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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Even with a $6000 gift, people don’t want batteries with their solar: SA scheme fails

Battery back-up is so expensive and uneconomic that South Australian householders are ignoring the SA governments offer of a $6000 gift to entice them to buy them.

One man installed the batteries and still spent $18,000. Obviously batteries are a “tempting” offer for renters and the poor (if they win lotto).

Home battery scheme off to sluggish start in SA, despite $6,000 subsidy

Richard Davies, ABC

For the past 12 months, the SA Government has offered households $6,000 towards a battery, as well as access to low-cost loans to install solar panels. But so far only about 3,700 have applied, with only 2,000 batteries installed — significantly less than the target of connecting 40,000 households over four years.

Energy analyst Tristan Edis said …

“At best, you’d be getting a payback at around eight years…” and  “another reason was that feed-in tariffs to export solar energy back to the grid were still relatively generous — about 15 cents per kilowatt hour.

South Australia is the economic space where one distorted market signal meets another.

The opposition could have pointed out how this hurts the poor, but instead complain that the conservative govt didn’t advertise [...]

Chile cancels UN Climate conference — weeks out — COP25 forced to move

The next annual giant UN climate junket was due to be held in Santiago, Chile  on Dec 2 – 15. But protests have driven the country into a state of emergency, 20 people have died, and 3 of the countries six train lines are not functional. It’s so bad, it may take six months to restore the train lines. The protests are reminiscent of the Yellow Vests in France — they started over a minor hike in prices (to train tickets) but escalated rapidly, are largely leaderless, but are obviously very angry.

Chile’s president has just, tonight, pulled out of hosting both the UNFCCC conference, and APEC as well.

A few days ago both sides of politics were claiming the protesters as their own. But with this extraordinary news it’s going to be hard for Saint Greta’s team to say that the protesters want carbon taxes and climate action which is why they destroyed the trains.

Greta is on the way overland.

Chile cancels climate and Apec summits amid mass protests

BBC News,

Chile has pulled out of hosting two major international summits, including a UN climate change conference, as anti-government protests continue.

ScoMo spends $1 billion on another band-aid subsidy for failing grid

Just another renewables subsidy

The Prime Ministers office has announced $1 Billion boost for power reliability which translates as a billion dollars spent on emergency measures we wouldn’t need if we hadn’t spent billions recklessly and artificially on a transition we didn’t need to have.

Ten years ago Australia didn’t have to spend a single dollar, on any batteries,  pumped storage, or “grid stabilizers”. And it didn’t need extra interconnectors. For decades the FCAS was largely free, thanks to giant turbines from coal plants. If we wanted grid unreliability back then, we’d probably have had to pay for it.

The Liberal National Government will establish a $1 billion Grid Reliability Fund to support Government investment in new energy generation, storage and transmission infrastructure, including eligible projects shortlisted under the Underwriting New Generation Investments (UNGI) program.

This is a government fund to support governments “investing” in energy generation?

The new $1 billion fund will be administered by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), drawing on the energy and financial markets expertise that has seen the CEFC invest more than $7 billion in clean energy since its establishment in 2012. The Fund represents the first new capital provided [...]

Midweek Unthreaded


California: maybe prescribed burns once every 500 years are not enough?


California’s devastating Kincaid Fire located in Sonoma County has grown to over 66,000 acres and NASA’s Terra satellite captured this dramatic image of the smoke plume cascading down the coast. OCt 27, 2019.  |  NASA image.

In Western Australia (WA) we have incendiary gum trees, regular droughts, and humidity so low that sometimes the clothes dry in the washing machine. Far be it for me to tell Californians how to manage their forests, but thought it worth a mention that Western Australian State govt do managed burns on 8% of the forest each year, and our top experts say it should be twice as much.

Compare that to California, where the rate of prescribed burning is now around 0.2% of the forest or so. Not the same type of fire-loving trees, but still the flammable kind…

BushfireFront: WA burns about 8% annually

  A regime of green burning also produces a healthier and more vigorous forest and is better for biodiversity. This approach was applied rigorously in WA forests for nearly 30 years, with tremendous success. Unfortunately since about the 1980s green burning has been under constant attack from environmentalists and academics. As a result, in Victoria [...]

