JoNova

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Let’s burn forests and millions of dollars! It’s another Nanny-State business “success”

7:30 Report, ABC

Nothing succeeds in flagrant waste quite like Big-Government.

Following in Soviet footsteps with gusto, politicians of all persuasions manage business failure on a grand scale. Did you miss yet another case-study on 7:30 report from last week (see the segment there)?

A mass of taxpayer-funded forests designed to make Australia self sufficient in plantation timber and paper are now being burned by land owners as the companies running the schemes collapse amid allegations of rorting, fraud and mismanagement.

The Howard government made plantations a tax deductable investment, and then the Rudd and Gillard governments made it even worse — broadening the rules in 2008 to include trees for “carbon sequestration” (which perversely could still be logged). Lo and behold, two and a half million acres of taxpayer funded forests were planted. What could possibly go wrong? Just a few things:

1. The bottom fell out of the timber market. There is no demand for the wood and the trees are not worth harvesting, so the forests are being burnt and the land reclaimed for other purposes.

2. Whole districts of farming communities were upended by the artificial boom and bust, as farmers sold their properties to the plantations, which are now largely broke, collapsed, and mired in legal trouble.

KAREN STEPHENS: Now, you can imagine how you just take 70, 80 jobs out of a community overnight. Nobody came running to us to say, “Can we help Casterton?”

3. As a nation Australia lost the useful products that could have been created from that land. The nation also lost the taxes that would have accrued, both from the investors who avoided paying tax and from the lost opportunities of businesses which might have done something useful with the capital, the land, and the workers.

GREG HOY: Sure enough, disaster struck. The bottom fell out of the timber market. Scheme after scheme has imploded. Only in plum plantations near seaports is timber harvested. Governments still won’t confirm the total tax revenue squandered on this grand scheme.

DAVID MARSHALL: I would estimate a minimum loss to government of $5 billion.

4. Investors lost millions.

GREG HOY: In the Victorian Supreme Court, Australia’s largest class action involving 20,000 investors against Great Southern grinds on. At the 11th hour, former forest manager Gavin Ellis now says he will give evidence he personally discussed concerns that the company had misled investors with Great Southern’s founding director John Young.

5. The generous tax minimization scheme appears to have attracted less than honest players who produced prospectuses which misled investors.

GREG HOY: 7.30 has obtained documents from the former Great Southern Group revealing internal data on past and forecast timber yields. Prepared by key executives including company director and general manager of forestry Gavin Ellis, these figures are very different from numbers used in Great Southern’s prospectuses. We’ve shown them to agribusiness analyst David Marshall, who feels strongly investors were misled.

DAVID MARSHALL: A lot of this information has been hidden and buried, etc., but it’s slowly coming out. Internally their general manager forestry, the director of forestry on the board, they were submitting papers to the board showing that the average growth rate and the stumpage price – they’re the two key drivers of the return on a timber investment – both of them were between 40 and 60 per cent below what the prospectuses were saying.

SAM PATTON, AGRIBUSINESS VALUATIONS AUSTRALIA: They could make these statements and yet no-one was independently auditing on behalf of taxpayers so there was just this unilateral lack of accountability by government in not supervising them.

6. In the end, the only people who profited from these schemes were the promoters:

Young, seen here in the garden of his plush Perth mansion, heavily sold shares in Great Southern before the company collapsed. In court he’s already spent almost $2 million mounting a vigorous defense.

Despite the abysmal record governments have in business, the Rudd government tells us we need a carbon market. The global emissions trading scheme was at one time forecast to become the largest single commodity market in the world, bigger than oil or wheat. The proverbial market-disaster, waiting to happen. It’s a market in atmospheric nullities in the third world, where both demand and supply are set by a foreign, unelected government, and the end “product” is nicer global weather?

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180 comments to Let’s burn forests and millions of dollars! It’s another Nanny-State business “success”

  • #
    Bob Malloy

    Could we not have turned it into wood chips and sold it to Britian to power their power stations, anything for a dollar.

    sarc/


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      The failure here was pretty comprehensive. Even the woodchips were not worth transporting:

      “This all revolves around a con,” says Belcher. “This is a classic example of the government trying to pick winners and failing. If I were a bookie and the government kept coming up to me trying to place a bet, I would love it, because the government just can’t pick a winner.”

      Belcher says that the enthusiastic tree planting of the late 1990s and early 2000s has created a glut of woodchips. He estimates that the forests are now producing up to seven times the amount of woodchips needed to meet demand. A real market would have spotted this and been more cautious in its investment. However most people, he says, weren’t in it for the trees; they were in it for the tax.
      \http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2010/05/27/2911388.htm


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      • #
        Bob Malloy

        Just pretend this is Qi, and I’m Alan Davis, often giving the wrong answer knowing I will lose points in the process. Then, I was being sarcastic.


        Bob, fair point. You did have the /sarc. I wasn’t correcting you, just adding detail to the ridiculousness… – Jo


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      • #

        A rough calculation indicates that if the Drax power station is fully converted to wood-burner, it’ll be needing about 15 million tons of wood a year. The initial proposal was for the stuff to come from North America where peak forest yield is about 1 ton/acre/year so they’d be clear-felling 15 million acres (6 million ha) of prime forest a year to feed just the one power station. That’s “sustainable” if they have about 30 years of forest available … i.e. 450 million acres (180 million ha). They have about 800 million acres (320 million ha) of it so sending more than half to the UK to burn at one power station shouldn’t be a worry. :-)

        (Never mind the fatalities in the inherently-dangerous logging industry; many times more dangerous than coal mining.)

        There’s another 80% of electricity demand to fill in the UK and Australia is very large. Tassie has “huge” forests (less than 2 million ha) so they’d be first to benefit while our mainland national parks are ploughed for monoculture forestry while the existing 147 million ha are harvested.

        It’s a small sacrifice in the name of sustainability.


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          Grant (NZ)

          I think Bernd that 1 ton/acre/year would be the average annual increment. A 25 year old crop of radiata pine will yield a recoverable volume of 600 to 800 tonnes per hectare.


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          • #
            Wally

            You dont want to burn Radiata Pine. That is all planted for house building. If you burn it, it makes too many sooty residues. Well known to all those people in Australia who heat their houses with wood burning stoves in the winter: too much pine = chimney fires. Use it sparingly.

            Radiata pine is OK for house building and grows fast. For biomass power, you’d have to use something else.


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            • #
              Rereke Whakaaro

              New Zealand manufactures Radiata into chipboard, which is used as a flooring material. I seem to remember that Australia does the same thing, based on a close look at the floor in a Sydney jazz club once. I had been drinking a NT beer called Thunderbolt, although I can’t remember why …!


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            • #
              Grant (NZ)

              I wasn’t suggesting burning radiata – too low a calorific value. All I was saying was the 1 ton/hectare is a very low yield and was trying to give a picture of what a normal commercial forest yield looks like in this part of the world.


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            • #
              AndyG55

              “You dont want to burn Radiata Pine”

              And avoid cypress like the plague. The turpentine in it burns really hot and quick, but darn does it make a mess of your flues.


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          • #

            My source of information is US Department of Agriculture with a quote peak yield of 80 cu ft/year/acre and a “standard” density of 30 lb/cubic foot.

            I worked out the 1 tonne/acre/year earlier this month in a discussion at WUWT. Did I mess up my calc’s or interpreting the USDA report?


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              Grant (NZ)

              You need to multiply the 1ton/acre/year by the rotation age. Then divide your 15 million tons input by the tons per acre at rotation to give the area required. 15 million acres is actually the total area of resource you would require to have sustainable system. You could effectively cut 1 ton from each acre every year in perpetuity – the forester’s ideal – a perpetual forest.


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              • #

                Oh… I see where I cocked up.
                Yes. 15 million acre-years required.

                Where’d you get the rotation on wood for biofuel? I was thinking well over 30 years for the high-calorific timbers, knocking them down as soon as they begin to look like trees to “cash in on the carbon”. Obviously the “carbon price” corrupts what would otherwise apply; based on the annual increment levelling off and looking at the economic costs of harvesting vs market price. I’ve found this older PDF relating to saw-log rotation ages and they run up to 100 years.

                The sheer volume of the fuel is also significant when it’s transported by land and shipped across oceans. It’s not like oil or gas where one can build a pipeline. Wood has about half the density of black coal and somewhat lower calorific value; about half of that of the best steaming coal; though some wood (e.g. Jarrah) compares quite well (per kg) after kiln drying.


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            • #
              mullumhillbilly

              The wood yield calcs in the above thread are mostly way too low. Although the eucalypt prospectus forecast yields were in many cases too high, at eg 35-40 cubic metres of wood per hectare per year,1 ton/acre is not even one-tenth this much. The prospectuses didn’t overestimate by a factor of ten, not the mainstream ones anyway.

