Category Archives: Price on Carbon

April 13 2011 – the “pro-carbon price” squeak

The 2011 assault on the proposal for a price on carbon was astonishing in its brutality, given that the Liberal Party had gone to the 2007 election with a similar-enough set of proposals. One under-remarked aspect of that assault was the almost complete silence of pro-price business groups, which (wisely from their perspective) decided that discretion was the better part of valour…

As Phillip Chubb writes in his excellent “Power Failure”-

“On 13 April 2011 the company [GE] was joined by a number of others, including AGL, Linfox, Fujitsu, BP and IKEA, in issuing a statement backing the government.”
(Chubb, 2014:173)

And here is a screengrab of the press release

2011 04 13 support climate price

Also on this day-

“By April 2007 there was formal agreement by COAG to a national mandated rollout of electricity smart meters to begin by the end of 2008, in locations where an economic case could be made, as summarised in the 13th April 2007 COAG Meeting Communique:
‘‘COAG. . . endorsed a staged approach for the national mandated roll out of electricity smart meters to areas where benefits outweigh costs, as indicated by the results of the cost-benefit analysis which will be completed by the end of 2007.” [COAG (2007): 1]
(Lovell, 2017:103)
Lovell, H. 2017. Mobile policies and policy streams: The case of smart metering policy in Australia. Geoforum, 81, pp.100-108.

2012 Bob Brown announces resignation as leader of the Greens.  I will write more of Brown another time.   A man with immense courage, in my opinion.

March 31, 2007 – Climate change “the greatest moral challenge of our generation”

On this day ten years ago the new Labor opposition Leader Kevin Rudd made a speech about “greatest moral challenge of our generation” at a climate summit he organised at Parliament House in Canberra, part of the strategy to make John Howard look out-of-touch and untrustworthy on climate change (which he was).

He was right.  And we did not raise to meet the challenge. Oops.

Also on this day –

1998 – “Greenhouse Beyond Kyoto: Issues, Opportunities and Challenges” Bureau of Resource Sciences, 31 March – 1st April 1998

2007 Gittins, R. 2007, ‘Carbon trading v taxes—a winner eases ahead’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 31 March, p. 47.

2007 First Earth Hour’ – with lights ostentatiously going out all over the world….  Ray Evans was under-chuffed….” A recent example of intellectual corruption at the highest levels of Australian business was manifest when the Sydney Morning Herald teamed up with WWF to promote ‘Earth Hour’ on Saturday 31 March last. The idea was that, at 7:30 pm, everyone in Sydney should turn off their lights and shut down their TVs, and so on, in order to save the planet for an hour.”

March 29, 1995 – Greenhouse 21C launched, in aftermath of massive defeat for sanity

On this day in 1995, the Federal Environment Minister of Paul Keating’s government basically ran up the white flag.  The environment movement had tried to get a carbon levy/tax onto the statute box. They were defeated, comprehensively, by a very well-organised and strategically astute bunch of (fossil-fuel) industry lobbyists, who proposed a voluntary scheme instead. This became the ‘Greenhouse Challenge’, which is what John Faulkner, just before he hopped on a plane to the first meeting of the UNFCCC, in Berlin, held a press conference about.

I am pleased to announce the Federal Government’s additional greenhouse response package: Greenhouse 21C.

Greenhouse 21C delivers a whole of Government approach to climate change. My colleagues Brian Howe and Peter Cook have joined me today because there are some important measures in this response package which directly relate to their portfolio responsibilities. They will detail these measures shortly.

One of the critical elements of Greenhouse 21C is the active involvement by all stakeholders to successfully tackle the greenhouse challenge. Governments alone cannot deliver on climate change.

The active partnership between Government and industry is a significant feature of 21C. We expect that voluntary agreements will achieve in the order of 15 million tonnes of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2000 – and more in the long term.

