Tag Archives: George Bush Jr

1st April, 2001: Howard sends mash-note to Bush over dumping Kyoto.

In March 2001, President George’ hanging chad’ Bush had pulled America out of the Kyoto Protocol ratification process, citing the ‘national interest’ (sound familiar?).  This was music to the ears of Australian Prime Minister John Howard.  Although Australia had wangled a sweet sweet deal at Kyoto (a 108% ‘reduction’ target and a land-clearing clause that was an enormous undeserved loophole, as early as September 1998 the Aussies had said they weren’t going to ratify unless Uncle Sam did so first.  Well…

Howard wrote

I have long shared your view, and Australia has consistently argued, that a workable international framework to address climate change needs to be economically manageable and include developing countries, whose emissions will exceed those of OECD countries within this decade.

In my view an effective global framework to address climate change needs to include commitments from all major emitters; unrestricted market-based mechanisms, including emissions trading; an approach to carbon sinks that captures both economic and environmental opportunities; a facilitative, rather than punitive, compliance system; and assistance for the most vulnerable countries to adapt to climate change.

This will require that we engage developing countries, and seek firm commitments from them on future annual emissions. We will also need to encourage the European Union to re-think its opposition to market mechanisms and sinks, key issues for a cost-effective response to climate change.32

Source – Letter from Prime Minister John Howard to United States President George W. Bush, see http://www.lavoisier.com.au/papers/articles/Howardletter.html [dead link] Cited in NSW Parliamentary Library thing, 2002 – The Greenhouse Effect and Climate Change: An Update By Stewart Smith

Further info-

Clennell, A. 2001. Lead The World On Greenhouse Treaty, PM Urges Bush. Sydney Morning Herald, 16 April. p.2.  (which says that then Environment MinisterRobert Hill revealed letter’s existence on 15 April.  “Greens Senator Bob Brown said yesterday the letter was mostly a public relations exercise for “domestic consumption”.”

On the same day Labor’s Lindsey Tanner, later to be one of Kevin Rudd’s Gang of Four gave a speech…  According to Margo Kingston –

In a speech yesterday, Tanner opined that middle class voters of both hues cared about the environment. “If Labor allows the distinction between the Greens and the Coalition to become the dominant point of environmental differentiation in Australian politics, we will lose a major advantage over the Liberal and National Parties,” he said.

Tanner was concerned that the government would slip through the environment net through advertising glossing over its record. The big one going now is TV celebrity Don Burke extolling the Coalition’s Greenhouse credentials. Funny that, since most of the cash comes courtesy of the Democrats, who insisted on real money going into alternative energy research and rail as part of its price for supporting the GST. The Democrats got $400 million in extra funding for greenhouse gas projects over four years. In retrospect, lucky for the Coalition.

Kingston, M. 2001. Australia: green enough for Kyoto? Sydney Morning Herald, 2 April.

Also on this day –

2002 MRET in Australia 1st Mandatory Renewable Energy Target established (following speech by Howard just before Kyoto)  (on the 2% to 0% target shenanigans – see Kent and Mercer 2006…)

2009- 

The New South Wales Government has questioned the impartiality of a top-level Commonwealth adviser after he raised concerns about a planned expansion of Newcastle’s coal facilities.

Infrastructure Australia Advisory Board member Professor Peter Newman says the damage caused by coal will increase dramatically if Newcastle’s port facilities are doubled.

ABC. 2009. Anger at Rudd’s adviser over coal comments. ABC, 1 April.

 

 

Feb 27, 2002 – Australia and US launch a ‘spoiler’ partnership, alternative to Kyoto

George Bush was (s)elected President of the United States in late 2000. On the campaign trail he said he’d force coal-fired power stations to reduce their emissions. Once in office, oddly, he changed his mind.  He also, infamously, pulled the US out of the Kyoto Protocol. Australia hadn’t yet made a definitive statement on the matter (that would come on World Environment Day, 2002), but this ‘partnership’, launched by Environment Minister David Kemp at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC gave a clue to the direction of travel. Think of it as a dry-run for the AP6…

See also

2002 “Australia and U.S. Partner on Climate Outside Protocol”  ENS Newswire

2002 Bush and new spoiler outfit with Australia. Green Left Weekly

 

Also on this day- 

1988 Australian Academy of Science (1988) Global change, Proceedings of the Elizabeth and Frederick White Research conference 24-27 February 1988.

