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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Man-made US bushfires caused by PG&E, being sued for $30b: may take down some renewables too

Everyone “knows” fires are caused by climate change, but how many Australians know that when it comes to the huge Californian fires of October 2017 as many as 750 civil suits have been filed against  Pacific Gas & Electric  (PG&E),the 150 year old utility in California? The fire bill is running at around $30 billion dollars. PG&E are facing financial ruin, calling in a Chapter 11, and going broke.

That’s bad news for people filing the claims, but it is also bad news for renewable energy.PG&E are a major holder of some $35 billion dollars in long term green energy contracts many of which are at above market rates. PG&E may not have to pay out those high prices which means the Green industry will be hurt too.

What goes around comes around. Bad science begets bad business. The Green Industry could have cared enough about the environment to speak out about reducing fire risks through managing fuel loads, and the fires would have been less damaging. Instead they were busy putting up windfarms to stop bushfires instead.

Meanwhile their friends are still doing their best to increase fuel loads in order to reduce CO2 (and stop bushfires).

PG&E Bankruptcy Threatens California Wildfire Suits, Green-Power Contracts

California fire investigators have determined that PG&E power lines sparked 18 wildfires in October 2017 that burned nearly 200,000 acres, destroyed 3,256 structures and killed 22 people.

California’s largest utility said Monday it was preparing to file for Chapter 11 protection before the end of the month as it faces more than $30 billion in potential liability costs related to its role in sparking wildfires in recent years. Electricity and natural gas would continue to flow to homes and businesses, PG&E said.

PG&E Corp.’s plan to file for bankruptcy protection has enormous repercussions for everyone from the homeowners suing the utility for California wildfire damages to the companies that furnish it with green energy. — WSJ

If only green energy was actually competitive, they could have just renegotiated with some other buyer.

Keep reading  →

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Climate change causes three meters of snow in two days, avalanches in Europe

It’s not well known, but in the same way that climate change causes every hot weekend it also causes snow dumps, avalanches, and freak weather. The scientific link is just as strong and calculated the same way. Take a tendentious cross-correlation on free-range seasonal assumptions, and then pour Vodka in the Cray.

If only the Germans had built more windmills they could have stopped this.

Chaos in ski resorts, people trapped, road closed, flights canceled

Three metres of snow fell in the space of 48 hours in some parts of the country and more than a metre is forecast to fall today and tomorrow. — The Times (paywalled)

Heavy snow paralysed much of Europe for yet another day, cutting off mountain villages, sparking avalanches like one that crashed into a Swiss hotel, and killing at least four people.

At least 21 weather-related deaths have been reported in Europe in the last 10 days.


With three million dollars to spend today (like every day) the ABC found cute photos of white stuff on cuddly sheep and scooters to fit the deadly theme. Nice.

There is avalanche danger, blocked roads and floods in Southern Germany.

The Beast From The East comes back to Britain

The UK is headed for the coldest weekend of the year — The Express

A swathe of bitter air will pour in from the Arctic pushing temperatures to freezing or below across the entire country through the next 48 hours.

Scotland, northern England and even parts further south are on alert for wintry downpours towards the end of the week and into the weekend.

It could be the first widespread snowfall since the Beast from the East brought Britain to a near standstill last winter.

Campaigners have reiterated calls for elderly and vulnerable people to take extra care during cold weather.

The weekend blast may be linked to the Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) which appeared in December. Temperatures suddenly rose over the Arctic up high above the jet streams. Often cold temperatures on the surface seem to kick in two weeks or so later.

A possibly lengthy winter blast will be driven by warming of the air over the North Pole encouraging a colder airflow into the UK.

The so-called Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW), which was the driver for last year’s crippling snowfall, set in at the end of December

Best wishes to our Northern Hemisphere friends.
h/t to GWPF


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The hottest thing in SA and Victoria tomorrow may be electricity prices

Millions of dollars will be burning on electricity tomorrow

With normal hot summer days expected tomorrow price spikes are forecast.

It’s not that hot

These are hot, but not unusual days for the capitals — Adelaide is forecast to be 41C, the other capitals are tame: Melbourne 33, Canberra 39 and Sydney 30.  Though small inland cities are baking – like Albury at 44C.

South Australia could burn $36 million an hour

For South Australia tomorrow the AEMO is forecasting the state will need 2,800MW for 2.5 hours at $12,000/MWh. That could be $35m per hour.  Note that forecasts in electricity often vary quite a lot from actuals. Looking at the truckload of cash being offered (from a generators point of view) will presumably bring in some extra supply and lower that price.

