Tag Archives: Greg Combet

March 21, 2007 – Unions want #climate action

Ten years ago today, with climate change on everyone’s mind and a Federal election looming, the Unions stated their case. The excellent journo Rosslyn Beeby, then at the Canberra Times,  had this story-

Beeby, R. 2007. Union pressure on climate. Canberra Times, 22 March.

The ACTU has called for sweeping national reforms across transport, mining, agriculture, construction, education and public health to tackle climate change and generate new jobs. The comprehensive green action plan will increase pressure on federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd to adopt a more radical climate change policy as Labor prepares for next month’s national conference. Reforms outlined in the ACTU’s newly endorsed climate change strategy include government subsidies for energy efficient retrofitting of buildings, new mandatory green building codes for all commercial buildings, large-scale reuse of treated effluent, improved vehicle fuel efficiency and greater use of shipping to cut national transport emissions. ACTU secretary Greg Combet described climate change as ”the pre-eminent policy challenge of our time”, and urged industry to ”face up to global warming and be accountable for investing in sustainable jobs rather than raising the fear of job losses and expecting government handouts”.

It all went horribly horribly wrong of course.

Also on this day-

In 1990 Bob Hawke spoke at the National Press Club, ahead of the Federal Election (you are never more than 2 years 11 months from a Federal Election campaign in Australia).  He warned disaffected voters “When you wake up on 25 March,” he said, “there won’t be a Democrat government or a green independent government.”

In 1994 on this day, (on the same day that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change came into ‘force’) the New South Wales  Singleton Council approved Redbank coal-fired power station. Greenpeace contested this in the courts, and lost…

In 1995, according to

Dwyer, M. 1995. Australia takes strong line against greenhouse rules.  The Australian Financial Review,  21 March.

“FEDERAL Cabinet is today expected to endorse Australia taking a tough stand – at a ministerial meeting on climate change in Berlin next week – against new measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

And indeed, Australian negotiators did got to Berlin hoping to prevent a global agreement. But that agreement – to come up with something the “developed world” would do – got through, and set the path to Kyoto… Of which more later…

March 13, 2007 – “Show me the money” union boss says to coal industry on CCS.

On this day 10 years ago,  a report appeared in the Canberra Times (see below) about the launch of a ‘clean coal’ discussion paper of the ALP.  They were trying to square a circle – to capture voters concerned about climate change, but without appearing ‘anti-coal’…

It has been a very very long ten years.  In that time CCS went up like a rocket and down like a stick. Combet became a Labor MP, helped design a doomed emissions trading scheme, was offered a shot at the Prime Ministership as the anyone-but-Kevin candidate (he declined) and then left parliament at the 2013 elections.  Meanwhile, the emissions?  They climbed. The atmospheric concentration if C02?  It climbed.  Chances of a habitable planet for the young and as-yet-unborn?  Plummeted.  So it goes.

Australia’s coal and power generation industries must shoulder a large part of the cost of developing clean coal technologies, investing ”billions not millions” to mitigate climate change, ACTU secretary Greg Combet says. ”We are talking about companies that make multibillion-dollar profits from coal mining. It is only fair that a slice of those profits be directed to the research and development needed to substantially reduce greenhouse emissions,” he said. Speaking from the Hunter Valley, where he was launching a clean coal discussion paper with Opposition environment spokesman Peter Garrett, Mr Combet called for the Federal Government’s Minimum [sic] Renewable Energy Target for green electricity generation to be boosted.

Beeby, R. 2007. Put power profits into clean energy: Combet. Canberra Times, 13 March.

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)

Feb 10, 2011 – Climate Commission is launched

The Gillard government knew that selling climate action was going to be tricky, after the cynicism-building wreck that was Rudd’s CPRS, and the rise of organised and well-funded denialism. It was in this context that it set up the Climate Commission (as distinct from the Climate Change Authority, which came later as part of the CEF package.). The Climate Commission did public information events and released lots of reports. And Tony Abbott, when he came to power, made it his first action to abolish it. A crowd-funding campaign worked wonders, and the Commission lives on. But that’s a story for another day –

 

Also on this day-
According to  it Ellis and Gill, it was on this day in 1995 that then Environment Minister Senator John Faulkner decided that a carbon tax/levy/whatever you want to call it was not worth taking to Cabinet after all, because it would get squished by the Bob Collins of this world –

“THE Minister for the Environment, Senator Faulkner, has abandoned proposals for the introduction of a carbon tax ….  His decision was made on Friday [10th February] after two days of talks with environmental and business groups.”

Ellis, S. and Gill, P. 1995. Faulkner calls off plans to impose carbon tax. The Australian Financial Review, 14 February, p.3.

In 2006, before climate change had become the public topic it would later in the year be, the Council of Australian Governments held a meeting on this day.   Australian Conservation Foundation tried to chivvy them along, with this press release.

COAG meeting a chance for real progress on climate change
Date: 9-Feb-2006
The Australian Conservation Foundation has urged Commonwealth, State and Territory leaders to use tomorrow’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Canberra to craft a consistent, national approach to climate change.
“A global problem requires a global solution,” said ACF Executive Director Don Henry. “It’s vital we get Commonwealth, State and Territory leaders pulling in the same direction on this.

“It’s good to see COAG talking about climate change. They can make some real progress on measures that will make a difference.
http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/13467/20120118-0823/www.acfonline.org.au/articles/newse312.html?news_id=712

(A COAG Working group had been set up previous late May/early June, according to this – “ACF calls for national deep cuts target on greenhouse” (11-Jun-2005)