              A reasonable expectation for short rotation eucalyptus on a good growing site would be at least 10-20 cubic metres per hectare per year over 10-15 years. (Thats the economically harvestable part, total biomass is higher). Typical young eucalypt wood density is 0.5-0.6t/m3 dry, or say 0.4t/m3 dry for radiate pine. On longer growing cycles, eg say 25-40 years, average yields per ha per year work out ot be much lower because the forest productivity slows down as it approaches a plateau, the “carrying capacity” of the site as set by available light, moisture and rooting depth. For example, a mature 40 year old eucalypt forest may have 150-200 m3/ha standing timber, or radiata pine 300-400. (Again, higher totals for biomass vs saleable timber)

              The MIS forestry schemes were a good idea brought into disrepute by unscrupulous promoters and dealt the fatal blow by the GFC. In many cases the growth rates and time frames were reasonable, but the fees were excessive and forecast prices too high, meaning that the “investment” was only viable because of the tax deductions. The loss of future jobs and processing industry in the regions is one of the worst outcomes from the collapse of the schemes, others are the damage to our balance of trade, and to the overseas forests where harvest will be intensified. IMHO, any current glut in wood chips is a temporary GFC thing, and efficiently grown biomass is a valuable resource. Unfortunately, the lead time for building up supply again, should we need it, is at least 10 years.

              I don’t really buy the argument of lost food production.


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              • #
                Gnome

                Thanx MHB for an injection of reality.

                Other problems with the schemes were the use of overpriced unsuitable land, poor species selection and poor management. They weren’t planned to produce a harvest of timber, just of gullible investor’s money.


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        • #
          turnedoutnice

          The problem with Drax is that the CEO is an eco-fascist who is determined to destroy the environment.


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      • #
        Wally

        In South Australia the non-govt fad of the late 1990′s was planting grapes. We were all going to get stinkin rich flogging cheap wine to the world.

        There’s been no huge outcry over government waste there, just a lot of small silly people very slowly losing their shorts.

        We used to drive through the Adelaide Hills back in the late 90′s and early 2000′s and just shake out heads in wonder at the folly of all that new planting.

        Timber plantations were just the same madness but for some reason dressed up with all the tax based allure and wonder of all the other agri-schemes: Trees, almonds (Remember them?), Olive planatations (glut of Oz olive oil now – much of it very good, too, but shame if you are a producer). Emus, and there were more.

        These things seem to go in cycles where the madness of crowds leads people to over invest in some sector of the economy. Adding tax incentives is like pouring petrol onto the fires of madness.


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    • #
      Jon

      Ummmm if this group, http://www.fuckforforest.com/, hears about this burning of Forrest in Australia they might come down under to demonstrate?


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    • #
      DougS

      Yes Bob the UK is slowly returning to the Bronze Age, with Drax converting to wood burning – for no other reason than to pick up subsidies paid by the long-suffering taxpayers.

      The amount of brain cells attributable to the power-wielding political elite is in the low single figures!


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  • #
    cohenite

    Good work Jo; you are a fine investigative journalist [sorry, I know that last word is almost an insult!]. You put the soft minds and egos of the msm to shame.

    Perhaps a similar investigation into the money spent on wind and solar installations; that would show an even worse waste of money; eye-bleedingly worse I suspect.


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      Ian Hill

      The final words on the video clip from the Casterton Mayor were something like “unless the Federal Government learns something from it, nothing’s been gained”. It got me thinking exactly the same thing cohenite. In a few years time a report along the same lines about tackling-climate-change wastage will almost certainly be made. It can’t happen until a state-wide power blackout occurs though.


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      • #

        ““unless the Federal Government learns something from it, nothing’s been gained””

        That’s not a “gain”. The point of Australian taxes is not to teach the Federal Government.


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        • #
          PeterB in Indianapolis

          A government is not a person, and, as such, cannot learn anything. A government is an entity composed of committees. As Robert A. Heinlein once said, “A committee is a life-form with six or more legs and no brain”. As such, it is impossible for such an organism to “learn” anything whatsoever.

          Hopefully this WILL teach the people of Australia (and elsewhere) that about the only thing government is good for is wasting the wealth of the people. Then perhaps something will truly be gained from this fiasco.


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          • #
            Bulldust

            Honestly I have seen quite the opposite of ‘learning’ in government in the last few years. Because of the mining boom many of the good operators left to industry for the money. What remains is a mix of dross and a handful of good people who prefer the hours versus pay balance of civil service.

            Imagine several booms and busts over a generational time span with the same impact each time. Then imagine what the resulting impact is on the quality of the civil service.

            Especially frustrating for effective employees is generally having to work for supervisors who gravitated to the top because of the boom and bust power vacuums. Couple this with far too many layers of management and you start to understand why many of the problems occur in goverment.

            Anyone who thinks governments are effective or efficient institutions are seriously deluding themselves.


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          Joe V.

          The point of Australian taxes is not to teach the Federal Government.

          :-)
          With so many Greens in Government (by which I don’t just mean the party types) that is a quaint notion.


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            Greg Cavanagh

            Sadly, I’ve been around enough times to know that the people who come up with these hair-brained schemes simply do not know why they failed. They blaim this and that for its failure. They believe in their heart that their scheme is a good one.

            They do not learn, they can not learn. Even if their advisors tell them not to go ahead, too many times they ignore their own advisors. They are simply fools in control.

            What I’m baffled by is how they keep managing to get into those possitions of power so frequently. Is it truely fools hireing fools like them?


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            • #
              Rereke Whakaaro

              Is it truely fools hireing fools like them?

              Yes, and it is called “democracy”; which although a bloody awful way of running anything, it is infinitely better than any other alternative that has been tried.


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                PeterB in Indianapolis

                It may be called “democracy” but actually it isn’t democracy, it is bureaucracy. Bureaucracy happens when a “government agency” is run by an appointed head (who is not voted on by the people) who then populates said agency with “like-minded individuals”. There is nothing democratic about this.

                As most people do not actually know, the United States isn’t supposed to be a “democracy” at all; rather, it is SUPPOSED to be a Constitutional Representative Republic.

                If you don’t know the difference, do some research. The “Founding Fathers” of the United States realized that “democracy” inevitably in every case leads to tyranny, so they designed a Constitutional Representative Republic in order to try to prevent tyranny from happening. It lasted for a while, but it is quickly approaching tyranny status at this point.


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              • #
                Greg Cavanagh

                PeterB in Indianapolis

                That is exactly the point I was trying to make. Not the politician directly, but the government department under him that makes policy decicions on his behalf.

                I work in Local Government, and I see exactly this problem time and time again on a smaller scale.


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              • #
                Bulldust

                This is undesriable why again? Because elected politicians are better decision makers, especially in new portfolios, than long-term bureaucrats? Methinks you need to think this through a bit.

                Politicians can readily overrule departmental advice in any case. Also departmental heads are appointed by politicians (often with bad results). These heads tend to populate the next teir or two with their mates etc. The political tendrils go at least 2 or 3 layers down in most departments, and trust me, this is often a bad thing. I saw first hand the crippling of a state department because of a poor political appointment to the top position. A lot of really good people left to industy as a direct result.


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  • #
    JMD

    As if I need to say it, yet again, they control your money. Yes Jo, they do have a perpetual fountain of cash, yours.

    The question is what are you going to do about it? Judging by the fact that I’ve barely read or commented on this site in at least six months, and here you are still bitching, I’d say nothing.

    And you probably still think gold is entirely useless.


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      PeterB in Indianapolis

      You obviously haven’t read much of anything on the site in the past six months if you think that Jo thinks that gold is useless… perhaps you should check in a bit more.

      Also, why would you assume that EDUCATING PEOPLE about all of the issues which Jo takes the time to educate people about is the equivalent of “doing nothing”???

      One person can’t do much of anything about these types of things without first educating and convincing a whole bunch of other people that something actually NEEDS TO BE DONE. This is perhaps the primary, most important step in accomplishing anything truly useful.

      There is a profound difference, my friend, between bitching and education. You might want to learn that yourself.


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      Backslider

      So what have you done JMD? Big nada me bets.


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      Ace

      I think hes right.
      I mean, really, hes singing from my songsheet…sort of.
      Obviously I have no interest in Australian politics. Sorry Ozzy friends but your entire population is less than that of Shanghai. So its only ever going to be of interest to you among yourselves.

      Basically, what I keep saying is otherwise similar: you will never defeat the Green ideology by reason. green thinking is a cultural phenomenon. Like hemlines or hair length. reason and science will never influence such things. How could they? They are aspects of culture. Culture can only be influenced by cultural action.

      It matters not one whit WHAT happens in the objective world, the green ideology will continue to dominate until sceptics learn to leave the rationality aside and go for the gonads.

      YOU (Im out of this, I just watch from the sidelines) have two choices. Sit there and moan about it while the Greens still have it their way for the rest of your mortal days. Or else, no more Mr Nice Guy.

      The problem with you sceptics, you are too genteel.


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        PeterB in Indianapolis

        It is hard to “go for the gonads” when the people you are fighting against have none of their own.

        Emotional arguments always win in the short-term, but the truth always wins in the long-term. The key is, do we have time to wait for the truth to “win”? I believe most skeptics would still answer that with a “yes”.


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        • #
          Ace

          “Emotional arguments always win in the short-term, but the truth always wins in the long-term’
          So we can see an end to …er., for example, racism, sometime soon then can we?

