Category Archives: Price on Carbon

12 June, 1992 – Ros Kelly says ‘nope’ on carbon tax…

So, 25 years ago today, a few days after Ros Kelly had signed the UNFCCC document on behalf of Australia, this turned up –

“Economic instruments could also be used to reduce greenhouse emissions. Mrs Kelly said she had had discussions yesterday with Canada’s environment minister on the issue.

Australia’s options were limited, however, because the Government had declared its opposition to a carbon tax. Asked why the Government opposed a carbon tax, Mrs Kelly said it believed such a tax could introduce real social distortions because of Australia’s big distances.

“And it would obviously disadvantage rural communities, and those who could not afford to pay higher (fuel) prices.

The Australian community is not yet ready for a carbon tax. Even the European Community has passed a motion stating that it would not introduce a carbon tax until the US did so.

“It’s a question of who starts the ball rolling,” Mrs Kelly said. “We won’t.”

1992 at Rio- O’Neill, G. 1992. Kelly Wants Action Over CO2 Emissions. The Age, 13 June, p.15.

Also on this day-

2011 Big Footprint Is Green the new tyranny. Monckton uses swastika image with Garnaut… Forced to apologise 

June 7, 2001 Bob Carr pushes carbon trading

Bob Carr, premier of New South Wales since 1995, had been keen to get something done on climate change (and has continued to be keen).  This below is from 2002 Greenhouse Gas Update by Stewart Smith]

In June this year [2001]  the Premier took to the Council of Australian Governments meeting a proposal for compulsory national greenhouse targets to apply to the electricity retailer sector. The Premier stated:

The proposal would work as follows. We would set a per capita greenhouse emission reduction target of 5 per cent for electricity retailers on 1989-90 levels. This would be done through compulsory benchmarks and it would be phased in by 2005-2006, to allow electricity retailers time to adjust. Penalties would be imposed on electricity retailers who fail to meet annual targets. Retailers would avoid payment of penalties by supporting the development of low-cost greenhouse abatement projects such as plantation-based carbon credits, faster up-take of natural gas fired power generation and renewable energy. A market to trade emission reduction certificates would be created in Sydney. This market would provide the platform for trading other environmental service products like carbon sequestration credits, salinity credits, and eventually biodiversity credits…it is important that this be advanced on a uniform national basis.51

NSW Parliamentary Debates, Legislative Assembly Hansard 7 June 2001, p 14,683.

52 Council of Australian Governments, Communique, 8 June 2001. See the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet website, URL: http://www.dpmc.gov.au/docs\coag080601.cfm

 

Also on this day –

McLachlan, C. 1989. Hot chances for coping with greenhouse effect. Australian Financial Review, 7 June.

For all the worry that the greenhouse effect is causing around the world there is, perhaps, a bright side. The greenhouse effect has opened up a number of potentially profitable opportunities for industry. It has created a number of niche markets for environmentally safe products or new strands of vegetable. The South Australian Government has already taken steps to help industry identify these new niche markets. It has established a council to examine the implications of the greenhouse effect and the depletion of the ozone layer on the future direction of industry, agriculture and the economy of the State.

Anon. 1990. Trans tasman think tank backed by big business. New Zealand Herald, 8 June p.5.

A privately funded economic think tank and joint venture between Australia and New Zealand called the Tasman Institute was launched in Melbourne yesterday.

2007–  “When the Bill was finally reconsidered in July 2007, the SA Government proposed an alternative interim target of a return to 190 levels by 2020, the same target as adopted in the Californian legislation. However, in the meantime, the Liberal Opposition had changed its position and declined to continue to support the 20 per cent reduction target it had previously proposed. It was joined by the other minority parties in the Legislative Council in a vote against the government’s proposed alternative target, with the result that the Bill was ultimately passed without any interim target having been included. The government has indicated that it will consider the option of introducing its interim target by regulations under the Act at a future point.

The end result of this protracted exercise is highly unsatisfactory in that no interim target was able to be agreed. The substantial and sudden change of stance by the [State] Liberal Opposition was attributed by some sources from the Howard Government to come into line with the policy position of opposing any interim target.”

