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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?)

 

 

 

 

May 18, 2011 – Turnbull on “Direct Action” and broadband

Having lost his job as opposition leader at the end of 2009 because of his support for carbon pricing, Malcolm Turnbull almost quit politics.  By 2011 he was fully back in the fray. With climate change again/still a hot issue, Turnbull was on the ABC programme Lateline, on this day 6 years ago, explaining that

if you want to have a long-term solution to abating carbon emissions and to achieve – if you want to have a long-term technique of cutting carbon emissions, you know, in a very substantial way to the levels that the scientists are telling us we need to do by mid-century to avoid dangerous climate change, then a direct action policy where the Government – where industry was able to freely pollute, if you like, and the Government was just spending more and more taxpayers’ money to offset it, that would become a very expensive charge on the budget in the years ahead.

Well, thank goodness that didn’t happen, eh?

Also on this day
18 May 1993 Australian National Audit office Implementation of an ‘Interim ‘Greenhouse Response’ Media Release’ (Crowley 2013)

May 16, 2005 – Energy White Paper a ‘White Elephant’ says Albo…

The 2004 Energy White Paper had been a slap in the face and kick in the … well… to the renewables industry in Australia. It ended up being a fulfilled wishlist for the fossil fuel sector (see Richard Baker’s pieces in the Age for the how of that).

Almost a year after its release, Anthony Albanese, Federal Labor operative, was on the case –

MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 16 May 2005

http://anthonyalbanese.com.au/senate-slams-howards-energy-white-elephant

The Howard Government’s Energy White Paper is an energy white elephant.

The Senate Inquiry into the Energy White Paper has concluded the Energy White Paper will delay critical action on climate change for another twenty years….

 

Also on this day-

Clever piece in the Fin!!

Earl, G. 1990. Price and pay-off for the world’s green conscience. Australia Financial Review, 16 May.

IT is a country where the ambitious environment minister hopes to ride to higher office by promising to deliver the most rigorous environmental policies in the world.

The finance minister is aghast at the cost of the plan and has held it up in Cabinet for so long that his colleague has effectively gone to the people with a nation-wide series of public hearings.

But now the hearings have become a lightning rod for all sorts of discontent and the environment minister’s carefully nurtured public support is threatening to evaporate just when the Government sorely needs it.

It may sound like a familiar plot but this time the players are not Graham Richardson or Peter Walsh and the Federal Government concerned has a distinctly conservative hue – except when it comes to turning green.

Canada, with a resource dependent economy like Australia’s and a pro-growth conservative Government, is embroiled in a national debate over a government promise to introduce a comprehensive five-year environmental plan which is forecast to cost billions of dollars.

 

 

May 11 – Investor uncertainty in 1990 and 1993

So, who is going to build what where and when if policies might change radically soon and leave you with a stranded elephant/white asset?  It’s a hardy perennial in the business pages, and academics seem relatively blind to questions of finance…. Anyway, in 1990, at peak ‘green hype’ some were already trying to use it as a brake on “sustainable development”.

Sustainable development is catching up with Australia fast. The economy is going through an investment boom which could provide the export revenue in the 1990s that would make our current account and foreign debt positions “sustainable”….

The accompanying table lists 26 major investment projects under consideration which Access Economics says appear to be in danger of environmental veto, including the Cape York spaceport (worth $350 million), the Very Fast Train project ($4.5 billion) and 24 resource and manufacturing projects valued at $11 billion.

Stutchbury, M. 1990. Environmental threat to investment boom.   Australian Financial Review , 11 May.

And as part of his epic bashing-‘Direct Action- timeline, Labor shadow environment minister Mark Butler notes that  on

“11 May 2013: Investors warn of uncertainty from direct action in the AFR.”