          No, rationality plays very little part in human affairs.


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          • #
            Winston

            Ace,
            The reason we haven’t seen an end to racism is that there is a very lively industry in propagating and perpetuating it.


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              Ace

              You mean there isnt one propogating CAGW? Its called the Green Movement. What you’ve just said only supports what I said previously.

              However, xenophobia is an innate human propensity like falling in love and nothing, whatever, ever will change that.


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                Backslider

                However, xenophobia is an innate human propensity like falling in love and nothing, whatever, ever will change that.

                This is perfectly true, but don’t the PC crowd want to shoot you for it?

                Being civilised is more about how our intellect is able to govern our perfectly natural base instincts.


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                Ace

                Thats true, but we are straying from the point. The rule Of Green will continue irrespective of reason, economics, science or anything rational, unless it is contested in its own terms at the level of culture.

                For example. instead of pointing out coolly how Green policies hurt the poor, it would be vastly more effective to create a charity that explicitly define its role as being to help poor communities afflicted by green policies. Instead of delivering rational critiques of abstruse data, you will at some point have to resort to modifying peoples perceptions and associations on a non-rational level. after all, this is EXACTLY how the Greens came to practically dominate all political agendas.

                You cannot fight panzers with horse cavalry. Ask the Poles.


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                Backslider

                it would be vastly more effective to create a charity that explicitly define its role as being to help poor communities afflicted by green policies

                That is a fabulous idea!


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                Ace

                Backslider….or anyone else, feel free to circulate that idea but please, people, think laterally and come up with similar ploys of your own. Very few people have the time and opportunity to actually make such things happen. They often need others to prompt them.

                This is what I mean by cultural engagement.

                Another idea: create winter drop-in centres for elderly people at risk of hypothermia because of Green taxes on heating energy. Give them a name that cannot be divorced from the CAGW responsibility. Something like “Enviro-Lifeboat” or “Warmist Refuge”.


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            PeterB in Indianapolis

            Ace,

            Your faith in your fellow humans is astounding. Rationality plays a HUGE role in human affairs. Individual human actions are determined by informed self interest.

            Self-interest can only become truly informed through education.

            The fact that the “greens” have power is a testimony to their ability to take over the societal educational infrastructure, not a testimony to the idea that “rationality plays very little part in human affairs”.

            Greenism, Racism, and virtually any other “ism” you can come up with are all the result of the ability of the elite to mis-educate the people. The only way to cure that is to correct the mis-education. There simply isn’t any other way to accomplish things.


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              Ace

              PeterB I know you are being ironic, but no, the only thing I have faith in is not human and is infallible.

              As a psychologist I can tell you rational self interest has vanishingly little to no influence in determining behaviour. All action requires the rapid processing of myriad qualittive inputs. A task which it would be impossible to perform rationally. It would be like the pilots of an airplane manually controlling ever valve and nozzle using analogue levers and switches. Quite literally impossible. No, automated systems are necessarily involved in determining sub-routines and judgements. Evolution has emplaced similar systems in all sophisticated animals. Every minute of your life your brain is making decisions you are completely unaware of. If you like you can call it your unconscious. These sub-routines are tiered upwards into the arena of conscious decision making. so that even when you think you are making a rational decision, it isnt, its a culmination of multiple strands of unconsciously processed inputs and learnings.

              To give an example, the perception of a given randomly selected Eco zealot may be determind by many things. All of which have been discussed on forums such as this. Not least being their self-image. People spouse poltical positions for how it makes them feel about themselves. Eg, saving the planet. In my case Im an asshole so I feel good about supporting things they think are trashing the planet (strip mining I love to endorse)..just to feck up their cosy picture. But do I really want the planet trashed?

              I cannot really access everything that goes on in my head and neither can you see into yours and neither can anybody else. What we who study human behaviour DO know for certain is that you cannot change a persons world-view through reason or argument. We DO know, DEFINITELY, of methods for changing peoples orientation. And reason plays only incidental roles in it.

              I think your faith in humanity is very undeserved.

              Well explain the Shoah? Did space aliens do it? Arent Germans Human?


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                Ace

                …oh yeah, your evidence supports my view: the education system brainwashes kids you say. How is that anything to do with rationality? The elite you refer to dont get their viewpoints out of thin air. So where do they come from? The culture they live in, like everything else about them, from the way they dress to the language they speak. Unless you tweak the culture, you dont tweak the elite, and your education system goes on inculcating what that elite dictates.


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                Backslider

                Every minute of your life your brain is making decisions you are completely unaware of. If you like you can call it your unconscious. These sub-routines are tiered upwards into the arena of conscious decision making.

                This is true, however these also can still be governed by your conscious decisions.

                The sub conscious is a very powerful thing. One technique that is use all the time in problem solving is to simply study a problem, without banging my head trying to figure it out. I will then sleep on it. Most times the next morning things fall into place very easily – my subconscious has worked on the problem I studied.

                Today somebody presented me with a problem. I said “Let me think about it”. I did no such thing, however within just a few minutes a solution popped into my head.


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                Ace

                But Backslider, when you say
                “This is true, however these also can still be governed by your conscious decisions.”..you overlook the obvious question, hidden like the tree in the forest, which is.how do you know what unconscious factors influnced and determined what you think of as you conscious decision?

                You dont. Consciousnss is what emergs out of unconscious processes. Quite literally, an emergent property. Dont ask m to look them up …but experiments commonly show that people exercising “conscious” decisions are invariably “deciding” what to do AFTER their brain has made the decision to do it. we are talking nano-seconds. But nough to make the point. Consciousness and our actions, our opinions and beliefs are elements of an existential spectacle which, like at a movie, is watched, witnessed and experienced by, something unknowmn, undefined and elusive. What people used to call a “soul”. Something which is identical for everybody, has no beliefs, views or decision making capacity.


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                Ace

                …if you dont like that, then try the Phenomenological version, the Daseine,of Husserl and Heidegger. Well Heideggr was a card carrying NAZI, so what did he know?

                Actually nobody really knows…theyve been trying to figure out his writings for decades.


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                Yonniestone

                “Heidegger Heidegger was a boozey beggar who could think you under the table”


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                Ace

                “Hobbes loved his dram

                Rene Descartes was a drunkenm old fart
                I drink therefore I am.”


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                PeterB in Indianapolis

                Ace,

                You need to study Austrian Economics (which predicts real human behavior far better than Keynes ever could).

                Further, to say that “the majority of human action can be explained by “rational self-interest” is not the same as saying “all humans are rational”, although I believe that the vast majority of human beings can be TAUGHT to be rational.

                Your example of the eco-zealot does not really apply, because such a person self-demonstrably isn’t rational.

                The example of the Germans DOES apply, because the VERY FIRST THING that is in a person’s rational self-interest is SURVIVAL. I know a few Germans whose parents lived through World War II. In virtually every case, what has been recounted to me is that the VAST MAJORITY of the German populace detested Hitler and thought he was a thorough nut-job; however, they refrained from publicly saying so, because they didn’t want the SS to come and take them away. Therefore, they were clearly serving their own rational self-interest at the time by doing what they felt that they had to do in order to stay alive.


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      CameronH

      Actually JDM, It was largely thanks to this site and sites like this that got stopped the first Rudd CPRS. The deluge of mail, phone calls, and emails to all LNP members which resulted in the sacking of Malcolm Turnbull and replacing him with Tony Abbott was mainly instigated from sites such as this.


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    Dave

    Forests in Queensland,

    Drive north from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast, and when you pass the Bribie Island turnoff, there’s pine forest from there all the way to the Caloundra turnoff.

    ALP Treasurer Andrew Fraser said (in 2010) the 99-year licence for the timber plantation business would be sold for $603 million to Hancock Queensland Plantations.

    The sale includes about 35,000 hectares of freehold land, which is about 10 per cent of the total estate. Great freehold (do what you like).

    Mr. Fraser had dealings with former Labor deputy premier Jim Elder who had access to a senior FPQ officials but never declared his role with Hancock on the lobbyist register.

    This Queensland scam has lost over 200,000 hectares through criminal contacts within the ALP.

    The land area is now worth a bloody mint for development, which the idiots in the ALP in 2010 had no idea what the freehold 99 year lease could eventually be worth. They only wanted the money. The Greens and ALP are probably the most corrupt group of politicians Australia has ever seen.

    This example above is the reverse of the stupidity as shown in Jo’s article above, but it eventually all comes down to greed.

    These pine plantations should have been donated to us as Australians, and Universities, CSIRO, National Parks etc to start one of the worlds biggest regeneration projects on earth.

    I’m a Greenie that cares for the environment, not this crap about windmills, CO2 is a toxic gas shlt, but with development of recreational areas, study facilities, this Pine Plantation is now a thing of the past, pissed up against the wall by greedy politicians.


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      Gnome

      $603 million is a lot of money.

      You would rather this be donated for a regeneration subsidy slurper? I work diligently during winters as a (local Council supported) rainforest regeneration volunteer and we have trouble finding enough funded regeneration projects for the surplus trees we produce. No-one could afford to fund regeneration on $603 Million worth of land.

