Tag Archives: Bob Brown

April 15, 1994 – Greenpeace sues to stop a coal-fired power station.

Can the law be used to save the species (from itself?)  Once upon a time we had reason to believe it, just, might.  On this day in 1994, Greenpeace sued…

“Greenpeace yesterday sought to test a new international treaty on global warming for the first time by filing a lawsuit to stop the construction of a $220 million New South Wales power station [The Redbank one].
The executive director of Greenpeace, Ms Lynette Thorstensen, said the action would test the force of the United Nations convention on climate change, which seeks to cut greenhouse gases.
1994 Kelly, H. 1994. Greenpeace Sues To Halt Building. The Age, 16 April, p.4.

1994 was not a good year for Greenpeace Australia – budget crises, departures and then, in November, they lost this case.  You can read more about the case in the excellent

Bonyhady, T. and Christoff, P. 2007. Climate Law in Australia. Sydney: The Federation Press.

from which the following two quotes are taken

The Redbank case was the first in the world where standing was not an issue and a court had to consider arguments about the substance of climate change.
The capacity of the NSW Land and Environment Court to embrace the new law had just been demonstrated in striking fashion by Justice Paul Stein, the judge who has made the greatest contribution to environmental law in Australia. His characteristically bold decision in Leatch v Shoalhaven City Council involved the precautionary principle which had begun to occupy an increasing place in international agreements and domestic policy documents but had little place in Australian legislation.
(Bonyhady, 2007: 11)

Jonathan Simpkins who represented Greenpeace [page break] argued cogently that the court had both the power and the duty to act. He dwelt on the risk of the courts washing their hands of the issue by saying it was a matter of high policy for someone else which would mean that nothing would be done to address climate change. He dwelt on the danger that each addition to our greenhouse emissions would be cast as too small to warrant action which would similarly mean that climate change would go unchecked. But he could not persuade Justice Marla Pearlman, who, in 11 years as Chief Judge of the Land and Environmental Court, displayed a very different understanding of the judicial function to Paul Stein.
Justice Pearlman became the first, but by no means the last, judge in the world to say climate change was not for her when she declared that it was ‘of course, a matter of government policy… to take into account the competing economic and environmental issues raised by the enhanced greenhouse effect’ and ‘not for the Court to impose… a prohibition on the mine.’
(Bonyhady, 2007:11-12)

Also on this day –

2001 Environment Minister Robert Hill reveals existence of Howard letter to Bush re: Bush pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol  – “Greens Senator Bob Brown said yesterday the letter was mostly a public relations exercise for “domestic consumption”. Clennell, A. 2001. Lead The World On Greenhouse Treaty, PM Urges Bush. Sydney Morning Herald, 16 April. p.2.

2014 Clive Hamilton publishes new highly entertaining dirty dozen on Crikey –

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.

April 4, 2001 – ALP has cold feet on Kyoto ratification

So, in late March 2001 George ‘hanging chad’ Bush had pulled the USA out of the Kyoto negotiations for an emissions reduction target (grossly inadequate, of course) for developed countries.  The Howard Government was very happy with this, and Howard sent Bush a mash note on April 1st.

According to Green Left Weekly:

“On April 2, the Senate passed a motion moved by Greens Senator Bob Brown condemning the US and Australian governments “for their efforts to derail the Kyoto Climate Change Convention”. Labor supported the motion, but on April 4 the ALP rejected a motion put by Brown calling on the government to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Bolkus said it would be “premature” to support the motion.”

The ALP was in flux on this in 2000-2001 (i.e. they were listening to the unions), but went to the 2001 Federal Election with Kyoto ratification as a manifesto promise…

Also on this day – 

1978–  Paddy McGuinness  article – “Where Friedman is a pinko” – in the Australian Financial Review that helps the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS), a libertarian thinktank, immensely, helped put them ‘on the map.’

2005 APEC conference at Parliament House “Managing Climate Change: Practicalities and Realities in a post-Kyoto future”. The conference website was designed by International Trade Strategies, a consultancy run by Alan OxleyProgramme here http://www.apec.org.au/mccprogram.pdf

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)

Feb 9, 2007 – State governments call Howard to act on climate change

On this day ten years ago, the state governments of Australia basically told John Howard ‘ lead on climate change or we will’   (insofar as an emissions trading scheme is leadership….).

Since 2001 Bob Carr (at the time premier of New South Wales) had been trying to get the Federal Government to introduce an emissions trading scheme.  From 2004 a state-governments supported ‘National Emissions Trading Taskforce’ had been at work.  Prime Minister Howard had remained opposed until suddenly overwhelmed by political pressure, and in November 2006 he had back-flipped and started a Federal process. (‘the Shergold report).

But the NETT process rumbled on, and at the second meeting of Council for the Australian Federation (all the state governments meeting without the Federales) is was agreed to press Howard to introduce an emissions trading scheme based on Shergold and to warn him that if the Commonwealth didn’t bring in a scheme, the states would, by the end of 2010.

There were caveats. Peter Beattie, then the Premier of Queensland said

“All I’ve ever been concerned about is to make certain that we don’t abandon a commonsense approach about developing clean coal technology, because of Queensland’s coal reserves and out of that we will get zero emissions.

“So we’ve made it clear that we are prepared to be part of a national response to deal with climate change, but we want to see a very clear focus on developing clean coal technology which would give us a world response to greenhouse gas emissions, not just an Australian response.”

(Taylor, J. 2007. Premiers meeting over carbon trading scheme Premiers to sign climate declaration. ABC, 9 February.

It was at this meeting that it was agreed to they would ask Ross Garnaut to go to work on a further study of climate change impacts on the Australian economy and how a trading scheme would ‘fit’ internationally.  (Garnaut started work in April, having been asked by then Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and then opposition leader Kevin Rudd.

Also on this day- 
2007 Greens leader Bob Brown calls coal the energy industry’s heroin habit

April 13th, 1992. Even OPEC is talkin’ bout the environment

Mind you, in 1992 EVERYONE was talking about the “environment”.  The Rio Earth summit was set to take place in June, and although the threat of American non-attendance had kept timetables and targets off the agenda/out of the draft text, you can never be too careful about these things.  Clearly any actual action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions could be catastrophic for any Organisation of countries that were into exporting petroleum.  Like um, OPEC.

Proceedings of the OPEC Seminar on the Environment, Vienna, April 13-15, 1992

And guess who was there – Lindzen, R.: 1992, The Origin of Alleged Scientific Consensus.

Also on this day
2012 Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown (a bit of a hero) announces his resignation
2014 The 5th Assessment Report of the IPCC gives CCS a shout out. #desperatetechnooptimism

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