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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Another socialist boom and bust in solar in Victoria

Behold, the Victorian Govt are proving yet again that Soviet-style electricity management can crush lives, hopes and wallets. The free market is never as cruel and destructive as one run on “good intentions” or the desire to win virtue-signaling fashion parades.

The invisible hand of the market was replaced with Daniel Andrews whimsy. This might work if he was smarter than the collective brains of 5 million people. Apparently Andrews assumes serfs people don’t understand the true value of solar panels and the benefits of creating jobs in China, so he has mandated glorious subsidies in the hope of getting nice weather one day, and the desperate punters took them up in droves. The industry boomed. But now they’ve temporarily halted the free gifts, orders have disappeared as the free market returns to accurately valuing solar installations. So the workers are being sacked. The rebates will come back again in July, so business-owners somehow need to get a different income stream for two months, survive the turmoil, and then the golden gravy will run again.

As per usual ABC policy, no free market voices were harmed, interviewed or asked to provide comment:

Victorian solar company reeling after popular rebate [...]

Invisible costs of renewables: “Staggeringly high” $125b for US electricity consumers

A major new “nail in coffin” study shows the more renewables we force onto the market the more expensive electricity gets.

Everyday someone tells us renewables are cheap, but these estimates come from flawed “LCOE” method (at best) supposedly the lifetime cost, but without many indirect costs. Granted, it’s hard to figure out what the bill for renewable energy is. But what really matters to every man and his dog, is the cost effect on the whole system, not a cherry-slice comparison of a few sunny-windy hours a day which doesn’t take into account the effect that renewable energy has on the rest of the 24/7 electricity grid.

Greenstone, McDowell and Nath have analysed all 29 states in the US where there are laws demanding a certain percentage of energy be renewable. On average a 4% increase in renewables led to a price rise of 17% and the impost was wildly high compared to any remotely sensible cost-benefit analysis. Renewables are the car insurance bill that costs 3 times as much as your car. Any serious environmentalist would hate renewables.

Michael Shellenberger, Forbes

The cost to consumers has been staggeringly high: ”All in all, seven years after passage, [...]

Solar Power at $70 is still twice the price of brown coal

More fake news: Miners are only switching to solar because they can’t get access to cheap coal fired power.

“Miners switch on to renewables”

A better headline would be: Renewable targets make electricity so expensive miners are forced to switch to renewables.

The money quote:

Emily Alford is a principal consultant at Oakley Greenwood …  [she] told The Weekend Australian that solar generation cost about $200 a megawatt hour five years ago, and had dropped to about $70-$80 now.

Compare that to 53 year old Hazelwood coal power which was selling electricity for $30/MWh in it’s last month of operation. When brown coal stations set the price in Victoria they were winning bids at prices like $13/MWh.The cheapest electricity in the world comes from 30 year old brown coal plants.

The $70-$80 estimate is artificially low. Unreliable power makes the other baseload generators more expensive, adding $30/MWh to gas generators for example. Because the back up generators have to be there, not earning money while solar feeds in, they have to charge more to recoup those costs in a shorter working period. Doh. So add that cost to solar, not the gas.

Compare the real costs and weep:

I’ll repost [...]

Attenborough’s climate facts fell off a cliff with the Walruses

Is this the tipping point for David Attenborough’s reputation?

Will anyone see David Attenborough the same way again after the Netflix debacle that is  “Climate Change: The Facts”?

The Attenborough subspecies may present itself as an impartial scientist but under scrutiny this is revealed to be a chameleon-like illusion that hides the real intent, which appears to be to garner prizes, funds, fame and better dinner invitations. Evolutionarily, Attenborough may be seeking to increase his own status (and resources for kin) at the expense of taxpayers, donors and hapless walruses.

David Attenborough, homo propagandis, wears the guise of environmental scientist while spruiking pagan fears, cherry picked evidence and lying by omission.

