JoNova

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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Within 5 minutes a wave of hot water systems switch on in SA adding 250MW of demand to the grid

We are creatures of habit. Look at the spike caused at 11:32pm as something like 27,000 hot water tanks in South Australia suddenly switch on to use cheaper off-peak electricity. This spike is entirely due to pricing plans. It’s entirely avoidable too, but at least it’s predictable. “Scheduled”.

This peak, allegedly, is only a problem if SA is “islanded” — meaning if it can’t rely on the coal generators in Victoria.

Yesterday people were asking why the South Australian demand was peaking at 1am (and why two hours were strangely missing from that graph). “Hot water” is the answer (at least to the first part).

SA Hot water systems add sudden 250MW of demand at 11:30pm. Graph.

SA Hot water systems add sudden 250MW of demand at 11:30pm. Graph.

This graph comes from the AEMO report in Feb 2016. What follows is their electro-nitty-gritty:

Based on previous experience, and as demonstrated in a separation event on 1 November 2015, maintaining the SA power system in a secure operating state is challenging if there are large changes to the supply-demand balance during a period of islanding.

  • There is a risk of automatic under frequency load shedding if SA is being operated as an island during the hot water demand peak, which occurs at 11:30 pm daily.

Hot water demand peak
Currently the most concerning of these challenges is the hot water demand peak that occurs at 11:30 pm daily. This is a step change increase in demand of approximately 250 MW, shown in Figure 3. This demand peak is controlled by fixed timers and requires considerable effort to reduce the peak through the adjustment of the time clocks at individual premises. While all new meters installed in SA will have randomised time clocks, all existing meters are set to switch at 11:30 pm.

Keep reading  →

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Rooftop solar destroying baseload profitability and proud of it

What other heavily subsidized industry brags about its ability to provide a product for one quarter of the time it’s needed? Vale sunny-day-solar!

Pick a day, an hour, and what are the chances solar will be there for you? A lot less than one in four, because last Monday’s peak in South Australia was an all time record. Every day in the last year was worse.

And so much for cheap… the price when solar power peaked was still close to $50/MWh. Compare that to most of the years of the national electricity market operating when average prices were $30/Mwh.

The price dip at 6am (the black-line bottomless gully), has nothing to do with solar, but was caused by wind power. Far from being useful, essential, or productive, solar and wind power are playing havoc with a normal market, destroying the chance for cheap, reliable energy to find a place. As long as we force the market to accept this non-dispatchable  supply, we are actively punishing reliable power. What investor in reliable energy would look at this and head to South Australia?”

 

SA-Sept17-rrp copy

Giles Parkinson was excited at Reneweconomy: Rooftop solar provides 48% of South Australia power, pushing grid demand to a record low.

South Australia’s level of minimum demand hit a new record low this weekend – barely a week after the previous benchmark was set – with a fall to just 587MW on Sunday afternoon.

We can see what a wild spike this particular lunchtime peak was:

The record eclipsed the previous mark by nearly 200MW – with AEMO data showing minimum demand at 1.30pm of exactly 587.8MW, compared with the previous low mark of 786.42MW posted last Sunday. (See graph above courtesy of Melbourne’s Climate and Energy College).

That is a phenomenal share of 47.8 per cent of the state’s electricity demand being met by rooftop solar (compares with 36 per cent in the previous record last week) and is clearly a record for South Australia, and for that matter in any large grid anywhere in the world.

 Parkinson seems to think a slight dip in exorbitantly high prices is a good thing?

The impact of rooftop solar is being felt in prices – look at the black line that shows prices fall as rooftop solar accounts for a sizeable share of demand during the day.

Yes, let’s look at the black-line price “dip” (but don’t compare it with the long term price for electricity when renewables were a smaller part of the grid.)

The South Australians are in deep:

South Australia is the first region where rooftop solar PV has caused a shift in minimum demand from night time to the middle of the day (most states still have electric hot water being switched on at night, when it would make sense to use the “solar sponge” as Queensland has suggested).

