Tag Archives: Clive Hamilton

April 21, 2007 – ‘Scorcher’ plugged (a good book, btw)

In 2007 the climate issue went ballistic in Australia Two excellent books were published. One was Guy Pearse’s ‘High and Dry’, which is still essential reading.  The other was Clive Hamilton’s ‘Scorcher,’ an update and extension of his 2001 ‘Running from the Storm’.  On this day, 10 years ago, he was on Radio National plugging  it….

Doogue, G. 2007. Clive Hamilton on Saturday Extra. Radio National, 21 April. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/saturdayextra/clive-hamilton/3238974

Also on this day-

1993 [Clinton’s] stand is a reversal of that taken by the former US President, Mr Bush, who refused at the Earth Summit to support specific targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions or to back the biodiversity treaty.
At the start of his speech, Mr Clinton made an unexpected acknowledgement of Australia’s Minister for the Environment, Mrs Kelly.
“We should introduce a guest from another country who is here with us – the environmental minister from Australia, Ros Kelly,” he said. “Would you stand up? We’re glad to have you here.”
Garran, R. 1993. Clinton pledge cuts new key to the greenhouse. Australian Financial Review, 23 April p.9.

21 April 2010: Failures of the Howard government’s Greenhouse Gas Abatement Program which was a version of direct action exposed by audit report and reported by Lenore Taylor. (From Mark Butler’s Direct Action Timeline)

21 April 2011: The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency publishes detailed estimates of potential land sector abatement which are significantly at odds with those promised by direct action, they put out a range of 5 to 15 Mt and set out why this was different to technical potential quoted by Greg Hunt. (From Mark Butler’s Direct Action Timeline)

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 –

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.