A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).

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Gina McCarthy, EPA: carbon reduction is not about pollution – it’s about money

I don’t think Gina McCarthy had thought this through. McCarthy to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee:

“And the great thing about this proposal is it really is an investment opportunity. This is not about pollution control. It’s about increased efficiency at our plants…It’s about investments in renewables and clean energy. It’s about investments in people’s ability to lower their electricity bills by getting good, clean, efficient appliances, homes, rental units,”
“This is an investment strategy that will really not just reduce carbon pollution but will position the United States to continue to grow economically in every state, based on their own design,” McCarthy added.

She is discussing something called the Clean Power Plan. Mark this day. She goes on to find the perpetual motion machine of economics:

Sir, what I know about this rule is that I know it will leave the United States in 2030 with a more efficient and cleaner energy supply system — and more jobs in clean energy, which are the jobs of the future,” McCarthy responded.

The EPA doesn’t just have a landline to God. They are God. They can use less energy to generate more wealth, more employment, and global peace.

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Weekend Unthreaded

A place for roving thoughts …

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Half the world is immune to “expert consensus” they don’t think scientists know what they are talking about

The headline here is that nearly half the population don’t think climate scientists know what they are talking about. Effectively thse people are immune to the 97% consensus figure. Who cares if most “experts” agree, if the blind are leading the blind?  The most skeptical of environmental scientists were the people of China, Japan, and Germany. Two thirds of Swedes, on the other hand, still trust environmental scientists.

Ipsos Mori  conducted this massive survey. Though, like many international multi-lingual endevours, there are confounding conflicts in the answers. All up, 16,000 online adults based in 20 countries were asked some interesting questions, and sometimes their answers made sense, but unfortunately we just can’t be sure when. In China 75% of respondents think scientists don’t know what they are talking about; 51% think that current climate change is natural, but 93% think it is also largely man-made. So 42% think that it’s our fault but it’s also natural. I suspect there is a language barrier. The Chinese were simultaneously the most paranoid cynics and the most dutiful recyclers. They were the third most skeptical nation while being the single most fervent believers and both simultaneously. Perhaps someone who knows more about China than I do can explain that contradiction?

The four most skeptical nations were respectively, the US, Great Britain, Australia and Russia. A recent large and detailed poll of the UK with full demographic information showed 62% of the UK (or GB, as it is listed below) were skeptical and didn’t believe the recent floods in the UK were “man-made” through climate change. That detailed poll was more internally consistent than this international one. It also showed there was a higher proportion of skeptics among the well educated, and the largest contingent of believers was left in the unskilled worker category.

Ipsos Mori did the survey and their website has all the percentages on every bar as well. Their data is available here.

Environmental scientists don’t know what they are talking about:

Total 48% agree. 42% disagree.

q3 Even the scientists don’t really know what they are talking about on environmental issues.

58% of Germans agree that environmental scientists are guessing what goes on. 54% in India (they are quite skeptical overall). Around 43% of people from Britain, the US and Australia agree.

Look out! Disaster coming.

But what kind of disaster? Other studies show people worry about smog, litter and other stuff before they worry about the climate. And people generally worry about everything else — like the economy and jobs, before they worry about the environment. Only 3% of Americans named “The Environment/Pollution” as the top issue. The question: “We are headed for an environmental disaster unless we change our habits quickly” is the loaded motherhood type question that doesn’t ask people to rank different fears or put a dollar value on their fears.  A CSIRO survey showed 80% of Australians chose not to voluntarily pay money for “the environment”.

q1 We are headed for an environmental disaster unless we change our habits quickly.

Governments just want your money:

Europe leads the pack. Fittingly, the Spanish lead the pack that leads the pack.

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The mystery of cooling deep ocean, volcanoes, and missing heat

That deep heat almost seems to coincide with Atlantic and Southern Ocean volcanoes?

All roads lead to the ocean. This time, though, we’re talking about the mysterious deep abyss, below 2,000m and even below 3,600m. Wunsch et al, claim the data shows the deep ocean cooled by one hundredth of a degree in the last 19 years. But they admit that really… this could just be noise. (Well, shock me.) But they have some new and glorious heat maps, and I use those to do some wild speculation about volcanoes.

When all is said and done, there are three inescapable oceanic truths:

  1. Around 90% of all the energy in the Earth’s climate system is in the oceans.
  2. Thou shalt not create nor destroy energy.
  3. If there was an energy imbalance running day after day, gazillions of Joules of energy must be somewhere. They cannot “pause”, take holidays, nor appear in future without being present in the now.

Despite the 95% certainty among 97% of certified “climate scientists”, no one can find that energy. Thus the social-science-fact meets the physical-science-fact. Which “fact” should we spend billions on? The stone-age approach is to go with the “doctors” not the data, and western civilization seems pretty comfortable with that.