Greenpeace,licking its wounds from the November 1994 Redbank decision,  knew what was coming.;

Greenpeace’s climate campaigner, Mr Keith Tarlo, said the biggest single item was the $25 million program to promote clean coal technology in India.

“This is a scandal. (It) is a transparent attempt to promote the Australian coal industry and can only lock India into escalating greenhouse emissions,” he said.

Boreham, G. 1995. Industry Says Yes, Greens Say No To Emissions Policy. The Age, 30 March, p.3.

and

Greenpeace said the biggest item in the package was $25 million to promote “clean coal” technology overseas. This was really meant to boost Australian coal exports and the “clean” meant only low sulphur content, it said.

Shehan, C. and McCathie, A. 1995. Bid To Cut Gas Levels – But It’s Voluntary. Sydney Morning Herald, 30 March, p.3.

 Also on this day- 

2007- At roughly the same time personal carbon allowances/trading were gaiing tradction in the UK, former NSW Premier Bob Carr predicted carbon trading among individuals

Former New South Wales premier Bob Carr, who chairs the Climate Institute Advisory Council, says carbon trading may one day extend to individuals, not just businesses and governments.

Mr Carr told a Property Council seminar in Sydney this morning that a national carbon trading scheme in Australia is inevitable.

He says everyone will one day have a carbon entitlement.

“Every citizen a carbon credit, but if you use up yours by reliance on an inefficient, old-fashioned vehicle, for example, or a large quantity of household air-conditioning, you’ve got to buy your right to any further carbon,” he said.

 

And on the same day the Australian Government, led by John Howard, launched a Global Initiative on Forests and. Climate.  Which of course produced no actual benefits. So it goes.

March 27, 2008 – James Hansen writes to Kevin Rudd. For all the good it did.

On this day in 2008, an open letter from climate scientist James Hansen arrived in the new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s inbox.  Rudd had taken office the previous November, and was enjoying stratospherically high approval ratings.

2008 03 27 hansen letterIt’s a letter that came shortly after Ross Garnaut’s first interim report was produced, and careful observers could see which way the wind was blowing.  Hansen’s letter is well worth a read.  Here’s a taste.

Yet there are plans for continuing mining of coal, export of coal, and construction of new coal-fired power plants around the world, including in Australia, plants that would have a lifetime of half a century or more. Your leadership in halting these plans could seed a transition that is needed to solve the global warming problem.

Yeah.

 

Also on this day-

In 1999 the ABC’s Radio National ran a programme on Greenhouse Emissions Trading, since the Australian Greenhouse Office was busy trying to get it up the policy agenda.

 

And in 2001  Senator Bob Brown tried to get parliamentarians roused to get their own house in order. Yeah, good luck with that.

Senator BROWN (2:43 PM) —Madam President, my question is directed to you. I refer to the government’s $3.9 million greenhouse advertising program headed up by Don Burke and ask: have you been approached by anybody, the Prime Minister or the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, to implement that program in Parliament House? If so, how is it going? If not, is it true that there are some 500 television sets which could be turned off at the wall each night in Parliament House but which may not be? Is it true that there are some 300 shower heads in Parliament House which are not AAA shower heads, though householders around Australia have been asked to put AAA shower heads into their showers? Are there 500 or more fridges in Parliament House which could be turned up one degree, which, according to the advertising, would save 50 kilograms of greenhouse gases for each fridge? That is about 25,000 kilograms of greenhouse gases per annum.

 

March 25, 1995 Women and the Environment conference and the red-green problem

Environmentalists and ‘extraction’ workers (miners, forestry workers) are not ‘natural’ enemies.  And those in charge fear a coalition forming, to the extent that they’re willing to kill to prevent those links forming (think Chico Mendes, or Judi Bari, among thousands -see ‘The War on the Greens’).  In 1995 a conference in Melbourne saw yet another attempt to build/mend bridges…

Bad blood flows between the green movement and the union movement. The controversy over logging recently has led to ugly incidents between timber workers and conservationists. Ms George said she had agreed to speak at a conference on women and the environment this weekend to try to ease some of the hostility between the two groups…. The Australian Conservation Foundation’s executive director, Ms Tricia Caswell, said the ACF, Greenpeace and women’s groups had decided to host the conference at the World Congress Centre because women were often the backbone of community environment groups and were the main environmental educators to children but received little recognition.