1995  Chamberlin, P. 1995. Cabinet to review gas reduction options. Canberra Times, 28 February  p.2.  (It says that ACF and Greenpeace release UN data showing how dire Australia’s performance is, and meanwhile businesses, fresh from their carbon tax victory, put forward a “happy to do a voluntary scheme” submission

1997 Federal Environment Minister Senator Robert Hill announced the release of a discussion paper, ‘Future Directions for Australia’s National Greenhouse Strategy’, prepared by the Intergovernmental Committee on ESD with a deadline for submissions of 11 April 1997.

2014 -Targets and Progress Review—Final Report released: The Climate Change Authority reviews Australia’s progress and recommends a minimum reduction of 15% in greenhouse gas emissions from 2000 levels by 2020.

 

 

Feb 18, 2004: 62 scientists tell Bush to grow up

On this day 11 years ago a public statement aimed at George “Dubya” Bush was released. Organised by the Union of Concerned Scientists, it was signed by  62 pre-eminent scientists including Nobel laureates, National Medal of Science recipients, former senior advisers to administrations of both parties, numerous members of the National Academy of Sciences, and other well-known researchers.
It led on to this report;

Scientific Integrity in Policy-making: An Investigation into the Bush Administration’s Misuse of Science

Part of the counter-attack to the “Republican War on Science

 

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

February 14, 2002: Bush Announces Administration’s Alternative to Kyoto and ‘Clear Skies’ Initiative

President Bush unveils a plan to reduce the “intensity” of greenhouse gases by 18 percent. Greenhouse gas intensity is the ratio of emissions to economic output, meaning that global warming pollution would continue to grow, but at a slower pace. This target would be achieved through $4.6 billion in tax credits and incentives, spent over a five-year period, to encourage businesses and farmers to cut their emissions. For example, the plan would provide tax credits to businesses that use renewable energy sources. [CNN, 2/14/2006; New York Times, 2/14/2006] Text above lifted from here.

When they’ve refused to do something that might actually have teeth (if not ‘work’), the Bushes and Howards of this world need “alternative” schemes – thus Clear Skies, or The AP6, or the “Direct Action” scheme of Tony Abbott These are symbolic placation of the very lowest volume, designed merely to rebut the “you’re not doing anything” argument.

 

Feb 6: 2001: Exxon tells Bush to sack specific #climate scientists

From “historycommons”: February 6, 2001: ExxonMobil Lobbyist Calls on White House to Remove Certain Government Climate Scientists

“In a memo to the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), ExxonMobil lobbyist Randy Randol denounces esteemed climate scientist Robert Watson, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as someone “handpicked by Al Gore” who is using the media to get “coverage for his views.” Thus he asks, “Can Watson be replaced now at the request of the US?” In addition to Watson, Randol names other climate experts who he wants “removed from their positions of influence.” A year later, the Bush administration will block Watson’s reelection as IPCC chairman. [Randol, 2/6/2005 ; Mother Jones, 5/2005]”

Context:

This is part of a much broader pattern of “conservative” actors making sure that the “deciders” only hear information that supports the “do nothing serious” brigade. Much the same dynamic was playing out in Australia at the same time, with similar results (not that scientific advice, on its own, matters).

Other things that happened on this day:

1995 The final meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (number 11) opens in New York. The Berlin Cop is only a month away, and the INC is a fierce battleground, with much ink and metaphorical blood spilled. The INC, which had first met in February 1991, is superseded by the Ad Hoc Group on the Berlin Mandate after the Berlin meeting.

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

Jan 29, 2006: New York Times breaks “Bush muzzling Hansen” story

The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.”

So begins Andy Revkin’s story in the New York Times. Revkin can now be found writing here.

Context:

Conservatives” and business interests have been waging a war on the science that quantifies the damage to human and planetary health caused by our technologies for a looong time (the distinction between “impact” science – see above – and “production” science – GM, nuclear etc – is useful). This seems to enrage people more than the fact that the politicians who “accept” climate change but continue to subsidise the infrastructure that is doing the damage (fossil fuels, airport expansion etc) and instead indulge in policies of ‘symbolic placation’ are every bit as culpable, no?

See also: Mark Bowen “Censoring Science: Inside the attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming.

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