Tag Archives: ABC

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.



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 10, 2010 – ABC boss calls climate change ‘groupthink’

The mass media, for various reasons, has done a piss-poor job on explaining climate change and the seriousness of the threats we face.

One reason is the amount of ‘flak’ (the term is stolen from Herman and Chomsky) that that comes its way whenever it does do any reporting on the matter.  On this day in 2010, the Howard-appointed chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Maurice Newman gave a speech to senior ABC staff. Here’s the beginning of a report on the ABC later that day

The Chairman of the ABC Maurice Newman has attacked the media for being too willing to accept the conventional wisdom on climate change.
In a speech to senior ABC staff this morning he said climate change was an example of “group-think”.
Contrary views had not been tolerated, and those who expressed them had been labelled and mocked.
Mr Newman has doubts about climate change himself and says he’s waiting for proof either way.

There’s a lot on the Australian media’s role in climate change awareness.  Here’s some links from an article I wrote about the National Press Club and climate change.

“Australia’s experience has been extensively studied – see here, here,here, here, here, here, here and here. For starters.”

Feb 13, 2006 – Four Corners report on the ‘Greenhouse Mafia’

The ABC investigative journalism programme Four Corners broadcast a hair-raising documentary on “Greenhouse Mafia,” the network of focussed and determined industry lobbyists who had taken over the policy advice system of the Howard government on climate and energy issues.  This documentary was based on the extraordinarily good PhD thesis of Guy Pearse, whose ‘High and Dry’ should be compulsory reading, in my opinion. The programme also looked at what happened to CSIRO scientists who tried to do their job – of studying and explaining the impacts of climate change.

You can read the full transcript via here.


Also on this day

1995 – Environment Minister John Faulkner announces on 2GB radio (Sydney) that the proposal for a carbon tax/levy is toast-

“I’ve indicated that it’s just not going to go forward…. As far as I’m concerned a greenhouse levy is off the agenda.”

Anon, 1995. Australia govt drops plans for carbon tax-minister.  Reuters, 14 February.





March 10, 2010 – ABC head declares climate change is ‘group think’

‘In a speech to senior ABC staff on 10 March 2010 [Maurice Newman, then head of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation] ] said climate change was an example of “group-think”. According to an ABC PM account of the speech: “Contrary views had not been tolerated, and those who expressed them had been labelled and mocked. Mr Newman has doubts about climate change himself and says he’s waiting for proof either way.”‘ Wikipedia

This should be seen as part “Operation Fox-in-Henhouse,” the decades long project of placing sympathetic operatives in key positions of the state bureaucracy (in Australia, United States etc) in order to slow action, demoralise and confuse.  Done brilliantly under Howard and Dubya Bush. The beauty of it is that if a more ‘progressive’ government tries to dislodge these operatives, THEY are the ones who look partisan and vindictive!

Other things that happened on this day:

2012 Death of Nobel Prize winning scientist Sherry Rowland.  A very smart guy, and – unusually for a scientist – willing to speak out on policy matters – ‘What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions, if in the end all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?’

As ever, see the disclaimers, help the project and comments policy.

Feb 13, 2006: Four Corners documentary on “Greenhouse Mafia”

On this day in 2006, a  television programme on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s investigative show “Four Corners” revealed both the “policy veto” exercised by the Australian Industry Greenhouse Network and the “greenhouse mafia” and the efforts (largely successful) to cow Australian climate scientists into silence.

You can read the transcript here and see 10 minutes of the show here.

The esponse to it meant, for Pearse, that there was no home for him in the Australian Liberal party


As ever, see the disclaimers, help the project and comments policy.