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



Turnbull government tests out “carbon price” on electricity. It bombs, then gets retracted.

It started on Monday on ABC AM when energy minister Josh Frydenberg was asked about the review about climate policies.

If you listen to the full AM program from 9 – 10:30mins he absolutely rules out an economy wide approach, but when asked about an electricity sector “emissions intensity scheme” he does say “wait and see”. Was it a bizarre slip of the tongue, or was he fishing to find out the strength of the opposition to bringing in a carbon price on electricity?

9 mins: He is asked about an energy “emission intensity scheme”.

Josh rejects any “economy wide approach”.  “”What this review has indicated is we will look at a sector-by-sector approach. The electricity sector is the one which produces the most emissions — around a third of Australia’s emissions come from that sector.”


Frydenberg: We know that a large number of bodies have recommended an emissions intensity scheme a baseline and credit scheme.

Any chance of that happening?

 10 minutes  Frydenberg   “Wait and see… we want to hear from the experts on the lowest cost of abatement… thats what we owe the Australian households [...]

Coldest decade in Europe: 1430s — so cold people melted wine to drink, climate models have no idea why

Historic documents warn us that cold times bring death, starvation, disease. Winters were long, the crops failed, trade patterns and prices changed. Rivers froze over in Europe. The detail in this paper is fascinating. The world’s expert climate models (that’ll be NASA GISS, NCAR] don’t know what caused that extreme cold and can’t model it. If something like this were coming in the near future, they couldn’t predict it. Apparently it was due to “natural variation” which is scientific code for “we don’t know”. But the paper discusses the Spörer Minimum (SPM) in depth, and admits they don’t understand the mechanism of solar forcing which may include solar UV, or energetic particle flows. The SPM lasted from 1421 – 1550. They pretty much rule out volcanoes as the cause because the big ones in that era went off in 1453 and 1458.

Figure 2. Individual paleoclimate reconstructions for summer temperature, winter temperature and summer precipitation. Left: dots are specific sites considered by the different authors (listed from 1 to 16; Table 1). Right: decadal-scale (10-year mean) summer temperature, winter temperature and summer precipitation for the 16 climate reconstructions, standardised with reference to the period 1300–1700 (datasets 6, 11 and [...]

Big-government takes another hit: Brexit factor strikes Italy

More news that the little people are fed up. A big 70% of Italy’s voters turned out to turn down the referendum. The Italian PM will resign. Like Brexit and Trump, the opinion polls got it wrong underestimated the size of the “No” vote, predicting the No win with a 6% gap, which ended up being a 19% for Italians in Italy. (Italians living overseas voted very differently — 65%  for Yes). The proposal was to reduce the power of the Senate and of the regional governments. The Euro has dipped.

The global anti-establishment backlash has claimed another scalp in a result that will send shockwaves through financial markets and European capitals today.

Opposition was spearheaded by Beppe Grillo, a comedian and Eurosceptic founder of the populist Five Star Movement. He accused Mr Renzi of trying to wreck Italy’s system of checks and balances to push through laws favouring big business.

Renzi was elected as an anti-establishment man, but clearly wasn’t that at all:

Renzi, 41, took office in 2014 promising to shake up hidebound Italy and presenting himself as an anti-establishment “demolition man” determined to crash through a smothering bureaucracy and redraw the [...]

More blackout damage — Alcoa smelter to run at just 27% capacity for up to six months

The fallout from the small blackout last week will cost jobs and reduce production for months to come. In Victoria, the Alcoa smelter in Portland was hit at the same time as 200,000 customers in South Australia. But the short power outage meant that hot metal turned solid at the smelter, damaging equipment. One potline is totally shut down, the other hobbles along.

Manager of Portland Aluminium, Peter Chellis, said crews had been working tirelessly to stabilise the plant since it was taken offline.

“Obviously a long power interruption freezes the metal, and when you bring the power back on that creates what we call ‘burn offs’,” he said. “So we’ve been taking the pots that can’t be fixed out of circuit, and at this point in time line two is looking quite stable.”

He said the smelter was operating at just 27 per cent of its capacity. “At the moment we haven’t started to work on any scenario other than stabilising the plant,” he said. “But I think in three to six months we can turn around lines one and two.”

 – Source: Alcoa smelter to run at 27% [...]

Green leader South Australia gets energy security the diesel way

Probably not what Senator Hansen-Young had in mind for South Australia:

SA irrigators, farmers turn to generators for electricity stability

By Lauren Waldhuter

Irrigators and farmers are buying diesel generators to secure their power supply, as price and stability issues continue to plague South Australia’s energy grid, industry experts have said.

Susie Green, head of the state’s apple and pear grower and cherry grower associations, said some farmers were now investing in generators for stability. “More and more I’m hearing that people are looking at forms of back-up generation for irrigation pumps and all different systems around their orchards,” she said.  — ABC

One more cost to add to the price of wind and solar powered electrons. It’s not just the cost of a blackout, it’s the dollar volatility too. As the spot price soared to $13,000 MWh power companies tell irrigators to turn off their pumps.