      Do you understand what the terms “freehold” and “lease” mean? I certainly can’t understand your term “freehold 99 year lease”. Freehold land is still subject to planning provisions.


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        Dave

        Gnome,

        The freehold title goes to the new owners that have a 99 year lease period to pay off.

        The land is no longer owned by Queenslanders, this land could have been used for many things, Universities, CSIRO, recreational, regeneration of portions of the land etc, it’s so close to many different habitats in the South East and now will eventually be lost to development.

        The freehold 99 lease was sprouted by Mr. Fraser not me.

        The government should have only leased out the forestry or timber only, and kept the land for future use. It was simply after the cash.


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      Wally

      Dave you are being too hard on the ALP.

      We had Liberal Party Govts here in South Australia with a mania for flogging things off too. They sold the state lotteries and various other institutions for a song – something like 1/10th of the normal commercial value. And the person responsible for that was never held to account.

      You should not point the finger so much at political PARTIES as being corrupt. They are not THEY ARE JUST STUPID.

      The politicians who get in on either side have little or no business sense and have no idea of value of anything. They are usually also poorly advised.

      There are a few who end up (on both sides) with their trotters in the trough. Mostly though what we deal with is the actions of stupid people.


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    AndyG55

    And yet we import usable timber from Malaysia.

    Go figure !!!

    Next time you go to a timber yard, ask where the timber for your decking and building frame is grown. Unless you ask specifically for Australian timber. It isn’t grown here. Even a lot of the so-called Australian timbers are not grown here.

    We have this massive country, capable of so much.

    Seriously, what went so wrong.!


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    • #
      Dave

      AndyG55,

      On average, each year, every Australian consumes the equivalent of about 1 cubic metre of harvested log in the form of timber products, including timber for home building, heating, joinery, furniture and paper products. That’s a fair bit of timber for every Aussie.

      Today, 2013 about 70% is imported. Think IKEA, housing, etc.

      We’ve (Australia) totally failed as timber growers, harvesters, processors, and manufacturers of end products. Now we ship hardwood (Eucalyptus species) to China and then import the finished product. Most of our house frames are pine, not hardwood, OK, but my choice would be an Aussie Hardwood frame. Preferably the Bribie Island Pine (Cypress) that is tough as teak, and white ants won’t go near it. Or maybe steel, but even the BlueScope stuff comes from Asia now.


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        Yonniestone

        Dave, around the mid 80′s the pine or softwood house frames had overtaken hardwood built frames, and consider the ability to make pre-fabbed roof truss’s and walls made it very attractive for house builders to go large scale.

        Personally I prefer hardwood (F8 grade) to softwood (F5 grade) for longevity, old builders would let a hardwood frame sit for months exposed to the elements to dry and let any movement take place, the frames were grey and hard as hell but would never move under a completed house.

        Also the steel has been coming from overseas for years now and I question the quality and kg per M specs as well, just as well engineers factor in X 3 the structural integrity when building.
        Australia had quality BHP steel made here so we didn’t have to import, there was once a sense of pride about our achievements now we are burdened with a sense of guilt.


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    • #
      jorgekafkazar

      AndyG55 says: “…We have this massive country, capable of so much. Seriously, what went so wrong.![?]”

      Parasitic labor unions.


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    Sceptical Sam

    This is yet again a classic lesson in how to look after yourself.

    Never invest in a project that relies on the whim of government for its viability. When they change the policy – which they invariably do – you loose. If it doesn’t stand on its own against your assessment of the market – not government – risk then stay with the conservative settings to preserve your wealth. Gold for inflation; cash for deflation.

    What’s your current setting?


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      PeterB in Indianapolis

      With most of the major governments of the world rapidly printing fiat money as fast as they can, you might think hyperinflation was inevitable, which, if it lead to a massive deflationary depression (because everyone finally figured out that all fiat currencies were, in fact, completely and utterly worthless), then the ONLY answer you can come up with is silver and gold and perhaps even copper. You SHOULD have at least some of each, although don’t throw all of your eggs into the commodities basket.

      It seems like the federal reserve (and its lesser cousins around the globe) are doing a pretty good job of convincing the general public that “everything is ok” so for now, equities are still a reasonable place to be, especially since that is where all of the banks are putting the $85 billion a month they are getting from the Federal Reserve. Interest rates are so low that they can’t make any money loaning it out, so the banks just buy stocks and drive the prices up… might as well be along for the ride while you can.

      Ultimately, if there is hyperinflation followed by a depression, at least you can buy food, clothing and shelter with gold, silver, and even copper. Paper fiat money won’t be able to buy you ANYTHING under those conditions.

      The key is (for me anyway) to have some gold and silver now while still having exposure to rising equity markets. The trick is going to be knowing when to get OUT of the equities markets and (even more importantly) OUT OF CASH, because the absolute worst thing that can happen to anyone is to be “cash-rich” when cash suddenly becomes completely worthless. Not going to be an easy trick unfortunately….


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    • #
      Wally

      Ha ha ha – how about the changes to the FBT rules.

      I had the chance for a novated lease car a few years back – save money blah blah blah. The company that administered all this was McMillan Shakespeare. I looked at their financials and liked it so much I bought shares INSTEAD of doing the car lease thing.

      I lost my nerve and sold the shares when they doubled in price. Since then the shares went to 10x what I paid for them. My concern though was that the company would be wiped out by a single change to Govt policy.

      A couple of weeks ago – hey presto – change to FBT rules and McMillan Shakespeare goes into a trading halt. No idea what the shares are worth now – probably nothing.

      There’s another big dirty tax secret in Australia: health care and charity workers get a lot of things tax free – its worth about $5K to $10K PER EMPLOYEE in benefits.

      One day that one will come unstuck too (as it should – why should there be protected sectors of the economy?)


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    John Brookes

    These projects were obvious scams right from the start. Greedy people trying to reduce their tax while other greedy people steal their money.

    I was in QLD quite a few years ago, and was told the story about clearing the Atherton Tablelands (I think). You could log as much as you wanted – and this lasted for a few years until about 2% had been logged – and then they got tired of waiting and burned the rest.


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    Brian G Valentine

    I feel bad for the wildlife that made residence in these woods.

    Wait till you see what a lot of windfarms look like when the government stops paying land owners rent to have turbines there.


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    By the “standards” of the “progressives”, the plan was a stupendous success. Vast amounts of wealth was wasted on the start up of the program. Even more wealth of lost opportunity was wasted during the running of the program. Then on the final collapse and burnout, additional vast amounts of wealth was/will be wasted. The inevitable bailout of the guilty parties is yet to come.

    The guilty parties will have made out like bandits, the economy has all but collapsed, and the honest and productive citizens lost almost their entire savings as well as their ability to create still more wealth has been largely destroyed. This result was the guilty parties’ goal from the get go. It can’t be “for the children” because the productive wealth of the children has been pointlessly consumed/destroyed for many generations to come.

    One question: Why are the guilty parties repeatedly voted into office to do more of the same? The US, UK, Australia, wherever makes no difference. It’s the same scam. It is the destruction of wealth and the canabolisim of productive lives for its own sake. There is no such thing as an innocent and honest mistake that huge. It was intentional.


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      John Brookes

      and the honest and productive citizens lost almost their entire savings

      I assume you are talking about the investors here, and I’m not sure “honest” and “productive” are the best adjectives available. “Greedy” and “gullible” seem more apt to me. If you are heading to the end of the tax year, and someone explains that you can dramatically cut your tax bill by investing in tea trees, or macadamias, or olives, or plantation forests, then you are driven by greed. If you believe that something set up to capitalise on strange laws and greedy people will eventually turn a profit, then you are gullible, and I’ve got a magic pudding to sell you…

      A few years ago, a lot of pensioners in Western Australia lost money to shonky mortgage brokers. I felt sorry for them until it was explained to me that they were enticed into the dodgy schemes by a rate of return a couple of percent higher than they could get elsewhere. They were greedy, not willing to accept the normal rate of return.


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        Backslider

        They were greedy, not willing to accept the normal rate of return.

        You really are pathetic John. If they were greedy, then so also were those who accepted a lower return – both invested. It is perfectly natural for somebody investing to seek the best returns. That these people were lied to does not make them greedy.

        Next time you think of the word “gullible” John, just take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror.


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      • #

        I presume you are speaking from your own experience. The world you live in must be one of shaky deals, fast bucks, and exchanging little of value for something of greater value by deception, lies, slight of hand, and the gun of government. You might call it sharp business practice. I call it theft, extortion, and a protection racket.

        I question that you have much real understanding of a real economy in which real people create real values to trade with other real people who create other real values. Do do that you must be honest and genuinely productive. It is these people who have been cannibalized to feed the non-productive parasites who dance, prance, and preen themselves as being the political elite. They pretend to live on a higher plane than we mere mortals. They feel that it is beneath them to earn their living so they steal it from those who don’t.


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        PeterB in Indianapolis

        John,

        Virtually all of human action is motivated by informed self-interest, which you mistakenly call greed.