We could reprogram all the hot water heaters to automatically switch on in the middle of the day. Bravo. When it’s not so record-breaking-sunny (which is nearly every other day),  we’ll a/ pay more for hot water, or b/ have cold showers? We could use the hot water tanks to store solar energy — but isn’t that what we make solar-hot-water-heaters for, and aren’t they more efficient at it? Why not heat the water direct instead of using PV cells to generate electricity, then use the electricity to heat the water? Is this the big advance Parkinson is excited about?

How “good” is a market price of minus $44?

Note, also, the negative price of minus $44/MWh at 6am when there was abundant wind and a constraint on the connector with Victoria.

The sign of a screwed market. Let me build a plant and pay you to take my electricity…. How does that work as a free market,  nay, socialist plan –  just fine. Would you like nationalized coal with that? The only company that can afford to run the cheapest generator in the market is one with shareholders who are forced to pay and never ask for a dividend.

It also questions the need for old fashioned concepts such as “baseload”, which would struggle to find a niche in a market dominated by wind and solar, where mostly “dispatchable” and flexible generation is needed to fill in the gaps. Wind energy is already producing more than 100 per cent of local demand at certain times.

Baseload is old fashioned in the same sense that cooking dinner at 6-9pm is. Ninety nine percent of Australia is still living the baseload dream.

PS: There are still subsidies for Solar Hot water systems in Australia, and according to wiki, even after the subsidy it takes nearly 7 years to “pay back” the solar hot water system even in the sunniest country on Earth. (See “costs”.)

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Weekend Unthreaded

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Poor BOM: Dangerous deniers, amateurs, attacking Australian Bureau of Meteorology, debilitating it by asking questions.

Excellent news. Obviously we are getting to the BoM.

This week, Jen Marohasy and I were mentioned by Maurice Newman in The Australian.“Smoking Gun demands Grilling for the BoM”. In response, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has unleashed a double dummy-popping effort in The Guardian.

The BoM could have answered the questions in The Australian, of course, but it’s so much easier to whine, bluster, raise the conspiracy flag and avoid the questions that matter at the-ask-no-hard-questions-Guardian.

Bureau of Meteorology attacks pushed by ‘fever swamp’ of climate denial

Graham Readfearn

Former weather bureau chief says agency debilitated by climate deniers’ attacks

Michael Slezak

It really is an extraordinary rant as the former head of the BoM admits skeptics are “debilitating” the BoM with these “attacks”. The Guardian is so starved of real news, it runs the one-sided name-calling excuses and another separate story discusses it as if it was actually news. While The Australian asks the BoM for a reply and would publish it, The Guardian didn’t ask a skeptic. One of these newspapers acts like a newspaper…

How debilitating are we skeptics? Jennifer Marohasy tells me she sent the BoM questions in 2015, but hasn’t heard back yet. It doesn’t take much to debilitate the million-dollar-a-day agency. Ask a few questions and cripple them for years…

Obviously, the BoM have stopped trying to answer Marohasy, but now they also say they won’t answer our national masthead newspaper either. That’s another scandal to add to the list.

Maybe Rob Vertussy is still hurting from the time I said that Maurice Newman knew more about climate models than he did.

Vertessy spent a decade at Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology. He retired in April 2016 after five years as the agency’s director.

Over that time, Vertessy’s agency was under consistent attack from climate science denialists who would claim, often through the news and opinion pages of the Australian, that the weather bureau was deliberately manipulating its climate records to make recent warming seem worse than it really was.

 When the Bureau makes mistakes, this is how it thanks the volunteers who want to improve the national data:

Vertessy said these sorts of attacks were dangerous.  “From my perspective, people like this, running interference on the national weather agency, are unproductive and it’s actually dangerous,” Vertessy told me. “Every minute a BoM executive spends on this nonsense is a minute lost to managing risk and protecting the community. It is a real problem.”

 It’s all a wicked conspiracy:

Now, the agency is under another wave of attack through the pages of the Rupert Murdoch-owned broadsheet, which is publishing claims made by Jennifer Marohasy, of the “free market” conservative thinktank the Institute of Public Affairs.

