Tag Archives: Canberra Times

March 21, 2007 – Unions want #climate action

Ten years ago today, with climate change on everyone’s mind and a Federal election looming, the Unions stated their case. The excellent journo Rosslyn Beeby, then at the Canberra Times,  had this story-

Beeby, R. 2007. Union pressure on climate. Canberra Times, 22 March.

The ACTU has called for sweeping national reforms across transport, mining, agriculture, construction, education and public health to tackle climate change and generate new jobs. The comprehensive green action plan will increase pressure on federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd to adopt a more radical climate change policy as Labor prepares for next month’s national conference. Reforms outlined in the ACTU’s newly endorsed climate change strategy include government subsidies for energy efficient retrofitting of buildings, new mandatory green building codes for all commercial buildings, large-scale reuse of treated effluent, improved vehicle fuel efficiency and greater use of shipping to cut national transport emissions. ACTU secretary Greg Combet described climate change as ”the pre-eminent policy challenge of our time”, and urged industry to ”face up to global warming and be accountable for investing in sustainable jobs rather than raising the fear of job losses and expecting government handouts”.

It all went horribly horribly wrong of course.

Also on this day-

In 1990 Bob Hawke spoke at the National Press Club, ahead of the Federal Election (you are never more than 2 years 11 months from a Federal Election campaign in Australia).  He warned disaffected voters “When you wake up on 25 March,” he said, “there won’t be a Democrat government or a green independent government.”

In 1994 on this day, (on the same day that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change came into ‘force’) the New South Wales  Singleton Council approved Redbank coal-fired power station. Greenpeace contested this in the courts, and lost…

In 1995, according to

Dwyer, M. 1995. Australia takes strong line against greenhouse rules.  The Australian Financial Review,  21 March.

“FEDERAL Cabinet is today expected to endorse Australia taking a tough stand – at a ministerial meeting on climate change in Berlin next week – against new measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

And indeed, Australian negotiators did got to Berlin hoping to prevent a global agreement. But that agreement – to come up with something the “developed world” would do – got through, and set the path to Kyoto… Of which more later…

March 13, 2007 – “Show me the money” union boss says to coal industry on CCS.

On this day 10 years ago,  a report appeared in the Canberra Times (see below) about the launch of a ‘clean coal’ discussion paper of the ALP.  They were trying to square a circle – to capture voters concerned about climate change, but without appearing ‘anti-coal’…

It has been a very very long ten years.  In that time CCS went up like a rocket and down like a stick. Combet became a Labor MP, helped design a doomed emissions trading scheme, was offered a shot at the Prime Ministership as the anyone-but-Kevin candidate (he declined) and then left parliament at the 2013 elections.  Meanwhile, the emissions?  They climbed. The atmospheric concentration if C02?  It climbed.  Chances of a habitable planet for the young and as-yet-unborn?  Plummeted.  So it goes.

Australia’s coal and power generation industries must shoulder a large part of the cost of developing clean coal technologies, investing ”billions not millions” to mitigate climate change, ACTU secretary Greg Combet says. ”We are talking about companies that make multibillion-dollar profits from coal mining. It is only fair that a slice of those profits be directed to the research and development needed to substantially reduce greenhouse emissions,” he said. Speaking from the Hunter Valley, where he was launching a clean coal discussion paper with Opposition environment spokesman Peter Garrett, Mr Combet called for the Federal Government’s Minimum [sic] Renewable Energy Target for green electricity generation to be boosted.

Beeby, R. 2007. Put power profits into clean energy: Combet. Canberra Times, 13 March.

Jan 26, 1989 – “Hole in the Greenhouse” reports the Canberra Times

On this day 28 years ago, an early ‘pushback’ against the scientific consensus that there was (going to be) a problem with climate change made its way, thanks to Reuters, from the USA to Australia.  It wouldn’t be the last time…

1989-01-26

For younger readers – the ‘hole’ is a reference to the hole in the Ozone layer over the Antarctic…

Anon. 1989 ‘Hole in the Greenhouse’Canberra Times 26 January page 4 

 

Jan 24, 1989 – Greenhouse is not simply an energy issue says Resources Minister

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.

Source:

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.”