        If investors are gullible, it is because they are misinformed, not properly informed, or outright lied to. If they are greedy, then that is good, because it is in one’s own informed self interest to have enough resources to provide for oneself, one’s family, and hopefully have some left over for investment, luxuries, donations to charity, etc.

        The least productive jobs are “government jobs” because government employees PRODUCE NOTHING (other than regulations, which are not a product in the true sense of the word). These regulations then lead to further NON-PRODUCTIVE jobs in the private sector. All of this non-productive “work” actually bogs down the economy, because it creates market distortions.

        True GREED, according to the real definition, is indeed bad… it is one of the seven deadly sins. We do see real greed on an unfortunately regular basis. However, the desire to have a lot of money and wealth IS NOT EQUAL TO greed in all cases. As I said earlier, virtually all individual human action happens due to informed self-interest, which is not the same thing as greed. I think a lot of people confuse these concepts, as it seems you do in your comment.

        Sure there is evil in the world, and there is REAL greed in the world, but the main source of the problem is the market distortions created by governments which enable the truly greedy to behave that way and completely get away with it.


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        • #

          I suspect that according to John, simply wanting to keep the products of your honest efforts and use them for your own purpose is greedy. However, to submit to his taking them to “help” someone else and keeping only a little bit for himself is not.

          The bottom line, those who confuse acting in your own rational self interest think that simply because you earned something you have no right to it. Others, have a right to what you earn precisely because they did not earn it. THIS is what they call “social justice”.

          .


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        Chistery

        I’m afraid I’m one of your “greedy” and “gullible” people.
        Lots of people become wise after the fact. A few turn into sneering know-it-alls.

        On your claim of greed. All theses investor were not trying to cheat on their tax, just trying to minimise it. The government incentived investment into agribusiness in order to encourage it. All perfectly legal and obviously welcomed by the government. In my opinion, if you are not trying to pay the correct and minimun tax, then your a idiot for handing over your more tax than you need to, to clowns like Rudd.

        On your claim of gullibility. The largest class action in Australias history is underway against Great Southern and previously Timbercorp. By your logic, lots and lots of people are gullible. Or possibly, it was a plausible investment, backed up on historical data, which turned out to be fabricated. Oh and by the way, everyone knew it wasn’t a risk free investment, but that is different to being a scam.

        Finally, a fair number of investers borrowed the money for the wood lots through Great Southern finance. Turns out that loan came from Bendigo Bank. If the class action is successful, the loans will be wiped and Bendigo will be down by hundreds of millions in bad debt. Stupid, greedy, gullible, Bendigo Bank share holders … any fool could see that coming!


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  • #
    incoherent rambler

    It has been projected that there could ultimately be up to 233 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the area.

    Talking S.A. Cooper Basin.

    Is this real or bull?

    If it is real why are we investing in anything else?
    That is a lot of black gold, 2.33e11 * 100 = 13 zeroes


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    • #
      Bulldust

      It’s a relatively new area of interest and exploration, tight gas etc. Do some research at the SA department that deals with petroleum resources. Could also check Federal sources or CSIRO to get some validation.

      There’s a big difference between resources and reserves BTW. ‘Recoverable’ reads like a resource estimate, without more context. The key words missing are ‘at a profit.’

      Resource = natural endowmenta of a mineral.
      Reserve = portion of a resource that is economically extractable at current prices and with current technology (costs), which could be none at all, depending on the example.

      But yes, Australia is also blessed with a lot of shale and tight gas, in addition to coal seam gas. Lucky bastards we are.


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      • #
      • #

        Costs of recovery have plummeted in oil & gas since directional drilling became common practice. Fraccing makes recovery even more economically viable.

        Canada is “economically” recovering oil from tar sands which is much more energy intensive and capital-intensive. An OPEC price above USD$80/barrel makes many extraction technologies viable. Indeed, it makes gas- and coal-to-liquid viable; as shown by South Africa, etc.

        South Australia should be jumping for joy. The government can collect royalties and use them to lend money to build gas-fired power stations consuming a sovereign resource. They have the opportunity to make “cheap” energy available; attracting manufacturing and processing industries with export potential to really vitalise their economy.

        Were it not for national radiophobia, SA could have, decade ago, built a couple of nuclear power plants to provide abundant, reliable, “cheap” electricity to industry, commerce and households. Instead, they’re paying insignificant, unstable and inconsistent “generators” well over the resale price, for tiny amounts of generated electricity.


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        • #

          I hate it when I happen upon a new, relevant reference seconds after posting!

          NEW TECHNOLOGY FOR OLD FUELS:
          Innovation in Oil and Natural Gas Production Assures Future Supplies
          Robert Bryce, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute

          Technological Advancement Unlocks Resources

          For decades, various prognosticators have been claiming that we will exhaust our supplies of oil and gas. Much to their chagrin, that hasn’t happened. Instead, reserves of both fuels continue to grow. Although we cannot know which technologies will prove to be most important in the future, we can look at two promising innovations that may affect future hydrocarbon development.

          While smart dust and drones could be added to the technology portfolio, it is readily apparent that the industry will continue improving the tools that it has always used: drill rigs and drill bits. As the industry’s ability to produce hydrocarbons from shale—the world’s most common form of sedimentary rock— improves, there is good reason to assume that oil and gas production will continue apace. Indeed, as technology advances and unlocks more resources, industry analysts are having to rethink their assumptions about the future availability of oil and gas.

          Perhaps the most striking reexamination of global energy resources occurred in 2009, when the International Energy Agency more than doubled its prioryear estimate of global gas resources to some 30,000 trillion cubic feet—enough energy to last for nearly three centuries at current rates of consumption. In 2008, the agency had estimated global gas resources at about 14,000 trillion cubic feet. The IEA changed its estimate in response to the soaring production of gas from shale deposits, coal-bed methane deposits, and other so-called tight gas locations. The impact of the surge in natural gas production was so profound that in 2010, the Paris-based IEA was openly discussing the “global oversupply” of natural gas and the “duration of the gas glut.”

          Conclusion
          Cheap, abundant, reliable energy supplies are essential for economic development. Despite many decades of dire predictions of energy shortages, along with the calamity and economic problems that would come from such shortages, the world continues to increase production of hydrocarbons. Those increases are a direct result of continuing innovation in the drilling sector, and those innovations provide plenty of reason to assume that oil and natural gas will remain dominant players in the global energy market for decades to come.

          Oil and gas prices will only continue to rise if there are anti-competitive market forces; government legislating or cartels price fixing. The power of cartels to fix prices is vastly diminished if the resource and the supply chain to the consumer is no longer substantially under the control of the cartel(s).

          Governments are substantially in control of who gets to drill, where and when.


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    janama

    There area around the upper Clarence where I live is surrounded by these plantations. Great Southern Plantations was one of the major ones till it went belly up. Initially it was a savior for the farmers around my district as they could lease the land and get an annual return. The other major forest leases went to the State forests and those leases are still operating.

    The reason the plantations are now being ripped up is because the trees need to be thinned regularly so they can grow tall and straight making them suitable for timber but since GSP folded they have been left unattended. There was also the question of whose trees are they, the farmer or the companies? So while the courts argued the point farmers were left in limbo.

    I noticed recently that one major plantation had been removed, large earthmoving equipment had cleared the paddocks ripped them and returned them to pasture. The ones that still exist fail to grow because they are now so close to each other none of them get decent light to grow.

    It’s a damn disgrace


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    Skiphil

    Unfortunately, all the ridiculous windfarms cannot be removed so easily when that govt sponsored scam finally implodes.

    Btw, don’t any of the parasites care about all the evil “carbon” being uselessly emitted by the conflagration of these failed schemes??


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    • #
      Brian G Valentine

      When the turbines are left drifting in the wind, obviously out of use, and rusting, they are a marvelous sight to behold.

      So are hectares of solar panels, overgrown with weeds.


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    blackadderthe4th

    IMPORTANT newsflash!

    Arctic methane ‘time bomb’ could have huge economic costs

    ‘Scientists say that the release of large amounts of methane from thawing permafrost in the Arctic could have huge economic impacts for the world.

    The researchers estimate that the climate effects of the release of this gas could cost $60 trillion (£39 trillion), roughly the size of the global economy in 2012.

    The impacts are most likely to be felt in developing countries they say.

    The research has been published in the journal Nature.
    Continue reading the main story
    “That’s an economic time bomb that at this stage has not been recognised on the world stage”

    Prof Gaile Whiteman Erasmus University

    Scientists have had concerns about the impact of rising temperatures on permafrost for many years. Large amounts of methane are concentrated in the frozen Arctic tundra but are also found as semi-solid gas hydrates under the sea.’

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23432769


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    PeterB in Indianapolis

    Has anyone considered the CO2 emissions (let alone the emissions of ACTUAL pollutants) caused by the burning of these “forest plantations”??? How much carbon tax are these (defunct) companies going to be charged for all of these emissions?? Also, burning the trees is eliminating a CO2 sink, which will lead to even higher emissions.

