JoNova

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


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60% of Australians are OK with dumping Paris if they can cut their Electricity Bill

Nearly half of Australians are already paying more than they want to for the Paris Agreement. Sixty percent of Australians wouldn’t mind us dumping it if it meant getting cheaper electricity. That fits with most other surveys for the last four years. It’s a stable slab of the population — despite the ABC and Fairfax running prime-time adverts for renewables constantly pushing the line that renewables are cheap, inevitable, and that only stupid “deniers” would want us out of Paris.

In Australia, no major party represents these voters. Instead, both sides of the establishment are competing on how to meet an agreement that, if the truth were known about the costs, at least 60% of Australians either oppose or couldn’t care less about.

When will the Liberals and Nationals figure this out?

Voters prefer cut in power prices to Paris climate accord

Simon BEnson, Michael McKenna

A Newspoll ­survey, conducted exclusively for The Australian, has revealed that 45 per cent of Australians would now ­support abandoning the non-binding target, which requires Australia to reduce emissions to 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, if it meant lower household electricity prices.

This compares to 40 [...]

Britain can have electric cars or turn Scotland into a wind farm, which will it be then?

Who wants to wait for charging? Instead, just dump the flat batteries, pick up a new set. (See the youtube below).

Having a nation full of electric cars is fine as long as you don’t want to drive them.

Wind Farms would need to “cover whole of Scotland” to power Britain’s electric vehicles

By Paula Murray

Jack Ponton, emeritus professor of engineering at Edinburgh University, said another 16,000 turbines would be required in order to replace petrol and diesel cars with electric vehicles.

“If you want to do this with wind turbines, you are talking about 16,000 more wind turbines, four times as many as we have at the moment, and I’ve estimated that would occupy some 90,000 square kilometres, which is approximately the size of Scotland.”

The academic – a member of Scientific Alliance Scotland, a group which promotes open-minded debate on issues such as climate change – believes the plan is “unworkable”…

The UK plans to phase out combustion engines by 2032. What happens when surges of holiday tourists arrive in a town without enough charging points? “Charge-rage” and long queues. Lets spend our holidays waiting for [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Saw this extraordinary rock in the sky five minutes ago. Had to take a photo sitting on the lawn in the dark of something, apparently, 400,000 kilometers away. I do like the way the sun illuminates the weathered texture on the edge of the light.

Last week Jaxa announced they found a lava tube cave 50m wide and 50km long, with handy walls that may contain water in rock form. (Chilled, ready for cocktails). It might be a neat home for astronauts since on the surface, the daytime temperature range is 260 degrees C, the nights last two weeks, and the air contains levitating electrostatic abrasive dust. It’s poisonous too “like asbestos”. I can’t see the Sea of Tranquility taking tourists from Barbados.

The maxi cave is in Marius Hills, which as best as I can tell is on the dark part on the right hand side. Though it’s hard to tell. For some reason, people keep posting photos of this rock upside down.

Here’s a challenge,  in the daytime, the UV index is off the charts (if it gets to 14 in Darwin, what does it get to on the lunar surface? I can’t find the forecast, [...]

Wow. The colorblind see color

It’s not often that a technology provides so much instant enjoyment, astonishment, shaking, even tears. Tim Blair found a movie of a colorblind man seeing color for the first time. And there are lots of videos out there.

See one artist reduced to tears. Watch this young boy react. (The next man seems very happy but says “your world is so much better than mine.”) Or this boy at 40 seconds.

Know someone colorblind? Great Christmas Present (costs $350 USD plus).

People with red-green color blindness have red and green receptors that both react to an overlapping band of wavelengths producing shades of “brown”. I gather these glasses filter out the overlapping light so that the red receptors only react to red light and the green only to green.

(OK, so the first guy does “go on a bit” so watch then skip forward…)

Technology Review explains Enchroma Glasses:

[...]

Only 10% of power allowed from solar in Broome WA to stop grid “fluctuations”

When too much solar is more than enough

The WA government-run electricity provider (Horizon Energy) has called a halt to new solar installations in Broome, a town in Northwest WA that is not connected to the national grid, or even the main WA grid. (It’s 2,000km north of Perth). About 10% of the town’s power comes from solar* but apparently the little grid can’t handle the fluctuations, so the early birds got the subsidies, and the rest got grumpy.

June 3rd, ABC:

Broome residents tire of cap on solar power installations Horizon Power only allows 10 per cent of the town’s power to come from solar due to issues with grid fluctuations This leaves some residents unable to install a solar system that connects to the grid Horizon is trialling battery storage technology in other WA towns and hopes to expand this to Broome

Residents in the Kimberley town of Broome have said they are fed up with being prevented from accessing solar power despite living in one of Western Australia’s sunniest towns.

State-owned energy utility Horizon Power allows just 10 per cent of the town’s power to be generated from solar to protect the grid from [...]

