Tag Archives: Sydney Morning Herald

May 3, 1990 – How green was my referendum?

It’s forgotten now, but there was a wave of green awareness/concern/hype from 1988 to early 1991 (when the Gulf War supplanted attention.)  In the middle of it the Federal Labor Government even toyed with the idea of a power-grab from the states!!

CANBERRA: Public support for Federal Government power to make national environment laws had grown to the point where a referendum could now succeed, the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, Mr Kerin, said yesterday.

Mr Kerin raised again the need for the Commonwealth to wrest power from the States – first broached by the then-Minister for the Environment, Senator Richardson, last year – at the annual seminar of the Australian Mining Industry Council in Canberra.

Seccombe, M. 1990. Chance for green referendum, says Kerin.  Sydney Morning Herald,  4 May.

Also on this day-

The executive director of the GCP said in a Senate estimates hearing on May 3, 2001 that only one in 10 companies had met their emission reduction targets. (See also Report of the Senate Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts References Committee, “The Heat Is On: Australia’s Greenhouse Future”, chapter 8.)

Jan 23, 2013- Australian coal mining versus the planet….

On this day in 2013, the Age journo Tom Arup starts a piece

The forecast expansion of Australian coal mining and exports would be the world’s second-largest contributor of new carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels if fully realised, research by Greenpeace International has found.

An analysis of the planet’s 14 largest proposed, coal, oil and gas developments – to be released on Wednesday by Greenpeace – finds if Australian coal production expands as projected, the mining, production and burning of the extra resources would by 2020 result in 759 million tonnes of new global carbon dioxide emissions a year over 2011 levels.

It’s based on Greenpeace International report called  “Point of No Return

2013-01-23

Also on this day –

In 1992 , A report on an early(ish) dose of denial appears in the Australian Financial Review,

Lawson, M. 1992. Cooling the global warming predictions.  The Australian Financial Review, 23 January .

In 1995, economist John Quiggin quixotically makes the case that a carbon tax could provide more jobs….”there is no reason to suppose that business as a whole would necessarily lose from such a tax.” 

Quiggin, J. 1995. Carbon tax could make more jobs. The Australian Financial Review, 23 January.

In 2001 the Sydney Morning Herald had a front page story based on the Third Assessment Report of the IPCC

 

World temperatures may increase by as much as six degrees Celsius over the next century, leading climate change scientists say in an alarming report that adds new urgency to the warnings on global warming.

The projected increase, which would be the most rapid temperature change in the past 10,000 years, is expected to push sea levels up by nearly a metre, threatening tens of millions of people, and generate more floods, droughts and fires.

The report found that the 1990s were the hottest decade since instrument records were first taken in 1861 and that 1998 was the hottest year. And for the first time scientists agreed that the warming is mostly due to human activity.

The gloomy prognosis was released in Shanghai yesterday by the respected Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a joint project of the United Nation’s Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organisation.

Schauble, J. 2001. Six Degrees Hotter: Global Climate Alarm Bells Ring Louder. Sydney Morning Herald, 23 January, p.1.

In 2005 A report, co-authored by the UK Institute of Public Policy Research, the US “Centre for American Progress” and the Australia Institute was released. It was called “Meeting the Climate Challenge” According to ippr – “This interim report, setting out the taskforce’s recommendations, is both a practical policy handbook, and passionate call for action on this most vital of issues.” [Actually, I think the report was launched Jan 1st, just slow on the ippr blog. Not sure though].

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.