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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German wind industry “threatening to implode” as subsidies end wiping out half or more of new plants

In Germany as 20 years of wind subsidies comes to an end in 2020, half to three quarters of the industry may disappear.

So many parallels with Australia. The Germans have had wind subsidies for 20 years, but even after two decades of support, the industry is still not profitable on a stand-alone basis. In 2016, some 4600MW of new wind plants were installed, but that may drop to one quarter as much by 2019 as subsidies shrink. According to Pierre Gosselin (August 31st, 2017) there are more wind protests, electricity prices are “skyrocketing” and “the grid has become riddled with inefficiencies and has become increasingly prone to grid collapses from unstable power feed in.”

Pierre Gosslin writes that “Germany is more in the green energy retreat mode”.

German flagship business daily “Handelsblatt” reported … how Germany’s wind energy market is now “threatening to implode” and as a result “thousands of jobs are at risk“. José Luis Blanco, CEO of German wind energy giant Nordex, blames the market chaos on “policymakers changing the rules“. Subsidies have been getting cut back substantially. The problem, Blanco says, is that worldwide green energy subsidies are being capped and wind parks [...]

All the major nations are failing to meet their Paris targets says Nature paper

The Magnificent Paris deal was rubbery-theatre, make-of-it-what-you-will, and with rare diligence here is Nature publishing a paper where a team bothered to check progress. (If only Nature held scientific research as accountable as political deals. MBH98 anyone — where Mann’s hockeystick was accepted by Nature, but not the corrections?)

Lo, Nature does a bit of conspiracy thinking:

“It is easy for politicians to make promises to impatient voters and opposition parties. But it is hard to impose high costs on powerful, well-organized groups. No system for international governance can erase these basic political facts. Yet the Paris agreement has unwittingly fanned the flames by letting governments set such vague and unaccountable pledges.”“

Suddenly skeptics are powerful and well-organised groups? Somehow the authors, editors, and reviewers all missed that it costs trillions to change the energy system our civilizations were built on, and millions of voters don’t want to pay. The opposition to this is only organised in the sense that we still hold elections.

In 2015, The Guardian said Paris was where “decades of failure were reversed, and a historic agreement reached.”

Skeptics called the Paris Agreement  a “worthless piece of paper”.

In 2017, Nature said: “All [...]

Santa’s arrived! Australia drops new Renewables Targets, will meet “Paris”, stop blackouts, reduce costs

This is good news but Turnbull still wants to have the Paris cake and power the fridge with the crumbs

Faced with national bill shock, dismal Newspolls, and even leadership rumors, Turnbull is, at last, dropping the deadweight Finkel Clean Energy Target. The biggest poisoned-band-aid will not be plastered on, though mini bandaids will be.

Too much regulation is never enough and the energy market is still being micromanaged.

Cabinet dumps Clean Energy Target for new ‘affordable, reliable’ power plan

[ABC news] A Clean Energy Target recommended by Australia’s chief scientist will not be adopted, with the Federal Government instead proposing a new plan to bring down electricity prices.

The details have not officially been released, but the ABC understands Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will argue his policy will lower electricity bills more than a Clean Energy Target (CET), while meeting Australia’s Paris climate change commitments.

And they wonder why no one wants to build a coal station here, despite finding 1,600 other places to build them in 62 other countries:

Cabinet is also keen to adopt a generator reliability obligation, which requires three years’ notice of closing a power station, in order to [...]

In Australia, even some people with jobs are struggling to pay bills and put food on the table

The Foodbank press release: Financial stress pushing millions of Australians into food insecurity

One in six or, 15% of the Australian population, apparently has experienced “uncertainty” around food in the last 12 months. For some, that’s only one episode in a year but still, in a first world country which is a major food exporter, it’s not a sign of wealth and good times. If the survey is to be believed, fully 9% of Australians are experiencing a food shortage every month or even more often. Surprisingly, half of those experiencing food uncertainty have jobs –  working serfs. Foodbank blames it on living costs — like rent and power bills.

A nation in decline: A ten percent increase in people seeking food relief across the nation

One thing is sure “bill shock” is hurting people, and it’s getting worse:

Foodbank provides food for over 652,000 people a month, however, the front-line charities report that demand for food relief has increased by 10% in the last year and they are forced to turn away 65,000 people every month due to lack of food.

How much does renewable energy contribute? Hard to say — all the factors are confounded and [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Rainbow over Castle Rock, Oct 2017.

We had a few days away last week in Geographe Bay, SW WA thanks to the kindness of a supporter. Miles of quiet beaches for those who don’t like crowds.

Another meaningless survey shows 4 in 5 Australians want “clean energy” (if someone else pays)

Yet again, it’s another mindless apple-pie-survey produced to fog the debate

Most Australians don’t want to pay anything more for renewable power.

