Tag Archives: Kyoto Protocol

Feb 27, 2002 – Australia and US launch a ‘spoiler’ partnership, alternative to Kyoto

George Bush was (s)elected President of the United States in late 2000. On the campaign trail he said he’d force coal-fired power stations to reduce their emissions. Once in office, oddly, he changed his mind.  He also, infamously, pulled the US out of the Kyoto Protocol. Australia hadn’t yet made a definitive statement on the matter (that would come on World Environment Day, 2002), but this ‘partnership’, launched by Environment Minister David Kemp at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC gave a clue to the direction of travel. Think of it as a dry-run for the AP6…

See also

2002 “Australia and U.S. Partner on Climate Outside Protocol”  ENS Newswire

2002 Bush and new spoiler outfit with Australia. Green Left Weekly

 

Also on this day- 

1988 Australian Academy of Science (1988) Global change, Proceedings of the Elizabeth and Frederick White Research conference 24-27 February 1988.

1995  Chamberlin, P. 1995. Cabinet to review gas reduction options. Canberra Times, 28 February  p.2.  (It says that ACF and Greenpeace release UN data showing how dire Australia’s performance is, and meanwhile businesses, fresh from their carbon tax victory, put forward a “happy to do a voluntary scheme” submission

1997 Federal Environment Minister Senator Robert Hill announced the release of a discussion paper, ‘Future Directions for Australia’s National Greenhouse Strategy’, prepared by the Intergovernmental Committee on ESD with a deadline for submissions of 11 April 1997.

2014 -Targets and Progress Review—Final Report released: The Climate Change Authority reviews Australia’s progress and recommends a minimum reduction of 15% in greenhouse gas emissions from 2000 levels by 2020.

 

 

Feb 23, 2009 – Penny Wong crashes and burns on CPRS

Ah, 2009 – such japes, as the Rudd government, trying to deal with the fall out of the Global Financial Crisis and other crises of its own making also had climate change, that pesky ‘great moral challenge of our generation’ on its to-do list…  And all was not going well, as journalist Simon Butler noted –

Under pressure from the mounting criticisms about how the CPRS cancels out the benefits from individual emissions reductions, Wong responded on the ABC’s 7.30 Report on February 23 that individual reductions will allow the government to increase carbon targets in subsequent years.

This prompted an incredulous response from Andrew Macintosh, associate director of the Australian National University Centre for Climate Law and Policy. “Either Wong doesn’t understand her own scheme or she is deliberately lying”, he wrote on Crikey.com.au on February 24.

Butler, S. 2009.Emissions trading- how to avoid action on climate change. Green Left Weekly, 28 February.

On 2nd March 2009, Wong was on the receiving end of a letter from 65 Climate Action Groups.  Come back for more on that then…

 

Also on this day –

In 1993 Peter Walsh, who had been in Hawke’s Cabinet and decided climate change was a pinko-scam, launched another spray in the Fin. Trust me, it’s not worth reading…-

Walsh, P. 1993. Putting Greenhouse in order. Australian Financial Review, 23 February p. 17

 

In 2002, Labor, having lost the 2001 election for reasons OTHER than its support for the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, warned that “Bush’s `gift to polluters’ could end up costing the US plenty and Australia, too, if the Coalition insists on following the President’s lead.”

Macken, J. 2002. Kyoto: Counting the costs, Australian Financial Review 23 February

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 17, 1995 – “Not a single tonne saved” by National Greenhouse Response Strategy

On December 7 1992 the “National Greenhouse Response Strategy” had been agreed by Federal and State Governments. It had no national objectives, had motherhood-statements about the greenhouse programme, listed few substantive responses and was in no meaningful sense a ‘strategy’. So, 0 out of 4. It ignored the proposals of the Ecologically Sustainable Development process which had been set up under the Hawke government, which included a whole raft of useful proposals on energy efficiency, fuel substitution, support for renewables etc. All things that the Federal government of today is still actively hostile to. Anyway, on this day in 1995, the then new-ish Australia Institute released a report called “Can the Future Be Rescued1995-02-17” (a sly reference to any earlier report, but I’m digressing). This argued that `After two years of its operation, there is no evidence that even one tonne of carbon emissions has been saved as a result of the [NGRS).’  The report’s timing was just a little skew-whiff, for reasons beyond the authors’ control – the previous week Senator Faulkner, then the Environment Minister, decided that a carbon tax would not get through Cabinet.  Times don’t change.