The recent spate of trouble for the BoM started when Lance Pidgeon and Jen Marohasy caught the BoM artificially clipping the coldest temperatures from Goulburn and Thredbo. The BoM then took weeks to do an internal review and finally answer that it was — through incredible coincidence — only these two stations, and it didn’t matter (even though it had been going on for years). The BoM admitted the hardware was clipping temps at minus 10.4, but still hasn’t explained why that was then altered to minus ten, which made the original “accidental” clipping problem worse. Maurice Newman not only mentioned this issue, but also discussed the far more serious matters of data being deliberately deleted and one-second-noise was being written into our record books. These are radioactive hot potatoes that the BoM won’t even touch:

Science writer and blogger Joanne Nova has raised scandal after scandal concerning the BOM’s record-keeping.

She refers to historic data being destroyed, and the influence of adjustments on Australia’s warming trend. She reports private auditors advising the bureau of almost a “thousand days where minimum temperatures were higher than the maxes”.

When Australia’s bureau transitioned from mercury thermometers to electronic sensors more than 20 years ago, to ensure readings from these devices were comparable with the old thermometers and complied with World Meteorological Organisation guidelines, parallel studies were undertaken at multiple sites….

A key conclusion was that readings from the new electronic sensors needed to be averaged over one to 10 minutes. However, rather than implement practices consistent with their finding, the bureau records one-second extremes (or noise), which can be announced as new record highs

Vertussy answers these criticisms of missing data, inexplicable adjustments, using sub-standard noise,  and terrible quality-control with nothing but hand-waving bluster. Essentially: don’t be mean, how dare you ask! We’re Experts and you are lowly scum.

So when a shock jock or a thinktank employee claims the bureau is trying to cook the books, how should the public react?

What needs to be front of mind, Vertessy says, is that there is “virtually complete consensus on the extent to which the planet has warmed and why, since the beginning of the industrial revolution”.

“The facts are just unequivocal because they have been replicated so many times, by so many teams, using multiple independent methods.”

He says if the bureau “was really making a hash of managing its climate data” then it would be documented in scientific “journals and at symposia” but “that’s clearly not happening”.

He says it “beggars belief” that these commentators “actually profess to know better”.

Obviously, if he hadn’t deleted all the data he wouldn’t need to over-react.

Vertussy continues spinning wild claims and dodging the real questions:

“Time and time again there has been one independent review by experts after another, all telling the same story. The simple, unimpeachable facts are that the BoM is doing an exemplary job at managing the nation’s climate data and multiple independent reviews have confirmed that and we are recognised by our World Meteorological Organisation peers as being amongst the best in the world; that keeps being restated and restated.

“I think the Australian play on very dangerous ground here,” he says, adding that some editors at the newspaper were guilty of “perpetuating nonsense”.

The truth is the BOM will do anything they can to avoid any independent review. Vertussy only provides one example of a so-called independent review, but that one day wonder used hand-picked people who avoided looking at the points the skeptics raised. It wasn’t independent, and it isn’t relevant, and there are no better examples because there are no independent reviews. The Guardian swallows these fantasy answers 100%. What’s the difference between The Guardian and a PR agency? A PR guys are more honest. They don’t pretend to be journalists.

Graham Readfearn launches into full strawman agitprop:

The current non-story centres on two of the bureau’s 695 automatic weather stations (AWS). As temperatures reached -10.4C in Thredbo and Goulburn in July, a hardware card in the AWS stopped working. This event, detected by the bureau, kick-started several internal quality control processes.

The bureau found four other hardware cards in areas where things can get chilly and replaced them. The cards should not have been used, as they could become faulty at low temperatures.

That’s essentially it.

“No. That’s essentially lying by omission” says Jo Nova.  The Guardian is hiding all the real problems from their readers.

Here come the conspiracy theories again:

But the Australian and the IPA and the network of climate science denial blogs have once again screamed scandal.

What network? Our secret networks are called “bigpond” and “gmail”.

Vertussy even resorts to vague threats:

“But, as the costs of climate change accumulate in the years ahead, I can see that leaders of this climate change denial movement will really be seen as culpable.”

Culpable indeed. As volunteer amateurs we are only guilty of asking questions the BoM doesn’t want to answer.

