Tag Archives: Business Council of Australia

Feb 28, 2003 – Business Council scraps its outright Kyoto opposition

The Howard government’s ability to constrain public pressure for climate change action had in part rested on the claim that business was united in its opposition to, say, Kyoto Protocol ratification.  This was always nonsense (do you think renewable energy proponents, or carbon traders, or insurers, for instance, would be opposed? What about the gas industry?).  But this appearance of unity was assisted by the Business Council of Australia.  Eventually, however, the internal ructions became too much, and it moved from opposition to ‘no position’.  Then Hugh Morgan became President.  And it was only at the end of 2006 that things shifted. Fortunately, we have loads of time to deal with climate change, so the additional wait didn’t matter. Oh yes…

“Business support for the Federal Government’s hardline position on climate change is crumbling, with the Business Council yesterday scrapping its outright opposition to the Kyoto Protocol.”
Garnaut, J. 2003. Business shifts tack on Kyoto. The Age, 1 March.

Also on this day –

Chamberlin, P. 1995. Cabinet to review gas reduction options. Canberra Times, 28 February  p.2.
“A plan to take Australia about 40 per cent of the way towards meeting international obligations on reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be discussed by the Cabinet today, with schemes designed to tempt top-level industry involvement.”

2007  The denialists got going, with a launch at Parliament House for this little doozy –  Nine Facts about Climate Change Ray Evans [Originally published in November 2006 as a PDF (click here, 1.5 Mb). Launched in Canberra by Sir Arvi Parbo on 28 February 2007](Parbo had been a founder of the Business Council of Australia, btw).

Jan 2, 1995 – Carbon tax on the cards, says BCA boss…

On this day, 21 years ago, the Australian Financial Review did an interview with the then executive director of the Business Council of Australia, Paul Barratt.  A month previously a last-minute proposal for a carbon tax had been brought to Cabinet by the Environment Minister, Senator John Faulkner. Business was seriously under-whelmed, having believed that their ‘co-operative action’ stance had seen of the threat.  The Fin reported that Barratt believed, thanks to the environment movement’s loss on wood-chipping, that

‘The search for quick revenue raisers and a political sop to heal the breach with environmental groups in the run-up to this year’s Federal election had put a carbon tax squarely back on the Government’s pre-Budget agenda.’

Wallace, C. 1995. Environment taxes tipped to placate enraged greens. The Australian Financial Review, 3 January, p.3.

As it turned out, the tax proposal was defeated (announcement made 13 February 1995) and Australia instead plumped for ‘voluntary action’ in the shape of Greenhouse 21C.  Of which more another day…

Also on this day

2016  The Australian reported that a “‘new deal’ blueprint for sweeping reform of Australia’s environment laws that puts climate change at the centre of ­future economic decision-­making is being prepared by a coalition of 40 leading conser­vation groups.”

Oh dear.  That didn’t go so well perhaps…

Feb 28, 2003: Business Council of Australia becomes ‘neutral’ on Kyoto Protocol

The BCA releases a statement (first paragraphs below)

Kyoto Position

28 February 2003

The Business Council of Australia said today that its Members had been unable to reach a common position on the Kyoto Protocol, citing a lack of definitive information about the protocol’s impacts and opportunities for business, as well as divergent views among its membership.

“Given the divergent conclusions in the existing protocol research, as well as strongly-held differences of opinion between members on the business impacts of the protocol, the BCA is not in a position at this time to either support or reject ratification of the protocol,” BCA Chief Executive Ms Katie Lahey said.

Ms Lahey said, however, that BCA Members would continue to actively support and work toward achieving Australia’s 108 per cent Kyoto target in ways that benefited Australia’s competitive position.

“It is clear that BCA Members are united in their view that climate change remains a key issue for Australia’s corporate sector,” she said.

This followed a prolonged internal tussle, described well in Clive Hamilton’s 2007 book “Scorcher”

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