Tag Archives: Minerals Council of Australia

April 14, 2009 – ALP and BCA = CPRS

 

Kevin Rudd’s mellifluously named ‘Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme’ had gone from bad (Green Paper) to worse (White Paper in December 2008).  Something had to be done.  While Rudd and others pretended to listen to the greenies and their ‘Southern Cross Climate Coalition’, his Environment Minister was dispatched to cut a deal with the head of the Business Council of Australia.

There is an excellent account of this (well, it’s by Lenore Taylor, so of course it is excellent).

Today – April 14 – in Noosa is about a strategic backdown. The target is the president of the Business Council of Australia, Greig Gailey, who is on holiday in the town. Today he opens the door to some very businesslike guests. They want to sound him out about exactly what it would take to win business over.

It is, as meetings mostly are with Wong, forensic, controlled, focused. No walks along the beach. “I think I had a glass of water,” the Minister for Climate Change and Water will recall later.

By the time Wong and Frater hit the road again for the trip home, they know they can start devising a rescue package for the scheme. If they can’t make it work, it will be the first serious setback in the career of the 40-year-old South Australian senator.

Taylor, L. 2009. The minister of cool. The Australian Magazine 23 May.

And of course, 6 months later it would all be gone, like a fist when you open your palm…  So it goes.

Also on this day

Koutsoukis, J. 2003. Industry backs carbon sinks. The Australian Financial Review.  15 April. p.5.

“The federal government’s strategy to reduce Australian greenhouse gas emissions received a boost yesterday when big business agreed to support a carbon emission-trading system.”  – well, not quite.  And Howard vetoed it when it did get to Cabinet anyways…

2014 The Minerals Council of Australia launches “Australians for Coal” – oops.

 

April 3, 2000 – Greenhouse gas conference ‘stacked’ to ignore sea level rise…

So, Australian diplomats and senior politicians had in the late 1980s made some of the right noises about sea level rise as a consequence of anthropogenic global warming.  Those days were long ago and in another country by the 2000s. And besides, the wench was dead…

Mr Hare said he had recently been to a Pacific greenhouse conference in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, [3-7 April ]  where Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials had tried to play down the impact of the greenhouse effect.

He said they had put up arguments that sea level rises were not as high as had been reported and might not necessarily be a result of global warming.

Senator Hill said if the department’s officials were mounting that argument, it might be on the basis of scientific uncertainty in the area.

2000 Clennel, A. 2000. Greenhouse Gas Conference `stacked’. Sydney Morning Herald, 15 April, p.15

Stay classy, Australia…

Also on this day- 

2001 “The Australian government is being applauded by corporate polluters and corporate front groups at home and abroad. The Global Climate Coalition, the major front group for US corporate polluters, features on its web site an article by Alan Wood in the April 3 Australian (<http://www.globalclimate.org>). Wood’s article, titled “Killing Kyoto in Australia’s best interests”, urges Australia to back the US in pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol.

“Wood comments favourably on a paper written by climate sceptic Alan Oxley for the Lavoisier Group, an Australian “think tank” which argues that the Kyoto Protocol poses “the most serious challenge to our sovereignty since the Japanese fleet entered the Coral Sea on 3 May, 1942”.

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

And that article is this one –

Wood, A. 2001. Killing Kyoto in Australias best interests. The Australian, 3 April, p13.

The US has called Europe’s bluff. Listen to the Europeans and you could be forgiven for thinking George W. Bush has just sent the world to the gas chamber – the greenhouse gas chamber, that is. What Bush has really done by rejecting the Kyoto Protocol is shatter a European dream of running the international energy market, or at least a substantial bit of it.

This dream arose from a mix of Europe’s quasi-religious green fundamentalism and cynical calculation of commercial advantage. Jacques Chirac gave the game away at the failed COP6 talks at The Hague last November, when he described the protocol as “a genuine instrument of global governance”.

