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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Abbott wins this round: Turnbull pulls Paris Agreement from NEG, but still wants to meet it “for free”

Too little, too late, not enough

Turnbull has to go.

Faced with a possible and imminent challenge from Peter Dutton, a limping Malcolm Turnbull has done the barest minimum just to stay in power. He has capitulated, and won’t try to mandate the Paris agreement through law, but he still wants the nation to meet the Paris agreement. If he had pushed it through Parliament he would have faced a leadership challenge for sure, and pundits are saying it’s still likely. How long will Liberal lemmings allow him to lead and give up the easiest, well trodden and winning election strategy?

Tony Abbott is leading the nation from the back bench.

When will the Liberals grow a spine and dump the Paris agreement completely?

Most of the party is too afraid to even talk about how much warming humans may be causing lest they be called a “denier” for doubting that it is not exactly the same as an unaudited, unelected and unaccountable foreign committee says. The nation can’t even have a sensible public discussion on climate change.

As Andrew Bolt says Turnbull’s leadership is now terminal. His clumsy gambit to present the NEG as a done deal too early [...]

Turnbull faces “sizable revolt” over energy prices and Paris agreement

Normally a governing party, especially with a margin of “one”, would consult with its own members before it consulted with the opposition. Turnbull’s gambit appeared to depend on sneaking the plan past the conservatives and libertarian skeptics.

Turnbull in bid to quash NEG rebellion

Simon Benson, Joe Kelly, The Australian

It emerged last night that Labor had been given a copy of the NEG legislation, another move that has angered Coalition MPs who are yet to see it.  A Liberal rebel told The Australian it was “disgusting” that Labor had the legislation but they were being asked to sign off on it sight unseen.

To forestall a revolt, Turnbull is said to be giving ground on all kinds of things, like ways to stop the big retailers gaming the market, but not “Paris”?

However, senior ministers have told The Australian this would not be enough to prevent Coalition MPs crossing the floor if the 26 per cent Paris emissions reduction target was not dumped or “decoupled” from the NEG.

The move to cauterise the growing threat of internal revolt came as the Prime Minister’s most senior conservative minister, Peter Dutton, suggested there could be a time [...]

Solar boom to bust in China: worlds largest solar PV projects drop 43% as subsidies cut

The advantage of communist autocrats is that they can create government havoc so much more efficiently.

The Chinese solar boom was so big it became the world’s largest solar market. It was so big it pushed up global “clean energy” investment to a record high. China became the veritable show pony of the solar spruikers: “leading the world in clean energy investment”. Mashable tells us it was so big “the solar boom could be seen from space“.

But the star advertisement for renewable glory was all based on subsidies:

The Chinese solar boom was “pretty significant”

A couple of months ago the Chinese government admitted they were cutting the subsidies to make electricity cheaper again for consumers. That hit the stock market. Now projects are being cancelled and orders are drying up for the hapless manufacturers.

The free market might be telling us something China’s solar industry is at a crossroads

“Without subsidies there’s no return on investment for over a decade, so investors and property owners aren’t interested in distributed solar. With subsidies it only takes seven years to recoup the investment,” he adds.

China’s solar manufacturers are unhappy with recent government policy changes [...]

Climate Wars back in Australia: Both parties pander to zealots, ideologues and renewables industry

The climate circus is back in Australia

Election 2019 is coming and Turnbull just lit a fire under the conservative base. The Deplorables are angry. Phones are running hot today. The DefCons awaken. In the last election defiant non-left voters were the “most influential group” — the swingers who ultimately decide the winner. This was the same group the journalists completely missed, like Brexit and Trump voters.

The Australian government, despite the polls showing Australians don’t want to pay more for renewables, has agreed to try to legislate a 26% reduction in emissions, setting a target in stone that almost no other country has done. (Have any?) Most countries have committed to nothing, or rather, they’ve committed to building nearly 300 coal plants. They’re planning 400 more.

A 26% mandatory target means so much more than just higher electricity bills, we’ll have to carve up our cattle and sheep, transport, waste and the rest of the economy too. What are they thinking?