SA Electricity cost, spikes, Jan 2019

Forecast prices for Jan 15th 2019 | AEMO


For Victoria, things are even worse

The AEMO is forecasting 9,000MW will be needed at $14,500/MWh for 3 hours. That’s $130 million per hour.   Hypothetically, it would be an obscene $390 million dollars just to power the state just from 3 – 6pm. Enough to buy an entire gas fired power plant and have it sitting around all year waiting for spikes.


VIC, Electricity cost, spikes, Jan 2019

Forecast prices for Jan 15th 2019 | AEMO

For those peak hours, if it hits the price cap, spike pricing would be 400 times more expensive than baseload brown coal.  The same $400m dollars could theoretically power the state for 50 days of non-stop electricity from brown coal stations like Hazelwood Power Plant (if only they hadn’t shut it). Though peak prices in midsummer are normally higher so it is not an apples to apples comparison. Note too: These are wholesale spot prices — there are other charges beyond this like the FCAS which will could rise tomorrow too. We are not even counting that.

It sounds outlandish but one two-day heatwave last year cost SA and Vic $400m dollars.

Could this week be the 2019 bonfire heatwave?

The AEMO has issued a LOR (Lack of Reserve) warning — Grade 2 for Victoria

There is a forecast LOR2 for Victoria in place at the moment. The AEMO says reserve available is expected to be 658MW but 978MW is needed. That’s 300 MW short. If the price is right (and it could not get more “right” without breaking the law) presumably there will be some new generation on offer. The availability and demand numbers can dance around a lot. This afternoon, the AEMO has issued two updates and curiously the situation has got worse with each update, not better.

But hey, it might be windier than they expect tomorrow, and then everything will be just fine.

UPDATE 10PM: Victorian LOR2 downgraded to LOR1. Expected reserve capacity now 1002MW. The required is 1090MW. The people in the control room must be very very busy.

 TonyFromOz explains that all our available coal power is running flat out. The peak today (Monday) was 32,000MW.

Forerunner to tomorrow was the Peak today at 5PM. Total power generation (therefore total power consumption) was 32300MW. There are currently three coal fired Units off line, (one in each State still with coal fired power) so the total available coal fired power Nameplate is 19600MW.  The total coal fired power being delivered at 5PM was 19200MW.

Add on natural gas fired power and the smaller Other sources, and the total CO2 emitting power on line delivering power at 5PM came in at 81.2% of that total.  Hydro was at 12.2, and wind and solar power combined was delivering 6.6%.

And tomorrow, they say it will be even higher.  Coal fired power is running at max already.

Hmm! Imagine if there was just one more coal fired power plant, umm, say even that ancient old clunker Hazelwood.

Take away coal fired power, umm, tell ‘em they’re dreamin!


 Bear in mind years ago the real system peak was 36,000MW. Now it appears we can’t do that unless we get lucky. It’s a good thing those car manufacturers and smelters shut down…

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Another expert climate professor *** becomes outspoken skeptic

Look, another climate expert the BBC won’t be interviewing

Anastasios Tsonis is emeritus distinguished professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is the author of more than 130 peer reviewed papers and nine books. He is just retired, and finally able to speak his mind. [Updated] …though he’s been a climate professor and a skeptic for some years, somehow the media didn’t beat a path to his door. He commented below that rather than staying silent til his retirement he has been skeptical for many years and was free to say so at his university (such a rare thing, how many other profs can we say the same about?). His University of Wisconsin  site is here, and his statement here.]

The overblown and misleading issue of global warming

Washington Times

Anastasios Tsonis, Photo, Skeptic, "Denier".

Anastasios Tsonis

The fact that scientists who show results not aligned with the mainstream are labeled deniers is the backward mentality. We don’t live in the medieval times, when Galileo had to admit to something that he knew was wrong to save his life.

Lives are not at risk, but careers sure seem to be. Not medieval times but perhaps modi-eval?

So how many of the 97% of climate science believers are actually skeptics? Even after they retire there are lots of reasons for them to stay quiet. [Obviously, not the case for Prof Tsonis].

He’s willing to debate

Science is all about proving, not believing. In that regard, I am a skeptic not just about global warming but also about many other aspects of science.

All scientists should be skeptics. Climate is too complicated to attribute its variability to one cause. We first need to understand the natural climate variability (which we clearly don’t; I can debate anybody on this issue). Only then we can assess the magnitude and reasons of climate change. Science would have never advanced if it were not for the skeptics.

