On this day 25 years ago the then Environment Minister Ros Kelly stated what anyone who could do sums and think about the active and passive resistance to change that institutions have already knew – reaching the 20% reduction by 2005 which she had taken to the Second World Climate Conference in Geneva in November 1990 was going to be a leeeetle bit challenging. Yes, huge energy efficiency gains might in theory exist, but getting individuals and companies to change their habits was going to be tricky. And by now, the idea of a carbon tax, floated by both three ESD Working Groups and alsothe Industry Commission in late 1991 had been comprehensively defeated by a determined industry campaign. Two hacks for the Fin wrote –
The Federal Minister for the Environment, Mrs Kelly, conceded yesterday it would be “very difficult” to achieve global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent – a target endorsed by the Federal Government.
1992 Garran R. and Lawson, M. 1992. Kelly concedes greenhouse difficulties. Australian Financial Review, 29 January, p.5.
The Toronto target limped on, and mostly served to give industry some cheap shots, until early 1995. But more on that later….
On January 5th 2006 the then Federal Labor MP Bob Sercombe and current MP Anthony Albanese issued Our Drowning Neighbours, Labor’s Policy Discussion Paper on Climate Change in the Pacific, with the goal of generating a more proactive, strategic approach.
Context: The Association of Small Island States was formed in 1990 at the second World Climate Conference in Geneva. Various nations had already spotted that sea level rise was going to be a bit of a problem for them. Initially (in the late 80s and early 90s) it looked like Australia and New Zealand were going to be responsible hegemons. But that optimism faded before John Howard became Australian Prime Minister in 1996 (see Jeremy Leggett’s “The Carbon War”, page 166-7 for an example of this).
And during the brief Labor interregnum of 2007 to 2013, coal exports from Australia were not discussed. Which leads to protests like these.
As ever, see the disclaimers, help the project and comments policy.
Leggett, J. (2001) The Carbon War: Global Warming and the End of the Oil Era. London: Penguin
Leckie, S, Simperingham, E. and Bakker, J. (2012) Climate Change and Displacement Reader. London: Routledge
van Herpen, C. (2013) Climate change displacement and the need for pre-emptive managed migration Friends of the Earth Australia
Other things that happened on this day:
1989 The US National Academy of Sciences urge President George Bush to take this climate thing seriously
2006 James Hansen interviewed by 60 minutes. (Bowen Censoring Science p. 55)