Shrinking Stevenson Screens cause global warming (and peeling paint, long grass…)

The Australian BOM has lost its way

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology is paid more than a million dollars a day, and the planet is under seige, yet the paint is peeling off some Australian thermometer screens, the grass is long, and wasps are nesting in them. What once were large 230 litre wooden boxes have shrunk to 60 litres and are now even turning to plastic.  The old glass thermometers are being replaced with electronic gear that can record a burst of hot air — yet somehow those freak high spikes are supposed to be comparable to temperatures recorded 100 years ago by slow glass thermometers.

Old larger boxes protected thermometers from sudden changes in air temperature.

Left: Len Walker with a 230L screen in 1940. Right: Blair Trewin with a modern 60L Stevenson screen.

Possibly the hardest thing to explain is that even though the BOM collected comparison data on the different types of thermometers, which might help to assess new versus old, they routinely throw the data away. Compounding that, the metadata on sites is incomplete, missing, lacking in documentation.  Giant six lane highways are built next to equipment sites but not recorded. There is a huge [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

The Australian Bureau of Met hides 50 years of very hot days

History is being wiped out

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has not only disappeared the Very Hot Days graph but they have wiped out thousands of 40 plus hot days in the years from 1910 – 1963 — years when almost all temperatures in Australia were recorded on Stevenson screens by trained officials under the central management of the Bureau. Volunteer, Chris Gillham, found the data and the changes between ACORN 1 and ACORN 2 and created this transformative graph below.

1952 had more hot days than any year since. Not any more. All those poor sods in 1952 who endured an average twenty one 40-degree-plus days will find now that it wasn’t really that hot. The BoM is like an air conditioner that cools the country 70 years in the past. And it’s only a million dollars a day…

As Craig Kelly MP points out — 2011 had the fewest “very hot days” of the last century, but even the recent data from expert equipment can change eight years later.

Chris Gillham also tested the effect of the latest secret ACORN 2 changes on the “old century” 100F cut off, and found, remarkably that there were more “hotter-than-100″ days [...]

Giles weather station — sited next to almost the only bitumen for 500 km

I visited the famous Giles weather station a couple of weeks ago. It’s an ACORN top ranking site, it even has a Met office. Because it so central and so remote the measurements here are used to estimate temperatures across a vast area — indeed, arguably, it’s the most influential site in terms of Australia’s area-averaged temperature. It’s 1,700km drive from Perth (1,000 miles) and the last 800 km of that is dirt road with wild camels. It’s so remote the nearest post box is 340 km away across the state border at Uluru / Ayers Rock.

This could have been the best site in Australia, unaffected by UHI, open since 1956, staffed with professionals.

Despite the site being surrounded by three deserts and 500,000 square kilometers of wilderness somehow the only short stretch of bitumen for miles starts 600m from Giles and runs within 10m of the Stevenson screen.

Giles is arguably the most central and most remote station in Australia.

Never fear, civilization is here:


Giles, Bureau of Meteorology, ACORN, site, Stevenson screen, WA.

Stepping back — the site is surrounded by gravel:

There is even a kind of gravel car park beside the [...]

Seattle School says Maths is racist, used to oppress people of color

Postmodernist reasoning taken to its logical conclusion. Starts with zero, ends with identity-maths.

Is Maths Racist?

Free Press International News

The Seattle Public Schools Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee (ESAC) has determined that math is subjective and racist.

In a draft for its Math Ethnic Studies framework, the ESAC writes that Western mathematics is “used to disenfranchise people and communities of color.”

Hammers and drills too. They build mansions for white people.  Tools of oppression.

Using the ESAC’s framework, Seattle’s public school students will be able to “construct & decode mathematical knowledge, truth, and beauty” so that they can contribute to their communities.

Just what we need. More people to contribute wokeness and entitlement.

Students will also analyze the ways in which “ancient mathematical knowledge has been appropriated by Western culture,” and “identify how math has been and continues to be used to oppress and marginalize people and communities of color.”

