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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CO2 causes baby fish to get lost on their way home. Save Nemo, change a lightglobe!!

Just when you think headlines can’t be that stupid:

Baby fish may not find their way home as the level of CO2 in the ocean rises, study finds

– ABC  Isabel Dayman

Baby fish may lose their ability to find their way home in the future due to rising CO2 levels in the ocean, a marine ecology expert has found.

What the study found was that fish larvae were not paying attention to the right noises.

The researchers put the larvae in a tank and bubbled CO2 through it constantly. They appear to forget that CO2 changes naturally every night on reefs all over the world. Fish are not just used to having a daily shift, they prefer it. 

In shallow water, ocean acidification happens at 7pm daily, and after 400 million years, somehow, fish have adapted.

One previous study declared fish might become reckless in a high CO2 world, but later discovered that it was the laboratory setting that was the problem, not the CO2. When they added the daily pH swing back to their tanks, the fish behaved better and coped with the extra CO2. The real message is that laboratories are [...]

Our socialist, ideological rulers call coal fans socialist ideologues

Former PM Tony Abbott and a team of conservative pollies suggested the government should forcibly acquire the old coal plant Liddell to keep it running and save our grid.

Our current PM called this idea “socialist”:

This drew immediate criticism from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who accused Mr Abbott of suggesting that the Coalition adopt socialists policies of nationalising the means of production.

Our energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg, suddenly remembered how conservative governments support free markets:

The Energy Minister ….[said] there will be no ­subsidies for coal-fired power plants under a Turnbull government and [claims]that right-wing ideology has no place in the energy debate.

Who’re the socialists here?

Turnbull and Frydenberg are the same team who preside over a system which takes billions from some electricity generators to reward others and is intended to drive the former out of business. They bought the giant Snowy Hydro generator for $6b, and are planning to spend $4.5b to build a hydro storage “battery” that is only needed in order to stop their pick-the-winner favourite new generators from destroying the grid or the household budget, whichever comes first.

Apparently nationalizing a hydro generator is not “socialist” but nationalizing a [...]

Midweek Unthreaded

Hidden Costs: how wind generation makes gas power $30/MWh more expensive

Just another hidden cost — intermittent generators are vandals on our baseload suppliers. Wind power needs gas, but gas doesn’t need the wind. When the two are paired together it makes the wind energy “reliable” but adds nearly $30/MWh to the cost of the energy from gas. Right now that cost will be added to the gas plant, but in a free market, it should be paid by the wind farm investors.

Stacy and Taylor compared the cost of running a Closed Cycle Gas plant (CC Gas) on its own or combined with a wind farm. The combination produces reliable electricity “on demand” and uses less gas to do it. The sole benefits to this odd industrial couple are a smaller gas bill and lower emissions of a fertilizing gas (CO2). All the capital and labor costs of running a gas plant are the same, but now it sits idle more often, pointlessly waiting like a spare wheel til the wind slows and gas power is needed again. About the only thing we can predict about the wind farm is that it can be relied on for almost nothing, so the gas plant must be almost as large whether or [...]

UK solar “farms” collect more taxpayer funds than sunlight

You may have thought that solar panels were designed to collect sunlight and convert it to electricity. But obviously the real aim of solar industrial plants is to attract government handouts and convert them into yachts.

Solar farms receive more cash from green subsidies than selling the energy they produce “Total subsidy provided to solar electricity generators last year was about £1.2bn

Energy producers were encouraged to start solar farms with generous handouts funded by a ‘green levy’ on taxpayers’ bills.

But many of them now make the majority of their cash from the subsidy – instead of the electricity they produce.

This was part of the £5.6billion subsidy paid to green energy producers, which critics say inflates household energy bills.

Owl Hatch is the largest solar subsidy farm in the UK, harvesting £3.8million from captive UK taxpayers which allowed it to sell £2.5million of electricity. Supposedly, it can provide enough clean energy to power around 12,600 average UK homes. The 49.9MW Owls Hatch Solar Farm was constructed in just 12 weeks, showing just how fast subsidy sucking infrastructure can be created.

Owl’s Hatch Solar park collected 65% more money from subsidies than [...]

Deadly winter kills 20,000 more British than usual — if only CO2 caused more warming

The world has record high CO2 levels, which supposedly warms us in winter but apparently not as well as cheap electricity does. As the long winter is set to drag on, Brits are being advised to heat one room as well as they can and live there. This is “progress”…

48,000 Brits dead after worst winter in 42 years

After a brief mild spell, temperatures are set to dip again in April after the chilliest March in 21 years.

It is estimated that 20,275 Brits more than average died between December 1 and March

That includes nearly 5,000 Brits under the age of 65 whose lives may have been cut short.