Graham Lloyd, and The Australian deserve great praise. If they didn’t ask the hard questions and report both sides of the story, who would?

UPDATE: See Jennifer Marohasy’s question for the BOM below from 2015 that they won’t reply too.

_____________________________________

THE BOM LIST grows — Scandal after scandal

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Advert in The Australian describes what real climate change looks like

An advert today describes the real climate change we should afraid of, discusses how past CO2 levels did not cause dangerous global warming, and extra CO2 has a smaller and smaller effect, then connects failed climate models with rising electricity bills.

Climate Study Group, Ice Age, Advert.

Click to enlarge.

The text….

Keep reading  →

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Latest, belated admission the models were “too hot” is all PR and politics, nothing to do with science

Spot the political PR paper pretending to be science: the global carbon budget just got a whopping — four –  times — bigger, but instructions on how to follow the carbon religion are 100% identical.

It’s become too obvious to everyone that the climate models have been complete failures. Thus, the global leeches were facing a crisis as their credibility and motivation drain. So the new paper in Nature Geoscience is just a retweak of the models to produce a number that isn’t so mock-worthy. There is no scientific reason offered, no new understanding of the climate. No one is even pretending that these modelers can explain the way our climate works any better than they did last year when they were utter failures. It’s all a charade. There is no honesty here — if there was, they’d admit the skeptics are years ahead of them.

The new paper is just about “staying the game”, a desperate injection to keep the dying movement alive. All the political messages remain untouched. It’s got everything to do with PR and nothing to do with science.

The numbers change (and nobody ever cared about them anyway) but PR meme is a carbon copy: We can just barely, possibly save the world. (Give us your money.)

To maintain an artificial money pump and a team of volunteer activists, the messaging has to balance on the fine line between being “too hard” and demoralizing the serfs, and being “too soft” and everyone gets complacent. It also obviously has to avoid the “too ludicrous” line and being the butt of jokes. This paper ticks all those boxes. “How convenient”.

The carbon budget was about to burn out too soon

Time for a paper to keep the scam running another 20 years:

The discrepancy means nations could continue emitting carbon dioxide at the current rate for another 20 years before the target was breached, instead of the three to five predicted by the previous model.

Time to neutralize the dire threat of Trump pulling out of Paris

In 2015 the Paris deal was set to save life on Earth and before Trump won, he was the Anti-Christ and going to destroy the planet. The problem with the hype is that he won and called their bluff — for the troops it’s a crushing dose of “no hope left”. Enter the PR marketeers with a press release titled: “New hope for limiting warming to 1.5°C”. Et Voila. Add to that the new “insight” that Trump and Paris don’t really matter as reported in the Telegraph:

They also condemned the “overreaction” to the US’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, announced by Donald Trump in June, saying it is unlikely to make a significant difference.

The press release doesn’t even try to look like a scientific advance. The evidence is from “complex Earth System Models” which mean it isn’t evidence and comes from the same models that didn’t work. So they have had a few assumptions tweaked to fit the facts. Whatever.

From the Press release:

Significant emission reductions are required if we are to achieve one of the key goals of the Paris Agreement, and limit the increase in global average temperatures to 1.5°C; a new Oxford University partnership warns.

Published today in the journal Nature Geoscience, the paper concludes that limiting the increase in global average temperatures above pre-industrial levels to 1.5°C, the goal of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, is not yet geophysically impossible, but likely requires more ambitious emission reductions than those pledged so far.

Three approaches were used to evaluate the outstanding ‘carbon budget’ (the total amount of CO2 emissions compatible with a given global average warming) for 1.5°C: re-assessing the evidence provided by complex Earth System Models, new experiments with an intermediate-complexity model, and evaluating the implications of current ranges of uncertainty in climate system properties using a simple model. In all cases the level of emissions and warming to date were taken into account.

‘Previous estimates of the remaining 1.5°C carbon budget based on the IPCC 5th Assessment were around four times lower, so this is very good news for the achievability of the Paris targets,’ notes Professor Pierre Friedlingstein of the University of Exeter, a co-author on this study and a key expert on carbon budgets for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). ‘The 5th Assessment did not specifically address the implications of the very ambitious 1.5°C goal using multiple lines of evidence as we do here. The ambition of Paris caught much of the science community by surprise.’