We could lead the world in agriculture or medicine but we picked hara kiri?

We are the largest coal exporter in the world and it’s our largest export earner, we have a lower population density, bigger distances, higher [...]

Midweek Unthreaded

Dear Australia, would you rather have $8,500 or a 0.0001C cooler climate for your 130th Birthday?

Why Australia must exit the Paris Climate Agreement, The IPA report.

IPA estimates Paris Agreement to stop storms and hold back the tide may cost $8500 per Australian family

What a deal. You could have free electricity for the next four years or an imperceptible difference in the air outside the nursing home for your children’s 94th birthday.

The Americans went for the money. So did nearly everyone else.

Damian Wild at the IPA calculates that the Paris Agreement will cost patsy Australians $52 billion dollars in the next 12 years.

Paris deal spells ‘irreparable damage’: IPA report

Rachel Baxendale, The Australian

A study by the Institute of Public ­Affairs, “Why Australia must exit the Paris Climate Agreement”, estimates our Paris target of reducing emissions to 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 will impose a $52 billion economic cost between now and 2030, equating to $8566 a family.

Paris Agreement To Cost Australia $52 Billion

“The immutable law of energy policy is this: lower emissions mean higher prices.”

“Each family in Australia will be at least $8,566 worse off under the Paris Climate Agreement, on average. This is at [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Climate change is coming for your kids — Who knew children are more likely to die in floods, droughts, heatwaves?

Hear Ye!

To all the world’s recalcitrant, absent, and neglectful parents, paediatricians have arrived to tell you to give your kids a drink during a heatwave, pack food to last through droughts, and that you really need global unaccountable committees to look after your kids. Presumably their junkets meetings will be paid for by you.

Kids are “underprioritized”? (So what do they think 2 billion parents are doing?) Children are highly vulnerable to health risks of a changing climate

“…researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia University Irving Medical Center set out some specific challenges associated with the impacts of climate change on the world’s 2.3 billion children and suggest ways to address their under-prioritized needs.“

Researchers discovered children have “anatomic, cognitive, immunologic, and psychologic differences” which put them at more risk than adults. OK. They’ve noticed kids are small and inexperienced. Ambitiously, they apply this to 2.3 billion children, pretty much all of them here on Earth. That’s your kids, mine, “under prioritized”. Hmm.

The finding that children are vulnerable will shock all the parents who assumed their kids would survive the next flood, malaria, and dengue outbreak without any help. What will [...]

Let’s close coal plants so AGL can triple its profits

Last year AGL made $539 million net profit. This year, $1,600 million. What’s not to like about closing Hazelwood?

Profit statements confirm what we’ve said — closing cheap coal boosts profits for generators. No wonder AGL won’t sell Liddell for a hundred million dollars. It also shows us that the big “bubble” in electricity prices is from the doubling of wholesale electricity costs. These corporates are reaping it in far above costs. The way to cut wholesale prices is to get rid of the RET, and fix our old coal.

[ABC] Its underlying profit, which excludes one-off items and changes in value in investments and hedging positions, rose 28 per cent to $1.02 billion, at the upper end of the company’s guidance.

Even Andy Vesey admits the coal closures helped AGL:

“This increase in prices in the broader electricity market has mostly been a result of the abrupt closure of non-AGL power stations such as Hazelwood in 2017 and Northern in 2016 and higher input costs from coal and gas,” AGL chief executive Andy Vesey said.

But watch the pea. Who is trying to blame high profits on higher input costs?

Then he tosses [...]

The week of the social media purge: Facebook, Apple, Youtube, Spotify, Linked-in sure look like a wing of Democrats.

Just in case you missed it. In the last 24 hours Facebook, Apple, Spotify and Youtube banned Infowars. Suddenly, overnight all five major “platforms” noticed hate-speech they need to censor from the group which was influential in helping Donald Trump get elected. Mid-terms are coming. Coincidence?

