haunt him. An election was not far off, and the Labor opposition, led by Kevin “I’m from Queensland, I’m here to help” Rudd was relentlessly targeting climate change.  Then Nick Stern, who the previous year had delivered his report on the Economics of Climate Change to Gordon Brown, paid a visit. Given that he was a former World Bank economist he could hardly be painted as a tree-hugger or communist.  So, Howard said that when his policy was released, it

Commonwealth, Parliamentary Debates, House of Representatives, 29 May 2007, 48 (John Howard, Prime Minister)

… will not be a grab bag of proposals taken holus-bolus from a report written by an Englishman for European conditions and designed to promote the political objectives of the British government. That is what the Stern report is all about. Stern is not the biblical scholar of climate change that is posited by those who sit opposite. Stern has written from the perspective of an Englishman, from the European circumstance and from the European point of view.

 

 

On the same day-                               

Anon, 2007. Climate change ad battle heating up. Sydney Morning Herald, 29 May.

Labor turned up the heat over federal government advertising as Prime Minister John Howard conceded a climate change campaign was on the way. (Ended up being the dire “climate clever”)

See also             

Doherty, B. 2007. Howard coy on $53m ads. The Age, 30 May.

THERE is $52.8 million ready to spend on a climate-change advertising blitz if and when the Government chooses to introduce one, Prime Minister John Howard admitted yesterday.

Also on this day –

1999 Prime Minister John Howard writes to Meg Lees (then Democrats leader) about the “Measures for a Better Environment” deal which they managed to get…

Anon, 2012. Anthea Harris to be first CEO of Climate Change Authority. Business Spectator, 29 May.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/business-spectator/anthea-harris-to-be-first-ceo-of-climate-change-authority/news-story/2214d21d38be6cce2aa67814530c6cf5

Anthea Harris is set to take the role as the inaugural CEO of the Climate Change Authority, the federal government has announced.

Ms Harris is currently serving as Chief Advisor for the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and “brings a wealth of knowledge on the economics of climate change from both the private and public sectors,” climate change minister Greg Combet said in a statement.

May 27, 2007, Economists call for Kyoto Ratification

By 2007 ratifcation of the Kyoto Protocol had become a great symbolic test.  John Howard’s refusal to do so (and the man was on the record as saying even ratifying the UNFCCC was a mistake), became a stick that Labor, under Kevin Rudd, hit Howard with relentlessly.  It is in that context that the Australia Institute’s action in gettin g75 economics professors together should be seen.

Economists: Government must ratify Kyoto

Seventy five professors of economics today called on the Federal Government to stop undermining international efforts to tackle climate change and to ratify the Kyoto Protocol without delay

On the same day, there is there was this interesting thing in the Canberra Times.

Anon. 2007. CO2 trading no solution. Canberra Times, 27 May.

LAST week’s announcement that BP and Rio Tinto have teamed up to look at building a ”clean” coal” power station in Western Australia is great news. There’s only one catch. The project won’t go ahead if it depends on the key proposal to encourage clean energy contained in a report due to be handed to the Prime Minister on Thursday. This need not pose an insuperable barrier. But it suggests the Government will have to do more than simply rely on setting up a market for trading greenhouse gas emissions, which the report, from a joint business/public service task group, is expected to recommend. The idea is to issue a limited number of permits to release greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), which the Government says contributes to global warming. These permits will then be traded in a government-run market designed to create a price which is supposed to increase the cost of emitting high levels of greenhouse gases when products such as electricity are made.

According to a spokesman for Rio Tinto, Ian Head, ”An emissions-trading scheme alone will not be enough to encourage the clean coal project in Western Australia to go ahead”

Also on this day

Taylor, L. 2016. Greg Hunt plays the long game on his glaringly obvious emissions trading scheme. The Guardian, 27 May.

Minister keeps up attack on Labor’s ‘carbon tax’ to placate Coalition climate change sceptics, all the while ensuring the machinery is in place for his own ETS

For years Greg Hunt has been suggesting different things to different people about his climate policy. This week he was almost caught out….

May 26, 1993 – Aussie politicians start to investigate green jobs opportunities…

One of the more irritating phenomena is people saying “shucks, if only the environmentalists would re-frame climate change as a jobs opportunity, there’d be so much less opposition.”  Yeah, because no greenie ever thought of that, ever.  And tried it. And got ignored. sigh.