In the end, the uncertain data and lower-than-expected warming are the foundations under the “95%” certainty, and those statements should be accorded all the scientific respect that any political slogan deserves.

Some glorious heat-maps.

The first map shows how patchy the ocean is, which makes it all the more difficult to measure accurately.

Figure 14: Di fference in heat content of the annual average of 2011 minus that of 1993, H (0;-h; 2011) – H (0;-h; 1993) : The strong spatial structure represents a major observational challenge to determining an accurate mean change.

Secondly, Wunsch slice through the depths, so we can see that the top 700m is warming near Greenland, and in the Western Pacific. But the potential hot spots below 2000m areon the other side of the planet. How curious?

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What meetings are like for engineers

The sole engineer meets project managers, designers, and marketers. Love it!

H/t to Eric Worrall.

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Get rid of the rogue EPA and pointless “climate” policies. Governments can’t change the weather.

One day people will marvel that turn of the century governments thought they could control the climate, and needed to issue decrees about how much “change” in the weather they would allow.

From different continents come two articles with a similar theme. It’s time to dump the EPA and pointless “Climate” policies.

The US should get rid of the federal EPA

Alan Caruba and Jay Lehr tell us how it is. The EPA is a rogue tool of liberal activitists.

For years now I have been saying that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must be eliminated and its powers given to the fifty states, all of which, have their own departments of environmental protection. Until now, however, there has been no plan put forth to do so.

Dr. Jay Lehr has done just that and his plan no doubt will be sent to the members of Congress and the state governors. Titled “Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency” it should be read by everyone who, like Dr. Lehr, has concluded that the EPA was a good idea when it was introduced in 1971, but has since evolved into a rogue agency threatening the U.S. economy, attacking the fundamental concept of private property, and the lives of all Americans in countless and costly ways.

Years ago Lehr called for the EPA to be established.  For him now, it’s beyond saving.

 “The takeover of EPA and all of its activities by liberal activists was slow and methodical over the past 30 years. Today, EPA is all but a wholly owned subsidiary of liberal activist groups. Its rules account for about half of the nearly $2 trillion a year cost of complying with all national regulations in the U.S. President Barack Obama is using it to circumvent Congress to impose regulations on the energy sector that will cause prices to ‘skyrocket.’ It is a rogue agency.”

Dr. Lehr says that “Incremental reform of EPA is simply not an option.”  He’s right.

Lehr is very specific — he wants an 80% chop:

Eliminating the EPA would provide a major savings by eliminating 80% of its budget. The remaining 20% could be used to run its research labs and administer the Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental agencies. “The Committee would determine which regulations are actually mandated in law by Congress and which were established by EPA without congressional approval.”

Dr. Lehr estimates the EPA’s federal budget would be reduced from $8.2 billion to $2 billion. Staffing would be reduced from more than 15,000 to 300 and that staff would serve in a new national EPA headquarters he recommends be “located centrally in Topeka, Kansas, to allow the closest contact with the individual states.” The staff would consist of six delegate-employees from each of the 50 states.”

Does Australia need a ‘climate policy’ at all?

Don Aitkin gives us six reasons we don’t:

First, no country can have a sensible policy on climate by itself, because climate is not governed by national boundaries. Second, not even the UN can have a sensible policy, because climate is not governed by laws and regulations. Third, we can do something about the effects of weather, which is much more concern to everyone because weather is local, and affects our daily life. Fourth, but we can’t stop weather, or even predict it with any great success, because we lack deep knowledge about the basic components of weather (and climate). Fifth, it may be that we will never possess such knowledge. Sixth, the evidence continues to mount that carbon dioxide is not, after all, the control knob of the planet’s temperature, and if it is not, then the preceding reasons become overwhelming.

But we all know we aren’t spending billions to change the weather, and this was never about the environment.

Aitkin puts his finger on the real reason:

The radio news bulletin I heard soon after the [carbon tax repeal] bill had passed yesterday included a Labor woman politico’s claiming that ‘Australia will be the laughing stock of the world!’ That too was said in an exasperated tone.

There you have it. We have a climate policy because “we’d be  laughing stock” without one. We spend billions because it’s a national status symbol among the global cafe-latte set.

Aitkin reminds us how little most of the world cares about our place in the pecking order:

I get puzzled by statements of this kind, for Australia plays a tiny place in the thoughts and actions of ‘the world’. Novice Australian travellers learn quickly that there is no Australian news in any of the world’s major papers, or on any nation’s radio or television networks. When I lived and worked in the UK, before the days of the Internet, one needed a quick trip to Australia House in London to find out what had happened, and who had won what. Many, many Australians abroad needed to make such trips.