    I would think that the “greenies” would be having a fit, and DEMANDING that these companies be REQUIRED (regardless of their current financial status) to pay the full amount of the current carbon tax for every ton of CO2 emitted by burning these forests down!!


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    john robertson

    Sounds like a massively successful scheme by govt standards.
    Massive amounts of taxpayers funds got moved around, each little fiefdom took its cut and enriched their backers and relatives, now the handouts are over, the bankruptcy games begin.
    Taxpayer gets to foot the bill, no one one with in govt will be held responsible.
    Klectocracy 1 Taxpayer -5.
    Business as usual.


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    klem

    I’ve been visiting this blog for a few years now, and when I see what’s going on in Australia each week it makes my country seem almost sane.

    Is Australia going insane, or has it always been this way?


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    Ace

    Whats your country anyway.


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    Ace

    In Britain we had the Ground Nut Scheme…only it wasnt in Britain, it was in Africa.


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      Other_Andy

      And then there was ‘Tulip mania” in Holland.


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        Ace

        AND THEN…crikey, I didnt know the ground nut fiasco was THAT long ago.


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        Brian G Valentine

        In Italy around the turn of the 20th century, uranium and radium from autonite minerals around Northern springs made the spring water slightly radioactive, and the health properties of this water were touted in the exports of it. A few microcuries in every bottle!

        Can’t find it sold anymore I don’t think


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          Ace

          I trump that with the TV doc Ive got that shows how betwen Madam Curie and the Cold war radioactive ingredients were added to myriad supposedly health enhancing household items. You could get special radium water enhancers in which you put your drinking water to give it a healthy glow before consuming it, for example.

          The mad part is that now physicists are saying that crap was actually healthy!!!!

          Meanwhile, the wildlife around Chernobyl has been shown to be considrably healthier than in control areas. And BIGGER. That part the makers of Godzilla movies did get right. Hilarious!

          But Im afraid, as for “Them”, no ants that big wouldnt be capable of necssary respiration (arthropods are limited in scale by the inverse ratio of surface area to volume relative to size).


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            Ace

            …dont forget “Radox” bath salts. Thats why they gave it that name. Radiation was thought healthy in those days.


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            Brian G Valentine

            Radioactivity is good for you.

            So is CO2 in the air. So is fertilizer and pesticides.

            The most harmful thing to human health I know of is unemployment. The biggest cause of it that I am aware of is greenies, progressives, and other parasitic forms of life that pule and cry at the Government, who then tries to “help” civilisation by making people unemployed

            By the thousands. Tens of thousands. Hundreds of thousands


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          Backslider

          And where do you think the name “Coca Cola” came from? We have long since been banned from all the good stuff……


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          Geoff Sherrington

          At Bad Gastein around 1900, a very large complex admitted I’ll visitors to take the waters, waters that were quite radioactive. There were professional medicos taking detailed notes for decades. Texas A & M held a symposium late 70s??

          One unchallenged finding is that staff who worked longest in the high radon environment suffered fewer ailments related to radioactivity than did long term patients with lengthy exposure and IIRC, lived longer before death from all illnesses.

          The radon levels are quite high on the scale of alarmism. One could go bats in these caves.


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    handjive

    Off topic, but “Great Moments In Science:”

    Swedish researchers create ‘an impossible material’ by mistake

    “Called upsalite in honor of the university where it was discovered, the material features a surface area of 800 square meters per gram.
    It’s got the highest surface area measured for a synthesized alkali metal carbonate.
    And in addition, upsalite is filled with empty pores all having a diameter smaller than 10 nanometers.

    This means that it can absorb — or more accurately, adsorb — more water at low relative humidities than the most advanced materials currently in existence.

    Once refined, upsalite could significantly reduce the amount of energy required to control environmental moisture in electronics and in drug delivery.
    It could also be used in hockey rinks and warehouses.
    Perhaps more crucially, the material could be used to suck up toxic waste, dangerous chemicals, and oil spills.
    .
    As opposed to the close-minded green-envito thinking of “a finite world” resulting in failed concepts like “peak oil,” here is an example of “Open-Ended Resourceship.”

    “The open-endedness of entrepreneurship is an implication of the fact that, in the words of Joseph Schumpeter, “there is no law of decreasing returns to technological progress.”
    New knowledge and discovery open up the opportunities for more and greater discoveries from a rich, non-inventoried earth.”
    .
    Quite so.


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      Ace

      Im not intereseted in Sweden or Swedes, a nasty little passive-aggrssive social-fascist country that passively supported and aided both Hitler and the USSR.


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        Mark D.

        Passively?
        Ace,

        How about “in a businesslike fashion”

        How about “you scratch my back, I won’t kick your ass”

        And Hitler preferred blondes.

        By the way, I think you’ve described their power elite. The rest of their folk are pretty fine.


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          Brian G Valentine

          They do tend to view other “Europeans” as a rather dirty lot, Italians at or near the bottom


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          Ace

          Call me slow but it took me a day to figure out your point. Its not valid.
          WHY…during the Cold War did the Swedish air force train to shoot down RAF aircraft en-route to attack targets in the USSR. By the logic of your argument, theyd have allowed them through.


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        handjive

        Ace, though this is about Austria, it is related to what you say:

        Hey Greens, You Sure You Want to Deface This Particular Statue?


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          Ace

          Yes…but aint the text sooooo genteel. As Ive pointed out before, Greens have now killed several times as many people as the NAZIs. Many of the top NAZIs, including Hiyler, were said to be very pleasant, charming people at a personal level. In fact, they made Greens look like NAAZIs by comparison.

          That article illustrates why sceptics arent really achieving anuything. Instead of politely oicking away at naughty statue defacers they should be out defacing the statues of the opposition.

          For a start, there needs to be a concerted campaign to rewrite and keep rewritten the Wikipedia page about Rachel Carson. I tried it a few times but the host of Green Gaurdians removed my modest additions almost instantly every time. Sceptics need to add a whole section to that page setting out, basically, why theres about 250 million deaths on her record, then keep that addition in there…by simply going on and re-logging it repeatedly.


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        Otter

        What about Lubos Motl?


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  • #
    David Wood

    A prime example of the truth of Christy’s dictum. “If it’s not economically sustainable it’s not sustainable’.
    Self evident when you hear it, and such a tragedy that politicians don’t (or won’t) see the unintended consequences of the subsidies they are so fond of using to try to buy votes.


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  • #

    In days gone by, those Pine Plantations were the scam they turned into. Worthless shares in what turned into a worthless product.

    There was one large one at the Northern end of the Gold Coast, just slightly to the North of Helensvale and it was hundreds of acres of Pine trees, planted in an area wholly unsuited to Pine. You’d drive to Brisbane from the Coast and see these weedy looking things stretching off into the distance. The scam duly collapsed, and the land was all bought up by developers in the mid 80′s and they opened up a new housing development where all those useless Pines once stood. Called it Studio Village. Now it’s a pretty large Gold Coast suburb.

    So, then can something like translate across to Wind Power?

    I’ll show you why they call these detestable things Wind Farms, and how I detest that term farm used here.

    The new Snowtown Wind plant is proceeding apace right now. Proudly, in this press release at this link, they say here:

    Besides the jobs, TrustPower will pay 24 farmers $2.4 million in total annually for the next 25 years.

    $2.4 Million for 25 years comes in at $60 Million all up.

    Now that doesn’t mean that those 24 farmers will receive $100,000 each as they pay by the tower on your land, so 90 towers at $2.4 Million comes in at $26,667.

    90 towers on 24 farms, so the average comes in at 4 per farm, some more some less.

    Have a large farm where 6 of these are sited and the farmer could be getting $160,000 a year. Hey, nice work if you can get it, but it entails no work at all. Hey, why would you even bother farming with that extra income, Anything else would just be spending money.

    Now, this bribe rare honour for having the tower on your land is not done out of altruism, as that money needs to be recovered, and that is done via an increase to the unit cost of the electricity they generate and then sell to the grid.

    So, Snowtown is a 270MW Wind Plant and running at the average 30% Capacity Factor (not at the highly theoretical claimed 42% which no wind plant on Earth has achieved) the total power generated each year comes in at 710GWH of power a year. (or 710 million KWH)

    $2.4 Million dollars spread across 710 million KWH comes in at an increase in wholesale power sold to the grid of 0.33 cents per KWH, not much you may think, but right there, that’s one tenth of the cost of generating coal fired power, just in bribes rent paid to the farmers lucky enough to have the wonderful moving sculptures on their land. A further increase on top of what is already a monstrously expensive highly inefficient method of generating electrical power.

    Every farmer/land owner who has these things on their land is paid for it, so that 0.33 cents/KWH for just this one plant may not seem much, but there are 15 of these plants just in South Australia alone, and 30+ of them across the Eastern States.

    I’m also wondering if, at the end of the 25 year life span, who pays for their removal.

    Wind – Never Cheap – Never delivers.

    Tony.