Co-author Professor Michael Grubb of University College London, concludes: ‘This paper shows that the Paris goals are within reach, but clarifies what the commitment to ‘pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C’ really implies.

Pretends to be a science paper but openly dictates energy policy:

‘Starting with the global review due next year, countries have to get out of coal and strengthen their existing targets so as to keep open the window to the Paris goals.

As James Delingpole says:

Note the disingenuousness here.

Grubb is claiming that the facts have changed. Which they haven’t. Climate skeptics have been saying for years that the IPCC climate models have been running “too hot.” Indeed, the Global Warming Policy Foundation produced a paper stating this three years ago. Naturally it was ignored by alarmists who have always sought to marginalize the GWPF as a denialist institution which they claim – erroneously – is in the pay of sinister fossil fuel interests.

Allen’s “so it’s not that surprising” is indeed true if you’re on the skeptical side of the argument. But not if, like Allen, you’re one of those scientists who’ve spent the last 20 years scorning, mocking and vilifying all those skeptics who for years have been arguing the very point which Allen himself is now admitting is correct.

… that word you were looking for to describe the current state of global warming science is: “Sorry.”

ABSTRACT

(Political phrases bolded by moi)

The Paris Agreement has opened debate on whether limiting warming to 1.5 °C is compatible with current emission pledges and warming of about 0.9 °C from the mid-nineteenth century to the present decade. We show that limiting cumulative post-2015 CO2 emissions to about 200 GtC would limit post-2015 warming to less than 0.6 °C in 66% of Earth system model members of the CMIP5 ensemble with no mitigation of other climate drivers, increasing to 240 GtC with ambitious non-CO2 mitigation. We combine a simple climate–carbon-cycle model with estimated ranges for key climate system properties from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. Assuming emissions peak and decline to below current levels by 2030, and continue thereafter on a much steeper decline, which would be historically unprecedented but consistent with a standard ambitious mitigation scenario (RCP2.6), results in a likely range of peak warming of 1.2–2.0 °C above the mid-nineteenth century. If CO2 emissions are continuously adjusted over time to limit 2100 warming to 1.5 °C, with ambitious non-CO2 mitigation, net future cumulative CO2 emissions are unlikely to prove less than 250 GtC and unlikely greater than 540 GtC. Hence, limiting warming to 1.5 °C is not yet a geophysical impossibility, but is likely to require delivery on strengthened pledges for 2030 followed by challengingly deep and rapid mitigation. Strengthening near-term emissions reductions would hedge against a high climate response or subsequent reduction rates proving economically, technically or politically unfeasible.

Years from now this paper will be cited as another example of the way Nature sold out and became a mindless political tool.

REFERENCE

Miller, R.J. et al (2017)   Emission budgets and pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 °C, Nature Geoscience, doi:10.1038/ngeo3031

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Abbott vows to cross the floor against any new renewables subsidies — most of Parliament should be with him.

Democracy in action.

Fully 62% of Australians don’t want to pay a pitiful $10 a month for renewables. They are already paying more, therefore at least two-thirds of our parliament should be voting “No” on this. Why is Turnbull even toying with this?

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has threatened to cross the floor of Parliament and vote against any move to introduce a clean-energy target, describing as “unconscionable” any move to wind back support for coal in favour of renewables.

In his first interview with his former chief of staff Peta Credlin on Sky News’ Jones & Co on Tuesday night, Mr Abbott described climate change as “very much a third order issue”.

He suggested Liberal MPs had “extremely serious reservations” about the government’s clean energy target, and said last year’s power blackouts in South Australia had influenced the attitude of Liberal MPs to renewable energy.

“I think there is no chance that our party room will support any significant increase in the amount of renewables in our system.”

Asked whether he would support an attempt by Mr Turnbull to legislate for a clean-energy target, Mr Abbott replied: ”It would be unconscionable, I underline that word unconscionable, for a government that was originally elected promising to abolish the carbon tax and end Labor’s climate change obsessions to go further down the renewables path,” he said.