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Salmon quite happy to adapt to warmer world

You will never guess, but salmon that survived the hot Holocene period, and the even hotter Eemian, will probably be OK in a slightly warmer world. Expert researchers found this surprising.

Given the broad spread of Salmon in the Northern Hemisphere, and their past survival through every single interglacial warm period of the Pleistocene, I would have thought that they could cope with quite a bit of  climate change. As it turns out, they cope so well, that even salmon eggs that come from a 12C environment can be raised in an environment a whopping 8C warmer, and they were not noticeably any worse off.

Part of the concern with salmon was the spawning and eggs, and the problem with getting the salmon to shift their maternity wards and childcare arrangements (which they seem very attached too). But presumably those breeding grounds have varied before in temperature, and salmon didn’t die out, so — at least with this problem — nature has it figured out.

Map: Salmon and Climate Change, Fish in hot water, Red List.

Atlantic salmon also show capacity to adapt to warmer waters

Populations of Atlantic salmon have a surprisingly good capacity to adjust to warmer temperatures that are being seen with climate change, a group of scientists at the University of Oslo and University of British Columbia have discovered. The finding about Atlantic species adds to recent UBC-supported research on heat tolerance of Pacific salmon.

The new study, a collaboration between Norwegian and Canadian researchers, was recently published in Nature Communications. Funded by the Norwegian Research Council, it addressed questions around how climate change might affect salmon species distribution and abundance.

UBC authors of the study include Katja Anttila, a postdoctoral fellow who now works at the University of Turku in Finland, and Tony Farrell, Chair in Sustainable Aquaculture.

Scientists studied wild salmon from two European rivers. They compared a cold-water population from Norway’s northern Alta River, where water temperatures have not exceeded 18 C for 30 years, with warm-water populations from France’s Dordogne River, located 3,000 kilometres south, where annual water temperatures regularly exceed 20 C.

Eggs from both populations were hatched at the University of Oslo, where they were raised at 12 or 20 C. Despite substantially different natural environments, both populations had remarkably similar capabilities when warmed.

When reared at 12 C temperatures, salmon from both populations developed cardiac arrhythmias at 21 to 23 C, after a maximum heart rate of 150 beats per minute. But those raised at 20 C developed cardiac arrhythmias at a surprising 27.5 C, after the heart reached 200 beats per minute. Researchers found that increasing the fish’s acclimation temperature by 8 C raised temperature tolerance by 6 C.

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97 percent of Australian renewables investment dries up without subsidies (so the ABC gives free adverts to the industry)

We’re told “clean” energy is a viable and cost effective. But cut the government subsidies, and 97 percent of investors vanish (in Australia it’s collapsed from $2.6b annually to $80m). The truth is that renewables are almost totally dependent on taxpayer largess. No wonder they lobby like their life depends on it. It does.

Peter Hannam of the SMH:

“Australia’s investment in renewable energy all but dried up in the first half of 2014 amid uncertainty fuelled by the government’s latest review of the mandatory target, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

In the six months to June, just $40 million was invested in large-scale renewable energy, such as wind farms, the lowest level since the first half of 2001, according to Kobad Bhavnagri, head of BNEF’s Australian unit.

The investment tally compared with $2.691 billion in 2013, the second largest annual inflow of funds to the clean energy sector behind the peak year of 2010.”

Elsewhere investment in renewables has slowed from its peak in 2011 but still running at $64b a quarter, or nearly $700 million every day. Spot that vested interest! From The Australian:

“Global clean energy investment surged to $US63.6bn in the second quarter of 2014, up 33% compared to the first quarter and 9% compared to Q2 2013, according to the latest authoritative figures from research company Bloomberg New Energy Finance.”

The ABC runs free disguised advertising for the renewables sector

One oil and gas worker is worth 10 renewables workers, not that the ABC will say so. Today ABC online reports that “Mr George says 24,000 jobs are at stake – almost as many jobs as in the oil and gas industry.” Miles George is the managing director of wind power firm Infigen Energy, and chairman of industry body the Clean Energy Council. Obviously, he’s out to drum up sympathy for his industry.

ABC “resources” reporter Sue Lannin didn’t mention that those 24,000 people in the renewables energy sector provide only 6% of our total energy needs, while 24,000 or so in “oil and gas” provide 60%.

Pie Chart source EIA.  (Click to enlarge)


The photo chosen for the story on the poor plight of 24,000 not-very-useful workers subsidized by the taxpayer is this sunset shot of wind-turbines, where the turbines are almost the same color as the sky behind them. The caption implies Joe Hockey is being unreasonable thinking these almost invisible towers are “offensive”.

