JoNova

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


Handbooks

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper


Advertising

micropace


GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



Archives

Books

Everyone cutting coal use except for most of the world and most of the banks

The situation with our most hated energy asset

Australia’s big four banks are fighting over themselves to turn down the chance to profit from coal loans and tell the world. Months ago, Westpac went on a low-coal diet, declaring like a kind of vegan-keto-banker that they won’t consider a loan unless the coal mined has at least 6,300 kilocalories per kilogram. Presumably they will lose weight, or at least lighten up by a few shareholders. Last week our National Australia Bank announced they are waiting for the carbon capture fairy to conquer some laws of chemistry and economics before they finance coal mines again. (Though they limit themselves to spurning only new customers and “thermal coal” in a kind of have-cake-eat-half-the-cake policy.)

But while the small-fish Australian banks advertise their doogooder star status, financial institutions in Canada are putting $2.9 billion towards building new coal plants overseas. And in the last three years, Chinese banks have casually smashed $630 billion dollars into coal. (Notably, even the Chinese don’t want to put money into Adani coal in Australia, the political environment here is that bad.)

The rest of the world is definitely not watching the Australian Banks. Global coal consumption has [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

….

Forget Megawatts, ABC invents new unit of power — “size of Tasmania”

Outback couple build solar farm to prove fringe-of-grid power generation needs

Building a $14 million solar farm is an expensive way to send a message about electricity prices, but Doug and Lyn Scouller said they were left with few options.

In Normanton, 500 kilometres north of Mount Isa in north-west Queensland, the Scoullers built a solar farm big enough to power an area almost twice the size of Tasmania, in a move to prove to stakeholders the benefit of positioning power generation sites at the end of the grid.

In old fashioned terms, the “farm” produces five-megawatts. But yesterday, Tasmania didn’t use 5MW it used 1,072 MegaWatts. So this solar farm would have supplied 0.2% of the houses and businesses on an area “twice the size of Tasmania”. The only Tasmania-sized-areas that would be functioning on 5MW are in the empty desert or the Great Southern Ocean.

And we wonder why some Australians think solar power is a no brainer. If this little farm can supply 120,000 km2, we just need another 60 like it, and we could do the whole continent!

ABC journalists are not good with numbers. If only they had a billion dollars a year [...]

Laser Boron Fusion — What if it works? (Forget “climate change”)

 Here’s another “breakthrough” fusion claim. Thing is, one day, one of these will work.

Something like this: Boron Hydrogen, Fusion, click to read about aneutronic fusion.

In the meantime, knowing that the future is nuclear, and the only question is when, we should burn all the coal we have while it is still worth something.

UPDATE: Everyone knows that fusion is the perennial baby of Hype-n-Hope. It’s easy to criticize, but why miss the chance to crush a few mantras instead? The renewables industry talks about how inevitable renewables are, so lets talk about the inevitable Fusion-Future that makes the “renewables” surge a temporary blip that will be superseded. The Fusion-Future adds urgency to coal use now — a real use-by date (albeit with blurry print).

PS: Yes, The Greens are going to hate it. A private energy generator, outside government control, not needing hand-outs, and one that solves “climate change” but without subsidies and strings. These companies might say what they think! They’re a power threat to global parasites. Remember: a dependent company is an obedient company — one that cheers for big-government.

Australia spends $5 billion a year installing inefficient, non-competitive renewables.  Instead, [...]

Global warming will weaken winds in the Northern Hemisphere, but speed them up downunder!

Now they tell us! Climate warming to weaken wind power in northern hemisphere, increase in Australia: study

After building 341,000 wind turbines, mostly in the Northern Hemisphere, now climate modelers reveal that winds will decrease in the Northern Hemisphere!

Warming temperatures caused by climate change are set to weaken wind energy in the northern hemisphere, a study shows, lessening the amount of wind power produced for wind farms.

However the southern hemisphere would see a boost in wind, which could potentially turn north-eastern Australia into an attractive investment for energy companies.

