Tag Archives: IPCC

Jan 23, 2013- Australian coal mining versus the planet….

On this day in 2013, the Age journo Tom Arup starts a piece

The forecast expansion of Australian coal mining and exports would be the world’s second-largest contributor of new carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels if fully realised, research by Greenpeace International has found.

An analysis of the planet’s 14 largest proposed, coal, oil and gas developments – to be released on Wednesday by Greenpeace – finds if Australian coal production expands as projected, the mining, production and burning of the extra resources would by 2020 result in 759 million tonnes of new global carbon dioxide emissions a year over 2011 levels.

It’s based on Greenpeace International report called  “Point of No Return

2013-01-23

Also on this day –

In 1992 , A report on an early(ish) dose of denial appears in the Australian Financial Review,

Lawson, M. 1992. Cooling the global warming predictions.  The Australian Financial Review, 23 January .

In 1995, economist John Quiggin quixotically makes the case that a carbon tax could provide more jobs….”there is no reason to suppose that business as a whole would necessarily lose from such a tax.” 

Quiggin, J. 1995. Carbon tax could make more jobs. The Australian Financial Review, 23 January.

In 2001 the Sydney Morning Herald had a front page story based on the Third Assessment Report of the IPCC

 

World temperatures may increase by as much as six degrees Celsius over the next century, leading climate change scientists say in an alarming report that adds new urgency to the warnings on global warming.

The projected increase, which would be the most rapid temperature change in the past 10,000 years, is expected to push sea levels up by nearly a metre, threatening tens of millions of people, and generate more floods, droughts and fires.

The report found that the 1990s were the hottest decade since instrument records were first taken in 1861 and that 1998 was the hottest year. And for the first time scientists agreed that the warming is mostly due to human activity.

The gloomy prognosis was released in Shanghai yesterday by the respected Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a joint project of the United Nation’s Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organisation.

Schauble, J. 2001. Six Degrees Hotter: Global Climate Alarm Bells Ring Louder. Sydney Morning Herald, 23 January, p.1.

In 2005 A report, co-authored by the UK Institute of Public Policy Research, the US “Centre for American Progress” and the Australia Institute was released. It was called “Meeting the Climate Challenge” According to ippr – “This interim report, setting out the taskforce’s recommendations, is both a practical policy handbook, and passionate call for action on this most vital of issues.” [Actually, I think the report was launched Jan 1st, just slow on the ippr blog. Not sure though].

Jan 15, 1990 – Liberal Party feels it got shafted

On 15 January 1990 two senior Australian opposition politicians met with a senior environmentalist, hoping that the green movement would be “neutral” in the impending Federal election.  Ooops.

Context:

On 15 January 1990, Peacock and Puplick met with ACF’s Philip Toyne for lunch at an Italian restaurant in Melbourne. This discussion has passed into Liberal folklore as a great deception. Peacock and Puplick say that Toyne told them that the ACF would not be actively advocating a vote for either of the major parties in the House. It would be supporting the Democrats and the minor parties in the Senate. Peacock and Puplick left with a misplaced optimism. The political truth is that there was no way that Labor’s investment in the greens would be denied. The entire ALP was confident that it would have the green’s [sic] backing. It is idle to think that Toyne was unaware of these realities.

Toyne said later that he told Peacock and Puplick that he personally believed the ACF should not support political parties but that he gave no promise on ACF’s behalf. Toyne’s ‘Pontius Pilate’ defence is that the decision rested with the ACF council of which he was not even a member….

The Liberals were humiliated by the greens. After Hawke called the election the ACF council voted overwhelmingly to direct its preferences towards the ALP. Peacock later told Hewson that Toyne had broken his word and that the Liberals had been misled and ‘dudded’. The Liberals were left bitter and frustrated. The ALP- green alliance, crafted by Richardson, was firmly intact for the 1990 election.

Kelly, P. (1994) The End of Certainty: Power, Politics and Business in Australia. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin page 543

 The Australian Labor Party had won the 1983 and 1987 federal elections in part thanks to the green movement (this is in the days before the Green Party). The Liberals were desperate to neutralise that threat in the 1990 election. Puplick had even managed to get the Liberals to have a stiffer carbon emissions reduction target than Labor.  It was all for nothing though….

Joan Staples, in her impressive PhD thesis on how environmental movements fared under the Hawke, Keating and Howard governments does not use this anecdote, which is curious. She does however explain very well the dilemma for environmental movements more generally. Once they are seen as being “of” a political party, they lose their bargaining power both with the other parties and the one they have aligned themselves to. What is to be done? Well, don’t get too bogged down in state processes. That is, of course, far easier said than done. And how far is too far?

Staples, J. (2012) Non-government organisations and the Australian government: a dual strategy of public advocacy for NGOs , PhD Research thesis, UNSW. Click here for PDF. 

