Tag Archives: John Howard

May 15, 2006 – John Howard throws the nuclear dead cat on the table

There were ructions beginning in 2006 around climate change.  The “APC6” meeting in Sydney was met with derision and protests. In April a bunch of businesses had joined with Australian Conservation Foundation to call for climate action, including a carbon price…  So, what did John Howard do? He reached for his little bag of wedges, and threw the nuclear option onto the table. This time in the shape of a post-meeting-Dubya-Bush announcement about the “Global Nuclear Energy Partnership”.

Here’s an account of the reaction.

At least one cartoonist absolutely nailed it.

2015 05 15 things so bad

 

May 8, 2007 – Costello ducks and weaves about Ken Henry’s advice on emissions trading…

The climate debate was getting very hot in early 2007 in Australia.  Gore had come and gone, Stern was about, the drought went on, and Kevin Rudd was yapping… at everyone’s heels.  So, the thorny question of what advice had the Howard government previously ignored about climate change was one that could not be answered straightforwardly without incurring some political damage (and there was an election pending…).  It is in this context that the repeated refusal of Treasurer Peter Costello to give simple answers to an ABC reporter on the question of when Treasury Secretary Ken Henry had pushed for an emissions trading scheme (Costello knew full-well – he’d been part of the group that had tried to get it through in July-August 2003, only to be personally vetoed by Honest John Howard).

Also on this day-

Cox, G. 2001. Overheating Australia needs ‘wake-up call’. IOL 8 May.

Canberra – Pressure mounted on the Australian government on Tuesday to resume international climate change talks after a report by a government agency foreshadowed a dramatic surge in temperatures in the next 70 years.

Australia’s key government research organisation, the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), predicted a drier and hotter Australia, with average temperatures rising by up to six percent by 2070.

“Rising concentrations of greenhouse gases are the culprit,” head of CSIRO’s atmospheric research group Peter Whetton said in a statement.

2015 New and reduced Renewable Energy Target released: The RET is announced as 33,000 gigawatt hours, or 23.5%, of the estimated electricity generation for 2020.

April 30, 2007 – The Garnaut Review is born…

So, Australian state governments, pushed by NSW Premier Bob Carr, had been banging on about emissions trading since 2004, with a “National Emissions Trading Taskforce” (NETT).  It was busy producing reports when in late 2006 John Howard, under immense pressure on climate and with a Federal election a year away, performed one of his famous U-turns.  The Shergold Report was due to be released in late May, and the Australian state governments, plus one opposition leader called K. Rudd, didn’t want Howard to steal their thunder.  So…

“On  30 April 2007, the leader of the federal opposition Australian Labor Party, Kevin Rudd, (along with the state and territory governments) engaged world renowned economist Professor Ross Garnaut to conduct a wide ranging review into the effects of climate change on Australia and its economy (Garnaut 2008).”
(Rice and Martin, 2016:48)

Fed: Opposition commissions Australia’s own climate report 30 April 2007 Australian Associated Press General News

See also this from AAP-
CLIMATE By Jessica Marszalek
BRISBANE, April 30 AAP – The federal opposition has commissioned an economics professor to head a Stern-type review into the impact of climate change on Australia’s future. Labor leader Kevin Rudd announced the Garnaut Climate Change Review in Brisbane today, saying it would outline the threat to the country’s economic prosperity and investigate mitigation strategies. It will be headed by Australian National University economics Professor Ross Garnaut, who will hand down interim findings mid next year, and a completed report by October 2008.

The sidelining of Garnaut began early (See February 2008) and in the end the legislation put forward in 2009 was barely recognisable. But there you have it. Garnaut was back in the hotseat in 2010-11, as a member of Gillard’s MPCCC. But that’s another story…

Also on this day
30 April 2013: Peter Costello calls on Coalition to scrap direct action spending on 7.30 report.

April 28, 1997 – John Howard says Australia should never have signed UNFCCC

“On 28 April 1997 on ABC Radio National, the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, stated publicly that he believed that Australia should never have signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This was the culmination of over a year of backpedaling by the Australian Liberal-National Party Government on the issue of climate change due to purported negative economic impacts.”
Yu and Taplin, 2000 The Australian Position at the Kyoto Conference in Gillespie and Burns (eds) Climate Change in the South Pacific: Impacts and Responses in Australia, New Zealand, and Small Island States, Kluwer

Howard was probably having to respond to this issue because of a page 2 story in the Australian newspaper which began-

AUSTRALIA will fail to meet its greenhouse gas emission target by 2000 under the current “no-regrets” policy and should back up that policy with tradeable licences to pollute, the Productivity Commission has said.
According to the commission’s calculations, no-regrets policies – under which polluters are encouraged to cut greenhouse gases by improving efficiency – will leave Australia 5-9 million tonnes a year above the agreed limits.

Henderson, I. 1997. Plan for polluters to sell off excesses. The Australian, 28 April, p.2.

 

Also on this day

AAP, 1993. Aust to monitor energy-tax experience: Kelly. Canberra Times, 29 April, p. 15

Australia would watch closely the international trend towards an energy tax and the effect such a tax would have on curbing greenhouse gases, the Minister for Environment, Ros Kelly, said yesterday.

1995

1995 04 28 berlin seminar“The Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the Framework Convention on Climate Change held its inaugural meeting in Berlin during March/April this year. Australia’s negotiating position at the CoP created widespread interest in Australia. A seminar held in Canberra on 28 April, 1995 allowed the Berlin participants to describe the negotiations at the conference. Speakers included representatives from government, business, and the environment movement.” [BCA happy, ACF not…]

 

 

April 24, 1994 – A Carbon Tax is floated…

It is forgotten history, but in 1994/5 a carbon tax – a small one, mostly for R and D rather than outright emissions reductions – was on the cards.  There’d been some to-ing and fro-ing in previous years, but on 24 of April 1994, shit got real.

