Tag Archives: Greenhouse Challenge

March 25, 1995 Women and the Environment conference and the red-green problem

Environmentalists and ‘extraction’ workers (miners, forestry workers) are not ‘natural’ enemies.  And those in charge fear a coalition forming, to the extent that they’re willing to kill to prevent those links forming (think Chico Mendes, or Judi Bari, among thousands -see ‘The War on the Greens’).  In 1995 a conference in Melbourne saw yet another attempt to build/mend bridges…

Bad blood flows between the green movement and the union movement. The controversy over logging recently has led to ugly incidents between timber workers and conservationists. Ms George said she had agreed to speak at a conference on women and the environment this weekend to try to ease some of the hostility between the two groups…. The Australian Conservation Foundation’s executive director, Ms Tricia Caswell, said the ACF, Greenpeace and women’s groups had decided to host the conference at the World Congress Centre because women were often the backbone of community environment groups and were the main environmental educators to children but received little recognition.

Milburn, C. 1995. ACTU’s George Plays Peacemaker To Greens, Unions.  The Age, 24 March.

Also on this day- 

In 1997 there was a Greenhouse Challenge signing ceremony, Parliament House. The Greenhouse Challenge was the purely voluntary programme response that was used to block attempts at legislative/regulatory efforts to reduce emissions.

On this day in 2013, with the Gillard government trying to survive attacks by Rudd, attacks by the media and get itself in shape for an impending Federal election, the Australian Department of Climate Change, created with fanfare in the early days of the Rudd Government, was disbanded.   Most of its “functions were moved to the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, with responsibility for energy efficiency transferred to the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.”  (sorry, can

March 16, 1994 – Australian Environment Minister reminds everyone of some caveats

Australia made some big promises in the first years of the climate issue, but these were always tinged with an awareness that the USA was unlikely to allow diplomatic work towards emissions targets for rich countries to progress very quickly.  And so therefore Australia would be able to move in Uncle Sam’s slipstream, able to say ‘shucks, we’d like to do more, but the international consensus says….’.  While they weren’t exactly shouting this strategy for all to hear, nor were they lying or dissembling. This report, from Peter Gill, who wrote lots of well-sourced reports on the issue for the Australian Financial review, is a good example, dealing with Graham Richardson during his very brief return as Environment Minister (after Ros Kelly’s resignation and before Richardson’s past caught up with him).

“Cabinet is understood to have agreed in January 1991, before talks on the UN convention, that Australia would not proceed with measures which had “net adverse economic impacts nationally or on Australia’s trade competitiveness in the absence of similar action by major greenhouse gas-producing countries”.
Former environment minister and former senator, Mr Graham Richardson, used exactly the same words when he described the joint Commonwealth-State position on climate change to Parliament on March 16.”
Gill, P. 1994. Minister signals change of policy on greenhouse gas. Australian Financial Review, 26 May, p.6. [Gareth Evans using exactly the same words on 24 May]

Also on this day –
Ritchie, J. 1988. Development of a Strategy for the Australian Coal Industry. Australian Coal Association, paper to the Petroleum & Minerals Review Conference, Canberra, 16 March. [This was the first half of 1988. So climate change wasn’t mentioned.]

1993 Australia’s Ambassador for the Environment and Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ms Penny Wensley,was elected to a position of Vice Chair of the INC on Climate Change during the meeting of the committee in New York, USA. [source]

Pheasant, B. 1995. Vic takes stake in $100m coal R&D. Australian Financial Review, 17 March, p.9.
“THE Victorian Government is to participate in the country’s largest research and development syndicate, a $100 million joint venture for research which could make the State’s four baseload brown coal power stations up to 30 per cent more efficient.
The syndicate arranged by Bain and Company includes Perth entrepreneur Mr Kerry Stokes’ Australian Capital Equity as majority investor, with ABN Amro Australia , Mercantile Mutual , Babcock & Brown , and Deutsche Bank AG .”

Anon. 1997. ‘529bn Greenhouse Threat: Downer,” Australian Financial Review, 17 March.
“Official estimates suggested that stabilising emissions at 1990 levels by 2010 would lead to a 3.5 per cent fall in gross national expenditure. [Foreign Minister Alexander] Downer warned that projects worth more than $22 billion were at risk.”

2004 “International Climate Change Taskforce” launched by Bob Carr

2005 DEH Minister Launches ‘Greenhouse Challenge Plus’.
https://www.iea.org/policiesandmeasures/pams/australia/name-21656-en.php

2006 CANBERRA, Australia, March 16 — Australian Sen. Christine Milne (Greens-Tasmania) issued the following news release:
The coal industry’s plan to fund research into its own greenhouse gas emissions is long overdue but it reflects self-interest and is not a serious commitment to address climate change, Australian Greens climate spokesperson Sen. Christine Milne said today.
US Fed News (2006) AUSTRALIA: COAL INDUSTRY’S GREENHOUSE FOCUS IS SELF-INTERESTED SPIN US Fed News 16th March

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

Jan 9, 1995 – Efficiency is better than a tax, says business. Of course.

Recycling the rather expensive NIEIR study they’d commissioned in 1992 and launched at least twice in 1994,the Electricity Supply Association of Australia made a Federal budget submission on this day in 1995.  They argued that energy efficiency savings would outstrip the carbon tax then being proposed by Federal Environment Minister John Faulkner. Oh, and export industries (that’d be aluminium, a major consumer of ‘leccy) would be hardest hit.

Gill, P. 1995. Energy efficiency outstrips gains of carbon tax: study. The Australian Financial Review, 9 January.

The sky, it’s always about to fall…

And what’s this, exactly 9 years later, after the carbon tax was beaten and a ‘Greenhouse Challenge’ instituted instead….

Media Release from the Shadow Minister for Sustainability, the Environment & Heritage Member for Wills Friday, 9 January 2004

Scores quit Greenhouse Challenge

Seventy-seven companies dropped out of the Howard Government’s Greenhouse Challenge Program last year. By 30 June, 50 companies had left, according to the response to a Question on Notice I lodged in October, while another 27 companies left between July and December.

These companies left rather than comply with the reporting requirements of the Greenhouse Challenge Program.

It is increasingly clear that Australian companies are losing interest in reporting their greenhouse gas emissions, let alone containing them.

Companies are exiting the Greenhouse Challenge Program because the message they are getting from the Howard Government in not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol is that this Government is not fair dinkum on greenhouse.

They are taking the view that if the Government is not interested in the climate change issue, why should they bother making an effort?

The Howard Government’s Greenhouse strategy seems to be unravelling at the very time when the evidence says we need it the most.

Just yesterday the largest collaboration of scientists ever to study the impact of climate change on wildlife has concluded that climate change is the biggest new extinction threat.

I am today writing to the Greenhouse Office seeking a briefing on the extent of reporting compliance by companies signed up to the Greenhouse Challenge Program. The public is entitled to know how many companies are actually reporting their greenhouse emissions, and what these figures reveal.