How much capital is tied up in fuel and generators that are bought as insurance against government mandated grid failures which are themselves the  price of “insurance” against the weather changing.

h/t David B

Wikileaks shows climate researchers targeted to be silenced

Emails released by wikileaks show that Roger Pielke was the target of an organized political effort to stop him speaking on climate issues. Remember, Pielke is largely an IPCC type guy — supporting most of their consensus including even carbon trading. Yet straying a tiny bit from the approved line made him a major threat — the IPCC message is a whole package and a flaw in any part of it could unravel the whole kit and caboodle.

Roger Pielke was surprised to find his name in the Podesta emails:

“The multi-year campaign against me by CAP was partially funded by billionaire Tom Steyer, and involved 7 writers at CAP who collectively wrote more than 160 articles about me, trashing my work and my reputation. Over the years, several of those writers moved on to new venues, including The Guardian, Vox and where they continued their campaign focused on creating an evil, cartoon version of me and my research.”

Collectively, they were quite successful. The campaign ultimately led to me being investigated by a member of Congress and pushed out of the field.

That story has been told in the Wall Street Journal today:

My [...]

In brave PR move Kelloggs cancels Breitbart advertising and calls millions of its own customers “bigots”

It’s a novel marketing ploy to reach all the people who buy their breakfast cereals according to where they don’t advertise. It’s bound to appeal to at least three or four people, but at the risk of offending half the population.

I suspect that not too many kids plague mom and dad to buy Fruit Loops because it doesn’t support the evil Breitbart news outlet. (That’s the same one whose leading editor was so disconnected from the cereal-buying-masses that he backed the winning candidate for leader of the free world, and got a job as his right hand man. A media group on “the fringe”, eh?)

Politics is the new religion. What else explains this this latest marketing disaster, which will appeal to all the people who buy Wheeties because it’s a Democrat cereal. Investors are running. Kelloggs stocks dropped another 1.4% today.

It started when Kelloggs announced it wouldn’t advertise on Breitbart because of “values”:

Kellogg on Tuesday said it would pull its ads from Breitbart News after consumers notified the manufacturer that its products were appearing on the [...]

Parts of South Australia blackout again: BHP Chief warns of jobs and investment cuts

 Just another day with a grid on the edge

Adelaide and surrounds

It was only 200,000 “customers”, only for an hour or so in the middle of the night. But yet again the Great Green Experiment that is SA ran out of electricity. Olympic Dam (the largest uranium deposit in the world and fourth largest copper deposit) was not operating properly for four hours. A fault at the Victorian interconnector meant 220MW of load had to “shed” — a fancy term for throwing the switch so the whole system didn’t break. SA was “islanded” — cut off from the rest of the national grid for about 3 hours, and clearly it can’t make it on its own. Total power lost was about a fifth of the SA grid.

Remember, this has absolutely, definitely nothing to do with the last blackout or renewables says the SA Energy Minister:

Mr Koutsantonis said there was no way renewable energy generation in SA could be blamed for the loss of power.

Andrew Dillon from AusNet said the overnight outage had no link to factors that caused a recent state-wide blackout in SA, and this time was hindered by the timing [...]

Farmed fish doing alright at CO2 levels twenty, fifty, seventy times higher than today

The World Wildlife Fund tells us that global CO2 is bad for global fish stocks, but ponder that professional fish farms can reach levels of CO2 twenty or even seventy five times higher, and the fish appear to be doing OK. Current guidelines for fish farms even suggest that “safe limits of CO2 range from >5000 to >30 000 µatm*” which are “12.5 to 75 times higher than current atmospheric levels”.

So in another few thousand years we might really get into trouble with fish farms and climate change then? (Or maybe we won’t. James Hansen estimates if we burn every last barrel of fossil fuel on Earth we’ll get to 1,400ppm. The experience of fish farms all over the world is that fish can apparently adapt to levels ten times higher even than this worst case scenario.)

We have a situation where there are scores of reports fish suffering from ocean acidification and high CO2 levels, but they don’t mesh with the reality that fish farms have been dealing with for decades.  A new paper tries to figure out why this is so. The study doesn’t prove that there are no bad effects from higher CO2, but [...]

Pagan-Climate-101: The CO2 God causes quakes, tsunami’s and volcanoes

All the sensible people have left the room.What’s left, double or nothing?

In the religion that is “climate change” all correlations point to the CO2 God.  Bill McGuire is professor emeritus in geophysical and climate hazards at UCL and he hath written a book of immanent quakes, shakes and eruptions. Turn off your heater for it feeds the volcano.

Let us read from Climate-Psalm-101:

Global warming may not only be causing more destructive hurricanes, it could also be shaking the ground beneath our feet

Be very afraid little bunny:

… it does not stretch the imagination to appreciate that a warmer atmosphere promotes greater melting of the polar ice caps, thereby raising sea levels and increasing the risk of coastal flooding. But, more extraordinarily, the thin layer of gases that hosts the weather and fosters global warming really does interact with the solid Earth – the so-called geosphere — in such a way as to make climate change an even bigger threat.

Thus and verily will the continental plates dance to the tune of the magical CO2.

Pagan civilization found the Dog Star caused flooding in the Nile. So [...]