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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Seven reasons why BHP — a giant coal miner — wants to stop lobbying FOR coal

BHP is throwing its weight around to stop the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) saying what most miners want on climate change.

What coal company wants lobbyists not to lobby for coal?

The gauntlet is down — Which heavyweight will blink first?

In one corner — The MCA — the main lobby group for miners. It’s very effective, and wants to dump the renewables target (“yay” say most miners!). In the other corner — BHP –which has just threatened to quit unless the MCA stops being skeptical of climate change.

Thing is, BHP is the largest member of the MCA, providing 17% of the funding. The colossal miner is so big, it can do its own deals. Essentially, the Minerals Council needs BHP more than BHP needs the Minerals Council. BHP is testing it’s power.

A tough test for the MCA

In Australia, the MCA is influential enough that their fierce anti-mining tax campaign helped to bring down a Prime Minister and when industries want to threaten governments they talk of running a campaign “like it”.

If they fold and serve their largest client, effectively burning off almost all their smaller clients, then the smaller clients should quit and [...]

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 [...]

Green rules, profit, legal bullying drove the Grenfell disaster

Grenfell Tower

It takes a lot of effort to set up a situation so dangerous under the guise of “helping the poor and the polar bears”.

Grenfell — Britain’s fire safety crisis

By Gerard Tubb, Sky News Correspondent and Nick Stylianou, Sky News Producer

The UK Dept of Energy and Climate Change wanted help to get insulation onto buildings to save the world in 2011, so it asked the people who sell insulation. Somehow the plastics industry found the energy to turn up and help the government write rules that would increase their sales.

The Grenfell tower, where 71 people died, ended up being coated in Celotex — a flammable plastic. Celotex staff were on that committee, and bragged on their website how they were “working inside government”. It’s another example of a vested interest leaping onto the Carbonista-bandwagon. No conspiracy needed.

Follow the money:

A few years later Celotex revealed that the rules the plastics industry helps to write are key to company profits. Trade magazine Urethanes Technology International reported in 2015 that Warren had told them regulatory change was the “greatest driver” of plastic insulation sales. Without new regulations he was reported as [...]

UN Green Climate Fund: good for bankers, bureaucrats, but not so much the poor

UN Green Climate Fund (GCF) — nice rort if you can get it

The UN climate fund was set up in 2010 but has yet to send a single dollar of project money to its star sinking island (which isn’t sinking, but is poor).

The NY Times has a long article describing how billions of dollars is being spent, but somehow it seems to be going to the wrong places. Given the lack of accountability, voters, and elections, who could have seen that coming?

The  GCF GONGO is ruled by a Board of 24 people who jetset to Korea, hand out other people’s money, and get applause. In 2012 they were seeking immunity from all laws and taxes. Presumably they succeeded. In 2014, they were caught funding a new coal power station in Indonesia to reduce carbon emissions. I wondered if that was rorting, cronyism, or ‘success’. Greens were not happy. Now we find out that the rest of the money is ending up with the renewables industry, investment bankers, and bureaucrats:

U.N. Climate Fund Promised Billions to Poor Nations. For Some, the Wait Is Long.

Transparency, not so good:

The observers took issue, [...]

Map of Climate Shame reveals most of world doesn’t fight climate change

With the Bonn UN Climate Junket in its last days, the big leaders are coming in, and the ambit claims are coming out.

The Climate Action Network or CAN have published a glossy report that shows just what a failure Paris was. All the red countries are pretending to do something but scoring terribly. Grey countries are not even pretending, and New Zealand has been wiped off the map. (Seriously, something spooky happened in that last election.) Commiserations to Kiwi’s (UPDATE, and Alaskans).

Since India is getting the Green Guernsey  and the US  is getting a wrist slap, we know for sure this chart is not based on actual CO2 emission trends, or perhaps even any numbers.

The US, after all, has reduced emissions more than anywhere else while India is doubling it’s coal mining. Is that what we should aim for?

Australia, meanwhile, can never do enough, despite reducing our per capita emissions by a phenomenal 28% from 1990-2013. We sacrificed our electrical grids, have “implemented” an Emissions Trading Scheme and say we are aiming for the same obscenely tough 28% reduction that is the fashion despite being a heavy industrial quarry, with the lowest population density, biggest [...]

EU blows £520m on carbon capture project that stored no carbon

It takes a really big government to waste money on a scale like this

Carbon capture aims to stuff a harmless fertilizer underground in order to change the weather. With CCS, the hard part is deciding which obstacle is the most stupidly unachievable. One ton of solid coal generates nearly three tons of CO2 in a puffy, fluffy, expanded gas form. It doesn’t take a genius to know it won’t fit back into the same hole. And even if you get it down there, it may not stay there. The gas has to be compressed, or refrigerated (or both). Underground holes are hot.  Not surprisingly, this takes a lot of energy, so that to build a coal plant with the capability to “store CO2″ we must spend 60% more dollars, and then throw away 40% of the electricity as well.