The ABC could’ve chosen to use the EIA graph instead, but you need to visit an unfunded blogger to get that sort of perspective. :-)   (At a billion dollars a year, the ABC’s role apparently is to provide adverts telling Australians to pay more tax.)

In ABC-world renewables are “booming” and “soaring”

The ABC reported the fall in Australian renewables investment as if everywhere else in the world was doing the opposite.

They didn’t mention that Europe is in the grip of a coal boom, or that Germany is cutting its renewable subsidies, as well as their RET (from 30% to 27%). Spain is retrospectively capping its renewables subsides, lopping 40% off the earnings of its largest solar operator. There were public protests about electricity prices in Bulgaria that were so bad, the government is demanding some subsides get paid back!

Our public funded broadcaster provides third party free advertising for the renewables industry. Mark Colvin made out that investment is “soaring” everywhere except Australia, but doesn’t mention that overall, renewables investment is lower today than it was in 2011. ABC listeners come away misinformed.

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Outgoing UK Environment Minister says green groups are profiteering anti-capitalist agit-prop

Some extraordinary statements from Owen Paterson, the man who was the UK Environment Secretary until a week ago. This is baking hot. Paterson also draws attention to the way big-goverment has fed big-government lobbyists 150 million euros since 2007. Can we get this man to Australia? — Jo

I’m proud of standing up to the green lobby

The Telegraph UK I leave the post with great misgivings about the power and irresponsibility of – to coin a phrase – the Green Blob.

By this I mean the mutually supportive network of environmental pressure groups, renewable energy companies and some public officials who keep each other well supplied with lavish funds, scare stories and green tape. This tangled triangle of unelected busybodies claims to have the interests of the planet and the countryside at heart, but it is increasingly clear that it is focusing on the wrong issues and doing real harm while profiting handsomely.

Local conservationists on the ground do wonderful work to protect and improve wild landscapes, as do farmers, rural businesses and ordinary people. They are a world away from the highly paid globe-trotters of the Green Blob who besieged me with their self-serving demands, many of which would have harmed the natural environment.

I soon realised that the greens and their industrial and bureaucratic allies are used to getting things their own way. I received more death threats in a few months at Defra than I ever did as secretary of state for Northern Ireland.

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Notching up open review improvements – a correction to Part III

Flagging an update (coming) to Big News Part III

Score 1 for open science review, thanks to Bernie Hutchins, an electrical engineer who diligently asked the right questions about something that bothered him regarding the notching effect. We’re grateful. This will improve the model. On the downside, it means we’re slightly less certain of the delay (darn) — the notch doesn’t guarantee a delay as we had previously thought. But there is independent evidence suggesting temperatures on Earth follow solar activity with a one cycle delay — the lag seen in studies like Archibald, Friis-Christainsen and Usoskin is still a lag.

What does it mean? The step-response graph (figure 2 in Part III or figure 4 in Part IV) will change, and needs to be redone. The reason for assuming there is a delay, and building it into the model, rests now on the independent studies, and not on the notch. The new step change will need to be built into the model, and in a few weeks we’ll know how the predictions or hindcasting change. David feels reasonably sure it won’t make much difference to the broad picture, because a step-response something like figure 4, Part IV, explains global warming fairly well and will presumably arise again with the new method. But obviously it needs to be done to be certain.

The irony is that it was the FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) that produced what appeared to be a “non-causal” notch (and if it was non-causal, it would necessarily mean a delay). If David had used his slower OFT (Optimal Fourier Transform) the mistake might not have arisen, because, unlike the DFT and FFT, the OFT uses frequencies whose periods do not divide exactly into the length of the time series. In one of the those quixotic paths to understanding, the incorrect clue of a solar delay of one cycle “fitted” with the other evidence, and possibly David wouldn’t have seen the pattern if he’d used the OFT.

The previous post Big News Part III needs correcting (which is coming), and Bernie Hutchins needs a big thank you. Without his time and effort in comments, David would not have spotted the problem in the code. And it’s so much the better to know it sooner rather than later.     — Jo


 David Evans replies to Bernie Hutchins

That graph of the phase of your transfer function matches mine, so that pretty much seals it at your end. You appear to be analyzing the correct notch filter.

Your remark that “might have meant the DFT and not the FT” was an important clue. I had used DFT/FFT’s to get the spectrum of the step function. The DFT implicitly assumes a time series repeats to infinity — because the DFT uses only frequencies whose periods exactly divide into the length of the time series. The response I was calculating was therefore of a series of rectangular pulses, even though I was calculating the responses of a times series that was all zeros in the first half and all ones in the second half (so it looked like a step function). When I check the spectrum of what I thought was the step function, I now see that it has only the first, third, fifth etc harmonics — just like the Fourier series of a train of rectangular pulses. The amplitudes have the 1/f dependence like the spectrum of a step function, but the even-numbered harmonics are missing — but they are not missing in the spectrum of a step function.

