Tag Archives: Guy Pearse

March 18, 2008 – “Protecting Australia’s new #climate change response from the Greenhouse Mafia”

The climate issue had broken out in late 2006. Until then a cabal of bureaucrats and trade association actors had,for about ten years, kept a tight rein on Australian climate change (and energy) policy.   The key book on this is ‘High and Dry’ by Guy Pearse, who had done a PhD on the very subject.   In early 2007, after the Howard Government had finally been forced to consider an emissions trading scheme (the ‘Shergold Report’), the State Governments of Australia (all Labor at the time) and the Federal Opposition (led by Kevin Rudd) asked high-profile economist Ross Garnaut to write a report about ‘what should be done’.  Garnaut set to work, but by the time that Guy Pearse made this submission


the sidelining of  Garnaut – who didn’t think there was a justification for stuffing the pockets of generators and coal-miners with ‘compensation’ – was already underway…

Also on this day

On his 2GB program, Alan Jones, having berated Julia Gillard for being late to his studio less than a month before, continues in his fine form with these comments about Ross Garnaut. 

“What do you make of this galoot Garnaut, the Federal Governments climate change head-kicker?…‘The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence is telling us climate change is happening’ – well of course its happening, ha ha of course climate change is happening ya dunce, but is it being created by manmade carbon dioxide emissions? They dont want to face that question. (Cited in Barry 2011a)

(Ward, 2015: 235)

Feb 13, 2006 – Four Corners report on the ‘Greenhouse Mafia’

The ABC investigative journalism programme Four Corners broadcast a hair-raising documentary on “Greenhouse Mafia,” the network of focussed and determined industry lobbyists who had taken over the policy advice system of the Howard government on climate and energy issues.  This documentary was based on the extraordinarily good PhD thesis of Guy Pearse, whose ‘High and Dry’ should be compulsory reading, in my opinion. The programme also looked at what happened to CSIRO scientists who tried to do their job – of studying and explaining the impacts of climate change.

You can read the full transcript via here.


Also on this day

1995 – Environment Minister John Faulkner announces on 2GB radio (Sydney) that the proposal for a carbon tax/levy is toast-

“I’ve indicated that it’s just not going to go forward…. As far as I’m concerned a greenhouse levy is off the agenda.”

Anon, 1995. Australia govt drops plans for carbon tax-minister.  Reuters, 14 February.





Feb 13, 2006: Four Corners documentary on “Greenhouse Mafia”

On this day in 2006, a  television programme on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s investigative show “Four Corners” revealed both the “policy veto” exercised by the Australian Industry Greenhouse Network and the “greenhouse mafia” and the efforts (largely successful) to cow Australian climate scientists into silence.

You can read the transcript here and see 10 minutes of the show here.

The esponse to it meant, for Pearse, that there was no home for him in the Australian Liberal party


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

Feb 1, 2007: Jeremy Grantham’s “Rant on Oil Dependency, Global Warming, and a Love of Feel-Good Data”

“Jeremy Grantham, chairman of a Boston-based fund management company, in his quarterly letter to clients includes a commentary on the United States’ policy toward climate change, particularly that of the current administration. One of Grantham’s clients happens to be Vice President Dick Cheney. In his piece, titled “While America Slept, 1982-2006: A Rant on Oil Dependency, Global Warming, and a Love of Feel-Good Data,” Grantham writes, ;Successive US administrations have taken little interest in either oil substitution or climate change and the current one has even seemed to have a vested interest in the idea that the science of climate change is uncertain.’”

From here

Grantham has kept it up. In November 2012 he wrote another piece, in Nature,  that is well worth your time – “Be persuasive. Be brave. Be arrested (if necessary)

Even more context: The question of why businesses that are going to be affected by climate change (as in, all of them) haven’t been more active on the climate issue is an interesting one. See, for example, Jeremy Leggett’s The Carbon War on the (too) weak efforts of the insurance industry before and after the Berlin COP of 1995 in the face of fossil fuel/automobile interests (Global Climate Coalition, the Climate Council). See also Guy Pearse’s “High and Dry”. Pearse had wondered why non-fossil business interests (insurance, but also agriculture, tourism etc) were not more active in Australian climate politics. His PhD on this topic formed the basis of his excellent book “High and Dry”, which is essential reding for anyone who wants ot understand how Australia got into such a horrific mess…

Other things that happened on this day:

1989 Colloquium on Global Change and International law: The Greenhouse Effect, University of Colorado School of Law

2005 Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change: A Scientific Symposium on Stabilisation of Greenhouse Gases”

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