The models were wrong. If they can’t explain the pause, they don’t understand the cause. (h/t HockeySchtick for that phrase.)

All model projections made for the 21st century failed to predict the slowdown of the planet’s warming despite the fact that carbon dioxide emissions kept on increasing. Science is never settled. If science were settled, then we should pack things up and go home.

My research over the years is focused on climate variability and climate dynamics. It is my educated opinion that many forces have shaped global temperature variation. Human activity, the oceans, extraterrestrial forces (solar activity and cosmic rays) and other factors are all in the mix. It may very well be that human activity is the primary reason, but having no strong evidence of the actual percent effect of these three major players, I will attribute 1/3 to each one of them.

Good on him for speaking out. Shame he didn’t feel he could when he was employed.

h/t Climate Depot and Pat.


***Edited headline to remove the incorrect “retires and”. Thanks to Prof Tsonis for commenting:


Anastasios Tsonis

For the record, I would like to state that the header “PROFESSOR RETIRES AND BECOMES A CLIMATE SCEPTIC” is wrong and misleading. I did not wait to retire in order to express my opinions. I am expressing my views for many years and while I was employed. In fact, my article in Washington Times is a summary of my “Statement” posted in my website years ago. My university never interfered with my research.

This is exactly what I meant in the article by “ignorant people abusing the internet”.

I would hope that this mistake is corrected.

Anastasios Tsonis


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Report on Aug 25 blackouts shows how fragile our grid is (and the real cost of cheap solar panels).

 When cheap solar is expensive

Badly installed solar PV makes Australia’s grid fragile

On August 25 last year there was nearly a system blackout when, improbably, three states of Australia were islanded by one lightning strike. Within seconds, trips were switching, two smelters were load shed to save the grid from collapse, and across the Eastern Seaboard of Australia frequency and voltages surged or fell everywhere. In Sydney 45,000 homes lost power for a couple of hours. Shops had to close. Trains were stopped. Passengers were stranded. Traffic signals were not working on major roads. There was chaos. Industrial users shut down in a mass of 725MW of load shedding.

The AEMO final report on that day has just come out and shows us just how fragile our grid is. This was not so much a freak accident, as an accident waiting to happen.

It turns out that another cost of cheap rushed solar panels is that many drop out with voltage spikes, suddenly going offline and leaving another hole to fill. The numbers are amazing — of panels installed in the last 2 years as many as one-third in South Australia dropped out when we needed them and about 1 in 6 failed in Queensland.

If smelters are offline, hundreds of thousands of dollars are burning, and millions is at risk…


Obviously the  true costs of installing solar panels properly are higher than advertised. When we add up the lifetime cost of solar does it include loss of earnings of unrelated businesses?

 August outages underline risks to the reliability of the national grid

Perry Williams, The Australian

The Australian Energy Market Operator said several generators failed to respond as expected including “counter-productive responses” that could have been limited or prevented if sufficient frequency control settings were enabled in each region.

While Tesla’s giant battery was praised for helping to stabilise frequency, four ­unnamed wind farms in South Australia reduced their output to zero because of incorrect settings while solar rooftop systems also crashed out and were unable to assist in boosting supply to either Victoria or NSW.

AEMO detailed how 15 per cent of sampled solar systems ­installed before October 2016 dropped out during the event. Of those installed after that date, nearly a third in South Australia and 15 per cent in Queensland failed to meet standards.


For the next hour frequencies rocked all the way from Queensland to Victoria


Spikes and struggles on the line between SA and Victoria

Crash Test Dummies are here

Australia’s shift to renewables is ramping up:

The rapid switch to renewables is having a profound impact on the grid, with solar generation jumping by 38 per cent in the three months to September while wind grew by 16 per cent, displacing gas from the grid’s power mix.

From the AEMO report:  There has been a decline in system resilience.

Keep reading  →

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Australia is worst casualty of Paris: Big hit to GDP, wages, dollar, trade balance for nothing

Australia Wins The Global Patsy Award 2019

The Brookings Institute released a report that claims everyone is better off economically by sticking to Paris, but check out the devastating graphs. Economically, everyone is a loser, but the three biggest losers are Australia, Russia and OPEC.

Australia is doing more, paying more, suffering more and yet will make almost no difference to the global emissions tally in anything other than a purely symbolic impress-your-dinner–guests kind of way.