So that finally resolves the discrepancy. My response was to a train of rectangular pulses and was incorrect. Yours was to a step function, and presumably is correct (it makes sense intuitively, but I haven’t checked it numerically yet).

Bernie, thanks for helping me find the bug, and thank you for your persistence. Well done! I am in your debt. I asked many people to check it, but you are the only one to find the problem. It is good to get this sorted out. (One other person calculated a response in Mathematica but the response seemed to come from infinity near t=0 as I recall, so something was wrong there.)

Everything else about the method worked, so my usual checks didn’t find any problems. The low pass filter and delay work just as well on a train of pulses as on a step function, so they appeared ok. Just changing the length of the time series usually exposes problems like this, because extending the time-series should not make any difference, so if it does there is a problem. In this case I had pushed it out from its usual 200 years to 20,000 years, and it made no difference. Changing the rate at which the function was sampled also made no difference. So it all seemed to check out numerically. It turns out the spectrum of a series of pulses is fundamentally different to a step function, so I was just consistently getting the wrong answer.

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Wow, look at those BOM adjustments – trends up by two degrees C!

The mystery of Australian temperature adjustments

Ken Stewart has been checking the Australian BOM official ACORN minima data against the raw data. This week he highlights the six very strange cases of Brisbane Airport, Amberley RAAF, Dubbo, Rutherglen, Rabbit Flat, and Carnarvon. In all these places the adjustments change the trend by more than 2 whole degrees C. It’s a kind of hyper-homogenization.

Thermometers are supposed to be accurate to a tenth of a degree. Australian average trends are sometimes calculated to one hundredth of a degree. What then do we make of adjustments that change the trends by a whopping 2 degrees, and decades after the data came in? The only thing we know for sure about Australian temperatures is that we need an independent audit. Why is it left to volunteers to check? Surely the Greens want good data too?

Some of these stations are isolated outposts, so theoretically they are the heavyweights on Australian area-weighted averages. The map scales can be a bit deceptive. In outback Australia the nearest neighbours can all be 500 km away (300 miles). Some dots on the map are not so much a town as a motel and a gas station. Sometimes one lonely thermometer gets the job of estimating temperatures across thousands of square kilometers. This applies to Rabbit Flat, and we’ll discuss that in a different post.

We’ve talked about the extraordinary case of Rutherglen before, where a cooling trend across a whole region becomes a homogenized warming one. And both I and Jennifer Marohasy have discussed the extreme oddness of Amberley.

But Carnarvon provides new material for playing Guess-why-this-got-homogenized? In the case of Carnarvon (see below) the raw trend shows an ever so slight warming over the last century, something like 0.2C, but the all-new adjusted “high-quality” ACORN trend is rising instead at around 2.2C per century.You might think Carnarvon was the aberrant outlier — a station that was different to the rest of the region so it’s been adjusted to fit. Except the original raw Carnarvon trend was virtually the same as the raw average of all its nearest neighbours (bar one). So all those must be flawed too? Well,  the BOM didn’t think so, because the adjusted trends of neighbouring towns are only warming at a modest half a degree a century, while Carnarvon is ripping along at more than 2 degrees.

I’ve spoken to Ken Stewart, and he’s just baffled about all six stations. Perhaps there is a reason for these drastic adjustments. But without detailed and credible answers, how does a rational person have confidence in the current almighty ACORN set?  There are too many mysteries (like, say, the hottest-ever day being in Albany, an obvious error that still hasn’t been detected by their “expert” peer review).

Carnarvon (Western Australia) has ACORN neighbours: Learmonth (298km), Wittenoom (560km) , Meekatharra (524km), Geraldton (447km), and Morawa (538km).  The only non-Acorn site with continuous data for the early part of last century is Hamelin Pool 6025 (174km away).

Ken Stewart’s conclusion: -

The Acorn adjustment algorithm creates homogenised data by comparing with up to 10 neighbouring sites.  I have shown that the adjustments have made the Acorn trends greater than, not only the raw data trends for each site, not only the raw data trends of the closest neighbours in the Acorn dataset, but in every case but one, greater even than the trends of Acorn homogenised data from the same neighbouring locations.   The adjustments created thus appear to be spurious and the algorithm faulty.

Carnarvon adjustments don’t make sense

….Fig. 6a: Raw vs Acorn

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Ian Plimer launching his new book: Perth Monday, Melbourne Tuesday, Bris next Monday

Don’t miss: The Book Launch: “Not for Greens” by Ian Plimer.

“Not For Greens is a powerful critique of the green movement and the damage it has done to living standards around the world.”