The facts turn out to be half-truths that fit the pattern of exploiting primal fears to create deep psychological spin. He says “we don’t know” but then shows the opposite — associating every kind of bad weather, fire, and storm with man-made emissions even though data shows that these were worse in the past or are caused by other factors. In probably his lowest career point, rumours are spreading that not only did thriving polar bears cause the falling walrus episode rather than coal power stations, but his [...]

Earliest recorded snow event in Western Australian history

Remember when climate modelers told us fossil fuels cause longer snow seasons?

No neither do I.

Albany, snowboarding, earliest snow, WA, 2019.

It is the earliest recorded snow event in a calendar year in the state’s history. Statistically, we can tell how anomalous this is by the behaviour of the local wildlife – seen snowboarding in shorts on the driveway in Albany. (Even going across the road). It’s possible this is the longest snowboard ride in the state’s history too. Though technically it is hail-boarding.

See snowboarding in Albany Western Australia

For foreign readers, WA (Western Aust) doesn’t have a snow season. Last regular snow was probably circa 20,000BC.

The ABC reports:

BOM forecaster Matt Boterhoven said snow was an extremely rare occurrence in April.

“It’s exceptional. We’ve only recorded once, in the last 100 years, snow as early as this on top of the Stirling Ranges,” he said.

“It’s related to a very strong cold air mass moving over the south-west of the state, so when conditions get below freezing and there’s precipitation, snow can form on top of Stirling Ranges.”

Mr Boterhoven predicted further snow flurries were [...]

Burn oil so we can eat more chocolate

The fake scare of the season — “climate change is impacting chocolate production”.

Chocolate is produced from the beans that grow on cocoa trees. These plants can only grow in a fairly narrow range of conditions, which makes them vulnerable to changes in the environment.

Unfortunately, climate change is threatening some of these key growing regions. According to the IPCC, rising temperatures and a relative reduction in rainfall could make areas like West Africa less suitable for cocoa production in the future. Changes to the climate are also pushing cocoa-growing regions to higher altitudes in some parts of the world, which can make some crops unsustainable.

We can see just how hard cocoa crops have been hit by record heat and 500 billion tons of carbon.

Global Cocoa production

Since 1989 humans have put out more than 50% of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions since homo sapiens went sapien. There is an undeniable trend here.

Happy Easter to everyone.

h/t Dave B

Kenney wins landslide in Alberta against carbon tax: vows War Room against energy activists

Yet another big win against carbon taxes: Abbott, Trump, Ford and now Kenney

Provinces of Canada.

The first pledge was to get rid of the carbon tax. The victory was a scorching 63 to 24 seats, or 55% to 32%.

Alberta is a conservative province of Canada with 4 million people. It’s wealthy from oil, gas and agriculture. (It’s not that different to Queensland and WA.). Jason Kenney is on a mission to get the province back from environmental zealots: fergoodnesssake, he even vowed to set up a ‘War Room’ against energy activists.

The greens were the main target and the people said “Yes”.

Conservatives win big victory in Alberta, Canada

The right-leaning United Conservative Party (UCP) has taken power in the oil-rich Canadian province of Alberta, routing the left-leaning NDP.

It was a landslide victory:

…Kenney defeated center-left incumbent Rachel Notley, 55, whose New Democratic Party snapped four decades of conservative rule in 2015. His UCP won 63 seats in the provincial legislature, against 24 for Notley’s NDP,

He’s vowed to get stalled pipelines built, scrap the province’s carbon tax, and create a “war room” to hit back at [...]

Australia to pay $25b to foreigners so we get better weather

In a nutshell, if the Labor Party wins (and that’s looking likely) Australia will pay $25b, maybe $35b to foreigners for paper certificates that claim to have reduced a tiny amount of beneficial gas. This is hard earned money leaving the country so that our foreign minister and PM can sit at better tables at UN Gala Dinners. The paper certificates have a long history of fraud, are often based on good intentions of Chinese or Russian businessman saying they will put out more CO2 but can stop if we pay up. It’s so stupid sometimes people even create pollution just to get paid to clean it up. They’re unauditable, worthless, and based on scientificy assertions that are also unaudited and worthless. It’s a double layered scam.

