Tag Archives: Clive Hamilton

Feb 20, 2006 – “Dirty Dozen” named, but basically un-shame-able…

On this day in 2006 the executive director of The Australia Institute, Clive Hamilton, delivered a blistering speech at the Hilton Hotel, in Adelaide.  In it he named names, listing ‘The Dirty Dozen’ – the top 12 opponents of effective climate change action in Australia. . You can read it here. Since then the names have changed, but the tactics and arguments have largely stayed the same, with some necessary modifications….

As Liz Minchin reported –

Dr Hamilton had been thinking about making the allegations for months, and said he was not worried about being sued.

“I doubt that anyone I’ve named would want their involvement in this issue dragged through the courts,” he said.

See also  Minchin, L. 2006. ‘Dirty dozen’ accused over fossil fuels. The Age, 21 February.

Also on this day-
In 1995, having defeated the proposal for a carbon tax/levy, the miners and their friends showed ministers what their voluntary measures would do. And so was born the ‘Greenhouse Challenge’…

2006 the excellent journo Rosslyn Beeby had a front page story at the Canberra Times

Beeby, R. 2006. CSIRO appointees drawn from oil, coal industries. Canberra Times, 21 February, p.1.
The Federal Government’s appointment of two new CSIRO board members with strong links to the coal and petroleum industries was ”a tragedy” for the national science organisation, Tasmanian Greens Senator Christine Milne said yesterday

Feb 17, 1995 – “Not a single tonne saved” by National Greenhouse Response Strategy

On December 7 1992 the “National Greenhouse Response Strategy” had been agreed by Federal and State Governments. It had no national objectives, had motherhood-statements about the greenhouse programme, listed few substantive responses and was in no meaningful sense a ‘strategy’. So, 0 out of 4. It ignored the proposals of the Ecologically Sustainable Development process which had been set up under the Hawke government, which included a whole raft of useful proposals on energy efficiency, fuel substitution, support for renewables etc. All things that the Federal government of today is still actively hostile to. Anyway, on this day in 1995, the then new-ish Australia Institute released a report called “Can the Future Be Rescued1995-02-17” (a sly reference to any earlier report, but I’m digressing). This argued that `After two years of its operation, there is no evidence that even one tonne of carbon emissions has been saved as a result of the [NGRS).’  The report’s timing was just a little skew-whiff, for reasons beyond the authors’ control – the previous week Senator Faulkner, then the Environment Minister, decided that a carbon tax would not get through Cabinet.  Times don’t change.

Grose, S. 1995. Carbon tax necessary, report says. Canberra Times, 18 February.
An independent assessment of Australia’s greenhouse response strategy has concluded that Australia will not meet its greenhouse gas’ emission targets and claims that a carbon tax should be imposed at a rate of $2 per tonne of carbon dioxide.
The Australia Institute, a Canberra-based think-tank, released its report yesterday in a bid to influence federal Cabinet’s consideration next week of a range of measures to reduce Australia’s greenhouse emissions.

 

Also on this day-

2003. New South Wales Premier Bob Carr, who had headed up a “Kyoto Protocol Ratification Advisory Group” sponsored by three state governments, accused John Howard of merely going along with the US in not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.

On the same day, Greenpeace said Westpac was in favour of Kyoto Ratification (by now the Business Council of Australia was hopelessly split on the matter, and would soon release a ‘we’re agnostic’ statement)

AAP. 2003. Westpac supports Kyoto Protocol – Greenpeace. Australian Associated Press Financial News Wire, 17 Feb
SYDNEY, Feb 17, AAP – One of Australia’s big four banks has indicated its support for an international treaty to cut greenhouse gases.
Greenpeace today said initial findings of its survey of Business Council of Australia (BCA) members revealed Westpac supported the aims and objectives of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

17-19 Feb 2004 Zero Emissions Technology Conference in Australia. (This at peak excitement of technological solutions.

If Morrison had held up a lump of silicon instead of lacquered coal…

Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison held up a lump of coal in Parliament last week, in an attempt to humiliate the Opposition.  The coal was provided by the Minerals Council of Australia, who helpfully lacquered it so it wouldn’t smudge on its handlers…

Journalists have expressed bewilderment and Clive Hamilton, recently ex-Climate Change Authority member, used the incident to think cogently about death and fear. I wrote here and here.

Then there is this brilliant letter in the Fin.  I want to track down the writer and buy him a pint.  All help in this endeavour appreciated.

morrison-coal-solar-panel

(h/t to Aaron for sending me this)

So, lump of coal as a boundary object, perhaps, or a mutable mobile. Or something else from Science and Technology Studies, which, as Tom Baker said at the end of his penultimate story, (The Keeper of Traken)  is not my forte so much…

 

July 11th, 1989 – Australia reckons it will accept #climate refugees. Mm-hmm….

On this day in 1989 the 20th South Pacific Forum closed.  According to Steve Burrell, writing in the Australian Financial Review on 12th July,

“Both Australia and New Zealand indicated that they and the rest of the world would undoubtably be prepared to take humanitarian action in moving people driven out by rising waters.”