PERTH: Monday, July 21, 2014,   at 6:00 PM, Fire and Ice, Subiaco Square (next to Subiaco train station), a mere $10. I’ll be there. The Perth Book Launch info.

MELBOURNE: Tuesday 22 July, 5.00pm for 5.30pm to 7.00pm, CQ Functions, 113-123 Queen Street, Melbourne  RSVP (IPA)

BRISBANE: Monday July 28, 2014 5.00pm for 5.30pm to 7.00pm Pullman Brisbane King George Square, Corner Ann & Roma Streets, Brisbane

RSVP for Melbourne and Brisbane at the IPA here 03 9600 4744.

H/t to Lance thanks!

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Weekend Unthreaded

Wayward thoughts…

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If you ask questions about our theory you are a horrible person

In response to Australia removing the Carbon Tax the ABC News report broadcast the best arguments of believers in man-made global warming . They tell us we should spend billions to manage a ubiquitous natural molecule with a fake market, in the hope we’ll get nicer weather. If you question that you are a bad, bad person. You are the kind of vile, stupid and selfish person, a troll, who doesn’t mind killing people with asbestos or tobacco, you are an international pariah, a shock-jock and an irrational, unthinking denier.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is our national debate, by our leading “thinkers”, broadcast on our national public news service:

ABC News 17-7-2014

ADAM BANDT, DEPUTY GREENS LEADER: This is the Australian Parliament’s asbestos moment, our tobacco moment, when we knew what we were doing was harmful but went ahead and did it anyway.

RICHARD DENNISS, AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE: … We’re outing ourselves as a pariah. We’re outing ourselves as a country that’s not committed to tackling climate change.

BILL SHORTEN: Direct Action is a Clayton’s climate policy, designed for the audience of internet trolls and shock-jock radio announcers and climate sceptics.

It is but namecalling. They pretend it is science. The ABC put these arguments forward as if they were a sensible addition to the debate. Sarah Ferguson does not notice that the intellectual depth of the arguments amounts to social opprobrium and character attacks.

In a similar vein, Tim Flannery wants your money so he can “respond with the facts”. But instead of facts he offers us religious instruction about which beliefs are socially approved:

“…an unprecedented rise in climate denialism.”

“… these fringe views.”

“… support me and discredit deniers…”

Jo wonders which dictionary defines two-thirds of the population as “fringe”?  It must be another Flannery “fact”.

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Was the Hottest Day Ever in Australia not in a desert, but in far south Albany?!

Albany, Western Australia. Not near a desert. Not near the tropics. Hottest place in Australia?

Lucky, thanks to the BOM, that we have such high quality data to understand the Australian climate. Without it, we would never have found out that the hottest day ever recorded in Australia appears to be the 8th of February, 1933 in, wait for it… Albany, in the far cool south of Western Australia.

Chris Gillham emails:

“Guess where and when was the hottest day ever recorded in Australia? 50.7C at Oodnadatta on 2 Jan 1960? No way! Mardie at 50.5C on 19 Feb 1998? Get out of here! It was at Albany on 8 February 1933, that historic day when this normally chilly town on WA’s southern coast was razed with a temperature of 51.2C. Don’t believe me? You can’t question the accuracy of ACORN, a temperature network that shapes economic policy, and the screenshot from last night’s ACORN download for Albany max proves it …”

The all new marvellous ACORN  dataset has been “expert peer reviewed”, it “employs the latest analysis techniques “ and it is “a complete re-analysis of the Australian homogenised temperature database”. Phew. The BOM lists their hottest days here, but they don’t seem to have noticed the hotter than hot Albany record yet.

It gives you a lot of confidence in the accuracy of all the other daily temps, doesn’t it? There doesn’t appear to be any sinister design here, just plain incompetence.

Australians need a full independent audit on our temperature records.

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Finally! Carbon Tax Gone – Australia gets rid of a price on carbon

As of today, Australia no longer has the most expensive “carbon” price in the world. The voters didn’t ask for a tax in 2010,  but it was forced on them in 2011. They rejected it wholeheartedly in 2013 but it still has taken months to start unwinding this completely pointless piece of symbolism which aimed to change the weather. The machinery of democracy may be slow, but this is a win for voters.

11:15am EST today: The Australian Senate passes the carbon tax repeal bill.

“Australia has become the first country in the world to abolish a price on carbon, with the Senate passing the Abbott government’s repeal bills 39 votes to 32. SMH

Now we need to turn off the tap to all the other green gravy rent-seekers who ignore the evidence.

h/t Matthew (aka Matty thanks!)

Other news services are starting to cover this.  All the cross-benchers except Nick Xenophon (who was absent) voted for the repeal. Labor and the Greens opposed it.