“Four in five (78%) said Yes: the Australian government should introduce a new Clean Energy Target to encourage the construction of new clean energy sources in Australia.” — The Australia Institute

If we ask people if they’d like free/cheap/clean stuff, they say “yes”. If we ask them how much they want to pay for renewables, 62% say “N.o.t.h.i.n.g”. Which is why the Australia Institute didn’t ask them.

They also didn’t ask whether voters would change their vote on this issue, because we already know, time after time, that voters rate climate change last on their list of priorities. You can bet the Australia Institute would have asked that question if they thought the public would give the right answer, instead they surely know that people vote for jobs, to lower the cost of living and to have a strong economy instead of shipping our manufacturing industry to China in a sacrificial quest to change the weather.

So many other, better, surveys show the lie behind this one

Fully 54% of Australians are skeptics of man-made [...]

Kiribati sinking “like Titanic” but 59 million times slower

Kiribati, with a natural resource base of almost nothing, makes 15% of its nominal GDP, via donations from the Australian government. Periodically Mr Anote Tong, president of Kiribati,visits Australia to remind us how much they need help money.

Creatively, this year, Mr Tong is comparing Kiribati’s future to the sinking of the Titanic.

Give the man points for theatrix:

“We are the people who will be swimming,” he said.   “The question will be — will those people on the lifeboats bother to pull us in or push us away because we would be too problematic?”

Kiribati’s highest point is 13m above water, and is sinking at a rate of 1mm a year (see the updated graph below by Eyes On Browne). To rephrase Euan Mearns, at this rate, complete inundation of it will take 13,000 years.

The Titanic’s elevation (waterline to the deck) was 18m, so it was 50% higher, yet it sank in 2 hours 40 minutes. That’s one ninth of a day, or one 3,285th of a year. Conservatively, the comparative speed works out to be 42.7 million times faster. Allowing for the higher elevation (but discounting funnels and/or palms) that would be 59.1 million times faster.

[...]

ABC: Let’s pretend base load power doesn’t exist, call it a dinosaur. Who’s in denial?

The new phrase that must be neutered is “base load”. It’s like kryptonite for renewables!

Nick Kilvert at the ABC helpfully provides a no-hard-questions mouthpiece and tells us Base load power is the dinosaur in the energy debate.

To serve the Australian taxpayer he quotes a Professor Vassallo, Chair of Sustainable Energy Development (USyd), and CSIRO Energy Director Dr Glenn Platt. Just in case they weren’t green and biased enough he also interviewed Professor Blakers, director of the ANU Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems. Finally he turns to Dr Mark Diesendorf, who is apparently just some guy at UNSW with a team of modelers. (Kilvert doesn’t give us his title, but a two second search suggests he works at the “Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets“. Perhaps it was an oversight, or maybe Kilvert was feeling guilty that every single person he quoted has a career in sustainable energy). Glenn Platt — by the way, is not just “Energy Director” but is described at The Conversation as leading the Energy Transformed Flagship research centre at CSIRO. So that’s four green academics, no one from the coal industry, no skeptics, no other engineers, and no one involved in managing a grid.

[...]

Carbon pollution rises and the world gets less windy…

Wind speeds have slowed since the sixties

God is playing a joke on wind investors:

The stilling: global wind speeds slowing since 1960

Known as ‘stilling’, it has only been discovered in the last decade. And while it may sound deceptively calm, it could be a vital, missing piece of the climate change puzzle and a serious threat to our societies.

While 0.5 kilometre per hour might barely seem enough to ruffle any feathers, he warns that prolonged stilling will have serious impacts.

‘There are serious implications of wind changes in areas like agriculture and hydrology, basically because of the influence of wind on evaporation,’ said Dr Azorin-Molina. ‘A declining trend in wind speed can impact long-term power generation, and weaker winds can also mean less dispersion of pollutants in big cities, exacerbating air quality problems and therefore impacting human health.’

Here’s a rare concept in science these days: Dr Azorin-Molina isn’t sure if this is natural or man-made. No doubt, climate modelers will coming up with the answer they didn’t predict, post hoc, any day now…

In idyll speculation, researchers wondered if perhaps humans built too many obstacles (which seems hard to believe [...]

Event in Brisbane Friday: Mark Latham, Malcolm Roberts, Ross Cameron “Cost-of-Living”

Click to enlarge

What a fantastic line-up of speakers at the One Nation, Cost of Living Summit on Friday 13th October, 9.30-4pm.