Grose, S. 1995. Carbon tax necessary, report says. Canberra Times, 18 February.
An independent assessment of Australia’s greenhouse response strategy has concluded that Australia will not meet its greenhouse gas’ emission targets and claims that a carbon tax should be imposed at a rate of $2 per tonne of carbon dioxide.
The Australia Institute, a Canberra-based think-tank, released its report yesterday in a bid to influence federal Cabinet’s consideration next week of a range of measures to reduce Australia’s greenhouse emissions.

 

Also on this day-

2003. New South Wales Premier Bob Carr, who had headed up a “Kyoto Protocol Ratification Advisory Group” sponsored by three state governments, accused John Howard of merely going along with the US in not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.

On the same day, Greenpeace said Westpac was in favour of Kyoto Ratification (by now the Business Council of Australia was hopelessly split on the matter, and would soon release a ‘we’re agnostic’ statement)

AAP. 2003. Westpac supports Kyoto Protocol – Greenpeace. Australian Associated Press Financial News Wire, 17 Feb
SYDNEY, Feb 17, AAP – One of Australia’s big four banks has indicated its support for an international treaty to cut greenhouse gases.
Greenpeace today said initial findings of its survey of Business Council of Australia (BCA) members revealed Westpac supported the aims and objectives of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

17-19 Feb 2004 Zero Emissions Technology Conference in Australia. (This at peak excitement of technological solutions.

Feb 16, 2005 – John Howard says Kyoto “next to useless”

So, after years of claiming the Kyoto Protocol would never be ratified by enough countries – what with the US and Australia both refusing- naysayers were proved wrong when the Russians, for reasons of their own, ratified in late 1994, causing the Protocol to become international law (such as it is) and presenting Australia with both presentational and diplomatic issues. Prime Minister John Howard was not, at this stage, perturbed (the perturbations would only begin in late 2006…)

AAP. 2005. Kyoto Protocol ‘next to useless’: PM. Sydney Morning Herald, 16 February. 

Prime Minister John Howard has reaffirmed the government’s opposition to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change on the day the pact came into effect.

The opposition used Question Time to put more pressure on the government over its refusal to join the treaty which has been signed by 141 countries.

Labor leader Kim Beazley asked Prime Minister John Howard about conflicting comments on climate change from two government ministers.

He read one media report quoting Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane as saying he did not know whether greenhouse emissions caused climate change.

Another quoted Environment Minister Ian Campbell saying there was a need to engage sceptics who did not believe climate change was real.

“I think they are both splendid ministers and of course I agree with them both,” Mr Howard answered…..

Also on this day –

Nick Minchin, who would later play a crucial role in getting rid of Malcolm Turnbull as opposition leader, over the latter’s support for Kevin Rudd’s CPRS, was resisting the change of mood mentioned above…

Murphy, K. 2007. Lib scorns mass ‘panic’ on climate. The Age, 17 February.
It SHOULD not be seen as a sin to be cautious about the science of global warming, a senior Federal Government minister has warned.
Finance Minister Nick Minchin says “there remains an ongoing debate about the extent of climate change” and the extent of human activity’s role in global warming….