This is a free speech line in the sand:

You don’t have to like or agree with Infowars — if they can be banned, anyone could be next:

[Breitbart] The UK Independence Party (UKIP) has urged citizens to defend free speech in the West after big tech firms allegedly coordinated to remove right wing voices, including InfoWars and Tommy Robinson, from social media.

On Monday, Apple, Facebook, Pinterest, Spotify, and Google-owned YouTube permanently removed content from InfoWars and its owner Alex Jones, saying he and the website violated their policies against hate speech and harassment.

Proponents of the ban say Mr Jones is a conspiracy theorist who deserves to be silenced, while critics have claimed the purge is an attempt to interfere in the U.S. midterm elections and described it as a form of “political censorship”.

The monopolistic giants say they are just “enforcing the rules” but so far they’re not quoting any specific content that “broke [...]

Midweek Unthreaded

On the NEG — Turnbull, Frydenberg: Who is running this country? You or Andrew Vesey?

End the taboo: The obvious solution to our expensive unreliable electricity is to fix old coal plants

The proposed NEG (National Energy Guarantee) will cut a pathetic sliver off our obscene bills. Malcolm Turnbull thinks Australians will be grateful for $100 off. We pay $3,700 a year for an average 4 bed house (and it’s heated with gas)?  Are they kidding?

No one is even discussing the most obvious, cheap way to cut our electricity bills. Fix the old coal plants. As Ian Waters, engineer, says “Enlightened, motivated people can do it!” Just getting Liddell back up to full power would deliver another 800MW of cheap, despatchable, and reliable power. Wouldn’t that be “handy”?

All the talk of new coal ignores the cheapest source of electricity around the nation. Our star infrastructure, gift of the older generation to the younger, are our old coal power stations, paid off over decades and still powering the nation.

Ian Waters, describes below how the NEG serves the big retailers not the consumers, and it’s in their interest to run old coal plants into the dust. (Our electricity market is so screwed thanks to the RET. [...]

The rise of Climate superstition: Droughts, heatwaves, random noise is “proof” of anything you like

All around the world the climate druids are at work.

Show me the error bars

Once upon a time a scientist talked about thirty year trends and anachronistic things like “confidence intervals”. Now, thanks to the discovery of Unscience, any noisy, random short data is fair game to be declared undeniable climate change. Periods of flooding also qualify, as do periods of nice weather, though strangely no one mentions those. Where are the headlines? If climate change caused drought on the East Coast of Australia, it’s also causing average rain and good crops in Western Australia.

In terms of scientific data analysis we don’t get that many droughts or six-day-August-heatwaves to analyze. They’re complex phenomena caused by multiple factors and we only have short records. This makes them ideal to be oversold to hapless folk as a “sign” of climate change.

When we have data, we find global droughts haven’t changed much in the last 60 years. When we can scratch together longer proxies, we find that 1000 year rainfall studies show droughts and floods used to be longer and worse.  In Europe and the US megadroughts happened in the last 2,000 years. The droughts of 1315, or 1540, etc, [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Windpower set to destroy Victorian baseload power just as it did in South Australia

Crash Test Dummy Update: Data analysis thanks to Tom Quirk

In the South Australian experiment total wind power capacity is now far above the average state demand most hours of the day. This effectively destroys any economic case for cheap baseload power (I hear that was the aim). This fleet of unreliable generators is being supported by forced subsidies through power bills from all around Australia. Sadly, despite this rain of money falling in SA, those funds end up with renewable investors, not South Australian consumers who pay some of the highest rates in the world.

These legislated subsidies have fed so much wind power that sometimes the state produces more power than it can use. That excess power will be exported, but may or may not be actually useful at whatever time it happens. Unless it happens at peak-time, it will be eating into the efficiency of baseload providers in other states.  Like an infection, inefficiency and underutilization of infrastructure spreads…

This volatility appears to make freak wholesale price spikes more likely. Quirk calculates that one hot January day last year was so wildly expensive in South Australia it added $2/MWh to the entire years average wholesale cost. Can’t [...]