Tag Archives: Rio Tinto

June 6, 1996 BHP announced ‘Greenhouse Challenge’ commitments

On this day 21 years ago, after a carbon tax push had failed and a ‘Greenhouse Challenge’ of purely voluntary measures instituted instead, BHP and others did “their bit”

Meanwhile, tomorrow BHP Ltd managing director Mr John Prescott and other industry leaders will announce the details of their companies’ commitments to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
The presentation is organised by the interdepartmental Greenhouse Challenge Office established in March 1995 by the Federal Government, which provided it with a $9.7 million budget over four years.
The Government announced at the time that the program could provide 15 million tonnes of greenhouse gas reductions annually by 2000. The extent of the pledges made tomorrow will indicate whether that target is likely to be met.
Callick, R. 1996. Coalition backs industry on climate change. The Australian Financial Review, 5 June, p.2.

Greenhouse 21C laid the foundation for the Greenhouse Challenge, which was launched by the Federal Government on 6 June 1996 with formal submission of cooperative agreements by four major Australian companies – BHP, CRA (now Rio Tinto), ICI (now Orica), and Shell – and three industry associations – the Electricity Supply Association of Australia (ESAA), the Pulp and Paper Manufacturers’ Federation of Australia (PMFA), and the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA).
(Worden, 1998: 126)

Also on this day

Evans, R.2002. Commentary: PM says ‘No’ to Kyoto. United Press International, June 7.

MELBOURNE, June 6 (UPI) — With three election victories under his belt, Australia’s Prime Minister John Howard has announced that Australia would not sign the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, dealing a serious blow to the hopes and aspirations of many of the public servants who dominate the federal capital of Canberra.

Fourth International Environmental Taxation Conference
Friday 6 June 2003
The Environment – A Taxing Issue?

May 22, 2009 – ‘skyfall’ economic modelling’ around the CPRS

The mining industry has been releasing economic “studies” about climate change since 1989, when CRA (later to be renamed Rio Tinto) started the ball rolling.  They are usually exquisitely timed around some important decision that the government is about to make – signing up to the UNFCCC, thinking about a carbon tax, whatever.

Well, in 2009, just after Kevin Rudd had released the CPRS legislation, there was a front page story on the Australian, faithfully reporting the “findings” of another study.

Taylor, L. 2009. Climate change warning: ETS to `cost 24,000jobs’. The Australian, 22 May p1.
THE Rudd Government’s emissions trading scheme will cost 23,510 mining jobs over the next decade — almost half of them in Queensland — according to new modelling released as parliament prepares to decide the fate of the controversial climate change legislation.

On page 12 the then head of the Minerals Council of Australia got to say his bit too.
Hooke, M. 2009. Carbon plan will cause jobs carnage. The Australian, 22 May, p. 12.

Why change a winning strategy, I guess….

Also on this day-
Dunn, R. 1989. Plebiscite mooted. Australian Financial Review, 22 May.
The Federal Minister for the Environment, Senator Richardson, has floated the idea of holding a referendum to increase the Commonwealth’s powers to override the States on environmental issues such as the greenhouse effect.
He raised the idea at an environmental conference at the weekend.

2000
“Prior to a Cabinet meeting on 22 May [2000] where the greenhouse trigger was to be discussed, the then Deputy Prime Minister, John Anderson publicly criticised the proposal, describing it as ‘unnecessary and inappropriate’ and suggesting it would harm the economy, particularly in regional [page break] areas. In a press release issued on 22 May, Anderson said that ‘it was not necessary or appropriate for the Commonwealth to effectively take over the State’s role in the environmental assessment and approval of major developments.”
(Macintosh, 2007: 49-50)

Dobbin, M. 2007. BP, Rio in clean coal power bid; Project based on Canberra research. Canberra Times, 22 May.
BP and Rio Tinto announced joint plans yesterday for a $2billion coal- fired power station at Kwinana in Western Australia that would be the first in Australia to capture and store its greenhouse gas emissions deep underground. The so-called clean coal station which could be completed within seven years would produce enough power to supply 500,000 houses.

July 10th, 201 Mining boss warns policy-makers off taxing them…

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd twice tried to get climate change legislation (catchily named the ‘Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme’) through Parliament in 2009.  Twice the Senate said nope.  That meant he could have called a ‘double dissolution’ election.  He didn’t.  Instead he announced a proposed mining tax. The mining industry responded with a 22 million dollar publicity campaign called ‘Keep Mining Strong’.  In June, Rudd was dumped by his own party.  Speaking a couple of weeks later, the  Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese said

“Policy-makers around the world can learn a lesson when considering a new tax to plug a revenue gap, or play to local politics.”,

Cleary, P. (2011) page 80

Also on this day

1976 The Seveso disaster

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

May 6th, 2004 – John Howard tries to kill off renewable energy in Australia.

This site doesn’t normally go for super-long quotes. But the following is just a bloody corker, from page 11 of Clive Hamilton’s 2007 “Scorcher: The Dirty Politics of Climate Change”

may6letagOn 6 May 2004 the Prime Minster convened a meeting of LETAG, the Lower Emissions Technology Advisory Group, which consists of the CEOs of the major fossil-fuel corporations. The companies around the table were Rio Tinto, Edison Mission Energy, BPH-Billiton, Alcoa, Energex, Origin Energy, Boral and Orica. These are the companies behind the lobby groups that make up the greenhouse mafia. Meetings like these are never publicised, but we know about this one because private notes made by Sam Walsh, chief executive of Rio Tinto’s iron ore division, were leaked. The notes, which came to light a year or so after the meeting, provide another extraordinary insight into how climate change policy is really made under the Howard Government.

The industry minister Ian Macfarlane stressed the need for absolute confidentiality, saying that if the renewable energy industry knew they were meeting, ‘there would be a huge outcry’. He chided the fossil-fuel companies for being insufficiently vocal, allowing the renewables industry to set the agenda, which had ‘got away from us’. Here ‘us’ meant the alliance between the Government and the polluting companies.

The Prime Minister told the highly select group that his Government was in political trouble over greenhouse policy, as it was being outmanoeuvred by the NSW government and by the Labour Opposition led by Mark Latham, who was benefiting politically from his promise to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and support the renewable energy industries. There was an election coming up, he said, and the media, especially The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘had created a problem for Government;, so he had called the meeting to get some ideas about how the Government could beef up its greenhouse credentials in a way that could convince the Herald that it was serious about climate change.

The Prime Minister also said he was worried about the Tambling Review of the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET), which had cautiously recommended extending a renewable energy investment scheme. Minister Macfarlane said that the review had ‘found that the scheme worked too well and investment in renewables was running ahead of the original planning.’ The Government was looking for an alternative so that it could kill off MRET, which they believed, was ‘skewed to Wind Power.’ According to the leaked notes, the Prime Minister said that ‘it was not credible to ignore the Tambling Report unactioned [it was tabled in January] and there was a real need to propose alternatives to extending MRET’. He said that he was ‘keen to protect Industry,’ by which, of course, he meant the fossil fuel-based industries, at the expense of the renewable and energy efficiency industries. The renewable sector had boomed briefly in response to MRET.

The Prime Minister proposed a Low Emission Technology Demonstration Fund to support technological developments, with $1.5 billion to be funded jointly by Government and industry. Most of the corporate heads responded to this proposal by arguing that it would be much better, Prime Minister, if all of the money came from Government. They issued the usual warnings about companies shifting offshore if any carbon levy were to be imposed.

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