Soon big companies will stop paying a penalty on carbon emissions, currently just over $25 a tonne, ending Australia’s most controversial policy implementation since the 2003 decision to join the Iraq invasion.

Labor dragged out the final debate stages with questions about the Palmer United Party’s amendment to ensure price cuts from the carbon tax repeal are passed fully onto consumers and businesses. The Greens took a similar line of questioning and quizzed the finance minister about the government’s promised $550 saving for households from the repeal of the carbon tax.

On the question of $550 per household per year — just as it was impossible to know exactly how much more everything cost with a carbon tax, it will be impossible to know exactly how much less we will have to pay, and it will take months for savings to be passed through the supply lines. And billions of dollars wasted will never be recovered.


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Niger, Africa where 17 million people use less electricity than Dubbo, NSW

Niger, Africa, is considering building a new small coal fired power station. Greenpeace have protested before at coal power stations in Africa. But how compassionate are those who don’t want Africa to use cheap coal fired power (like, say, professors at western universities?) TonyfromOz puts the issue in perspective. I knew much of Africa was very very poor, but this rather lays the dismal extent out before us. Mali, a nation of 15 million people produces the same amount of electricity as the small town of Dubbo, NSW. Niger, with 17 million, produces even less. All up, there are 23 nations in Africa that each produce less electricity than Dubbo. If we combine them, the 142 million people in those 23 nations are using the same amount of electricity as Adelaide in Australia (which has about 1.1 million people). Stark.

Perhaps we could ask Niger if they’d like to help reduce global temperatures by 0.0 degrees, or if they would rather save money and have electricity that works at night instead?   — Jo

Guest Post – TonyfromOz

Niger, Africa

Recently, a new coal fired power plant was proposed for the country of Niger in Africa. Green heads say Africa should be going “renewable” instead, not producing more CO2.

However, when we look in detail at the power generation in Africa, we see some startling facts about how little electrical power they actually do have.  The total population of the whole of the 58 African countries is at 1.15 Billion people, and probably close to 600 Million people or even more have no access whatsoever to any electrical power, let alone the readily accessible and well regulated supply which we in the Developed World take so utterly for granted.

So then, would this proposed coal fired plant add much to that poor access to electrical power? After all, it’s only a relatively small plant of just one Unit, and the Nameplate Capacity is only 600MW.

Here in Australia, recently, the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Professor Jeffrey Sachs was here telling Australians that we need to move closer towards a low carbon economy. One of the things he said was the following: (my bolding)

Actually poorer countries have wonderful options because the price of photo-voltaics is falling so sharply, places like Mali. Actually the low-cost solution is off-grid photo-voltaic power. The fact that we can now put solar panels for pumps for irrigation, for refrigeration, for cold chains, for vaccines, for running schools, for allowing remote schools to be online. Those poor countries have options. — ABC interview

So is small scale Solar PV power any use to countries like Mali?  There are 15.5 million people in Mali and they have a total power generation of 520GWH (gigawatt hours) per year, and while that sounds like quite a lot, it is very small per capita. It is about the same power generation as the town of Dubbo in NSW, Australia — which has only 40,000 people, not 15 million. Mali has 387 times more people than Dubbo has.  And that the city of Dubbo is not special in the developed world. It has average power consumption for a city of that size.

So I invented “the Dubbo-scale” and went hunting to see which African nations have less power generation than Dubbo. (Which is roughly the same size as Bozeman, Montana,  Cupertino city California, or Mentor, Ohio or Perth in Scotland.)

The US EIA  lists power generation data  for all countries.  I then drew up a chart listing all those African countries scoring less than “1″ on the Dubbo-scale of electricity production. There are 23 countries on this list, so more than half of all African nations produce less electricity than Dubbo.

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Labor Party gift to Coalition — gullible green-left still want a tax to change the weather

The Coalition must be thrilled today that the Australian Labor Party want to run the next election on the carbon tax. Could there be better news for Tony Abbott? Labor has vowed “to fight for “a serious, credible climate change policy’’ .”

The Carbon Tax was a centrepiece at the last election and the voters threw it out. Current polls show only 35% of voters want it. So far it has brought down two prime ministers and an opposition leader. The damage looks set to continue.

For Labor, nothing has changed. They still think it was right to tell the voters there would be no carbon tax in the 2010 election campaign, and then bring in a carbon tax. (Who cares what the voters think?) The Labor Party still thinks a tax can change the weather. They still are the gullible patsies for large financial houses bringing in a fake market in a product that nobody wants, that depends on unknowable “intentions”, and is prone to fraud. The Labor Party plan to help workers by transferring billions of dollars from citizens to the financial sector and green-renewable industry patrons, all in a quest to reduce the global temperature by 0.0C 50 years from now.