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  • #
    Manfred

    …not at the highly theoretical claimed 42% which no wind plant on Earth has achieved…”

    “The funneling effect of Cook Strait and the Manawatu Gorge exacerbate the resource’s potential, making the Lower North Island the main region for wind generation – 70 percent of the nation’s current installed capacity lies within this region, with some turbines recording over 50 percent capacity factor in this area.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_New_Zealand


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    • #
      Backslider

      with some turbines recording over 50 percent capacity factor in this area

      For how long?


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      • #
        Manfred

        The strength and consistency of New Zealand winds means the nationwide capacity factor is high compared to other countries, averaging between 30 and 35 percent, with some individual turbines recording capacity factors above 50 percent. However, the excellent wind resource doesn’t come without consequences – the strength and consistency of winds at the West Wind Wind Farm have caused several turbines there to suffer premature bearing failures.[8]

        ^ Bradley, Grant (8 June 2011). “Wellington winds too windy for wind farm”. New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 4 June 2012.


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        • #

          Have they also run out of real Engineers in NZ?

          Bearings don’t wear out prematurely if they’ve been designed for the application. The design of bearings (and their selection) was(is?) not only covered in undergraduate mechanical engineering courses, the necessary selection criteria and methods are also “printed” in bearing manufacturers’ catalogues. (e.g. slewing rings (10MB PDF))


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  • #
    Manfred

    Of course I agree Tony, even at a little over 50% the cost-benefit ratio is appalling, given the considerably cheaper choices. It’s a rort, pure and simple, natural, like the wind.


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  • #
    RoHa

    O.K., that one didn’t work out so well. But that’s the result of having Government in the process.
    I’m offering investors a chance to get in on the bottom of these non-government investments. Watch your money grow.

    1. Tulip bulbs! The market for these is going to boom!
    2. The South Sea Company is still accepting investment.
    3. Florida real estate. How could you go wrong with this?
    4. Make money the modern way by investing in an internet company.
    5. With a relaxing of burdensome government regulations, mortgage-backed securities are winners!

    Send cash in used notes direct to me, and I will invest it where it will do the most good.


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  • #
    pat

    glad Timbercorp got a mention in the broadcast. remember, watch your Super:

    Wikipedia: Great Southern Group
    One of Australia’s other leading managed investment scheme companies, Timbercorp, had also gone into administration the previous month…
    Great Southern and its nearest industry rival Timbercorp were estimated as having 43 per cent of all managed investment schemes (MIS) business in Australia. In contrast to other MIS industry participants, for which MIS activity is only a small part of their operations, managed investment schemes were 100 per cent of Great Southern Group and Timbercorp’s business…
    The Great Southern Group relied significantly on financial planners and accountants recommending their MIS products to investors. The company was paying commissions of ten percent – high by industry standards, and similar to those paid by other failed investment businesses including Westpoint Corporation and Storm Financial. It was also spending a lot of money on recruiting financial advisers to sell its products. One report indicated that A$137 million was spent on “commissions, marketing and promotion in two years to 2008″. Some accountants, with Great Southern’s support, were recommending the agribusiness investment schemes, though they did not have a financial services licence; one report suggested over half of Great Southern’s MIS sales were coming through accountants, often tax specialists from small practices. These practices had been questioned for several years by the corporate regulator ASIC and some market analysts, and were widely criticised following Great Southern’s collapse…
    There had been criticism of MIS companies generally, and Great Southern Group (as the largest company in the sector) in particular, suggesting that their appetite for land for plantations and agribusiness was driving up land prices in some regions, and distorting some commodity markets. In 2004, Great Southern’s leading competitor Timbercorp reported a rise in plantation land prices from around A$3,000 to around A$6,000 per hectare in just five years…
    Some farmers claimed that MIS were driving up prices in agricultural water markets…
    Analysis of the MIS failures of Great Southern Group and Timbercorp focused on several factors. First, critics argued that some MIS investments resembled Ponzi schemes, where securing financial returns for existing investors relied on attracting new investors rather than on successful economic activity…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Southern_Group

    Wikipedia: Timbercorp
    Timbercorp, a now-defunct managed investment scheme within Australia from 1999 to 2008, was established to manage superannuation and investments in agriculture…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timbercorp


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  • #
    sophocles

    Was the Carbon Tax paid before during or after the forest fires?

    Lot’s of CO2 being emitted :-)

    Danger: Global Warming vandals at work!)


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  • #
    pat

    former Treefarm Operations Manager for Timbercorp, Aaron Soanes:

    CO2 Group Ltd. Aaron Soanes
    Mr. Aaron Soanes is Director and General Manager – Operations of CO2 Australia Limited and is based in Wagga Wagga office. Aaron is responsible for the operational component of plantation establishment, land acquisition, management and development of the sequestration models and associated data collection and analysis. Aaron was previously Treefarm Operations Manager for Timbercorp where he managed all treefarm operations in the Victorian, South Australian and Western Australian regions…
    http://www.reuters.com/finance/stocks/companyOfficers?symbol=COZ.AX

    as if we didn’t know! (subscribers only):

    20 July: AFR: ETS move good for carbon traders
    http://www.afr.com/p/national/ets_move_good_for_carbon_traders_1lg2zzfW331Sv84xwVEeCI


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  • #
    pat

    can’t get this to play at all:

    VIDEO: 18 July: Age: Carbon farming ‘way of the future’
    Opposition environment spokesperson Greg Hunt says local carbon farming is the way of the future, not international carbon pricing…
    http://media.theage.com.au/news/national-times/carbon-farming-way-of-the-future-4579658.html


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    • #
      handjive

      Well Pat, it worked for me, and only strengthens my resolve not to vote for this LNP alternative & equally immense and pointless waste of tax payer money environmental boondoggle.

      Also, as Shadow Environment Minister, Greg Hunt should be all over the latest science and acknowledge the pause in the global warming as so many have, but, Hunt has an environmental agenda, and truth & honesty are not part of it.


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      • #
        handjive

        P.S. It’s only a “pause” when it starts up again.


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      • #
        AndyG55

        HJ, I understand your feelings about this, but the thing you need to realise is that the direct action plan can easily have its plug pulled any time, unlike an ETS or carbon tax. That is the only plus in the situation.

        I agree its a waste of money, but its not locked in and its not subject to the whims and vagaries of the EU mafia brigade.

        Not voting Lib could mean that the ALP gets back in.. not a good idea at all !!!!!


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        • #
          MemoryVault

          Hey, I’m with you Andy.

          All the LNP have got to do, is offer farmers a tax incentive (at taxpayer’s expense), to abandon productive farming, and give the land over to tree planting – to “sequester” that “derdy carbon”.

          Then the LNP can spend $300 million (at taxpayer’s expense) to force 15,000 kids into a “work for the dole” scheme, so they can plant the trees (supplied at taxpayer’s expense). They could call it “The Green Army”. They can sling Greenpeace and the WWF an extra $100 million (at taxpayer expense) to “oversee” this Green Army. They will be grateful, both for the money, and the opportunity to recruit another generation of voters for the Australian Greens.

          And the absolute beauty of this scheme is the LNP can “pull the plug” anytime they want.

          That means cancelling the incentives to the farmers and sending them broke, so they can go on the dole (at taxpayer’s expense). I’m sure they will be grateful and will subsequently vote LNP forever after. Not to mention the psychological lift it will give all those 15,000 kids who were forced to plant the trees in the first place – talk about “winning the hearts and minds” stuff.

          Then, ten years down the track they can have the abandoned trees bulldozed and burned (at taxpayer’s expense), and dream up some kind of incentive (at taxpayer’s expense) to get people to go back and turn it all into productive land again (at taxpayer’s expense).

          .
          And it will all be worth it, ‘cos it will stop Labor getting back in and doing exactly the same kind of idiotic thing. Who could ask for more?

          .
          Now, could someone remind me what Jo’s original post was about?


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    • #
      handjive

      I realise Abbott’s Direct Action plan can be terminated anytime.

      It should have been put down when Abbott rolled Turnbull years ago. Yesterday.

      Where would Abbott be now?

      Pointing to “the pause,” questioning who denies this science and possibly leading the world in real, economically responsible, sensible climate policy based on empirical observational science.

      No “Whyalla Wipeout” as forecast by GreenLaboUr’s UN-IPCC boondoggle, the Climate Commission.

      A royal commission into the science institutions on how they got it so wrong NOT predicting “the pause”.

      Accountability for Flannery and his desalination plants.

      Accountability for David Jones @ BoM and his 2008 “drought is now permanent.” (& consequent failures)
      Too many to mention here.

      The conservatives often claim they are the fiscally responsible party but, there is nothing responsible in this vast waste of money.
      It is fraud as it will not “stop, tackle,” or do what ever adjective their UN masters choose, to the “angry” climate or weather.
      .
      Unless there is an option to vote for no carbon (sic) action, and no way to stop preferences, I have no choice, so, my vote is redundant. And so it will be.

      Australia gets it’s “war” on carbon (sic), and further gives up our rights to the un-elected UN, which ever way it votes.
      .
      I have a “No carbon tax” sticker on my car.
      It had Gillard’s name on it, but, after looking at the LNP policy on climate, I cut Gillard/LaboUr off it.
      How could I vilify one party when both have a “war on carbon” (sic) based on same fraudulent science.