On this day in 1993 (24 years ago)  the  “Working with the Environment: Opportunities for Job Growth” ball is set rolling

“This report arises from the growing recognition by governments, industry and the community that ecologically sustainable development offers many opportunities for profitable investment and therefore for employment growth, as well as being essential for ecological survival. The community is also faced with the pressing task of finding opportunities to create more jobs and the environment industry is an obvious place to look.

The inquiry was proposed to the then Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories [Ros Kelly] by the [House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment, Recreation and the Arts] and the Minister then formally referred the matter for inquiry to the Committee on 26 May 1993.”

 

Also on this day.

1994.

“The concern of industry groups that Australia might similarly be forced into a consensus on climate change was echoed yesterday by the Opposition spokesman on foreign affairs, Mr Andrew Peacock. He said there was a danger Australia’s stance that it would not implement measures that would damage its trade competitiveness unless other greenhouse gas producers did likewise could become increasingly devoid of substance.”

Gill, P. 1994 Industry voices greenhouse fears.  Australian Financial Review, 27 May,

2003

Albanese seconds Kyoto Protocol legislation in Parliament

MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 26 May 2003

Today, the Federal Member for Grayndler Anthony Albanese MP was pleased to second a Private Members Bill in Federal Parliament designed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change.

Moved by the Shadow Minister for Sustainability & the Environment Kelvin Thomson MP, the Kyoto Protocol Ratification Bill 2003 will give legal effect to Australia’s Kyoto target and ensure Australian industry can take advantage of emerging new markets when the treaty comes into international force.

http://anthonyalbanese.com.au/albanese-seconds-kyoto-protocol-legislation-in-parliament

“Back at home, the Shadow Minister for the Environment, Kelvin Thomson, introduced a private member’s bill for the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on 26 May 2003. As well as calling for the ratification of the Protocol, the Bill sets out requirements for the Commonwealth Environment Minister to prepare systems for involvement in international emissions trading schemes, a National Climate Change Action Plan, and imposes an obligation on the Government to ensure that Australia’s target of 108% of its 1990 emissions is not exceeded during the period 2008 to 2012.”

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/NatEnvLawRw/2003/2.pdf

2004

“The problem with the Kyoto protocol as presently cast is that developing countries such as Russia and China would not be subject to the same strictures as developed countries such as Australia.” Prime Minister John Howard, House of Representatives, 26 May 2004

May 5, 2000 – BCA hints at a voluntary emissions scheme….

So, Australia had wangled a sweet deal at Kyoto in December 1997 – a 108% emissions ‘reduction’ target AND a giant loophole clause on land-clearing.  They’d signed it in April of 1998, but later that year it emerged that the Cabinet had decided it wouldn’t ratify unless Uncle Sam did.  At this point (May 2000) it wasn’t entirely clear what would happen.  In any case, the whole idea of emissions trading was on the rise, and David Buckingham, a bureaucrat who had been head-hunted first by the Minerals Council and then had switched to the Business Council gave a speech –

Buckinhgham, D. 2000. Strategic Greenhouse Issues for Australia. Business Council of Australia

http://www.bca.com.au/media/strategic-greenhouse-issues-for-australia

which suggested a voluntary domestic emissions trading scheme might be a goer, as a learning by doing exercise.

On the same day, Environment Minister gave a speech on ‘the role of Australian business in combatting global warming’-
Hill R. 2000. Warming to the Challenge; The Role of Australian Business in Combatting Global warming. Address to the World Business Council on Sustainable Development and the Australian Business Council Forum, Melbourne, 5 May.

What happened next?  Hill lost his bid to get carbon trading through cabinet in August of the same year, defeated by Nick Minchin.  The BCA said nope to emissions trading, and to a ‘greenhouse trigger’ in the EPBC Act, and fought itself to a standstill over Kyoto Ratification in 2002/3…  So it goes…

Also on this day

1973  AMIC advert for an environmental policy officer in Canberra Times (nothing in their newsletters etc about climate change – I looked)

1990 Australian Coal Association conference dominated by environmental issues

 

 

 

 

1990 Australian Coal Association conference dominated by environmental i

April 29, 1998 – Australia signs the Kyoto Protocol

So, after getting a super generous deal, Australia signed (as distinct from ratifying) the Kyoto Protocol on this day 19 years ago, with Robert Hill (Minister for the Environment) doing the deed in New York.