Rush, invest your money now.  The theory called polar amplification has the success rate of a coin toss. Buy a wind farm in NE Australia!

Luckily wind speeds are not also influenced by cloud cover, jet streams, oceans currents, forest growth, atmospheric tides, solar factors, magnetic fields, ozone levels, cosmic rays, or butterflies. Otherwise this study might be inadequate, uninformed guesswork being used to inform investment decisions!

Look out for Polar Amplifiers. Click to enlarge.

Key points: Atmosphere instability which creates wind changing in northern hemisphere North-east Australia could become an attractive investment for energy companies At present there is only one operational wind [...]

Midweek Unthreaded

Tips and other stuff….

Save the world with internal combustion engines

Who cares about 50% more emissions?

China is powered by 65% coal.

A new study in China compares cars with internal combustion engines to electric cars. Qiao et al estimate that from cradle-to-gate electric cars use about 50% more energy and produce around 50% more emissions. (Thanks to Kenneth Richards at NoTricksZone.)

All Greens should hereby recycle their EV and buy a gas guzzler.

This is not even “lifetime costs” which include disposal.

These results will come as no surprise to people who remember the detailed study in Norway of 2012 which found that “…in regions where fossil fuels are the main sources of power, electric cars offer no benefits and may even cause more harm, the report said.”

In China, these electric cars are powered by 65% coal. Call them “coal-fired-cars”.

The largest single difference was with the battery.

Below, marvel at the results of the Chinese study. (ICE means Internal Combustion Engine.  BEV means Battery Electric Vehicle.)

Not. Even. Close.

If you think CO2 matters, oil powered cars beat coal powered ones.

ICE = Internal Combustion Engine:  BEV = Battery Electric Vehicle. By every measure Electric cars use more energy and emit more CO2.

Even if [...]

Matt Ridley on Brexit: Brits should give foreign aid to EU (with strings) as parting gift

Matt Ridley writes the letter Theresa May should send to the EU

For 40 years Britain has propped up the EU with nothing in return but complaints and insults.

The fifth biggest economy in the world can offer foreign aid to the failing EU but on the same terms as other needy states.

BRITAIN SHOULD GIVE THE EU £20 BILLION EXTRA AS AN ACT OF CHARITY

Dear Angela, Emmanuel and others (cc Donald, Jean-Claude, Michel),

I enclose a cheque for £40 billion as agreed. However, you will notice that it is post-dated March 30, 2019, and that it will bounce without a free-trade agreement between us, as I mentioned on the telephone. We are delighted to be in a position to be so unilaterally generous, and sorry that you find yourselves in such dire need of our help.

We cannot help feeling that a little more financial discipline on your part might have avoided the need for such a large sum.

For instance, we notice that all Eurocrats can draw generous final-salary pensions when they get to the end of their lucrative careers, throughout which they will have had handsome allowances and expenses [...]

Transformation glitch? Biggest issue facing South Australia is electricity say 70%

A Sunday Mail survey (paywalled) shows that despite SA having more “free, cheap and clean” renewable electricity than just about anywhere in the world, the number one biggest issue for most South Australians is … “electricity”. And despite all the renewable jobs created, the second most common concern is “jobs”. Going for the Paradox-Trifecta: most strangely of all, with elected leaders who are leading the largest energy transformation since civilization began, the third “biggest issue” facing South Australians is “political leadership”.

Thanks to Eric Worrall, who describes South Australians as “the world’s renewable crash test dummies”.

SA has an election coming up in March, but at the moment voters there are caught in the bind between the reality of electricity shocks, and the belief that “renewables are cheap”. Will the local Libs (the opposition) have the spine to stand up and speak the truth and make this election about energy and climate, or will they pander #metoo, and lose the unloseable?

Will the Libs get the message here? Most South Australians like the sound of renewables, but when it comes to the crunch, and the issues they will vote on, electricity prices and jobs will rule. This is [...]

Weekend Unthreaded