The Turnbull government has a one-seat majority in Parliament, underscoring the potential of Mr Abbott’s threat to do real damage to the government.

Limit the damage ASAP:

Asked by Ms Credlin if he would scrap subsidies for renewable forms of energy, Mr Abbott said: “We have to respect people who have made investments in the existing system. We don’t want additional sovereign risk factors bedevilling our economy.”

But he said there should be no further subsidies: “There should be no subsidies for further solar and wind because this is inherently unreliable.”

At this point our market is so screwed the government may have to build a coal plant, because the subsidies and weather-alchemy-rules have made it impossible for the private sector to do what they have done for most of the last century.

Mr Abbott also suggested governments should build coal-fired power stations.

“Power generation is an essential service and if the market won’t build coal-fired power stations, if the market won’t build base load power, the government has got to,” he said.

The unspoken problem here is how to unscrew the market so the government can get out of the generation business.

Let’s let people tick “green energy” or “coal” on their personal power bills and adjust their electricity prices accordingly. Then we’d find out how many Australians really want a renewable energy target. That’s true democracy where people vote with their wallet.

Send a message to your rep.

Keep reading  →

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Alan Kohler dreams of banning combustion engines in cars in Australia

You have to hand it to The Australian – they will publish both sides. Take this (please, take it): “Our energy policy still stuck in coal country”. This is Alan Kohler, bless him, who doesn’t get it and dreams of a nation of motor-heads “going electric”. But, wow, ouch, watch how he reasons it out… not with numbers and graphs (he’s the numbers man on the nightly finance report) but with pop psychology?

The idea of an Australian government banning petrol and diesel cars to promote public health seems especially remote right now: we can’t keep the lights on as it is, having closed a few fossil fuel power stations.

But you can bet that the Coalition government and its media supporters will argue that the electrification of transport makes it even more necessary for there to be more “baseload power” from coal-fired power stations — how could we possibly charge millions of cars, and run millions of airconditioners and fridges if we let Liddell close in 2022?

And you can fix that Mr Kohler, how?

Wait for it…

This is the underlying reality of Australia’s energy debate: a majority of the government does not actually believe the science of climate change. Not really.

Politicians are generally in it for the public good. If they all believed in global warming, there would be a bipartisan energy policy.

Fergoodnesssake, If politicians all believed in being skeptics there would be bipartisan energy policy too.

If half of Parliament are skeptical, it is exactly as it should be in a representative democracy. Fifty percent of Australians are skeptical, but too scared to say so on TV for fear the ABC will call them a denier.

If belief were baseload we could run our cars on polls instead of petrol.

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Taxpayers give $300m to Saudi billionaire for solar plant that makes 2% of old dying coal plant’s power

It will only take 50 plants like this, and $15 billion spare dollars, to replace the Liddell coal station (8,000GWh), now slated for closure in 2022.

$300m handout to Saudi tycoon for solar farm

Australians are set to pay $300 million in subsidies to an outback solar farm owned by a Saudi Arabian billionaire in a new test of the federal government’s looming energy reforms, escalating a dispute over whether to cut the handouts to keep coal-fired power stations alive.

AGL’s controversial Liddell coal power station in the NSW Hunter Valley generates 50 times as much electricity as the Moree solar farm in the state’s north, which stands to gain big subsidies from households from higher electricity bills until 2030…

But we need more chinese-built glass panels that make green weather-controlling electrons.

Lucky solar power is so competitive. Look at the money roll…

The Moree solar farm generates 150,000 megawatt hours of electricity a year, about 0.08 per cent of the 200 terawatt hours produced on the national electricity market every year. The project is forecast to collect about $50m in payments over the next four years and $90m in the following decade under the existing RET.

Subsidies piled on subsidies? Does one gravy train know where the others are going?

These subsidies, funded by electricity customers, will add to taxpayer aid including a $101.7m direct grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and a $60m concessional loan from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

AGL is getting even more:

The Australian yesterday reported that AGL stood to receive $589m from the grants and subsidies for two solar projects over the period to 2030,…

Solar is the future, my foot.