Hill signs historic agreement to fight global warming, media release, 29 April, 1998.

 

Also on this day

1997 “THE CHALLENGE FOR AUSTRALIA ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE”  29 April 1997 http://www.acola.org.au/climate2.htm

Australian Academy of Science, Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Australian Academy of the Humanities, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, 1997 – Science – 127 pages

April 27, 2010 – Lenore Taylor breaks CPRS cancellation, breaks Rudd

On this day in 2010 it all came unstuck for Kevin Rudd. He had bludgeoned John Howard to a pulp on various issues (anyone remember the Australian Wheat Board?) and one of the biggies was ‘the great moral challenge’ of climate change.  He then had spent two years promulgating a fantastically complicated and horribly named ‘Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme’ which nobody liked or understood.  After Tony Abbott defeated Malcolm Turnbull for the leadership of the Liberal Party on 1st December 2009, consensus on carbon pricing died.  After the Copenhagen debacle, Rudd was urged to fight a double dissolution election.  He flubbed it and threw himself instead into campaigning on the Australian health care system.  And on April 27th 2010, following a front page scoop by the estimable Lenore Taylor about how the CPRS was being kicked into the long grass until after the 2013 election.  it all came unstuck at a hospital.

K Rudd (Prime Minister), Transcript of doorstop interview: Nepean Hospital, Penrith: health and hospital reform; Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme; Home Insulation Program, media release, 27 April 2010.

Two good quotes, the first from Paul Kelly’s ‘Triumph and Demise’

Rudd’s problem, however, was not just the decision but the manner of its release. The story was broken by Lenore Taylor in the Sydney Morning Herald on 27 April when she reported that the ETS had been shelved ‘for at least three years’. The leak to Taylor was devastating. Rudd was taken by surprise and left without an explanation. ‘It was a very damaging leak and hard to retrieve, ‘ Wong said. ‘It derailed our government’, Martin Ferguson said.
(Kelly, 2014:292)

And the second from a later piece by Taylor herself.

It was the decision that seemed to snap voters’ faith in Kevin Rudd. Perhaps a final straw. Straight after the government announced it was deferring an emissions trading scheme until 2013, graphs of the Prime Minister’s satisfaction rating looked like a rock falling off a cliff. Labor’s primary vote tumbled after it. The kitchen cabinet was scheduled to meet on April 27 to decide exactly how to explain the delay, and the conditions under which the government would pledge that the ETS policy would be revived.

News of the decision had also filtered through to a few members of the broader cabinet, who had determined to try to wind it back when cabinet met to “ratify” the budget on April 29. But on the morning of April 27, the Herald disclosed the decision to remove the scheme from the budget in a front page article entitled “ETS off the agenda until late next term”. It was the first many ministers and senior public servants had heard of it.
Knowing the back story helps explain why the government’s response on that day was so confused.
Taylor, L. 2010. Decision that shattered faith in PM. Sydney Morning Herald, 5 June, p.2

Also on this day

1999 The high-level Greenhouse Energy Group will today receive the final report of the task force set up by the Federal Government to devise ways to meet its target of a 2 per cent increase in the use of renewable energy over the next decade.

Hordern, N. 1999. Greenhouse targets study ready. Australian Financial Review, 27 April, p. 11.

2001 Washington has mounted a diplomatic campaign to deflect criticism of its repudiation of the Kyoto Protocol, instead seeking support for its goal of broadening the UN climate change treaty to include developing countries.

And Canberra is Washington’s prize recruit in this campaign.

Asked in Wednesday’s Washington Post which countries backed him on greenhouse, President George Bush said “Australia [and Canada] said they understand why the US took this position”.

Hordern, N. 2001. Bush wary of `kiss of death’ for backers in protocol pact. Australian Financial Review, 27 April, p.30.

 

2001 – “However, the Canadian government has criticised the US for pulling out of the Kyoto process. Only Australia has provided uncritical support and is therefore Washington’s “prize recruit” in its campaign to kill the Kyoto Protocol, according to a report in the April 27 Australian Financial Review.” [I think this is from a Green Left Weekly article]