Meanwhile, in 2007 John Howard was coming under pressure not just from Kevin Rudd, but business…

Murphy, K. 2007. Business counters PM to back emissions targets. The Age, 4 April.

New consumer petrol tax floated

AUSTRALIA’S top companies say the country must set concrete targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years as the centrepiece of policies to combat climate change.

In a message that undercuts Prime Minister John Howard’s recent political attack on Labor’s pledge to slash carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, the Business Council of Australia has endorsed immediate and long-term emission reduction targets.

Mr Howard has criticised Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd’s pledge to cut emissions by 60 per cent by 2050, claiming it would damage the economy.

But while not endorsing Labor’s specific target, the Business Council accepted the principle, saying targets were necessary to find a solution to rising carbon dioxide emissions.

The council yesterday released what it called a “strategic framework for emissions reduction” – a document setting its policy on climate change – which argues that Australia should implement a “cap and trade” emissions trading scheme.

A year later a CCS demonstration plant opened…

Thursday, 3 April 2008 World’s largest CO2 storage demo plant opens in Victoria

“THE launch of Australia’s first carbon dioxide storage demonstration project is a “key strategic initiative in the global challenge of addressing climate change”, according to Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Mitchell Hooke. “

March 2, 2009 – Climate groups very unhappy with Senator Penny Wong…

Kevin Rudd had come to power promising to do something substantive about climate change, which he described as ‘the great moral challenge of our generation’.  By the time White Paper for the ‘Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme’ (CPRS) was released in December 2008, nobody was happy (with the possible exception of the miners, who must have been beginning to suspect that the whole thing would fall over – as it did…).  The environmentalists were furious with the lack of ambition around targets for emissions reductions, and support for renewables, alongside the amount of compensation being offered to the big end of town.

In January -February 2009 climate activists had held a Climate Action Summit, and decided that the CPRS was a dog. Recriminations and potshots were exchanged.  On this day in 2009, 65 Groups published an open letter to Rudd’s Climate Change Minister, Senator Penny Wong.

Also on this day- 

1991  The following advert appeared in the Canberra Times

1991-03-02-adverts

The reports mentioned were published in late 1991, but by then the Hawke Government was circling the drain…

1994 The Australian Conservation Foundation began its push for a carbon tax…

 

AAP, 1994. Alter taxation, spending to aid environment: ACF. Canberra Times, 3 March, p.4.

The Australian Conservation Foundation has proposed sweeping changes to the Federal Government’s taxation and spending practices to safeguard Australia’s future environmental and economic interests.

In its first detailed Budget submission, released yesterday, the ACF proposed measures it said would save the Government between $ 1.4 billion and $1.9 billion next financial year at the same time as promoting more environmentally responsible practices and creating jobs. The measures include a jobs levy, carbon tax, woodchip export levy, more money for public transport, and taxation incentives for nature conservation and the use of green technologies.

1994 Middleton, K. 1994. Conservationists Urge PM To Go For A Green Budget. The Age, 3 March p.7.

Canberra — The Australian Conservation Foundation has urged the Prime Minister, Mr Keating, to consider green-based Budget measures, including a radical tax on carbon.

The foundation’s president, Professor David Yencken, and its executive director, Ms Tricia Caswell, met Mr Keating yesterday. They sought support for a complex Budget submission and asked for a swift replacement for the former Environment Minister, Mrs Kelly.

 

 

2012 ABC interview with Mitch Hooke, then CEO of the Minerals Council of Australia and the man who killed off Kevin Rudd’s mining super tax.

Aedy, R. 2012.Interview with Mitchell Hooke. ABC,  2 March.

 

Jan 11, 2008 – NSW Minerals Council tells industry to sell sustainability

On this day in 2008 Nikki Williams, then head of thge NSW Minerals Council (think ‘trade union for the mining companies) called on industry to ‘get on the front foot in selling its sustainability message.’ (to quote International Coal News.]