If Australia left the Paris Agreement, even the left leaning Brookings Institute can’t find much difference in total global man-made emissions. Australia is forcing the renewables transformation faster than anywhere else, it will lose GDP, wages, jobs, investment, and the dollar will fall. All that, and no one could even tell the difference between Paris with Australia, and Paris without.

Clearly Australian negotiators at the UN are incompetent on a whole new scale.  If they had Australian’s interests at heart, even a little bit, they would have done this study themselves, and gone to Paris with some realistic comparative data to argue that we are cutting too fast and paying too much. Finalists for most useless Global Negotiator of the Decade are Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Julie Bishop. Wayne Swan, treasurer of the year, deserves a mention.

Australians basically walked in to Paris and said “hit me”.

Don’t miss these fun graphs:

Bad news for the Australian dollar:

Change in CO2 emissions, Paris Agreement, 2019. Graph.

Change in exchange rates thanks to the Paris Agreement


Who needs Trade balance anyway?

At least our falling dollar will help to stop Australians importing so many goods.

Change in CO2 emissions, Paris Agreement, 2019. Graph.

Change in trade balance thanks to the Paris Agreement.

Spot the difference: If Australia left The Paris Agreement the world not even notice

Theoretically, this graph below shows how much global emissions would be reduced should the unthinkable happen and everyone actually met their Paris promises. The lowest red line is the glory of Paris “success” with Australia included.

The dashed line on top of that is Paris success if Australia bailed. Exactly.

Change in CO2 emissions, Paris Agreement, 2019. Graph.

Theoretically, this is how much emissions will be reduced if every nation sticks to the Paris agreement.

Despite the title on the graph above, this is not Global CO2 emissions at all which are around 750 billion tons. This, obviously, is the insignificant man-made part.

Go on, let’s add Global Emissions to the scale…

Everyone’s economy will shrink

Less energy means less economy.

Three regions will be the worst hit — Australia, OPEC and Russia.

Change in CO2 emissions, Paris Agreement, 2019. Graph.

Change in GDP relative to business as usual without all that virtue signalling.

Large drop in jobs coming

Whichever way you look at it, jobs are going. Just that in Australia they’re going faster. We apparently outdo the rest of the world til Russia (allegedly) catches up. Then some magical assumption happens in 2021. (Trump becomes our PM, perhaps?)

Change in CO2 emissions, Paris Agreement, 2019. Graph.

Whichever way you look at it, jobs are going.


Notice no country on Earth will get richer because of Paris

Australians are getting rid of evil capitalist wages faster than anyone, though apparently OPEC puts on a good finish in the race to the bottom.

Change in CO2 emissions, Paris Agreement, 2019. Graph.

Change in CO2 emissions, Paris Agreement, 2019. Graph.

The three biggest losers of wealth — Australia, Russia and OPEC

This graph says something.

Change in CO2 emissions, Paris Agreement, 2019. Graph.

Change in CO2 emissions, Paris Agreement, 2019. Graph.


Australians will be consuming less, are you looking forward to that?

Change in CO2 emissions, Paris Agreement, 2019. Graph.


Did I mention rubbery figures?

The researchers do some serious economic-number-mashing, converting everything into a carbon tax.

From the Brookings Institute press release:

[The researchers]… use a multi-region model of the world economy to analyze the economic and environmental outcomes that are likely to result from these [Nationally Determined Contributions] NDCs. To construct the modeling scenario, the authors convert the disparate NDC formulations into estimated reductions in CO2 emissions relative to a baseline scenario with no new climate policies. They then solve for the tax rate path on CO2 in each region that achieves the NDC-consistent emissions reductions in the target year, 2030 for most regions.

Then funny things happen where the carbon tax they calculate bears little relation to the actual emission reductions. Could it be because a tax on a universal molecule essential to life is a stupid economic idea?  Some of the players won’t respond because energy needs are inelastic, and most of the players won’t respond because they are blue-green algae, or otters, or E.Coli. And some of the players who do respond pick windmills and solar panels for reasons which defy any economic or scientific analysis.

Comparing projected 2030 CO2 tax rates to the same year’s percent emissions abatement relative to baseline, the authors find that declines in CO2 emissions do not necessarily correlate with the CO2 tax rate. For example, under Paris, Japan’s emissions decline the most of all regions, but its CO2 tax is the fourth lowest at about $US 16 per ton. India and the United States share a common goal for percent reduction of emissions relative to baseline, but India’s tax rises to about $US44 per ton in 2030, about 70 percent higher than the $US 26 tax in the United States in its target year of 2025.

