Tag Archives: BP

May 22, 2009 – ‘skyfall’ economic modelling’ around the CPRS

The mining industry has been releasing economic “studies” about climate change since 1989, when CRA (later to be renamed Rio Tinto) started the ball rolling.  They are usually exquisitely timed around some important decision that the government is about to make – signing up to the UNFCCC, thinking about a carbon tax, whatever.

Well, in 2009, just after Kevin Rudd had released the CPRS legislation, there was a front page story on the Australian, faithfully reporting the “findings” of another study.

Taylor, L. 2009. Climate change warning: ETS to `cost 24,000jobs’. The Australian, 22 May p1.
THE Rudd Government’s emissions trading scheme will cost 23,510 mining jobs over the next decade — almost half of them in Queensland — according to new modelling released as parliament prepares to decide the fate of the controversial climate change legislation.

On page 12 the then head of the Minerals Council of Australia got to say his bit too.
Hooke, M. 2009. Carbon plan will cause jobs carnage. The Australian, 22 May, p. 12.

Why change a winning strategy, I guess….

Also on this day-
Dunn, R. 1989. Plebiscite mooted. Australian Financial Review, 22 May.
The Federal Minister for the Environment, Senator Richardson, has floated the idea of holding a referendum to increase the Commonwealth’s powers to override the States on environmental issues such as the greenhouse effect.
He raised the idea at an environmental conference at the weekend.

2000
“Prior to a Cabinet meeting on 22 May [2000] where the greenhouse trigger was to be discussed, the then Deputy Prime Minister, John Anderson publicly criticised the proposal, describing it as ‘unnecessary and inappropriate’ and suggesting it would harm the economy, particularly in regional [page break] areas. In a press release issued on 22 May, Anderson said that ‘it was not necessary or appropriate for the Commonwealth to effectively take over the State’s role in the environmental assessment and approval of major developments.”
(Macintosh, 2007: 49-50)

Dobbin, M. 2007. BP, Rio in clean coal power bid; Project based on Canberra research. Canberra Times, 22 May.
BP and Rio Tinto announced joint plans yesterday for a $2billion coal- fired power station at Kwinana in Western Australia that would be the first in Australia to capture and store its greenhouse gas emissions deep underground. The so-called clean coal station which could be completed within seven years would produce enough power to supply 500,000 houses.

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 6, 2006 – Business says it wants ‘long, loud and legal’ framework

One of the key ways the Howard government and its allies were able to keep climate change off the agenda between 1996 and 2006 was to say that business was united in opposition to more-than-voluntary commitments.  This was never true, and by 2006, some businesses were both willing and able to stick their heads above the parapet.

The Australian Business Roundtable on Climate Change, a gathering of various businesses including Westpac, Origin, BP said the Howard government should get real. It was front page news on the Melbourne Age, a sign that climate change was climbing the political agena…

Colebatch, T. and Myer, R. (2006) Companies urge action on warming The Age. 7 April p.1.Climate change threatens us all: executives

SIX of Australia’s biggest companies have broken ranks to call on the Federal Government to take tough action to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, including some form of charge on carbon emissions and a binding target.

The companies – Westpac, BP, power company Origin Energy, paper giant Visy and insurers Swiss Re and IAG – say it is now clear that greenhouse gas emissions are causing hotter and more unstable weather, and could lead to serious costs for agriculture, tourism, and Australian business generally.

CSIRO research commissioned for the study warns that even a rise of two degrees in global temperatures could bleach the Great Barrier Reef, dry up most of Kakadu’s wetlands, cut the livestock capacity of inland Australia by 40 per cent, and deplete Australia’s snowfields.

IAG chief executive Michael Hawker, speaking yesterday at the release of the group’s report, blamed climate change for a massive rise in weather-related calamities, including cyclones, floods, high winds and hailstorms.

Days later, an anonymous and lying-down-with-denialists writer at Crikey was underwhelmed.

….

Finally – but by no means least – it also ignores the hypocrisy that these companies are all investing or benefiting from investing in the economic growth engines of
China and India where the real challenges lie in allowing growth while controlling emissions, and where most of the world’s future greenhouse gas emissions will come from.

This is not corporate leadership on climate change. It is unctuous spin. Or what’s sometimes called hot air.