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Former NASA GISS climate scientist reveals incompetence, junkets, best model called “jungle” of code

Dr Duane Thresher who worked seven years at NASA GISS describes a culture of self serving rent-seekers, mismanagement and  incompetence. These are the top experts in the climate science field that we are supposed to accept without questioning. Those who say they are working to “save the planet” care more about their junckets than they do about the data or their “best” model.

NASA GISS’s most advanced climate model is run from the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Thresher recounts a story from someone on the inside:

“NASA GISS’s climate model — named Model E, an intentional play on the word “muddle” — is called the “jungle” because it is so badly coded.”   I know this to be true from my own extensive experience programming it (I tried to fix as much as I could…).

Thresher writes about how the team was happy to take taxpayer funds and spend it on unnecessary conferences which were “loads of fun” while they scrimped and saved on things like data security and incompetent tech staff. Secretaries and mail boys were hired for jobs they were not qualified for. At one point data was lost when exposed plumbing leaked in the computer room.

One of the guys hired/promoted to provide tech support was the NASA GISS mail boy. He was a good kid so why not give him a high-paying tech job?

Similarly, a NASA GISS secretary was hired/promoted to provide tech support. She was very nice but c’mon.

Another of the guys hired was so incompetent a bunch of the climate scientists finally got together and demanded Jim Hansen, head of NASA GISS then, fire him, WITHOUT REPLACEMENT. Tech support got BETTER after that.

While I was nearing completion of my dissertation at NASA GISS, an exposed water pipe to the bathroom overhead broke in the computer room, destroying thousands of dollars worth of computer equipment and data, including mine; the “data recovery” by incompetent NASA GISS tech support destroyed even more. To start, you should be shaking your head and saying, “why are there exposed bathroom water pipes going through a computer room?”

 Even though flights are a large contributor to carbon emissions, climate scientists were keen to fly for fun:

Even though nowadays conferences could easily and more efficiently be done as teleconferences, climate scientists love to travel to FUN places for conferences, paid for by the taxpayer. We were no different, as we said in AGU’s “Climate Change: Believe It Or Else” Prize

At some climate conferences, climate scientists can even donate some of their conference travel money to offset the carbon emissions from the travel. The tiny number of participants would make Scrooge blush.

He wanted to be a whistleblower but the media weren’t interested

I wanted to be like FBI agent Mark Felt, who was the Watergate informant Deep Throat, or Edward Snowden, the NSA informant. Secretly supplying inside information to bring down a government agency gone bad. (Due to lawmakers actually hating whistleblowers, Snowden isn’t covered by whistleblower laws, but I might be.) I even tried that at first (did you know that you can’t simply email information to WikiLeaks but have to use Tor, which can be a bit of a hassle?).

Journalists weren’t interested. This shouldn’t have surprised me. Read Glenn Greenwald’s No Place To Hide, which is about Edward Snowden and the NSA. Snowden practically begged Greenwald for months to take his information but Greenwald was too lazy. The Washington Post (which also stalled Snowden), The New York Times (“Pravda On The Hudson”), and the rest are worthless at this point so we became our own newspaper. Recognize our masthead font?

Thresher is pressing a case against Gavin Schmidt, current head of NASA GISS, for violations of the Hatch Act. (Quote: “…the Hatch Act, …forbids government officials from spending government time and money on political activities.”)

What usually happens is that money for specific projects is pooled to pay the grad students, although usually there is one big money project paying the lion’s share. That means that many grad students are paid off grants for specific projects but are not working on those projects. I remember once at NASA GISS having to write up a progress report for a project I didn’t really work on but was paid off of. That is the definition of “misspent”.

Our article, Top NASA Climate Scientist Uses Private Email To Avoid Oversight, describes well Gavin Schmidt’s violation of the Federal Records Act while at NASA GISS. But we’ve only briefly touched upon his violation of the Hatch Act. Here is my email to the NASA OIG agent that describes the Hatch Act violation best.

He advises skeptics and commentators to use FOI to go after the money instead of the data.

“The data is often fundamentally flawed. How you process it after that is irrelevant. Garbage in, garbage out. “

 

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