This was a year or so after the NSWMC had run a series of adverts which had been spoofed by Rising Tide. But we will come back to that another day…

Williams became head of the Australian Coal Association in August 2011, and remained the boss until the ACA was swallowed by the Minerals Council of Australia (or vice versa, as some would have it) in 2013.   We will come back to this, and Ms Williams herself, who has made some interesting scientific observations about the Arctic…

These sorts of ‘give us money and get involved in the bare knuckle fight with the activists’ calls are a recurrent feature of trade associations, going back to the 1970s.  Industry always feels misunderstood and under-appreciated, vulnerable to stupid politicians who are endlessly wrapped around the fingers of lentil-eating inner city arts graduates, and crusty ferals…

Also on this day –

1995  The interdepartmental working group that is supposed to design the ‘carbon tax’ meets for the first time. Canberra Times hack Ian Henderson reports in a front page story

“A greenhouse gas levy remains firmly on the Government’s agenda, with the bureaucratic working group responsible for developing the levy meeting for the first time yesterday.”

Henderson, I. Greenhouse  gas levy remains to the fore. The Canberra Times, 12 January, p.1.

June 16th, 1972- Un Conference on the Human Environment ends

Forty three years ago today, in Stockholm, the UN Conference on the Human Environment ended.  It gave us… um… the United Nations Environment Programme.  And, um….

Meanwhile, 22 years after that (1994), business started telling the Keating Government how to throw out a drag anchor on the international negotiations around climate change (the UNFCCC had entered into force, and the first meeting was happening in March of 1995. Pressure was building for real targets, something that the previous US administration (Bush Snr) had scuppered.  Australian business knew that with Clinton in the Whitehouse, they could not rely on the US as “blocker”…

Gill, P. (1994) CALL TO FORM STRATEGIC ALLIANCES The Australian Financial Review 17th June

BUSINESS groups have called on the Federal Government to form strategic alliances with other countries to maximise its negotiating position in future climate change negotiations.The suggestion at yesterday’s round table follows widespread concern in the business community that Australia might be forced into a greenhouse response which is not in its interests.While the form of any alliance on greenhouse gas has not been spelt out, it could be modelled on the Cairns Group of 14 agricultural exporters which played a key role in the Uruguay Round of world trade talks.It is understood the Cairns Group model has been informally discussed by industry representatives concerned that Australia will have little influence in the negotiations.A paper prepared for yesterday’s round table by the Australian Coal Association and the Australian Mining Industry Council says it is “high time we stopped mouthing undefinable expressions” and pursued more precision in a so-called “burden-sharing agreement”.

Also on this day
1981 Jules Charney dies
2004 Howard launches idiotic energy white paper, with minimal mention of climate change (plus ca change, eh?)

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

Jan 11, 2008: NSW Minerals Council does a Lady Macbeth

Nikki Williams, as per ABC photo
Nikki Williams, as per ABC photo

On January 11th, 2008, the CEO of the New South Wales Minerals Council calls on the industry to get on the front foot in selling its sustainability message.  [to quote International Coal News.]

Context: That, after all, is one of the roles of these sorts of business groupings. As well as behind the scenes “lobbying” (a term that hides at least as much as it reveals) and the united-front blandishments, there’s a definite bit of “screw your courage to the sticking point, and we’ll not fail” to the role.

 Nikki Williams, for it is she, later became the head of Australian Coal Association, until it was swallowed by the Minerals Council of Australia. More on Ms Williams and her considerable rhetorical abilities at a later date. Unless she gets “bumped” by more important on-that-dates.

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

Other things that happened on this day:

1964 – Surgeon General of the United States Dr. Luther Terry, M.D., publishes the landmark report Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States saying that smoking may be hazardous to health, sparking national and worldwide anti-smoking efforts.

[And for the benefit of any libel lawyers who may have wandered in; we are saying that the NSW Minerals Council had a ‘screw your courage’ role, NOT that Ms Williams ever
a) henpecked her spouse until he entered into a conspiracy to kill the King of Scotland
b) said that she would have dashed the brains of her child out.
or
c) Threw herself from a high window, riven with remorse.]