Milburn, C. 1995. ACTU’s George Plays Peacemaker To Greens, Unions.  The Age, 24 March.

Also on this day- 

In 1997 there was a Greenhouse Challenge signing ceremony, Parliament House. The Greenhouse Challenge was the purely voluntary programme response that was used to block attempts at legislative/regulatory efforts to reduce emissions.

On this day in 2013, with the Gillard government trying to survive attacks by Rudd, attacks by the media and get itself in shape for an impending Federal election, the Australian Department of Climate Change, created with fanfare in the early days of the Rudd Government, was disbanded.   Most of its “functions were moved to the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, with responsibility for energy efficiency transferred to the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.”  (sorry, can

March 23, 2011 “Ditch the witch” rally

 

On this day in 2011, an ‘anti-carbon tax’ rally was held outside Parliament House in Canberra.  The crowd was addressed by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, who was in the midst of his relentless (and successful) campaign to characterise an emissions-trading scheme with an initial fixed price as a ‘tax’ (with the help of Julia Gillard, it has to be said).

Infamously, and in a move that should have been far more damaging than it was (imo), Abbott was pictured in front of a placard that declared Gillard was ‘Bob Brown’s bitch’.

Image result for bob brown's bitch

 

Labour minister Craig Emerson “wanted to vomit,” and he was not alone. Gillard told an ABC documentary that she felt this should have ended Abbott’s career.

Also on this day- 

It happens to be  World Meteorological Day . I should try to track down speeches by Australia’s first environment ambassador (Climate change and policy change : the nexus : World Meteorological Day address 1991 / by Sir Ninian Stephen) and the 1992 one by ex-science Minister Barry Jones.

Climate change, resource use and population growth: the challenge for sustainable development : World Meteorological Day address, 23 March 1992 / Barry O. Jones

2013 –  The Australian Government’s formal response to recommendations outlined in the Final Review Report (on Renewable Energy) was released on 23 March 2013  (Simpson and Clifton, 2014:129)

March 20, 2014 – reefs, repeals and dusty days.

On this day in 2014 the Queensland Resources Council did a good cop/bad cop routine. On the one hand, there was dust reduction

“In another show of industry determination to meet community expectations over the management of dust emissions from coal trains on the rail corridor serving the Port of Brisbane, all monitoring data collected as part of the South West Coal Dust Management Plan is being published on a Queensland Government website”
(QRC press release More transparency in coal dust reporting 20 March 2014)

on the other, they were trying to tear into WWF, accusing them of lying about the state of the Great Barrier Reef…

“The Queensland mining industry has launched a blistering attack on WWF, accusing it of running an untruthful Great Barrier Reef campaign that could jeopardise the reef’s world heritage status.
Michael Roche, the chief executive of the Queensland Resources Council, said he has noticed a “dramatic change in approach” from WWF since it joined the Australian Marine Conservation Society to launch the Fight for the Reef campaign.”
Milman, O. 2014. Mining industry accuses WWF of lying about threat to Great Barrier Reef. Guardian, 20 March.

Because as we know, everything is fine….

Meanwhile, in Canberra, Tony Abbott’s attempts to obliterate all of the Gillard ‘Clean Energy Future’ legislative package came up against Senate intransigence, with them voting against reading these bills a third time.

Also on this day- 

2015–  “The Climate Change Authority, established to provide arms-length, critical review of government progress on reducing emissions and recommend future emission targets, has lost its CEO Anthea Harris.”

Edis,T. 2015.  Business Spectator