Feb 14, 2007 – “Industry allowed to gag research”

On this day ten years ago the chief of the CSIRO’s division of energy technology explained what many already suspected- research that was inconvenient to industry might not see the light of day… This report comes a year minus a day after, for example, Mark Diesendorf’s article in the Canberra Times (see tomorrow’s post). There’s a paper to be written on the long brutal and depressing history of climate science advice and Australian policy-makers…. #afterthethesis…

Beeby, R. 2007. Industry can gag research: CSIRO. Canberra Times, 15 February.
The CSIRO has confirmed coal industry bodies have the power to suppress a new report questioning the cost and efficiency of clean-coal carbon capture technologies because they partly funded the research. Dr David Brockway, chief of CSIRO’s division of energy technology, told a Senate estimates committee hearing yesterday it was ”not necessarily unusual” for private- industry partners investing in research programs – such as Cooperative Research Centres – to request reports be withheld from public release if findings were deemed to be not in their best interests. His comments followed questions by Australian Greens Senator Christine Milne regarding the release of an economic assessment by a senior CSIRO scientist of a new carbon capture technology to reduce greenhouse emissions from coal-fired power stations

Also on this day – Yet another ‘Kyoto ratification will cause the sky to fall” claim…

AAP. 2005. Signing Kyoto ‘counter-productive’. The Age, 14 
Australia’s energy-efficient exporting industries would be penalised under the Kyoto Protocol, Environment Minister Ian Campbell said today. He said it was counter-productive to the cause of curtailing man-made climate change to prevent Australia exporting its high-quality energy products and low-emissions technology.

Jan 14, 2006 – Scientist asks IPA if it supports *any* regulation…

On this day 11 years ago Australian climate scientist Barrie Pittock had an opinion piece in the Melbourne Age newspaper.  In the piece, titled In global warming war, may market forces be with you“, Pittock observes that

“The Institute of Public Affairs supports, as far as I know, road rules and safety standards, for example for automotive design, medical procedures and drugs. Sensible regulation, with carrots and sticks for people to do the right thing, is necessary in an imperfect world. The same must apply to environmental damage caused by human activities that threatens future human health and welfare.”

Pittock, B. 2006 “In global warming war, may market forces be with you“, The Age, January 14.

The IPA, for those not in the know, is a ‘think’ tank that has been around since the early 1940s.  It used to be conservative, but has now gone full-libertarian.  By its own admission (as in, boast) it has played a key role in denial of climate change in Australia.

Also on this day-

WWF Australia released a report tying global warming to the 2002 drought (which continued until the late 2000s, but more on that another time…

SYDNEY, Australia, January 15, 2003 (ENS) – Human-induced global warming was a key factor in the severity of the 2002 drought in Australia, the worst in the country’s history, according to a report issued Tuesday [14 january] by WWF Australia. The report is part of an effort by Australian environmental organizations to convince the Liberal Government of John Howard to reverse its policy and sign the Kyoto climate protocol.

newswire. 2003. Human Actions Blamed for Worst Australian Drought. Jan 15.

July 7th, 1997 – Australian Foreign Minister explains facts of life on #climate

The Government’s position was explained in a speech given by the Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, in the lead up to the Kyoto Conference in 1997, in which he stated:

A significant proportion of the Australian economy is currently geared toward the production of emission intensive products. As a result, the abatement costs in Australia are likely to be larger than in other countries that have lower reliance on emission intensive outputs. 84

After discussing the importance of emission intensive industries in the Australian economy and Australia’s linkages with rapidly developing economies in Asia, the Minister said the “only target that Australia could agree to at Kyoto would be one that allowed reasonable growth in our greenhouse emissions”.

  1. Downer Australia and Climate Change, Address by The HonAlexander Downer, MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs, to the ‘Global Emissions Agreements and Australian Business Seminar’,Melbourne, 7 July 1997 (Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra: 1997).

Macintosh, A. (2008) Domestic Influences on the Howard Government’s Climate Policy: Using the Past as a Guide to the Future. 11 Asia Pac. J. Envtl. L. 51  Page 68-9