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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Midweek Unthreaded

One third of Australia wants public ABC spending cut. That’s 14 cents a day but Not Worth It

New essential poll today shows 35% of respondents support cutting spending on the ABC.

The ABC once had a hallowed status, but those days are over. One in three Australians are not enthused with non-stop naked Green-Labor advertising combined with derision and scorn for the deplorable half of the population.

We pay 14 cents a day for the ABC and it’s not worth it.

ABC ratings  plummet 13% in the last year

Showing that this survey is not an abberation, the whole nation is voting with the remote control:

Last week ABC News attracted about 660,000 viewers in the mainland capital cities. This compares with about 760,000 viewers a year ago.

That’s a trend line headed for zero by 2025.

Most Australians don’t watch the prime time 7pm news service they are forced to pay for. Apparently the ABC is a subsidy package for poor inner city elites who can afford to live in Darlinghurst but not to pay for their own news service.

The ABC rescue plan is a workshop on telling stories

The ABC solution yesterday is to get better at “storytelling”. It does not include employing a second conservative or libertarian commentator (one, Amanda Vanstone, [...]

Extraordinary powers triggered: Blackout threat from rooftop solar panels in Western Australia

Panels are going in everywhere in Perth.

In Western Australia the uptake of solar panels has rocketed as electricity prices leaped — there’s a slow motion solar train-wreck underway. Solar PV panels are now on more than one in four houses and growing at a phenomenal rate.

The South West Grid is small, with around one million customers and a daily peak of around 2 – 3,000 MW. But the solar generation now totals as much as 1,000MW, and is growing at blistering 180MW a year. Already, there are times solar can be the largest “single” source on this grid, and the AEMO has no control over it, which is why emergency notices are being issued more and more. The AEMO suggests the answer is more batteries, but we are still subsiding the installation of these unnecessary panels making the problem worse, and electricity prices are forecast to rise another 7% this year. As readers TomOMason and TonyfromOz say, so much for cheap solar — watch out: “Batteries Not Included”. The hidden costs get you every time, and the cost of the impact on the rest of the grid is only becoming known as we do this live experiment.

[...]

James Cook Uni goes nuclear on free speech: Professor Peter Ridd sacked

UPDATE Watch Peter Ridd on Sky News. I’ll be on the show myself next Sunday. – Jo

Peter Ridd as a first year undergraduate science student at James Cook University back in 1978.

This is so much bigger than just one man and one university. Academic staff everywhere will be watching, most to see if they can say what they really think, but others, conversely to see whether James Cook University can get away with this. Can they squelch opinions they don’t like this easily?

James Cook Uni needs to be punished, mocked and heads should roll. We didn’t ask for this test, but it’s here. JCU don’t deserve a single dollar of taxpayer funds while they maintain this ridiculous anti-intellectual and political pogrom.

Peter Ridd wants his job back and he’s willing to fight to get it. Let’s help him!

Peter Ridd’s new website.                             Donate at his GoFundMe page.

Summary of Allegations with brief explanation

First they tried to punish Peter Ridd for daring to question divine institutions and sacred peer review. These are the words JCU wanted banned: [...]

Global Patsy Australia — largest coal exporter in world — still has 300 years of coal left

Australia must surely be The Global Patsy Is any country acting so decisively against its own interests?

Last chance to book for the Friedman conference! I’ll be speaking with Ian Plimer next weekend. It’s a great line up of speakers on May 25-27, or come for the Gala dinner. Get a 10% discount with the code Nova18. Bookings close this Sunday.

We, the Global Crash Test Dummies of Renewable Energy, have the fourth largest known reserves of coal in the world. We have so much coal we can keep digging it up at the current rate for the next 294 years (assuming we don’t discover more, which we will)1. If we didn’t export three quarters of our coal, but used it all ourselves, it could power Australia for the next 1,000 years. (But we’d miss the money– better to sell the stuff before nukes make it worthless).

We have so much more coal than we need, most years we are the world’s largest exporter of coal.[2] Indeed, Australia contributes fully one third of the entire global coal export trade. (Three other countries, China, India and the US — dig up more than we do, but they use it themselves.)

[...]

Burn coal not wood if you care about the climate

Go Coal. Wood-fired electricity produces *more* CO2 for the next hundred years…

h/t NoTricksZone

Any day now the giant tree-eating-machine called Drax will be shifting back to coal as Greens and politicians realize they’ve made a planet killing mistake. Lordy! At the moment, Drax is supposed to be saving the world and making electricity for the UK by burning trees cut down and shipped from the US.

