Tag Archives: Copenhagen

March 26, 2007 – Nobody loves CCS

On this day in 2007 the Brisbane Courier-Mail published an article which attempted to pour cold water on the hot hype around “Carbon Capture and Storage.”

With the startlingly innovative headline  Clean coal is all hot air” and written by  Dr Alex Robson, who at the time  lectured in economics at the Australian National University (is now at Griffith)

It begins thus-

Last month Federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd announced Labor’s National Clean Coal Initiative.

Roughly speaking, the term clean coal refers to various technologies for removing carbon dioxide from coal when it is used to generate electricity, both before and after combustion occurs. The term encompasses carbon capture and storage technologies.

Rudd’s policy commits $500 million of taxpayer funds on the development of these technologies, with the proviso that each taxpayer dollar must be matched by two private sector dollars.

Rudd also proclaimed that Labor would establish an emissions trading scheme, set renewable energy targets, develop plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, convene a summit on climate change and ratify the Kyoto protocol.

Apart from ratifying an obsolete international treaty and organising yet another Canberra talkfest, Labor’s policy of subsidising corporations, making grandiose plans and setting impressive-sounding targets is eerily similar to existing Government policy.


The Lavoisier Group liked it so much they slapped the whole thing on their website.

Also on this day- 

In 2010  an answer was given in parliament about the size of the Australian delegation to the failed climate talks at Copenhagen. It was a lot of people-

“The final Australian Delegation to COP15 comprised 98 people, which included 30 observers from State and Territory Governments and non-government organisations. The name, title and agency for each member of the Official Australian Delegation is attached to this answer. The names of Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers providing protection to the Prime Minister have not been provided. The AFP does not comment on security or issues that may disclose methodology associated with security matters”


Feb 11, 1993 – neoliberalism and planet incompatible, who knew?

On this day, 24 years ago, the Liberal Party’s extreme ‘Fightback!’ policy got a doing-over on environmental grounds, shortly before the 1993 Federal Election (the unloseable one – the one then Liberal Leader John Hewson lost).

According to the director of science and technology policy at Murdoch University, Fightback would result in a six per cent increase in car use immediately, and 28 per cent in a few years.

The table shows that Australia is the third worst polluter in the OECD region and that our poor performance is very much related to low fossil-fuel prices.

If Australia is to get its carbon emissions down to a level comparable with other OECD countries, some form of carbon tax will have to be introduced.

International pressure to move in this direction is likely to intensify over the next decade.
Davidson, K. 1993. Hewson Error Of Emission.The Age, 11 February, p.13.

Also on this day-

Revealing story on what the CSIRO was up to (gutting its climate programmes, natch).

Chandler, J. 2006. Discarded scientists fail to grasp CSIRO logic. The Age, 11 February.

2011 Gillard’s Environment Minister Greg Combet releases info about the (large) Australian Delegation at the Copenhagen Climate Conference (COP15)

Jan 31, 2010: Ed Miliband lays into the #climate “sceptics”

On 31 January 2010, probably still bruised by Copenhagen, Ed Miliband (then Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, now Leader of HM Opposition) laid into the “sceptics”


Ah, the post-Copenhagen blues. There were those who tried to warn – to dampen expectations and to think BEYOND December 2009.  Anyway, what’s done is done – until it’s done again in Paris…

Here’s a clip of what he said (reported in the Guardian)-

“But in the government’s first high-level recognition of the growing pressure on public opinion, Miliband declared a “battle” against the “siren voices” who denied global warming was real or caused by humans, or that there was a need to cut carbon emissions to tackle it.”

“It’s right that there’s rigour applied to all the reports about climate change, but I think it would be wrong that when a mistake is made it’s somehow used to undermine the overwhelming picture that’s there,” he said.

“We know there’s a physical effect of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leading to higher temperatures, that’s a question of physics; we know CO2 concentrations are at their highest for 6,000 years; we know there are observed increases in temperatures; and we know there are observed effects that point to the existence of human-made climate change. That’s what the vast majority of scientists tell us.”

FWIW, it’s not the outright deniers (few in number) who are to blame. It’s those who allow business as usual to proceed in a business-as-usual fashion. Yes, yes, it’s counter-productive to assign blame, all of us are complicit, some of us are guilty blah blah blah…

Other things that happened on this day:

1989 Publication of “The Atmosphere: Endangered and Endangering” by M. Mead (Author), William W. Kellogg (Author) (Based on the Fogarty Conference of 1975)

2003 the Baliunas/Soon paper is published.

2001 In scenes later immortalised in the opening section of the Oscar-winning (*) classic “The Day After Tomorrow” the Larsen B iceshelf started to disintegrate.

The Larsen B sector collapsed and broke up, 3,250 km² of ice 220m thick, covering an area comparable to the US state of Rhode Island, disintegrated and collapsed in one season.[6] Larsen B was stable for up to 12,000 years, essentially the entire Holocene period since the last glacial period, according to Queen’s University researchers

You can watch it here.

And if you open up another browser window at t’same time, you can have British Sea Power accompaniment… Song Oh Larsen B British Sea Power Open Season

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

* Actual facts may vary. Always read the label.

Jan 19, 2011: US and China do some post-Copenhagen fence-mending

On 19th January, 2011 Barack Obama and Hu Jintao make a joint statement with the usual boilerplate about climate change and energy security.


This was yet another bit of fence-mending after the horrorshow of Copenhagen. As usual, US Big Green called (for the twenty gazillionth time) for a ‘wartime-like mobilization’ to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Three and a half-years later, ahead of the G20, the US and China actually make some more specific statements. Possibly motivated by a desire to make Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott look even more silly.

Even more context:

These are the two big beasts. What they do matters. If you want to start to get your head around it, have a read of Jeff Goodell’s excellent piece in Rolling Stone China, the Climate and the Fate of the Planet.

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