“Senator Faulkner said yesterday the plan was a long-term aim but made it clear he was serious about the move.
“All I can say is that I’ve suggested already to some of my ministerial and Cabinet colleagues that I am interested in pursuing the issue of economic instruments,” he told the Nine Network’s Sunday program.”
Peake, R. 1994. Faulkner floats energy tax. Canberra Times, 25 April, p.3.

 

Also on this day

2007Snow joke!
Australia’s biggest renewable electricity source, the Snowy Hydro power scheme, may have to shut down major generating turbines due to the nation’s crippling 10-year drought.
In a desperate attempt to keep running, the Snowy Hydro operator said on Tuesday it had turned to cloud seeding to boost water inflows.
“It is unrealistic for anyone to think that the Snowy scheme could somehow have been immune from the effects of the current severe drought,” Snowy Hydro Ltd Managing Director Terry Charlton said in a statement.
Prime Minister John Howard last week asked Australians to pray for rain in the food bowl Murray-Darling River basin, an area the size of France and Spain that accounts for 41 percent of the nation’s agriculture.
Howard warned that without heavy winter rains in coming months, irrigation in the food bowl would be turned off as the worst drought for 100 years grips Australia.
In a move that local authorities feared could reduce supply of power to the capital Canberra, and major cities Sydney and Melbourne, some of Snowy Hydro’s operations could be stopped by May-July without heavy winter rains, the Snowy Hydro said.

Lewis, P. and Woods, J. 2012. Australians seeing through the feel-good mining ads. The Drum, 24 April.

The mining industry has been dusting off its chequebook again in the lead-up to the federal budget, with feel-good glossy ads in the weekend papers reminding us how much miners love Australia – or at least the bits of it they can dig up and export.

2014 Emissions Reduction Fund White Paper released: The ERF White Paper sets out the final design of the ERF, with a reduced emissions target of 421 million tonnes of CO2-e over the period to 2020, compared to 431 in the Green Paper.

 

April 22, 2001 – Unions lukewarm on Kyoto Ratification

Mind you, would you trust a bunch of latte-sipping ‘intellectuals’ not to sell your job down the river?

2001– Labor is under pressure from some unions. Australian Manufacturing Workers Union national secretary Doug Cameron told Channel 10 on April 22 that, “We would want to talk to Labor about the effect of any protocol or any treaty on manufacturing jobs”.

“I think there can be sensible co-existence between manufacturing, and manufacturing can be very clean these days”, Cameron said. “There can be sensible coexistence between manufacturing and ensuring the green vote is delivered [to Labor].”

https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/canberra-covers-bush-greenhouse

Also on this day

1990– NSW Premier Nick Greiner getting in on the act –
“The new environmentalism : a conservative perspective” Text of speech delivered on Earth Day Sunday 22 April 1990. Photocopy. “Earth day, Sunday 22 April 1990” http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/18085038?q&versionId=21226780

1993 Garran, R. 1993. Clinton pledge cuts new key to the greenhouse. The Australian Financial Review, 23 April, p.9.

A PLEDGE by the US President, Mr Clinton, to cut emissions of greenhouse gases will raise the pressure on Australia to take tougher action, according to a senior Australian bureaucrat and Australian business and environment groups.

A first assistant secretary of the Department of Primary Industries and Energy, Mr Peter Core, told business lobbyists yesterday at a private seminar organised by the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs, that Mr Clinton’s announcement would put renewed pressure on Australia’s stance on the issue.

And an assistant director of the Business Council of Australia, Ms Chris Burnup, said yesterday the move would dramatically change the complexion of talks on global climate change.

2007 John Howard tells people to pray for rain.

“It’s very serious, it’s unprecedented in my lifetime and I really feel very deeply for the people affected,” Mr Howard told ABC Television.

“So we should all, literally and without any irony, pray for rain over the next six to eight weeks.”

April 21, 2007 – ‘Scorcher’ plugged (a good book, btw)

In 2007 the climate issue went ballistic in Australia Two excellent books were published. One was Guy Pearse’s ‘High and Dry’, which is still essential reading.  The other was Clive Hamilton’s ‘Scorcher,’ an update and extension of his 2001 ‘Running from the Storm’.  On this day, 10 years ago, he was on Radio National plugging  it….

Doogue, G. 2007. Clive Hamilton on Saturday Extra. Radio National, 21 April. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/saturdayextra/clive-hamilton/3238974

Also on this day-

1993 [Clinton’s] stand is a reversal of that taken by the former US President, Mr Bush, who refused at the Earth Summit to support specific targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions or to back the biodiversity treaty.
At the start of his speech, Mr Clinton made an unexpected acknowledgement of Australia’s Minister for the Environment, Mrs Kelly.
“We should introduce a guest from another country who is here with us – the environmental minister from Australia, Ros Kelly,” he said. “Would you stand up? We’re glad to have you here.”
Garran, R. 1993. Clinton pledge cuts new key to the greenhouse. Australian Financial Review, 23 April p.9.

21 April 2010: Failures of the Howard government’s Greenhouse Gas Abatement Program which was a version of direct action exposed by audit report and reported by Lenore Taylor. (From Mark Butler’s Direct Action Timeline)

21 April 2011: The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency publishes detailed estimates of potential land sector abatement which are significantly at odds with those promised by direct action, they put out a range of 5 to 15 Mt and set out why this was different to technical potential quoted by Greg Hunt. (From Mark Butler’s Direct Action Timeline)