Rubbery figures meet Rubbery assumptions

The Australian:

The paper assumed a gov­ernment-introduced $5-a-tonne carbon tax from 2020 — which neither the Coalition nor Labor has foreshadowed — to cut ­Australia’s carbon emissions by a promised 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

Now lets pretend there are benefits from cutting CO2

Santa Claus says reducing an airborne fertilizer is a benefit they can put a hundred billion dollar figure on.

And this comes from the  Brookings Institute – friends of Big Government. Imagine if sensible independent engineers wrote it?

Graph, Global benefits, country by country, Brookings Institute, 2019

Australia is irrelevant.

Whatever happens: It’s gonna cost you

At least Warwick McGibbon is honest telling us that economic pain is inevitable. Furthermore he admits that if you just care about jobs and wages not the climate, you’d quit Paris.

Warwick McKibbin, an ANU economics professor and one of the report’s authors, said ­Australia could not avoid ­economic pain by pulling out of the agreement.

“If we stay in, we’re better off because if we pull out, we’ll still be getting most of the economic damage — other countries won’t be buying our ­resources so much — but miss out on the benefits of curbing carbon emissions such as less pollution,” Professor McKibbin told The Australian.

“You don’t have to believe in climate change at all to support staying in Paris. That said, if you just cared about jobs or real wages but didn’t care about climate or pollution, you’d stay out.”

The Australian

He sings an ode about beating the mythical pollution ogre. Even if CO2 actually caused much warming, Australian emissions are irrelevant, CO2 is a well mixed gas, and there is a very substantial benefit, thankyou, in raising CO2 on a dry agricultural nation.


 Frank Jotzo, Professor at ANU in Climate Policy tweeted:

Paris Agreement modelling by @WarwickMcKibbin and colleagues: meeting 2030 emissions targets to yield net economic benefits to individual countries (before taking into account avoided climate change damages)

No mention by him that Australia got one of the worst deals globally. It’s not like he is supposed to be serving The Australian Taxpayer.

Academics, we can’t sell them fast enough.

Hat tip to Pat



Liu, McKibben, Morris and Wilcoxen (2019) Global Economic and Environmental Outcomes of the Paris Agreement” (PDF), Brookings Institute.

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Saving the planet one $2,000 cat door at a time

Go on. Prove how much you love the planet, or maybe just outdo the Jones’s and get yourself a $2,000 automatic designer cat door that is draft free, radio controlled and evens opens the door for the cat in case your cat is intellectually challenged.

How many storms will this cat door prevent?

Couple pay $2000 for a cat door to help fight climate change

This story was first reported on CBC by Greg Rasmussen. What else are public broadcasters for?

Sometimes being energy conscious can mean geeking out on gigawatts, or studying the latest heat exchanger technology. But in this case, it involved splurging on a $2,000 cat door.

The super-insulated, radio-frequency-controlled designer cat passageway is one of many energy saving features in a super energy efficient house being built in West Vancouver.

I thought climate warriors weren’t supposed to have a cat?

Just three million dollars to build a passive “net zero” house:

Costing about $3 million to build, it’s not far out of line in pricey West Vancouver. James said he kept close watch on the extras and said it only cost about 4 per cent more than it would have to build a similar home that meets existing building codes.

They didn’t want the dingy small windows common to “passive houses”. So they got large windows, even floor to ceiling windows. And then they flew these floor-to-ceiling, triple glazed windows across the Atlantic:

… the huge triple glazed windows had to be brought in from Europe because no one could supply them locally.

Wonder what the lifetime emissions are on that?

Note the fine print:

“We’re going to be what’s called net zero energy, so we’ll generate more electricity over the year, and sell it back to BC Hydro, than we use,” said Dean

What he really means is that they will be 100% dependent on the Grid to be there when they need it.

Net freeloaders on the system?

The designer cat door is apparently a “PetWalk” one.

I fear it’s going to lead to mental health issues in Pets:

Within the same household, different pet’s chips can be set to different programs. So if, say, one of your dogs or cats needs a bit more exercise, you can program the door to let one pet back inside but not the other. This may seem either unfair treatment or a brilliant solution to pet obesity and indolence, but the people at Petwalk feel that it’s something pet owners might like to control.

First world problem.