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      • #
        handjive

        P.S.
        Because of Abbott’s Direct Action Policy, we are all going to still be here in 3 years time, still debating this.

        Like the warming, the debate needs to be over.

        I want my life back and don’t want another 3 years useless debate & debunk.


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  • #
    Ken Stewart

    It almost made me cry a few years ago when a couple of hundred acres of good grazing land near Mackay- well watered, good fences, yards and everything- were sold to a forest company and planted with eucalypts. To think of the backbreaking toil and sweat in the early years of last century clearing the original timber, and then have it replanted. Then a couple of years later, a large section was sprayed out- “diseased”- and replanted. What a waste. Hasn’t been touched since.


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    • #
      Gnome

      It’s not so bad. The red stringybark forest across the road from me was planted to cane again early last month. I was impressed with how fast they grew at first, but after Yasi, there wasn’t a tree left. Lots of locals made a bit of money, and a few distant investors lost a lot of money.


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  • #
    pat

    at last, a single aussie MSM article on the highly secretive TPP. no details of what it means for australians, mind you:

    23 July: West Australian: AFP: Japan joins trans-Pacific trade negotiations
    The TPP is a key plank of US president Barack Obama’s “pivot to Asia” and, while Washington denies the charge, is seen as part of an effort to contain China — which has never been given an invite to the party. Biden has said he aims for the completion of the deal this year…
    Other than Japan, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam are party to talks for the free-trade deal.
    The TPP has also faced resistance in some of these nations.
    http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/world/18120404/japan-joins-trans-pacific-trade-negotiations/

    no resistance here of course, cos no-one even knows about it.

    meanwhile, the MSM has had saturation coverage explaining away “the pause”, the methane trillions, how we love the ETS, plus BBC World TV using a promo which includes someone saying “very recently”, a survey showed 97% of climate scientists believe in CAGW (referring to SS fairy tale & giving the impression the 97% “consensus” still obtains)!


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  • #
    pat

    Giles made my head spin, & not in a nice way:

    23 July: ABC Life Matters: Will a floating carbon price reduce power bills as promised?
    Giles Parkinson is the editor of Renew Economy, an online journal on renewable and clean technology, and Peter Martin is economics correspondent with Fairfax Media.
    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/will-a-floating-carbon-price-reduce-power-bills-as-promised/4836066

    Singer was – as always – unbearably self-righteous:

    24 July: ABC Big Ideas: Peter Singer: Great moral issues for the 21st century
    What are the three great moral issues of our time? According to Peter Singer they are; extreme poverty, animal liberation and climate change.
    In terms of animal welfare, hunger and poverty Singer does see some grounds for optimism, modest and incremental progress has been achieved, but his mood and outlook changes when it comes to the health of the planet…
    Highlights of his keynote address at the Tasmanian Writer’s festival, Hobart Town Hall, March 2013.
    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/peter-singer3a-great-moral-issues-for-the-21st-century/4823014

    now i know this one is next, i’ll make sure i miss it:

    25 July: ABC Big Ideas: Clean energy: Will we ever get it?
    The Hon Robert Hill AC – Chancellor of the University of Adelaide, former Howard Government Environment Minister
    Terry Wall AM FTSE – Emeritus Professor at the University of Newcastle, and an expert in coal burning technology
    Mark Leckenby – CEO at the sustainable solar technology company Auzion Ptd Ltd.
    Mark Diesendorf – Deputy Director of the Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of NSW
    Ilona Millar – Lawyer and board member of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and adviser to the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists on water resource and natural resource management law and environmental law and policy.
    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/clean-energy3a-will-we-ever-get-it3f/4799646


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  • #
    Geoff Sherrington

    In the late 1980 to early 1990 period, my emplyer company owned APPM, one of the largest of the Aussie forestry, chip and paper makers. I’d usually attend the monthly management meetings. Please ask if I can help with answers from that perspective.
    We invdested big dollars in long term plantations, the main returns starting 15 years or more later. I often wonder who picked up the cheques from that visionary but very costly plantation planni ng, much in Tasmania.


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  • #
    David, UK

    The thought of all those pigs with their snouts in the Green trough being financially slaughtered is quite heartening.


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  • #
    pat

    hoping TonyfromOz & others might listen to the ABC Clean Energy prog -

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/clean-energy3a-will-we-ever-get-it3f/4799646

    in light of the following!

    24 July: UK Telegraph: Jonathan Pearlman: Trillions of dollars worth of oil found in Australian outback
    Up to 233 billion barrels of oil has been discovered in the Australian outback that could be worth trillions of dollars, in a find that could turn the region into a new Saudi Arabia
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/9822955/Trillions-of-dollars-worth-of-oil-found-in-Australian-outback.html


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    • #

      Jesus wept,

      I didn’t even get pat the first sentence, 17 words, where it says this:

      Australia’s solar roof-top capacity has reached over two gigawatts – more than half the Snowy hydro output.

      Bloody useless journalists. No idea whatsoever.

      They still use that crock of Installed Capacity.

      So, then let’s look at it shall we.

      Rooftop Solar. 2 GigaWatts. The amount of power actually supplied, in other words, the power being consumed by the residences where those panels are actually in place PLUS the power fed back to the surrounding grids.

      1100GWH per year.

      Snowy Hydro 3.75 GigaWatts, so Rooftop Solar is in fact 53% of that CAPACITY.

      However, here is the amount of power actually supplied by Snowy Hydro to the grids for Vitoria and South Australia.

      5500GWH per year..

      So, Snowy Hydro actually delivers 5 times the power that is being generated by rooftop solar power.

      When will these idiots ever do their fact checking. It seems that half the truth has become the whole truth.

      Tony.


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      • #

        Minor Error alert.

        In 34.1 I mentioned this:

        …..the amount of power actually supplied by Snowy Hydro to the grids for Victoria and South Australia.

        That should read New South Wales and not South Australia.

        Incidentally, the power distribution breakdown is as follows.

        New South Wales – 58%

        Victoria – 29%

        Australia – 13%

        For Australia, read ACT.

        Tony.


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  • #

    Some of you may think I’m being a little precious here, and that perhaps I could actually have let this go. Notice particularly that none of those renewable supporters have come in to defend what was said, you know, perhaps mentioning that what he said was probalbly close to correct.

    Nothing could be further from the truth, and again, I’ll put the statement in block quotes, only this time, I’ll highlight in bold the absolute LIE of what was said here.

    Australia’s solar roof-top capacity has reached over two gigawatts – more than half the Snowy hydro output.

    The capacity may (note here that I used the word MAY) be more than half, but this statement specifically says OUTPUT, in other words power actually being generated and delivered for consumption.

    That one word makes this statement a bald faced LIE.

    Tony.


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  • #
    janama

    One more point Tony is that the Hydro output is controllable – it can be turned on when needed to supplement base load power whereas the solar power is only available between 9am and 3pm provided the sun shines.


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  • #
    janama

    Surely the proper use of solar would be to have vast areas of the snowy covered in solar cells that provide power to pump water back uphill into the reservoirs.


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    • #
      Grant (NZ)

      When I visited Aussie last year I went to the mouth of the Snowy, and I observed that there’s already a solar unit doing something like that. It transforms the water in the river into water vapour and raises it – just not quite as directional as the one you suggest.


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    • #

      Then we build TWO power plants. These have the same limitations that regular hydro does–water and a hill. Plus, you have to have room for all the solar panels (these can cover 5 acres just to power a small business–how many acres to power something like a city?). So to get the same power one gets from conventional power plants, you need water, hill, acres of land and twice as much money. It also takes much, much more material to build the reservoir for the water, the hydro plant, the solar panels, maintain the solar panels and the reservoir and….Twice as much for maybe as much electricity.


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  • #
    pat

    TonyfromOz -

    will await more outrage from u if u get to one of the Marks saying australia can replace all fossil fuel in no time, by going 50% wind, 20% PV, & the rest solar thermal (if i have that right) a little hydro & some clean gas.

    i was not going to listen to this program, but curiosity got the better of me.


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  • #

    FFS, don’t burn the timber, sell it on EBay.

    I’d love to know where i could get some of this cheap timber. I want some timber to make a new workbench, it will cost me hundreds of dollars at retail / B&Q prices.


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    • #

      Still have to cut it, rough cut to dimensions and ship it. I can’t see it being that cheap. Try pallets and plane to thickness or glue. We are making a workbench currently using that method. Very low cost.


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    • #

      Oh, but still don’t burn it. There has to be a better way to deal with this than burning forests. Give it away to people nearby–giveaways are really popular and don’t raise the CO2 level in the atmosphere. Let people come in and cut it. Even if they use it for firewood, at least the CO2 served some purpose.


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    Farmer Gez

    And did the farmers not say long and loud that the whole scheme was uneconomic. One look at the establishment costs said it all. Who would listen to those dumb hick farmers? Not those uber smart city investor types or our clever politicians. If you want advice on life, go to a retirement home… If you want advice on agriculture go to the Casterton pub and ask a farmer. Simple really.


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