The late Ray Evans was a culture warrior of the old school. There wasn’t a rightwing pie (union bashing, opposing aboriginal land rights etc, you name it) that he didn’t have an opinion on, a finger in the pie. In an April 2007 speech about climate change, he quoted this email from Fairfax (owners of the Sydney Morning Herald, the (Melbourne) Age and the Australian Financial Review)
Sent: Thursday, 22 March 2007 9:06 AM
Subject: EARTH HOUR – A MESSAGE TO ALL STAFF
When the lights of Sydney are turned off for one hour at 7.30pm on Saturday, March 31, we should take a moment to reflect, with pride, on the role Fairfax Media has played in Earth Hour.
For the past eight months, the Earth Hour working group has been meeting every Tuesday on Level 19 at Darling Park to plan this bold event.
Every strand of our business – management, editorial, online, commercial, marketing and production – has been involved in the planning process.
For Evans “What is important in this context is that the senior management of one of Australia’s most important media companies, Fairfax Ltd, publisher of the Melbourne Age, the SMH and the Australian Financial Review,sees no difficulty in enlisting all Fairfax staff in the prosecution of a cause which has been described by Cardinal George Pell as a manifestation of ‘pagan emptiness’.”
Also on this day-
2013 Martin Ferguson, seen by some as an unusually pro-mining Resources Minister resigns, in the aftermath of the leadership challenge that never was.
The Howard government’s ability to constrain public pressure for climate change action had in part rested on the claim that business was united in its opposition to, say, Kyoto Protocol ratification. This was always nonsense (do you think renewable energy proponents, or carbon traders, or insurers, for instance, would be opposed? What about the gas industry?). But this appearance of unity was assisted by the Business Council of Australia. Eventually, however, the internal ructions became too much, and it moved from opposition to ‘no position’. Then Hugh Morgan became President. And it was only at the end of 2006 that things shifted. Fortunately, we have loads of time to deal with climate change, so the additional wait didn’t matter. Oh yes…
“Business support for the Federal Government’s hardline position on climate change is crumbling, with the Business Council yesterday scrapping its outright opposition to the Kyoto Protocol.”
Garnaut, J. 2003. Business shifts tack on Kyoto. The Age, 1 March.
Also on this day –
Chamberlin, P. 1995. Cabinet to review gas reduction options. Canberra Times, 28 February p.2.
“A plan to take Australia about 40 per cent of the way towards meeting international obligations on reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be discussed by the Cabinet today, with schemes designed to tempt top-level industry involvement.”
2007 The denialists got going, with a launch at Parliament House for this little doozy – Nine Facts about Climate Change Ray Evans [Originally published in November 2006 as a PDF (click here, 1.5 Mb). Launched in Canberra by Sir Arvi Parbo on 28 February 2007](Parbo had been a founder of the Business Council of Australia, btw).
On this day 13 years ago John Daly (not to be confused with John Daley, who we will meet later) died. Daly was the author of The Greenhouse Trap, published in 1989. It was the first (and for a long time only, I think) Australian book to deny anthropogenic global warming. Daly went on speaking tours, was on the radio a bit crossing swords with scientists and environmental advocates. He didn’t get to present his, ah, ‘research’ at the 1990 ANZAAS meeting, which apparently irked him.
You can read an obituary by Ray Evans here.
Ray Evans (who died in 2014) was a tire…less advocate of climate denial, industrial relations ‘reform’ (smash the unions), etc etc. We will meet him again in the course of this year, because he was pivotal in a variety of denialist campaigns from the mid-1990s onwards.
On this day 8 years ago, in Adelaide, Senator Cory Bernardi launched his 36 page Nobel Prize worthy extravaganza. This should be seen in the context of Kevin Rudd’s doomed CPRS legislation and the mobilisation against it…
You can read Senator Bernardi’s speech here.
Also on this day –
In 1995, a a national review for the Federal Government of Australia’s urban environment, released by the Deputy Prime Minister Brian Howe, called for a small carbon tax to cut greenhouse gases, and compulsory fuel-efficiency standards for new cars.
You’ll be shocked, shocked to learn that it didn’t happen…..
Milburn, C. 1995. Study Calls For Carbon Tax To Cut Emissions. The Age, 27 January, p.3.
Twenty eight years ago today, the then Australian Federal Minister for Resources, Peter Cook, was reported in The Australian newspaper
“to have called for active co-operation among Asian countries in developing practical ways to minimize the threatening greenhouse effect. He said: “The greenhouse effect is an environmental issue of global dimensions…. It is not simply an energy issue. The challenge for energy policy makers is to assess the range of possibilities that would make an appropriate contribution to reducing the greenhouse effect.” (Henderson-Sellers and Blong, 1989:3)
Two things here – first, this is less than a year after the greenhouse chapter got removed from the ‘Energy 2000’ report (we will come back to this.
Secondly, this became a persistent theme in Australian “diplomacy” – that countries which had never had a significant carbon footprint, who had not caused the problem, should be signed up,and that Australia should not take action until these poor countries had signed up for cuts of their own.
Henderson-Sellers, A. and Blong, R. 1989. The Greenhouse Effect: Living in a Warmer Australia. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press.
Also on this day-
Writing in the Canberra Times on January 24 2002 , [Ray] Evans stated: “Of all the political scams of the post-war period, the global warming scam … is the most audacious.”