(Fowler, 2007: 115)

Henderson, N. 2007. Libs told to “toe PM’s line.” Adelaide Advertiser, 7 June.

May 31, 1995 – Keating and MCA hold a meet-up; 2007, Shergold Report…

The Australian Mining Industry Council had been digging a deeper and deeper hole for itself (geddit?).  And, with the exception of the carbon tax battle (which was actually under the command of the Industry Greenhouse Network), they’d been losing. So they re-branded and went for lobbying instead of hearts and minds, as the article below mentions. Industry learns, on occasion…

Leaders of AMIC, now the Minerals Council of Australia, met with the Prime Minister, Paul Keating, for three hours on Wednesday [31 May] to discuss regional relations, trade liberalisation and relations with Japan and Indonesia.

In line with the recommendations of a report by the Allen Consulting Group, the MCA is putting increased emphasis on lobbying rather than public campaigning.

Mr Buckingham said the way the industry had helped persuade the Government to drop the proposed carbon tax and increase in diesel excise showed the benefits of its approach. “Where access [to senior levels of Government] is required there is confidence that that access will be given.”

Davis, I. 1995. New name, image for industry group. Canberra Times, 2 June, p.12

And, of equal import, ten years ago today the so-called ‘Shergold Report’ was released, six months after John Howard had u-turned.

The Prime Ministerial Task Group on Emissions Trading releases the ‘Shergold Report’ which recommends Australia develop an emissions trading scheme.

 

 

Also on this day

31 May 2011: Garnaut address to National Press Club makes clear “reliance on regulatory approaches and direct action for reducing carbon emissions is likely to be immensely more expensive than a market economy.”

2012 “At which point Combet burst into song: ‘Cabramatta Parramatta, Wangaratta, Coolangatta-” put the punchline is: “Everywhere is doomed, man”.’  Paul Keating and Peter Costello would have been proud.”

Oakes, L. 2012. Abbott is the high priest of pessimism. The Australian, 2 June.

See also http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/national/mr-cool-loses-it-as-heat-applied/story-e6freooo-1226377873961 which says “yesterday” in a piece published 1 june (oakes is writing days later)

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 21, 1998- Foreign Minister Downer extols emissions trading.

Australia had signed (but not ratified) the Kyoto Protocol in April 1998.  There was a push developing for some sort of emissions trading, if only to help rich countries look like they were doing something.    It is in that context that Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Alexander Downer, gave a speech to the ABARE International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading, Sydney, 21 May 1998

It was called “Emissions Trading: Harnessing the Power of the Market”

It began;

Ladies and gentlemen.

I am pleased to be here with you today to share with you my assessment of the opportunities and far-reaching role that international emissions trading will play in the successful implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. International emissions trading provides the means of harnessing the power of the market to provide cost effective solutions to emission abatement.

And you could read the rest here.  Your life, it’s short….

Also on this day-
“On 21 May 2009, 14 Greenpeace members illegally entered the site and thought they had temporarily shut down coal production after chaining themselves to an excavator. That ‘excavator’ was out for routine maintenance and again, no production from either mine or station was lost. All seven were later charged by Victoria Police.[9]   Source: Hazelwood wikpedia

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.

May 12, 2009 – Rudd axes 13 ‘non-complementary’ climate programmes

The Strategic Review of Australian Government Climate Change Programs (Wilkins Review) had been established in February 2008 to:

  • ensure they are complementary to the ETS;
  • phase out less efficient abatement programs and initiatives that will compromise the abatement incentives arising from the carbon price signal provided by the ETS
  • rationalise duplicative and overlapping programs.

On this day in 2009 the Rudd government agreed to close 13 programs that were deemed not complementary to an ETS.

You can find out more here – https://www.finance.gov.au/publications/strategic-reviews/

Thank god the CPRS was carefully shepherded through, implemented without becoming an ATM for the fossil fuel industry and forced a reduction in carbon emissions commensurate with what the scientists were calling for.  Otherwise by now we’d all be stuffed, wouldn’t we…