Welcome to pagan Australia, obedient fool serf for namecalling rulers of Europe, giant banks, and multinational corporations.

A witchdoctor calls PM “cave-dweller“:

This is mature policy debate in the lucky country.

Richard Ferguson, The Australian

Bill Shorten has angrily dismissed claims his carbon reduction policy could cost business $25 billion as “nonsense” and labelled Scott Morrison a “climate-denying cave dweller.”

 But wait — why’s that number wrong?

Facebook finds truth by “Groupthink” — may the deepest pockets win the info war

In a flash of insight, or possibly rank capitulation, Facebook has announced last week that it will “fight misinformation” with censorship.  Seems Facebook thinks Facebook-users are too stupid to figure out the misinformation themselves. Besides, fighting misinformation with the truth is especially hard if the misinformation is true:

Facebook crackdown on groups spreading misinformation

Barbara Ortutay and Rachel Lerman, The Australian

Facebook says it is rolling out a wide range of updates aimed at combating the spread of false and harmful information on the social media site – stepping up the company’s fight against misinformation and hate speech as it faces growing outside pressure.

 And it’s not even transparent censorship but the the most weaselly hidden kind:

The updates will limit the visibility of links…

How does Facebook define misinformation?  Wait til you hear this: Groupthink = truth?

…limit the visibility of links found to be significantly more prominent on Facebook than across the web as a whole, suggesting they may be clickbait or misleading.

So that pretty much rules out Facebook spreading the word of whistleblowers, rebels, new theories, suppressed ideas, oppressed people and anything controversial, interesting or not completely predictable. [...]

We need to protect our health system from Climate-change-doctors

Doctors are at it again trying to scare people about “climate change”. But all around the world, in every study in every city humans die more from the cold than they do from the heat (and by six to 20 times more). That’s thousands of lives and it happens every single year. Don’t these doctors know anything?

Attributable fraction of deaths: Heat, cold and temperature variability together resulted in 42,414 deaths during the study period, accounting for about 6.0% of all deaths. Most of attributable deaths were due to cold (61.4%), and noticeably, contribution from temperature variability [TV] (28.0%) was greater than that from heat (10.6%). Cheng et al.

The awful truth that incompetent self-serving doctors forgot to mention was that cooler room temperatures allow viruses to survive longer, which is just one of many reasons the Flu Season is always worse in winter.

Break my heart, if “climate change” is real the only thing the docs have to worry about is whether they’ll earn less money in winter.

Here’s the headline:

 Health system needs to be protected from climate change: doctors

Here’s the real news: The health system needs to be protected from climate-change-doctors. We can’t afford [...]

Justice! Prof Peter Ridd wins on all counts against James Cook Uni

Professor Peter Ridd

Brilliant. There is still some free speech in Australia, as long as you are willing to risk your career, 12 months out of action and a huge legal case. Peter Ridd wins on all counts.

Presumably James Cook will have to reinstate him, and he is now free to talk about the failure of replication in science and how our institutions may not be trusted. How many taxpayer dollars were fritzed defending the indefensible? Will Ridd get compensation? Will JCU staff get punished or sacked for  their war against science?

Thanks to Peter for fighting on when so many would have given up, and thanks to everyone who helped fund the case!

UPDATE: In reply, the Provost of James Cook Uni says Ridd was never gagged or silenced, nor sacked for his scientific views. Which would be great if it were so. But there’s a pattern here — how many skeptical scientists do they employ? Is that zero? We all know they went to great lengths to blackball, evict, and practically erase skeptical Prof Bob Carter too. If there are any skeptical scientists left at JCU, they are probably too afraid to speak out. Which is rather [...]

Solar Power hits the death spiral vertical rise in Australia

Solar installations are rapidly accelerating in Australia, surging in the last quarter by an extraordinary 482MW. This is partly due to rapidly rising electricity costs, but in the last quarter, especially amplified by an extra $2250 subsidy in Victoria which adds to current subsidies like the SRES (RET) which already cover around half the cost of installation.

