From the get-go Australian politicians knew that there may be trouble ahead. This below, from The Greenhouse Effect: Living in a Warmer Australia by Henderson-Sellers and Blong [review by New Scientist here] gives a taste of that (though to be clear, the authors, not Hawke and Button, are raising the possibility).
On the morning of Monday 30 January 1989, the ABC 7.45am news reported the Prime Minister, Mr Bob Hawke, had begun an overseas trip to Korea, Thailand, India and Pakistan, with the primary aim of promoting Australian exports, particularly coal, iron ore and agricultural products. Juxtaposed with this report was one describing Senator John Button’s encouragement of Japanese investment in Australian forests designed to safeguard our timber resources. The viability of these economic moves may also be subject to the greenhouse effect. Australian exports of fossil fuel, particularly coal, may be restricted by increasing international pressure to try to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide. (emphasis added)
(Henderson-Sellers, A. and Blong, R., 1989:3)
Twenty eight years ago today, the then Australian Federal Minister for Resources, Peter Cook, was reported in The Australian newspaper
“to have called for active co-operation among Asian countries in developing practical ways to minimize the threatening greenhouse effect. He said: “The greenhouse effect is an environmental issue of global dimensions…. It is not simply an energy issue. The challenge for energy policy makers is to assess the range of possibilities that would make an appropriate contribution to reducing the greenhouse effect.” (Henderson-Sellers and Blong, 1989:3)
Two things here – first, this is less than a year after the greenhouse chapter got removed from the ‘Energy 2000’ report (we will come back to this.
Secondly, this became a persistent theme in Australian “diplomacy” – that countries which had never had a significant carbon footprint, who had not caused the problem, should be signed up,and that Australia should not take action until these poor countries had signed up for cuts of their own.
Henderson-Sellers, A. and Blong, R. 1989. The Greenhouse Effect: Living in a Warmer Australia. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press.
Also on this day-
Writing in the Canberra Times on January 24 2002 , [Ray] Evans stated: “Of all the political scams of the post-war period, the global warming scam … is the most audacious.”