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Crossbench senators wasted $20 billion propping up renewables — Australia Institute, PR agency for renewables

Tony Abbott won a 90 seat landslide based on a blood oath to Axe The Carbon Tax. In 2014 he was thwarted in the Senate from instigating his plans to clean out the green-machine burden, largely by Clive Palmer and cohort, a coal explorer and senator who was a skeptic til Al Gore visited the week before key legislation was voted on. The people who voted for Clive sure didn’t vote to bankroll the Renewables Industry but that’s what they got, and thanks to the Australia Institute we can see just how much the turncoat cost — about $1,000 per person.

The Australia Institute is suddenly raving about the value of crossbench Senators — especially the ones who did the opposite of what their voters expected — “yay”, democracy. Then they’ve paired it with the release of a nothingburger survey that asked the wrong people no relevant or specific questions so the Institute could pretend Australians approved of the sell-out Senators who wasted $23 billion dollars on a pagan weather-changing plan. Do you like the Senate, then you love Renewables? Cheers Jiminy!

Is the Australia Institute a research group or a PR Agency for Renewables?

Saved By The Bench

How the Senate crossbench saved Australia’s renewable energy industry

The Abbott Government’s attempts to abolish key renewable energy policies were foiled by Labor and the Senate crossbench. These efforts have supported $23.4 billion worth of clean energy projects during a period that saw renewable investment fall by up to 48% in some years.

Bravo. Crossbenchers saved an industry which investors were running away from. Why? Because it was A/ an efficient provider of a valuable service and investors were stupid or B/ because no one wants overpriced, unreliable power?


Between 2013 and 2016, the Coalition Government attempted to abolish Australia’s three key renewable energy policies: the Renewable Energy Target (RET), the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

These three policies were saved in the Senate….

As a result, the CEFC continued financing, ARENA continued providing grants and other assistance and the RET continued encouraging renewable energy generation. In total $7.8 billion in government support has been provided to projects worth $23.4 billion, as shown in Figure 1:

Figure 1: Total clean energy support saved by Labor and crossbench (2013–2018)
. Funding and investment ($m)  Total project value ($m)
CEFC investment    $6,652  $19,000
ARENA grants   $1,187   $4,371
Total   $7,839 $23,371

In addition, the RET has assisted the installation of 806,000 solar panel systems and 226,000 solar hot water systems between 2013–2018 and the generation of 85m MWh of electricity from large-scale generators. Saving the RET and CEFC has resulted in emissions reductions of at least 334m tonnes CO2-e. This is more emissions reduction than the government’s policy, the Emissions Reduction Fund, is likely to deliver over its six years of operation (92m tonnes from its creation in 2014 to 2020)

By contrast, the Emissions Reduction Fund is estimated to abate 192m tonnes, of which about 92m tonnes will be abated between its creation in 2014 and 2020, and the remaining abatement happening after 2020.37

Renewable energy subsidies; Six times as useless

So the $23 billion dollars used by the crossbenchers saved 334m tonnes of CO2 (equivalent) at a cost of $70/ton.

The Emissions Reductions Fund cost $2.29 billion and will save nearly 200 million tons at a cost of $12 per ton which makes it six times as effective. And if you believe reducing CO2 is important, Tony Abbott’s plan could save six times as many environments.

The $23 billion dollar gift to the renewable industry thus wasted 83% of taxpayer funds — a cool $19.5 billion dollars that could have been used to help the poor or the spotted quoll, but was instead wasted propping up a freeloading industry that makes electricity more expensive, drives other industries away from Australia, and probably loses 3 jobs for every one it creates. On the upside, Australia saved 334m tons of CO2  — equivalent to five weeks of emissions from China.

The senate sell-out cost every man woman and child in Australia about $1,000. Babies too. That’s $4,000 per family of four. That’s a family holiday the kids will never forget, because it didn’t happen.

During Tony Abbott’s time as PM renewable energy investment returned to “a free market” and fell by half:

In 2014 and 2015, while worldwide investment in the sector grew, Australian renewable energy investment fell by half. If the Senate crossbench had failed to save the CEFC, ARENA and RET, the decline would have been much greater and the rebuilding of the industry much more difficult. The future of Australia’s renewable sector was saved by the (cross) bench.

The decline of renewables would have been greater, but so would Australian wallets and in so many ways.  The Australia Institute obviously approves of governments interfering in the market, and picking winners (or rather “picking losers, but calling them winners”.)

They even admit the Senators largely betrayed their voters:

Having been typecast as ‘conservative’ or ‘right-wing’, the new minor parties on the crossbench were widely expected to vote with the Abbott Government – and, indeed, Day and Leyonhjelm proved to be fairly reliable votes for the government. But Xenophon, Wang, Lambie, Lazarus, Muir and Madigan, along with the Greens, ensured that the Senate crossbench served as an important check on the government’s power.

