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June 16, 1994 – Keating meets greens and business over a carbon tax…

On this day in 1994 Prime Minister Paul Keating met with over a hundred greenies, state governments and also business groups.  The Australian Coal Association and Australian Mining Industry Council prepared a paper saying it was “high time we stopped mouthing undefinable expressions” and pursued more precision in a so-called “burden-sharing agreement”. (Gill, 1994, 17 June)

Dwyer, (1994, 17 June)  reported that

“The meeting thrust the greenhouse issue onto the economic agenda, with 10 business groups demanding the Government adopt measures that reflected Australian industry’s greater use of energy before agreeing to further international targets on greenhouse gas emissions.

“Environmental groups mounted a strong counter-attack at the meeting by accusing the Government of failing to match the effort of other countries in responding to the United Nations Climate Change Convention.”

Dwyer, M. 1994. Greenhouse ‘won’t put us in the red’. The Australian Financial Review, 17 June, p.3.

Gill, P. 1994. Call to form strategic alliances.  Australian Financial Review, 17 June.

 

 

 

 

Also on this day –

2004 Howard launches idiotic energy policy (the Energy White Paper)

2008 Greenpeace declares “War on Coal”- Alexander, C. 2008. Fed: Greenpeace declares war on coal. Australian Associated Press General News, 16 June.

Taylor, L. 2012Climate strategy up in smoke. Sydney Morning Herald, 16 June.

IT WAS the technology that was going to help underpin the nation’s climate change strategy. In 2009, the then prime minister, Kevin Rudd, pledged to ”lead the world” in carbon capture and storage technology, which traps carbon dioxide emissions, permanently storing them deep underground.

June 8, 2005 Launch of Australian “Environment” Foundation

On this day in 2005 the Melbourne Age reported on the launch, by figures associated with the Institue of Public Affairs, of the “Australian Environment Foundation”, whose name was in no way cohosen to mimic the Australian Conservation Foundation, oh no…

“Australia’s newest environment group is ruffling feathers – but not where you would expect.”  it said –  Fyfe, M. 2005. Cool reception for new green group. The Age, 8 June.

Aka ‘corporate ventriloquism’ and “FACES of Coal.”

 

Also on this day-

Uren, D. 1990. Editor’s note. BRW, 8 June.

In the battle for hearts and minds, the environmentalists have it all over companies. The business sector’s difficulty in grappling with the environment issue will result, sooner or later, in a company director finding himself in the dock facing charges over pollution. Both NSW and Victoria now have legislation that can render executives and directors personally liable for environment protection offences. Many within the environment movement are looking for a test case of this legislation.

In this week’s cover story BRW writer Matthew Stevens examines the challenge that Greenpeace is throwing out to Australian companies. As Stevens reports, the local branch of the international Greenpeace organisation has thoroughly reorganised itself and is armed with the latest techniques developed in the US for direct action against companies. Greenpeace is out to achieve the greatest public humiliation of those it chooses to expose.

Greenpeace, 2006. Media Release: Greenpeace Denounces Moore. 8 June .

“Sydney, Thursday June 8, 2006: Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO Steve Shallhorn dismisses Patrick Moore’s suggestions that nuclear fuel will have positive environmental impacts. John Howard is only using the likes of Patrick Moore, a hired gun for the nuclear lobby, precisely because he is not a genuine environmentalist,” said Mr Shallhorn.”

 

 

 

 

June 7, 2001 – Bob Carr tries to get COAG to set targets, do trading.

In June 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
[2002 Greenhouse Gas Update by Stewart Smith]

Also on this day-
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.
McLachlan, C. 1989. Hot chances for coping with greenhouse effect. Australian Financial Review, 7 June.

A privately funded economic think tank and joint venture between Australia and New Zealand called the Tasman Institute was launched in Melbourne yesterday.
Anon. 1990. Trans tasman think tank backed by big business. New Zealand Herald, 8 June p.5.

When the Bill was finally reconsidered in July 2007, the SA Government proposed an alternative interim target of a return to 1990 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 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)
See also – Henderson, N. 2007. Libs told to “toe PM’s line.” Adelaide Advertiser, 7 June.

June 6, 1996 BHP announced ‘Greenhouse Challenge’ commitments

On this day 21 years ago, after a carbon tax push had failed and a ‘Greenhouse Challenge’ of purely voluntary measures instituted instead, BHP and others did “their bit”

Meanwhile, tomorrow BHP Ltd managing director Mr John Prescott and other industry leaders will announce the details of their companies’ commitments to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
The presentation is organised by the interdepartmental Greenhouse Challenge Office established in March 1995 by the Federal Government, which provided it with a $9.7 million budget over four years.
The Government announced at the time that the program could provide 15 million tonnes of greenhouse gas reductions annually by 2000. The extent of the pledges made tomorrow will indicate whether that target is likely to be met.
Callick, R. 1996. Coalition backs industry on climate change. The Australian Financial Review, 5 June, p.2.