And the follow-up

On 5th February, 1992, then Opposition Leader John Hewson wrote to the ACF, in part saying

“I see little point in meeting with you or Mr Garrett so long as the ACF leadership is driven by a partisan political agenda,” Dr Hewson wrote.

This was “so evident in the 1990 federal election when the ACF swung its support behind the Labor Party despite the demonstrably superior environmental policy of the Coalition parties,” he wrote.

Anon, 1992. Hewson snubs Conservation Foundation. Canberra Times, 6 February, p.4.

http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/133929200

Also on this day- 

1992 – Australian Coal Association rep at Guangzhou meeting of the IPCC tries to scupper things. Fails.

The carbon club reserved its attack on the bottom-line statement for late in the meeting. It was not Don Pearlman, but a newcomer from the Australian Coal Association, David Hughes, who fronted the bid for a home run.

“Given all the uncertainties over estimates, based on ozone depletion and sulphate aerosols suppressing warming and the rest, surely we can no longer justify this statement, Mr Chairman.”

“This form of words has been commented on by many referees,” John Houghton said stiffly.

Just like Exxon’s Brian Flannery at the key IPCC scientists’ meeting in 1990, Hughes found no support outside the carbon club.

page 76-7 of Leggett, J. (2001) The Carbon War  [As best I can tell, this would have been 15th January 1992].

July 4th, 1996 – that ‘discernible’ influence of climate change again

In the middle of the confected ‘controversy’ about the second assessment report of the IPCC, [fossil-funded denialists smearing Ben Santer]  various scientists, including Santer himself, point out some inconvenient facts….

In the July 4 1996 issue of Nature, Benjamin Santer, K.E. Taylor, Tom M.  Wigley, and ten other researchers published an article that concluded: “The observed spatial patterns of temperature change in the free atmosphere from 1963 to 1987…are similar to those predicted by state-of-the-art climate models…  It is likely that this trend is partially due to human activities,…

Gelbspan, R. (1998) Page 220

May 12th, 2011 IPCC special report on renewable energy

may122011“May 12th, 2011 The IPCC has published the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN). On Monday, the summary for policymakers of the SRREN has been approved by government representatives for IPCC member countries at the 11th Session of Working Group III co-chaired by Prof. Ottmar Edenhofer in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.”

Renewables eh, sooooo loved by conservative politicians and their fossil fuel funders… (see May 6th entry)

Also on the day

2014 The Collapse Of The West Antarctic Ice Sheet Is ‘Unstoppable

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

April 22nd, 1996 – Denialists smearing the IPCC’s Second Assessment Report

“A more organised opposition to the IPCC’s conclusions began in the USA on Earth Day (22 April 1996), with a message distributed widely, including to every member of the US Congress, and with the first issue of the State of the Climate Report attached in which the IPCC conclusions were challenged. However, just as this report was about to be published, the Union of Concerned Scientists denounced it in a press release, based on earlier contributions to the media debate about global warming by the man in charge, Patrick Michaels: “The forthcoming climate change report sponsored by Western Fuels Association is like a lung cancer study funded by the tobacco industry.””

(Bolin, 2007: 128)

Also on this day

1990 New South Wales conservative premier Nick Greiner gives a speech – “The new environmentalism : a conservative perspective”

1998 Hockey Stick paper (Michael Mann) published

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April 19th… Cannibalism, sackings and People’s Climate Conferences…

Mostly it is one “event” per day on this site. Sometimes (like today) it is hard to choose. So-
soylentgreen1973 – “Soylent Green”, the first Hollywood film to reference (very briefly!) global warming, is released.

2002 – The Bush/Cheney regime succeeds in ousting the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – “April 19, 2002 (ENS) – Transatlantic divisions over climate change were reconfirmed today when Dr. Robert Watson, the outspoken chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC), was ousted with American support but against European wishes.”

2010 – In the backwash of Nopenhagen, “The World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth Cochabamba

 

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

April 18th, 1990 – White House conference on “science and economics research related to global change

George Herbert Walker Bush (like his son after him) made promises about climate change while on the presidential campaign trail that became ‘inoperative’ once he was elected.  Bush Snr had said, for example, that he’d hold a climate conference at the White House within the first year of becoming President.  Fifteen months later, and presumably over the objections of the troglodytes around him, it happened.  Oh, but look who didn’t get invited. Funny that.

Shortly thereafter President Bush invited representatives of the 20 most influential countries in the world to a White House conference on science and economics research related to global change (17-18 April, 1990, in Washington). Even though the [IPCC First Assessment Report] would soon be completed and was intended to serve as the basis for negotiating a climate convention, no invitation to attend the conference was extended to the IPCC. I was surprised and sought an explanation through my contact in the USA (Dr Robert Corell) and I was soon thereafter invited to attend. For the first time I sensed that the IPCC messages might be disturbing the formulation of a US policy about these matters.

(Bolin, 2007) Page 59-60

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