Palmers team (bolded) didn’t so much serve as an “important check on the governments power”, but as an check on voters power. Not that The Australia Institute shows much concern. After the Palmer 2014 sell out, it appears half his voters voted for other people and the Palmer team (such as it wasn’t) won nothing ever again.

The Australia Institute didn’t ask Palmer’s voters what they thought, because they already knew the answer. Instead they asked other voters generic questions about the Senate and whether it was useful and what color their seats were. ( Seriously, 40% knew the Senate seats are red). Hence the Australia Institute got a headline that bore no resemblance to reality by asking no questions about the carbon tax or any issue relevant to their press release.

Spot the bait and switch with the word “which”:

Majority of Australians support Senate crossbench, which saved $23b of renewables from Coalition cuts

The ‘Saved by the bench’ report is being released in conjunction with Australia Institute polling* which shows that a majority of Australians believe the country is better off because of the Senate and that better laws are created when the government has to negotiate with other parties


It’s great PR for the renewables industry but not so great for Australians who had $1000 stolen.

The Australian Institute paper mentions no conflicts of interests nor donors. But with a $23 billion dollar carrot swinging through Australian Industry, there is potentially a nice river of tax-funded flowback that could have come their way. Who knows? That’s an awful lot of profits that are far more dependent on the mood of Parliamentarians than on providing something their customers need at a price they are willing to pay.

h/t Pat


Saved by the bench, The Australia Institute, Dec 2018

CER announces eighth Emissions Reduction Fund auction results, 18 December, 2018

 Global Carbon Project (2018) Carbon budget and trends 2018.

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Narcisistic or delusional? Former BBC reporter admits he did biased reporting

Media Bias, voting behaviour of journalists.Paid by the people to give them the facts, Clive Lewis is proud that he deceived them and delivered a message that served his own interests rather than theirs. From a Jan 2018 story by  Amanda Cashmore For Mailonline:

“Clive Lewis admits broadcasting biased news“:

In 2017 Lewis admitted to biased reporting whilst working for the BBC. At a Momentum rally he stated: “I was able to use bias in my reports by giving less time to one than the other. I reported on both but the angle and words and the language I used — I know the pictures I used — I was able to project my own particular political positions on things in a very subtle way.

This is clearly in breach of the spirit, ethics and whole point of the BBC. Did he think the people of the UK needed his wise but hidden counseling because he’s been born so much smarter than everyone else.

Naturally, we know where people struggling with reality end up in the climate debate. This is Clive Lewis, Jan 1 2019:

Politicians must persuade consumers to make dramatic lifestyle changes if devastating climate change and mass extinctions are to be averted, according to … Clive Lewis.

And we know where public broadcasting reporters go for their next job — The Labor Party. Clive Lewis is now their MP for Norwich South and the the shadow Treasury minister. He’s helped Jeremy Corbyn and is touted to become Shadow Secretary of State for Defence or as Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport should the Labor Party win. Lord help the UK.

It’s exactly this kind of admission that shows why public broadcasters are The Swamp. Where was the outrage?

UPDATE: Commenter Greg says”… but everyone is biased”.

Jo replies: Everyone has biases, but there used to be a time the media would strive to overcome them. If a BBC reporter was called biased, that was embarrassing. Now, every little narcissist is openly biased and proud of it. As if it’s noble to put their own spin on the story while they pretend to be neutral.

How’s the ethics work? One political party get a dedicated propaganda outfit paid for by the public dollar and disguised as non-partisan.

Sell public broadcasters now. Give the money back.

h/t Pat (PS Pat, meant to say thank you for your lovely card which I got just before Christmas, Merci!)

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Rating: 9.8/10 (88 votes cast)

The Sahara may flip from desert to grass every 20,000 years. Blame The Sun.

MIT researchers think they have solved a bit of a mystery regarding Sahara dust, but if they’re right it means the Sahara Desert has already come and gone 3 – 5 times since humans walked the Earth. The Sahara is the largest desert on Earth, and this would be the largest and longest drought “ever” on the planet (as far as we know).