Greenhouse 21C laid the foundation for the Greenhouse Challenge, which was launched by the Federal Government on 6 June 1996 with formal submission of cooperative agreements by four major Australian companies – BHP, CRA (now Rio Tinto), ICI (now Orica), and Shell – and three industry associations – the Electricity Supply Association of Australia (ESAA), the Pulp and Paper Manufacturers’ Federation of Australia (PMFA), and the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA).
(Worden, 1998: 126)

Also on this day

Evans, R.2002. Commentary: PM says ‘No’ to Kyoto. United Press International, June 7.

MELBOURNE, June 6 (UPI) — With three election victories under his belt, Australia’s Prime Minister John Howard has announced that Australia would not sign the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, dealing a serious blow to the hopes and aspirations of many of the public servants who dominate the federal capital of Canberra.

Fourth International Environmental Taxation Conference
Friday 6 June 2003
The Environment – A Taxing Issue?

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 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 23,1980 Senator worries about climate change impacts…

On this day in 1980, a Liberal (yes, Liberal) senator from South Australia, Don Jessop, talked about the dangers of climate change in the Australian senate.  The whole lot is here.  And below a clip…

Senator JESSOP (South Australia) – “I also welcome the Antarctic Treaty (Environment Protection) Bill 1980 and will make a few brief remarks about it….

“The first article, entitled ‘World ecology is endangered’, is from the Melbourne Age of 16 April, and deals with an examination by a panel of internationally recognised scientists. They told the United States Congress: . . that the world could face an ecological disaster unless the amount of carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere is controlled.

The second article is older, having been written on 28 February 1977. It is entitled ‘Heating Up: Global Race for Antarctic’s Riches’, [From  U.S. News & World Report] and I wish to have only highlights of that article incorporated in Hansard.

We knew. Or should have. We blew it.

Jessop?  Came acropper in 87.  Grattan, M. 1987  SA Libs demote Hill, drop Jessop. The Age, 9 June. p 3

Also on this day

2000-

Senator Hill had been ambushed. It appears neither he nor his staff were aware the trigger proposal was likely to face such fierce opposition in Cabinet….  The anti-greenhouse, anti-trigger camp did not stop at this. The following day [23 May 2000] senator Minchin presented research he had commissioned from Dr Brian Fisher of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE), a critic of the Kyoto Protocol, which found that meeting Australia’s Kyoto target could cost between 0.5 per cent and 1.4 per cent of Gross National Product at 2010. The fossil fuel lobby used this research as a springboard to back Anderson’s and Minchin’s position, suggesting the trigger would have significant adverse economic implications. Dick Wells, the executive director of the Minerals Council of Australia, was quoted in the Australian Financial Review as saying, ‘[w]e agree with John Anderson that the trigger would harm employment and regional growth…..

(Macintosh, 2007: 50)

2000 Taylor, L. 2000. Industry adds its weight to oppose greenhouse move. The Australian Financial Review, 25 May, p.7.

Industry started a strong campaign against the Environment Minister, Senator Robert Hill’s, proposed greenhouse trigger yesterday. This follows a fiery Cabinet discussion on Tuesday [23rd] over new greenhouse measures proposed by the Senator.

The Federal Cabinet is understood to have reached a clear understanding on Tuesday that no extra greenhouse requirements should be imposed on the proposed $1billion Kogan Creek power station in Queensland.

It rejected a memo from Senator Hill that the project be forced to invest in greenhouse-abatement projects to offset its own emissions. However, a spokesman for the Environment Minister said the Cabinet had not made a final decision.

Taylor, L. and Skulley, M. 2000. Cabinet clash on greenhouse. The Australian Financial Review, 24 May, p1.

Federal Cabinet faces a showdown over greenhouse environmental issues after ministers yesterday heard alarming predictions that meeting Australia’s emission targets could significantly cut economic growth and boost fuel prices.

The Minister for the Environment, Senator Robert Hill, and the Minister for Industry, Senator Nick Minchin, both entered Cabinet yesterday armed with new evidence about the extent of Australia’s greenhouse problems.

Economic research commissioned by Senator Minchin found that forcing industry to meet Australia’s targets under the Kyoto international greenhouse agreement could reduce gross national product by up to 1.4 per cent in 2010.

(MINCHIN COMMISSIONED BRIAN FISCHER TO DO ANOTHER SKY FALL DOCUMENT)

 

 

2013  Ian Dunlop in Canberra (riff on BHP?)