Perth Event Friday night: “Understanding Cultural Marxism”, Bill Muehlenberg

Invitation to a public event sent to me:

Bill Muehlenberg: Understanding Cultural Marxism

Classic Nights An Adult Education initiative from St Augustine’s, Friday 27th October, Perth, Western Australia

From his renowned Culture Watch website:

‘We live in an age where we see evidence of cultural decline, the erosion of values, the decline of civility, the denial of truth and the elevation of unreason. Many people are asking, “Where is our culture heading?” This website is devoted to exploring the major cultural, social and political issues of the day. It offers reflection and commentary drawing upon the wealth of wisdom found in the Judeo-Christian tradition. It offers reflective and incisive commentary on a wide range of issues, helping to sort through the maze of competing opinions, worldviews, ideologies and value systems. It will discuss critically and soberly where our culture is heading. Happy reading!’

For adults interested in finding out more about the history of Western Civilisation and how a Biblical Worldview has impacted and continues to shape our world including Australia and the region.

This is your chance to ask questions and engage with the ideas that [...]

The rise of fake skeptics who “change their minds” about climate change

Poor Nick Kilvert at the ABC again, finds climate yeti’s everywhere — that imaginary creature, the converted skeptic. This is an important missing link in the fictional narrative — obviously if The Evidence Is Over-bloody-Whelming, there will be a stream of people gradually awakening. Alas, Kilvert doesn’t realize the traffic is all the other way, an exodus,  and there is no single outspoken skeptic that has convincingly switched the other way. The best he can do is drag out the self-declared convert Richard Muller who got away with his skeptic facade for while,  until awkward quotes surfaced from during his skeptic days where he declared that fossil fuels were the “greatest pollutant of human history”.  He was outed five years ago, but alas, Kilvert apparently still hasn’t got an internet connection and didn’t think to look. If only Kilvert could have emailed me?

The headline:

“Once were sceptics: What convinced these scientists that climate change is real? “

To which I might say “Once were journalists: Why don’t these writers do any research any more?”

This is as good as it gets. Muller is the “star” convert. He and his whole team were doubting skeptics:

In 2010, Professor [...]

Aussies eating junk to get better weather, old coal plant increases 73,000% in value in two years

Funny things happening today in Australia:

Australians are cutting back on Fruit and Veges to pay electricity bills:

Since eating raw fruit and vege is associated with lower mortality, efforts to stop people dying of climate change in 2100 may be killing people today:

Australians are cutting back on basic things like fresh fruit and vegies in order to keep the lights on with the National Debt Helpline taking 14,000 calls in September — a record for the month, and up 14 per cent on the same time last year.

Dying stranded coal plant increases in value by 73,000% in 2 years:

The NSW government sold Vale Point power for $1m two years ago. It’s now valued at $730m:

In November 2015, the NSW Government offloaded Vales Point Power Station — an old, polluting coal-fired plant on the shores of Lake Macquarie — for $1 million.

Last week,… Sunset Power quietly released its latest financial reports — revaluing the Vales Point Power Plant at a cool $730 million.

Over the past year, Vale Points’ owners gained $380 million from electricity sales from the power station, compared to $270 million for energy generated [...]

Rudd’s last minute gift to renewables -industry $7 billion extension til 2030

Apologies to foreign readers as we rake over the Stupidest Energy Policy on Earth. This really takes the cake.

Back in 2010 Rudd signed off on an extension of subsidies to renewables generators that would apply from 2020-2030, long after he would be gone.  Effectively this decision will take up t0 $300 per Australian over that decade –  in the order of $1000 per family –  and gift to the renewables industry. Naturally, in the public arena, an issue this big was decided with major, some, no discussion at all.

The ABC investigated the intricacies of who knew what and when in the knifing of a first term PM, but billions of dollars — who knew?

Dennis Shanahan raised it today in The Australian

Rudd renewables extension upped power bills $7.5bn

Electricity customers face an extra burden of between $3.8 billion and $7.5bn in “windfall” subsidies for renewable power generators in the next decade ­because of the stroke of a pen in the last months of Kevin Rudd’s prime ministership.

Against advice from consultants, energy companies and the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Rudd government in 2010 extended the phasing out of the renewable subsidies for existing operators from [...]

Australian cars fail outdoor emission tests too. To reduce pollution we must only drive in laboratories…

Australian cars just as bad — one hybrid car puts out 400% more CO2 than “advertised”

The AAA tested 30 cars under Australian real on-road conditions and found that like VW and so many others, the cars pass pollution tests in the lab, but fail in the real world:

– Sydney Morning Herald

The report by the Australian Automobile Association, members of which include the NRMA and RACV and RACQ, says real-world testing reveals some new cars are using up to 59 per cent more fuel than advertised. Almost six in 10 exceeded the regulated limit for one or more pollutant in cold-start tests.

The report found that, on average, real-world fuel consumption was 23 per cent higher than laboratory results, including one diesel vehicle that used 59 per cent more fuel than lab tests indicated.

One fully charged plug-in hybrid electric car consumed 166 per cent more fuel than official figures suggest – or 337 per cent more when tested from a low charge. It also emitted four times more carbon dioxide than advertised.