Oh, undoubtedly.

Here, 26 years later, is Clive Hamilton on climate and refugees….

As ever, see the disclaimers, help the project and comments policy.

May 6th, 2004 – John Howard tries to kill off renewable energy in Australia.

This site doesn’t normally go for super-long quotes. But the following is just a bloody corker, from page 11 of Clive Hamilton’s 2007 “Scorcher: The Dirty Politics of Climate Change”

may6letagOn 6 May 2004 the Prime Minster convened a meeting of LETAG, the Lower Emissions Technology Advisory Group, which consists of the CEOs of the major fossil-fuel corporations. The companies around the table were Rio Tinto, Edison Mission Energy, BPH-Billiton, Alcoa, Energex, Origin Energy, Boral and Orica. These are the companies behind the lobby groups that make up the greenhouse mafia. Meetings like these are never publicised, but we know about this one because private notes made by Sam Walsh, chief executive of Rio Tinto’s iron ore division, were leaked. The notes, which came to light a year or so after the meeting, provide another extraordinary insight into how climate change policy is really made under the Howard Government.

The industry minister Ian Macfarlane stressed the need for absolute confidentiality, saying that if the renewable energy industry knew they were meeting, ‘there would be a huge outcry’. He chided the fossil-fuel companies for being insufficiently vocal, allowing the renewables industry to set the agenda, which had ‘got away from us’. Here ‘us’ meant the alliance between the Government and the polluting companies.

The Prime Minister told the highly select group that his Government was in political trouble over greenhouse policy, as it was being outmanoeuvred by the NSW government and by the Labour Opposition led by Mark Latham, who was benefiting politically from his promise to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and support the renewable energy industries. There was an election coming up, he said, and the media, especially The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘had created a problem for Government;, so he had called the meeting to get some ideas about how the Government could beef up its greenhouse credentials in a way that could convince the Herald that it was serious about climate change.

The Prime Minister also said he was worried about the Tambling Review of the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET), which had cautiously recommended extending a renewable energy investment scheme. Minister Macfarlane said that the review had ‘found that the scheme worked too well and investment in renewables was running ahead of the original planning.’ The Government was looking for an alternative so that it could kill off MRET, which they believed, was ‘skewed to Wind Power.’ According to the leaked notes, the Prime Minister said that ‘it was not credible to ignore the Tambling Report unactioned [it was tabled in January] and there was a real need to propose alternatives to extending MRET’. He said that he was ‘keen to protect Industry,’ by which, of course, he meant the fossil fuel-based industries, at the expense of the renewable and energy efficiency industries. The renewable sector had boomed briefly in response to MRET.

The Prime Minister proposed a Low Emission Technology Demonstration Fund to support technological developments, with $1.5 billion to be funded jointly by Government and industry. Most of the corporate heads responded to this proposal by arguing that it would be much better, Prime Minister, if all of the money came from Government. They issued the usual warnings about companies shifting offshore if any carbon levy were to be imposed.

As ever, see the disclaimers, help the project and comments policy.

Feb 4, 1998: Australian Ombudsman slaps economic modellers around for excluding greenies

The Australian Ombudsman releases a report responding to a Australian Conservation Foundation complaint about “ABARE” and its economic modelling.

Context:

The Australian Government had been using “economic modelling” to demand (and get) special consideration for Australia in the international climate negotiations that led up to the Kyoto Protocol. (Australia’s target was 108%, where developed world countries bar Norway and Iceland had reduction targets.) And this economic modelling – which “showed” that the sky would fall if so much as one lump of coal were taxed or left in the ground – was put together by the Australian Bureau of Agriculture Resource Economics, using a computer model called MEGABARE. Now, computer models cost money. So the ABARE people had invited contributions. And the list of organisations that ponied up the $50,000 that it cost to get a seat on the steering committee includes little mom and pop outfits like…  BHP, the Business Council of Australia, Exxon, Texaco and so on.  Here’s a table from Clive Hamilton’s 2001 “Running from the Storm”

The Australian Conserfeb41998megabarefundingvation Foundation (ACF) had requested a seat at the table, and a waiver for the $50,000 fee. ABARE refused. The ACF asked the Ombudsman (investigator/referee) to look into it. The Ombudsman did, made the usual recommendations, but frankly the damage had been done…

Even more context:

The Sky Will Fall” economic modelling reports are a favoured technique for blocking/delaying/softening action on any issue you care to mention…. It doesn’t matter that the assumptions of the models are usually laughably inaccurate/unrealistic, or that their predictions turn out to be false. All that matters is that a politician opposed to action can quote a scary number of jobs lost or impact on “the economy”. Most journalists, pressed for time and/or fundamentally obedient, will dutifully report the number, with few or no caveats. Thus is the reality distorion field enhanced…

Other things that happened on this day:

2004 An email is sent to press secretaries of all Republican congressional reps with advice on responding to environmental questions

As ever, see the disclaimers, help the project and comments policy.