UPDATED: Commenter Javier points out these drying cycles were known years ago. (See below)

This would rather redefine the whole idea of “climate change” — 3.5 million square miles of Green Sahara turns into Dust-bowl Sahara — and it’s all thanks to sunlight. The drought doesn’t just last 7 years, but more like 7,000. And it’s happening over 9 million square kilometers, an area larger than Australia. The major climate models leaned towards the monsoonal cycle, rather than the longer ice age one. So this theory may have resolved one of the 495 contradictions in climate models. Or not. But the bigger message here is that the sun causes climate change and on a massive scale.

h/t to Roger Tallbloke.

The Sahara is the largest dust bowl in the world, dumping 10 million trucks of dust across North Africa and the Atlantic Ocean. The dust can end up as far away as Florida. People tracked the layers of this dust before but thought the highs and lows were driven by ice-ages on a 100,000 year cycle. This new work took a closer look at the layers on the ocean and say they see 20,000 year cycles, which fit with cycles of solar insolation (meaning the strength of sunlight as the Earth rolls around on its axis). It sounds like a long bow figuring out whether there were trees and rain in the Sahara based on layers of dirt on the ocean floor, so keep our skeptical hats on. It could turn out to be wrong. But then again, they are looking at 240,000 years of mud and it fits better with other proxies too, so it has some redeeming features.

solar insolation,Graph, Saharan dust.

solar insolation,Graph, Saharan dust.


Monsoons vary with the solar insolation, as does the level of the Nile River and other stuff:

Keep reading  →

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Midweek Unthreaded

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Forget Marble Bar, Oodnadatta, doesn’t the BOM know the hottest day ever was in Albany?

It’s summer, so the BoM and ABC can’t help themselves.

Map, Albany,, Hottest Town in Australia

Albany, Hottest Town in Australia

Last week Marble Bar “hit an all time record”. This week, it’s Alice Springs. But the Australian BOM still haven’t used their own fabulous World Class ACORN Temperature data to find the hottest day ever in Australia. They’re still telling people it was in Oodnadatta, on Jan 2nd in 1960, but even dumb deniers know that according to ACORN temperatures hit 51.2C in Albany in far south WA in 1933.

[Marble Bar Dec 28th, 2018]   The high temperature occurred at 12:39 pm local time. At that stage, it appeared Marble Bar could crack 50 for the first time — and perhaps even threaten the all-time Australian record of 50.7 in Oodnadatta, South Australia.

Chris Gillham pointed this out the strange anomaly of the cool coastal town that was hotter than a million square kilometers of desert, but four years later the BOM still haven’t resolved the situation. The 51.2C temperature is still there in the data, but the Top Ten Highest Temperature Records remain exactly the same. Is Albany, or is it not, the true record holder?  Or is it that the ACORN adjustments are overwrought, unjustified fandangaling, that ignores 8 lane freeways, and brick walls and has errors so big they can be seen from space?

Bureau of Meteorology Temperature Records

Highest temperature

State Temperature (°C) Date Place name Station no. Latitude Longitude
SA 50.7 2 January 1960 Oodnadatta Airport 17043 −27.56 135.45
WA 50.5 19 February 1998 Mardie 5008 −21.19 115.98
NSW 49.7 10 January 1939 Menindee Post Office 47019 −32.39 142.42
Qld. 49.5 24 December 1972 Birdsville Police Station 38002 −25.90 139.35
Vic. 48.8 7 February 2009 Hopetoun Airport 77010 −35.72 142.36
NT 48.3 2 January 1960 Finke Post Office 15526 −25.58 134.57
48.3 1 January 1960 Finke Post Office 15526 −25.58 134.57
Tas. 42.2 30 January 2009 Scamander 92094 −41.46 148.26

These records not only ignore their own ACORN super high quality data, they also ignore measurements from Observatories too. In 1939 the Windsor Observatory recorded 122F or 50.5C. Even further back in 1909 the BOM had a Stevenson Screen at Bourke Post Office which recorded the monstrous 125F or 51.6C. But that record didn’t count because it was done on a Sunday.

The big question, (apart from why the BoM is so incompetent), is why the hottest ever days in Australia all seemed to occur back when CO2 levels were perfect. This is even after the BOM accidentally boosted all the modern temperatures by switching to electronic thermometers. These accept one-second long heatwaves that no old style thermometer could possibly detect. Not surprisingly, electronic thermometers all over the country have set new records with every gust of a 737.

Despite this huge advantage, the old temperatures are still beating out the new ones.

As for the Alice Springs record of 45.6C yesterday, I note that Alice Springs Post Office in on Jan 14 1883 recorded a whole degree hotter, 46.7C. That’s 136 years of global warming for you.


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