Of 12 diesel vehicles tested, 11 exceeded the laboratory limit for nitrogen oxides emissions….

Environmentalists [...]

Unthreaded Weekend

Shots from Geographe Bay, SW WA. I won’t be winning an award for these, but it was kinda cool.

They were having fun.

….

Showing off:

….

Judging by their very long flippers, dorsal fins, and the time of year, these were humpback whales which grow to 30 – 50 tonnes, and 15-18m long  (medium sized for a whale). They are heading south for the summer to feed around Antarctica. They are apparently pretty friendly and curious, popping up to check out boats and allegedly even flirting, playing around and occasionally rescuing other species of whale and dolphin.

We were on the beach, the zoom was 64mm – 155mm (yes it did not look this close). Holiday house generously supplied. (You know who you are, thank you! :- ) ).

Turnbull’s “game changer” — $2 a week savings next decade that most Australian don’t believe

Turnbull threw away the Lib’s best election strategy in the last election and almost lost. He couldn’t run a carbon tax scare like Abbott had (or Trump did even moreso). Now he can’t run a cheap electricity campaign in a nation where wallets are bleeding from power bills. It would be a gift campaign to mock the idea that wind and solar make prices cheaper — that’s a bubble desperate to be popped. But Malcolm’s campaign (if he survives that long) is a Santa tricky plan to have it all — lower emissions, lower prices, and more stability. And if you’ll believe that…

He’s leaving his entire right flank open, unguarded.

A few dismal facts that won’t go away: Malcolm’s NEG plan to reduce electricity prices aims pathetically low ($2 a week) and will fail anyway. The country already knows that. The world still awaits the glorious discovery of a single nation powered by lots of wind and solar that has cheap electricity. Australia’s 1.5% of global carbon emissions are irrelevant. Australia may be the only nation on Earth that is even trying to meet the Paris accord. More than half of Australians don’t buy the blame for the climate. Who [...]

Our BoM electronic thermometers are “purpose designed”. We’re not sure what purpose.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology collects one-second records and can turn them into newspaper headlines. In contrast, the UK averages its readings over one minute, and the US over five. Obviously longer averaging could slow the latter down in the PR stakes (if that was their aim).

Hypothetically old glass thermometers just wouldn’t be as good at generating headlines. They take a lot longer to respond to bursts of hot air, sometimes missing short heatwaves completely (the kind that last less than a minute). It’s potentially quite an unfair race to run the two different thermometers in the same competition. It all depends on the handicap applied to the faster electronic ones.

In 2015 Bill Johnston warned that the introduction of electronic sensors in the late 1990s was artificially warming the records and asked the Bureau for data from the two different kinds of instruments side by side. The Bureau said they throw that data away (as you would). Lately, Jen Marohasy asked the Bureau for the manufacturing specifications and the Bureau said it’s all fine, the electronic thermometers were ‘purpose-designed’ to the Bureau’s specifications. We just don’t know what those specifications are exactly. No documentation. No data. (Send [...]

Politicians “shocked” at the power crisis waiting in the Australian electricity grid

Did some politicans just wake up? The news today is that our Energy Minister may realize Australia is conducting a wild experiment with our electricity grid, and may have managed to convince other Australian federal politicians of the risk.

Coalition MPs shocked by energy threat

The Australian: Robert Gottleibsen (even Gottleibsen gets it).

When Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg walked into the Coalition party room with his energy policy earlier this week he faced a sea of hostile faces. But they left the room shocked. At last, the government politicians understood that Australia faces a long term blackout power crisis the like of which has never been seen in modern times.

It’s one thing to read commentaries warning of what is ahead but another to see a minister use confidential information from independent power authorities and regulators to show the desperate state of affairs that is looming for the nation. And then Frydenberg went to the ALP and showed them the same material.

Frydenberg was, if anything, even more alarming than me …  [says Gottleibsen who wrote about how the "Energy crisis risk is criminal. March 2017"].

Between 2012 and 2017 Australia has [...]

Australia’s new NEG National Energy Plan hides a carbon tax, international carbon credits

Graham Lloyd points out we are back where started — a national plan involving international carbon credits:

RepuTex analyst Hugh Grossman says the NEG, in effect, ­will establish a de facto price on greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.

The government already has indicated that the electricity companies may be able to purchase international or domestic carbon credits to cover any overruns. This remains dangerous political territory for the federal government, which was forced to rule out unequivocally a carbon tax or market-based trading scheme when the ­review was first announced. A crucial decision will be how to manage the safeguards mechanism under which big emitter companies will be curtailed in growing their emissions.

This was the point that played a part in destroying two Prime Ministers here, and one opposition leader –  Turnbull got tossed out in 2009 for Abbott over his support for the emissions trading scheme. Abbott pandered in too many respects to the carbonistas, but he always said emphatically “no” to international carbon credits. If we funnel money offshore for atmospheric nullities over China, we truly get nothing at all in return, and worse, we feed the crony crooks, the financial [...]