 Six. Seven. Hate. Nine. Let’s ban the number hate!

In 2017, a University of Illinois math professor Rochelle Gutierrez argued in a newly published math education book for teachers that they must be aware of the identity politics [...]

Midweek Unthreaded

The Bureau of Met disappears “Very Hot Days” graph showing the most hot days in 1952

Here’s an inconvenient fact: Australia had the highest number of very hot days in 1952, back when CO2 levels were 311ppm and humans had not yet emitted 87% of our carbon dioxide emissions. Something else was causing that extreme heat. If only the modelers knew what it was?

For years the BOM site had this informative graph below, but yesterday Craig Kelly M.P. phoned me to prepare for his Bolt Report appearance and informed me the Bureau had dropped it down the memory hole. It used to be a tab available on their Track climate trends and extremes page. Apparently in this era of global warming, the BoM doesn’t think Australians care about the trends in days over 40C in Australia, or perhaps it didn’t fit the agenda? On the Bolt Report last night Kelly explained that according to the Wayback machine, it disappeared sometime during the election campaign this year. (It was there on March 26th and gone on March 28th.)

Thankfully Paul Homewood of Notalotofpeopleknowthat kept a copy:

There’s not much a of a trend in the average number of very hot days (greater than 40C) each year in Australia.  | Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology 2016.


Brexit: Ann Widdecombe explains what surrender, betrayal and a foreign power is

On fire — Ann Widdecombe lays out the situation.

The only kind of Brexit is a clean break.

October 18th 2019

“The Brexit party will take Leave and nothing else.”

“We gave Europe their freedom and in return they want to take ours.”

She’s 72, and has studied Latin, Philosophy at Oxford. She was a Minister in the John Major Government.  What a powerhouse.

Bring on an election!

h/t Jim Simpson.

AusExit: Petition to remove Australia from the Paris Climate Agreement

Petition EN1116 – The case for leaving the Paris Climate Agreement

Petition Reason

We the undersigned petitioners request the House reconsiders Australia’s commitment to the PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT that was ratified on 9 November 2016 and declared ‘entry into force’ on 9 December 2016. Australia is meeting its emission targets. We contribute approx. 1.5% of global emissions and many eminent scientists advise any changes this nation makes will have little or no effect on the overall global climate. America, the world’s 2nd largest greenhouse gas emitter, has given formal notice to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. China- the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases will SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE their emissions to 2030, and other developing nations have been given a ‘free pass’ under the same agreement. The estimated cost to our nation is $52 billion between 2018 and 2030. This will severely impact Australia economically and socially, with taxpayers funding ‘developing, but fast-growing economic-powerhouses’ such as China and India. The Paris Agreement is not operating as intended, and there is more risk than reward for Australia to remain. We must consider an AUSExit of Paris.

Petition Request

We therefore ask the House to formally advise the UNFCCC of [...]

Watching the Canadian Election and the silent poll factor …

UPDATE: Live results coming in at

See Decision Canada: 170 seats to win, currently projected as Liberals–Trudeau: 156 (down 21 seats), Conservatives–Sheer:  122 (up 26 seats), 5 seats undecided.

Lib: 33.4%  Con: 34.25%  (as more votes are counted the Conservative vote is rising.)

Called as a minority Liberal govt. Trudeau to stay with support from either the NDP or The Bloc. Canada is divided. The Conservatives won slightly more of the popular vote but it was concentrated in the two oil-rich provinces Alberta and Saskatchewan, so they won fewer seats. In the largest, most populous province – Ontario — the liberals won twice as many seats as the conservatives. The Liberals are the party of the politically correct inner city voters.

Big loser is the NDP (social-democrats) falling from 39 seats to ? 25. Big winner is Bloc Québécois (separatist/centre left) going from 10 seats up to 22.)

*   *   *

Polls are on a knife edge as the Canadian 2019 election day rolls out

Click to enlarge

In the US, Brexit and Australian elections the pollsters missed the hidden conservative vote. It was so strong [...]