The Australian – Mr Shorten, speaking against the repeal, said Labor had been right to introduce a carbon price but “did the second best” when it walked away from calling an election in early 2010 “that the nation was entitled to have’’ on an ETS.

“We were right to have international pricing,” he said. “We were right to support an emissions trading scheme.

“We were right to have climate change as a political priority of the previous government.”

Mr Shorten said Labor did not apologise nor resile from its ­climate change policy.

This is all about the ultimate in big-government — global energy tax and control, with virtually no accountability to voters. The big-gambit is coming again, and Bill Shorten is all too aware:

He (Shorten) said Australia faced a choice next year in Paris when world leaders would gather to develop the next set of emissions goals for 2030.

As I keep saying, the only people who want a “free market” in carbon are those that don’t know what a free market is. Free markets depend on voluntary consent, on products that people willingly buy, and on efficiencies that come from having a product that people can see and assess for themselves.

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Tic-tic-tic: Carbon tax repeal goes to Australian Senate (track that progress)

UPDATE Thursday: DONE Success at 11:15am this morning in Canberra. The Carbon Tax is gone.

UPDATE: Weds -- This could take days. The repeal was before the Senate this morning. Labor and the Greens are “dragging the debate out” with speeches. “Filibustering” according to Finance Minister Mathias Corman (The Australian). More debate is due tonight. But the Senate has agreed to extend sitting hours after Friday and keep coming back until this is resolved. They were due to start a 5 week break on Friday. (See Sky News too). This doesn’t look like being resolved today. (SMH)

Sydney Morning Herald:   It [The government] was concerned that while all eight cross-bench senators say they are committed to consigning the carbon tax to history in a final vote, as many as three might baulk at the use of a guillotine to bring an end debate and force that vote.

In a further sign the government had lost exclusive control of the legislative timetable, the Climate Change Authority bill was removed from the list of those to be considered, supposedly at the insistence of the PUP.

Sources said the CCA bill, the purported vehicle for Mr Palmer’s proposed ”dormant” emissions trading scheme, will not be presented this week. Fairfax understands there is also last-minute discussion over Mr Palmer’s belated inclusion of India in the basket of countries to which the CCA would be required to look when recommending that Australia should activate its dormant ETS.

This post will stay sticky at the top until this is resolved. New posts will appear underneath – Jo

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Australia already has a kind of emissions trading scheme. Surprize — banks are major players

For all the fuss about an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), Australia already has a version of a market in carbon credits and it was set up in 2001 by the conservative Howard government. The RET, Renewable Energy Target, aims to reduce emissions by mandatory use of 20% renewable energy by 2020. For all kinds of reasons we are overachieving, and headed for 27% renewables mix (along with shocking electricity bills, see here too).*

“Official estimates suggest that the RET will generate a transfer of $20bn from householders and industrial users by 2020.”

So in this artificial government-mandated market, which sector is fast to get involved?  Finance.

This is not so much an efficient free market as its pale cousin, the whimsical fake market. But free or fake, banks are there. You can’t blame them. But nor do we need to feed the machine unless there is a good reason.

Banks exposed to big RET risks

The Australian:  AUSTRALIA’S banks are holding nearly $900 million worth of certificates designed to stimulate investment in renewable energy generation as the price of those instruments becomes captive to the political debate over green energy schemes.

Banks including ANZ, Macquarie Group, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank hold 5.9 million, or 20 per cent, of the 28.4 million large-scale energy certificates (LGCs) ­issued and yet to be ­redeemed under the Renewable Energy Target scheme, according to information supplied to the Senate.

Any artificial market almost instantly creates players with property rights. That’s the reason a trading scheme is much harder to unwind than a tax. Once it is created, automatically, there are lobby groups, armed with lots of our money, to keep it going. At least with a tax, voters might get the chance to vote for or against it. In a true free market, voters have the ultimate right — to ignore it completely. They can vote with their feet every day, and spend their money on something better. That’s not what is happening here.

The players in this market are not so much betting on natural events as they are betting on politics. Does that help the nation produce real things, or does it just turn us into a kind of casino where people can bet and lobby on the dice?

The price was $40 – $50 a couple of years ago. This is a fake market determined more by political choice than by buyers and sellers making efficient decisions about the real world.

Market sources speculated that the banks were holding large pools of LGCs under financing arrangements with renewable energy generators and electricity retailers. According to information on the holdings given to Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications by the regulator, ANZ is the second-­largest holder of LGCs, with 4.36 million, behind Origin Energy, with 5.9 million. Origin is also the largest holder of retail certificates, with 372,677 of the 5.1 million on issue. The price of the retail certificates has climbed from about $25 last year to nearly $40.

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