This temple to carbon neutrality happens to be the largest plant in the UK . It generates about 7% of all the megawatts used there. But a new study by Sterman et al, suggests the Drax plan is backfiring badly.

When is carbon neutrality not neutral? When the carbon debt is not paid off in our lifetimes…

Burning forests instead of coal deposits raises CO2, and in so many ways: Wood is a less efficient fuel. Megawatt for megawatt, wood produces more CO2 than coal. In terms of efficiencies, the combustion efficiency of wood is 25% compared to coal at 35%. Processing losses to supply wood are around 27%, while losses to supply coal are 11%. (NEA 2011, IEA 2016, Roder 2015) This is the slow road to carbon neutrality. It takes [...]

Cricket will be sport hardest hit by climate change “fundamentally changed” by summer rain

Forget the plight of snow skiers who won’t know what snow is – it’s cricket that will be hit hardest.

That’s why the sport must take notice of a report published by Climate Coalition, …

The document names cricket as the sport that will be hardest hit by climate change in England, stating that “wetter winters and more intense summer downpours are disrupting the game at every level”.

God forbid. This is a death spiral:

.. Glamorgan Head of Operations, Dan Cherry, …warned that climate change could “fundamentally change the game”.

“The less cricket we play, the fewer people will watch it, the less they will come to the ground and pay to enter, the less chance there is for young people to be inspired,” said Cherry.

This change, it seems, has already begun.

Wait til you see the evidence:

In international cricket, 27 percent of England’s home one-day internationals since 2000 have been played with reduced overs because of rain delays. The rate of rain-affected matches has more than doubled since 2011, with five percent of matches abandoned completely.

By crikey. That is a six year weather trend. Statistical significance [...]

Old GOP voters are skeptics, so it takes 20 years to recover from education and wise up to the media

From Jo: Bookings close this Sunday.

Hope to see you in Sydney the weekend after next!

I’ll be speaking with Ian Plimer at the ATA Friedman18 conference.

It’s a great line up of speakers on May 25-27, or come for the Gala dinner.

Get a 10% discount with the code Nova18.

On Climate, There’s A Sharp Generational Divide Within GOP

USNews, Alan Neuhauser

A Pew survey exposed a stark gap between younger and older Republican voters on global warming and energy policy.

 

Neuhauser doesn’t mention it but the implications are pretty dire — look how long it takes to recover from school:

Republican millennials – people roughly ages 22 to 37 – are far less likely than older generations to support the use of coal, oil and other fossil fuel sources. By one count, while three-quarters of Republican baby boomers and older generations supported more offshore oil and gas drilling, fewer than half of millennial Republicans felt the same way.

At least most Republicans grow up:

Among [young and old] Democrats, by contrast, there was only a small divide.

If half the population is shifting in the same direction [...]

Is this the start of the death-spiral for old windfarms in Europe

The subsidy that flows whatever the weather  |  by  Josh.

How do you know when an industry is a loser? When even repowering old turbines, which were put in the best spots, is not worth the trouble unless they get a subsidy, I mean, even more subsidies.

Remember the days when subsidies were needed to get a project going?

Maintenance is not an option

Europe is full of old windfarms. The original subsidies have run out and there’s not much appetite for new ones. Without more free money from taxpayers the most economic option for older turbines is to run them into the ground and give up on them. Maintenance costs are the silent plague. But so too is red tape and legal approval. The age of the European turbines is reaching the point where half of the entire fleet is facing do or die decisions.

John Constable of the GWPF wonders if the wind industry in Europe may be on the point of collapse.

And Europe’s fleet is old:

By 2020, 41% of the currently installed capacity in Germany will be over 15 years old, 44% in Spain, and 57% in Denmark.

John Constable is responding [...]

Australia’s national energy market is run by a lawyer and climate changey activist

Audrey Zibelman

No wonder our national electricity grid is in deep. Audrey Zibelman is the CEO of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). The former New York based woman is a lawyer with an MBA who thinks we can change the weather with our power supply. She was appointed in March 2017. Thank Malcolm Turnbull. Apparently in 2016 she was a favourite for the future Team Hillary in the US.

Audrey the activist

Just to make her motivation clear. Her words last year:

“I believe we’re the last generation on earth who can really do something about climate change.“

The manager of our electricity market thinks wind and solar are actually competitive:

And the good thing is that technology has evolved so that we don’t have to worry about sacrificing economics for good environmental policy.”

Notably, what she isn’t dreaming of is cheap electricity:

Her dream is of a grid dominated not by big power suppliers and their fossil-fuel generators, but rather a system of “distributed energy” that delivers better supply security by storing solar and wind power in batteries for later use. She wants a market that better rewards people with rooftop [...]