You, I, global business, practically no one would spend their own money on it. The geniuses planning it thought the carbon price would rise from 30 euros to 100 euros which would make it a goer. Instead the carbon credit price feel to seven. (And that’s only after the EU propped it up.)

EUObserver spotted this CCS bonfire. I read [...]

Mysterious thing called Populism affecting wildlife

If only there was no populism:

ScienceDaily.   Researchers at Colorado State University and The Ohio State University have found that a cultural backlash stemming from the rise of populism may limit opportunities for state fish and wildlife agencies to adapt to changing social values in the United States. The team reached this conclusion by analyzing more than 12,000 surveys from 19 states and studying ballot initiatives related to hunting.

Unwind your way through that maze. Academics have spent thousands of dollars to discover that some people have different values to academics. Some people who don’t like new laws are protesting, and that may stop “unlimited” changes. Isn’t that democracy?

In the case of human-wildlife conflict, traditionalists would be more likely to support lethal wildlife control methods while mutualists would be more supportive of restrictions on humans.

After two million years of meat-eating, I’d say homo traditionalist had already been “affecting the wildlife”. Even before the rise of populismisticness.

But if populism is pop-u-lar, what kind of “changing social values” do fish and wildlife agencies really need to adapt to anyway? If the changes are less popular, who says we need to change?

The problem is “Trust [...]

World Bank likes Australia’s Emissions Trading Scheme — the “secret” ETS

According to the World Bank, Australia has implemented an ETS

It’s charades all round. Carbon markets are so dismal that the World Bank marks up the Australian ETS (which most Australians have never heard of) as “implemented”. Which makes it so much better than Canada’s which is “under consideration”. In fact the World Bank says Australia’s ETS covers half our emissions and 381 Megatons of CO2 or equivalent. Sounds “impressive”.

Strangely the Australian government hasn’t run an advertising campaign to brag about our landmark ETS legislation. I can’t think why?  Perhaps it’s because Australian’s gave the largest victory in 20 years to a man who swore a blood oath against a carbon tax? Or maybe it’s the polls that show Australian’s don’t want to pay for renewables, 80% don’t donate to environmental causes, and 60% don’t want or don’t care about the Paris deal if they could get cheaper electricity.

Let’s poll Australians and ask ‘Do we have an ETS?” — maybe 80% would say “No”. Maybe ninety. But we do have one, waiting like a paper troll, ready to spring to life. It’s largely secret hidden legislation, buried under a title called the ERF Safeguard Mechanism — (don’t mention [...]

Germans get paid to use junk electricity: Wind power generates when people DONT want it

Welcome to the world of baby-economics where people think a “negative” price is a sign of success. In Simpletown people are cheering. But in the real world a price signal that’s negative tells us that someone is selling something so awful they have to pay someone to take it away. It’s a burden that must be got rid of, like trash.

Germany set to pay customers for electricity usage as renewable energy generation creates huge power surplus – The Independent

Electrons cannot be created nor destroyed. If you make them, you have to deal with them. Negative pricing is a bad thing, a sign of “junk electricity” — a burden. It’s utter nonsense in a free market.

From the outset, I’m skeptical that anyone is actually paying someone to take electricity.  If wind farms were coughing up dollars (euro) to “customers” surely they would just disconnect their spinning thingo from the grid? Who wants to be a shareholder in a company that forgets to lock the turbine, or press the “off” switch, and has to pay customers to take its electronic trash? The truth (whatever it is) will turn out to be some variation of an unfree market. Probably [...]

Rudd’s last minute gift to renewables -industry $7 billion extension til 2030

Apologies to foreign readers as we rake over the Stupidest Energy Policy on Earth. This really takes the cake.

Back in 2010 Rudd signed off on an extension of subsidies to renewables generators that would apply from 2020-2030, long after he would be gone.  Effectively this decision will take up t0 $300 per Australian over that decade –  in the order of $1000 per family –  and gift to the renewables industry. Naturally, in the public arena, an issue this big was decided with major, some, no discussion at all.

The ABC investigated the intricacies of who knew what and when in the knifing of a first term PM, but billions of dollars — who knew?

Dennis Shanahan raised it today in The Australian

Rudd renewables extension upped power bills $7.5bn

Electricity customers face an extra burden of between $3.8 billion and $7.5bn in “windfall” subsidies for renewable power generators in the next decade ­because of the stroke of a pen in the last months of Kevin Rudd’s prime ministership.

Against advice from consultants, energy companies and the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Rudd government in 2010 extended the phasing out of the renewable subsidies for existing operators from [...]