Go see Malcolm Roberts, Mark Latham, Ross Cameron, Graham Young, Tim Andrews, Dr Alan Moran, Prof Tony Makin, and Dr Dan Mitchell (USA) and others speak on Friday at the Queensland Parliament House, LC (red chamber):  Just $20.

https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=323166

From the flyer:

Australians are facing severe cost-of-living pressures and decreasing living standards caused by Federal and State governments who no longer represent everyday Australians. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party are bringing together experts in tax, regulation, money, banking, housing, farming and energy who will highlight the key issues driving our high cost-of-living in Australia.

Our Cost-of-Living Summit will demonstrate how excessive government interventions have created a mess in the energy market resulting in our unaffordable power prices, and how we can remove these drivers of high costs to create a fairer and more affordable future. One Nation wants to set our nation free, harness human ingenuity and resourcefulness to create a better Australia for all Australians.

Dangerous Abbott unleashed, speaks the truth, critics froth and flounder

Finally the gloves are off

The critics called him a climate denier anyway, even when he toed the politically correct line, so there was nothing left to call him. For former Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, there is no point in pandering. Now after a great speech, the EcoWorriers are left saying he is “loopy”. The new unleashed Abbott is so much stronger, more compelling, and his message is being spread far and wide. Not only will his GWPF speech fire up the footsoldier deplorables, but he is more likely to reach the undecided centre by speaking his mind freely. The ABC was pasting his message in large type all over the TV news and in article after article. That’s great for skeptics. The ABC is so blindly consumed with the dominant paradigm they can’t see how appealingly sensible Abbott looks by speaking about cold being a killer, CO2 being good for agriculture, and a bit of warming being beneficial for humans. His message of irrational electricity pain is so terribly sane. He looks at Manly beach and can see that sea levels haven’t changed much which surely everyone else with open eyes can see too. The ABC frames it [...]

Australian govt may dump renewables subsidies, testing, 1,2,3…

Minister Josh Frydenberg has just implied Australia might drop ongoing endless renewables subsidies (and thus dump the Finkel chief-”scientist” plan). He didn’t say that in so many words, but hinted at it, and will now wait to see how the idea goes down.

Soak in this reasoning — renewables are becoming so cost competitive they don’t need subsidies. He’s calling their bluff.  It’s like the announcement to sack climate scientists because “the science is settled”. Let’s take them at their word and follow that propaganda to its logical end:

The key message from Josh Frydenberg is that subsidies for renewable energy are coming to an end.

There is no Clean Energy Target in sight in Frydenberg’s plan for a new policy by the end of this year. The phrase does not get a single mention in his new speech on the way ahead.

In a key argument, the Energy Minister argues that the cost of building wind and solar power has more than halved in recent years.

He does not rule out more subsidies explicitly, but the clear suggestion is that renewable energy generators are now at a point where they can [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Australian BoM forced to meet skeptics, answer questions, provide a tiny bit of data

The scandals do count. The Australian articles has got Minister Frydenbergs attention. The extensive collection of blog posts and the IPA Climate Change book show there is a deep well of material to fuel more articles. We have barely begun. Congratulations to Jennifer Marohasy. At least we will get a few more answers to questions we shouldn’t even have to ask.

The head of the Bureau of Meteorology, Andrew Johnson, has been asked by Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg to release extensive temperature data from a weather station in Victoria after requests from an independent scientist.

Dr Johnson has also agreed to meet with Jennifer Marohasy, a senior fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs, to discuss the integrity of the bureau’s temper­ature measurements as she pushes ahead with calls for a parliamentary inquiry.

The story of the “one second” records is potent: How many “hottest ever records” have been created thanks to new electronic equipment?

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology appears to have put in place a measurement system guaranteed to provide new rec­ord high and low temperatures,” she said in the letter.

Instead of the older-style mercury thermometers in which temperatures [...]

High electricity prices in Australia blamed for sharp economic slowdown

Electricity prices jumped in July. Now, retail sales are falling as wallets run out of money. When Greens, Labor, Conservatives said we need insurance, only skeptics pointed out the price.

Commonwealth Bank economist, Gareth Aird, calls the fall a “shocker”.

Shoppers stay away as power costs bite

–Adam Creighton, The Australian

In a sign sluggish wages and higher power prices are starting to bite, the new financial year has seen the biggest fall in retail sales since 2009…

The Australian dollar fell back towards US78c yesterday after the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed retail sales had fallen 0.6 per cent between July and August, defying economists’ expectations they would rise modestly.

“Households are facing several headwinds, including record low wage growth, record levels of debt, slowing house price growth, and, importantly, sharply higher energy bills,” said ANZ economist Jo Masters. The drop in retail sales by a cumulative 0.8 percentage points over the two months to August, the biggest two-month decline since 2009, comes as consumers receive their first round of power bills after prices went up more than 20 per cent since July.”

Who would have thought? The country is forced [...]