This is obviously a market destroying practice but will be hailed as evidence that solar power is “surging” due to “falling prices” and “increasing demand”. More fake news.

In the land of the Renewable-Crash-Test-Dummy we’re hitting the death spiral. Every installation costs non-solar owners more (with the tally at $200pa and rising fast) and there are fewer non-solar owners left to pay. Obviously, the whole market has to be changed to ensure that solar owners pay a fair share of networking and backup costs.

If solar power was cheap, useful or competitive, it wouldn’t need the subsidies. Instead, the nation keeps adding more useless infrastructure and wondering why the price of electricity is rising.

Solar panel installations, Australia, Graph.

Data: Australian PV Institute

The tally of solar stupidity

Solar is inefficient, wilderness destroying, money-hungry, useless, grid wrecking equipment

Without subsidies the German [...]

Climate change bad: causes “longer growing seasons” but blamed for allergies

It’s a disaster: More plants, more crops, more flowers!

Between 1995 and 2011, fewer freeze-free days meant 11 to 27 days added to pollen season for most of the United States, research shows. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, which does an annual survey of allergy season, noticed that it’s been growing each year.

It’s a spurious correlation: quick, build a wind farm!

The number of allergy sufferers has grown, research shows. One in 10 Americans struggled with hay fever in 1970, and 3 in 10 did by 2000. Asthma, which can be made worse by exposure to pollen, has become more common too, with higher rates among kids, low-income households and African Americans.

Warming cycles have always happened, and when times are good, plants have to ramp up the competition — it’s in their genes. Allergy cycles, we can bet, probably didn’t happen so often to paleolithic people who didn’t have access to Ventolin-trees or Epipen-plants.

Could it be that what causes asthma is not more pollen, but changes to breastfeeding, pollution, glyconutrients, diets, antihistamines, histamines, Vitamin D, parasites, cleaning,  baby wipes, cesarean sections, less farming, less farm dust, less dirt, and adding preservatives, antacids and antibiotics and other [...]

In Australia Climate obedience must be 100%

Stating the bleeding obvious about climate science earns headlines

Tony Abbott merely states what no real scientist could argue with. Things are not quite as settled in climate science as people say. For this tiny deviation from the permitted line he is isolated and depicted in a headline as “questioning science” when he’s really just questioning propaganda lines.

The editors of both AAP and The Australian could have chosen a different headline: Abbott declares “we only have one planet”. But in headline-world, which is often the only line people will read, Abbott is made out to be saying something risky. Imagine, I am Spartacus, if every single conservative politician said “of course — Climate science isn’t perfect.” But almost none of them have the balls.

Abbott questions climate change science

AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS, The Australian

Tony Abbott has questioned the “so-called settled” science about climate change, a month after dropping his view that Australia should pull out of the Paris climate agreement.

The former prime minister insisted he was a realist when asked about his position on climate change during his election campaign launch in Manly on Friday.

“The so-called [...]

Green fans, born to be scammed. Finally, jail for a $54m fake green energy ponzi schemer

There are crooks in every field, but some fields are ripe for the picking.

If you wanted to run a scam would you a/ try to fool hard-nosed money changers in a mature industry that makes a real product or b/ pick the latest touchy feely fashionable trope and offer their fans, who are not good with cause, effect or numbers, a chance to feel great and get rich too?

From 2005 to 2009 a few US graduates straight out of college promised to turn biochar into energy and save the world as well. They raised $54m, gave $17m to the early investors and then promised 484% returns to later investors. The Clinton Foundation loved them, but they never made even a kilo of biochar. Not long after that the US SEC figured the scam out and shut them down. That was 2009. Then it only took 10 years to get one sentenced to 30 months jail.

If only the media had been more skeptical:

NBC Philadelphia:  30 months in prison for $54m Green Scam

[Amanda] Knorr co-founded a company called Mantria Corp., which with the help of a slick-talking Colorado “wealth advisor” raised millions for [...]