Tag Archives: Nikki Williams

March 30, 2000 – Environment Minister attacks industry over emissions

People who know about these things say Robert Hill was a lone voice of reason in the Cabinet of John Howard.  As Environment Minister from 1996 to late 2001, Hill did the best he could with the cards he was dealt.  He lost all of the big battles, of course, but that doesn’t reflect on him so much as on the Howard cabinet and the lack of prolonged noisy pressure from ‘Joe and Jane Public’… so it goes.  Anyway, on this day in 2000 Hill served a dish of complaint to (un-named) Australian companies.

Industry has been slammed by Environment Minister Senator Robert Hill for its slowness to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“I’m not inclined to reward those companies who make Australia’s emission reduction task more difficult,” Senator Hill said yesterday.

The blunt message came at The Australian Financial Review’s Third Annual Emissions Forum, being held in Sydney. But industry wants the government to provide better incentives to reduce emissions.

Hordern, N. 2000. Hill attacks industry over gas emissions. The Australian Financial Review, 31 March, p27.

 

Also on this day- 

George Bush Jnr had withdrawn from the Kyoto Protocol negotiations in late March 2001.  This caused ructions –

The Prime Minister and his Environment Minister seemed at odds yesterday over the United States’s dumping of the Kyoto protocol on greenhouse gas emissions.

2001 Clennell, A. and Kerr, J. 2001. Greenhouse Stand Puts Libs At Odds. Sydney Morning Herald, 31 March, p11.

By 2007, climate change was seriously on the agenda –

IN THE sometimes icy world of climate change politics, there appears to be a quiet hum of agreement about the desirability of an emissions trading scheme.

The visiting climate change economist, Sir Nicholas Stern, supports the idea.

The Prime Minister, after years of disinterest, has given it a tentative tick of approval by commissioning a task group on emissions trading, which will report at the end of May. And the state governments have set up their own emissions trading taskforce.

Even the big polluters – Qantas, Alumina, BHP – all endorse it in submissions to the two inquiries. But there are serious divisions about how an emissions trading scheme might work.

Saulwick, J. 2007. Climate change debate warms up in corporate world.  Sydney Morning Herald, 30 March.

In 2012 Nikki Williams of the Australian Coal Association gave a speech in Beijing extolling the virtues of carbon capture and storage.

“Having Carbon Capture and Storage technology at commercial scale deployed widely around the globe, is absolutely critical to ensure a sustainable future for fossil fuels in a restructuring global energy economy.”

Oddly, it was  8 long years after  O’Neill, M. (2004) Coal industry’s plans to clean up its act should not be lightly dismissed Canberra Times 30th March

And since CCS hasn’t happened, and won’t happen, what does that mean, given that it was ‘absolutely critical’…

Jan 25, 1995 – greenhouse and electricity reform policies battle. Greenhouse loses…

Twenty two years ago today, behind the scenes, a crucial ‘non-decision was made. According to an  excellent report in the Australian Financial Review (it makes truly rueful reading) 

AUSTRALIA’S electricity reforms and greenhouse policy appear to be headed in contradictory directions. While senior Federal ministers concede that a carbon tax would not be a single solution to meeting greenhouse targets, demand management reforms that would have a substantial impact on greenhouse emissions have been proposed by a working party of the National Grid Management Council.

Yet the latest drafts of that report suggest that the NGMC will step back from critical recommendations.

The article goes on to explain that in early December the demand management working party  of  the NGMC had produced a draft (the third) that listed budget allocations, an energy efficiency levy or tax incentives as three options which could promote energy efficiency.

But when the “final draft” was produced on January 25 by the NGMC itself – in preparation for its ultimate submission to the Council of Australian Governments – each of these recommendations was substantially different.

Gill. M. 1995. The meek take the running on electricity reform. The Australian Financial Review, 13 February, p.12.

The National Energy Market finally came into play in late 1998, and (in)famously its core statement, ‘the code‘,  was silent on emissions reductions.

That silence, like the silence on targets and timetables in the UNFCCC text, means that you end up with repeated reports and reviews which try to retrofit what should have been there at the outset onto an existing and moving architecture.  Thus the Finkel Review should be seen as merely the latest in a long long line of attempted patches…

See also: Hugh Saddler in the Conversation

Also on this day –

The Australian Coal Association (since absorbed into the Minerals Council of Australia) released a press release trying to chivvy the Gillard government along.

Reform of environmental approvals must be kept on track

A proposed change to Australia’s national environment law would jeopardise the reform of environmental approvals for mining projects, according to a submission by the Australian Coal Association (ACA) to a Senate inquiry.

“State and federal governments have been working to address the duplication and inefficiency that exists in State and Commonwealth laws,” said the ACA’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Nikki Williams.

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.

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.]