According to the Office of National Statistics, one in 10 cold weather deaths are among under-65s, one in 10 among 65-75s and eight in 10 among over-75s.

The Department of Health also said cold conditions worsen winter killers including flu, chest diseases, heart attacks, strokes and dementia.

It doesn’t matter where you live — more people die in winter than summer all over the world. It’s not outdoor temperatures that matter — it’s the indoor climate that kills.

Save the world, [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

 

In a fake free market 2000MW = 1000MW and Liddell coal is worth more destroyed than sold

The Australian Fake Free market is so screwed. What asset is worth more in the trash-can than sold to a willing bidder?

Everyone is talking about Liddell. The old coal plant is on the chopping block in 2022 and we can see the electricity price rise coming from here.

People in Australia are going without their veggies to pay for electricity. Liddell coal plant makes cheap electricity (like old coal plants everywhere). This is a problem that would solve itself if not for Malcolm Turnbull, the RET, and the AEMO. It takes a lot of money and whole fleets of bureaucrats to stop the free market fixing this by default.

AGL is the largest coal-fired producer in Australia, but it’s also the largest generator in toto and the largest  investor in renewable energy on the Australian Stock Exchange. Spot the conflict of interest? The company controls 30% of the generation in our two largest states, and 40% in South Australia. The man in charge of AGL – Andy Vesey –  formerly of New York, earns $6.9 million a year, and can probably afford to pay his own electricity bill. But as Tony Cox points out, he has surrounded himself with Gore-trainees [...]

Panic time: a tiny 0.01% of Antarctica, resting on volcanoes, melts five times faster than nothing

Let this go down as a prime example of Big Meaningless Numbers used to scare you:

Antarctica’s ice melts five times faster than usual Ben Webster – The Times  (copied at The Australian)

Antarctica has lost an area of ice the size of Greater London since 2010 as warmer ocean water erodes its floating edge, a study has found. Overall about 1,463 sq km of Antarctica’s underwater ice melted between 2010 and 2016.

What does 1,463 fewer square kilometers of ice mean?

The findings suggest that melting glaciers on the continent could add significantly to long-term sea level rises, with severe implications for thousands of coastal towns and cities.

Your house might wash away. Or not. How close to zero can a number be and still be “a number”?

The total area of Antarctic sea ice averages about 11 million square kilometers. So that’s one part in 7,500 that melted or 0.013%. But volume is what matters and the percentage of volume that melted is even smaller. Let’s assume ice volume was lost to a depth of one kilometer (the depth of the “grounding line” where the ice-sheet meets the earth). The giant Antarctic Ice Sheet [...]

Midweek Unthreaded

Love those 30 year old coal and nuclear plants — nothing gives cheaper electricity

The gold-plated stars of our national grid are the old coal plants we’ve built and paid off.

A US report (thanks Lance) shows how fantastically cheap and bountiful old coal and nuclear plants are. The LCOE or the Levelized Cost of Electricity includes the costs of the concrete, turbines, car parks and coal, plus the maintenance and salaries. It reveals that thirty year old, and even fifty year old coal plants, are the gift from past generations — enormous infrastructure, built and paid for, and ready to churn out bargain electrons. Or in crazy-land, ready to be blown up.

Look how long it takes to pay off the capital cost of building them (the red sector in the graph), and look how wonderfully cheap that electricity is from a 30 year old plant. Watch the pea. All those “investigative news stories” that compare the cost of building new coal to the cost of solar or wind are hiding the most brilliant and essential assets on our grid. Reopen Hazelwood now. (!)

Both sides of politics are choosing to destroy the family jewels in the hope of controlling global weather.

….

From the report by Stacy and Taylor, of the [...]

BOM homogenization errors are so big they can be seen from space

It’s just not cricket. And in so many ways.

Shame to let a perfectly good dataset go to waste… Australian data comes from some of the longest stations running in the Southern Hemisphere; it could be useful. Instead we get more evidence here that the BOM’s magical and secret homogenization adjustments can take poor data and spread false signals into better data. Homogenisation errors are already visible in a site-by-site analysis, but this shows the problems may be so big they affect averages across the whole of Australia, and we can detect them with satellites.

Tom Quirk continues comparing the satellite record of Australia with the BOM surface version. Previously, he (and for the record, Ken Stewart in 2015) showed that some discrepancies are due to the effect of heavy rain or drought. But now he looks further and finds that not-so-coincidentally, the largest gaps and most “inexplicable” differences occur in the mid nineteen-nineties, the same years the BoM shifted from using old large Stevenson screens to electronic thermometers. Around the same time, the large screens were often also swapped for much smaller ones too — like double jeopardy for data. Oddly, spookily, the BOM makes many adjustments to data [...]