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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What is the sound of a dying planet?

UPDATE: It is apparently funded by the Arts Council England. Couldn’t we guess?

A new climate forcing, let’s call it Musikiness, will change the upper trough-o-sphere:

Climate change data is being transformed into beautiful symphonies

What is the sound of a dying planet? Translating hard facts into feeling is the issue of our age – and it is the task Climate Symphony have appointed themselves. A collective of artists and scientists, the London-based team are inspiring action by transforming climate change data into music.

Listen at the link. 

Wait til you see what it can do. This is a pretty powerful tool:

“Climate Symphony has developed a side-project – calling out lies in politics.”

“We want to create a formal record,” she says, “A method of fact-checking the things Trump is saying, of finding distortions. It’s revealing. You’re looking at it, and listening to it, and you find that it’s distorted. It’s all distorted.”

Musikiness could replace the US GAO. (Who needs auditors). But I worry about what happens if they use the wrong key.

Finally, twenty years late, EcoWorriers care about transparency and “hard facts”:

“…it isn’t just background noise…  music is the [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

This is only 1 percent of a real mass extinction

Peter Brannen argues a real mass extinction doesn’t just wipe out 1% of species, it wipes out 90%.

It turns out humans are not quite as bad as a one-kilometer-deep lava layer covering an area as big as the US.

 Earth is not in the midst of a Sixth Mass Extinction

Humans have changed the ecosphere:

So things don’t look so good, no matter where we look. Yes, the victims in the animal world include scary apex predators that pose obvious threats to humans, like lions, whose numbers have dropped from 1 million at the time of Jesus to 450,000 in the 1940s to 20,000 today—a decline of 98 percent. But also included have been unexpected victims, like butterflies and moths, which have declined in abundance by 35 percent since the 1970s.

Is this a mini extinction?

…the only reason we know about mass extinctions in the first place is from the record of this incredibly abundant, durable, and diverse world of marine invertebrates, not the big, charismatic, and rare stuff like dinosaurs.“

So you can ask, ‘Okay, well, how many geographically widespread, abundant, durably skeletonized marine taxa have gone extinct thus far?’ And [...]

Finkel report destroys baseload coal power economics

Demand enough renewables and you might as well ban coal

There’s a lesson Australia needs to learn from South Australia. When intermittent renewables reach a certain percentage of daily average supply they make baseload power unfeasible. The situation develops into an impossible dead end that can only be solved with container-ships of cash.

The intermittent supply of wind and solar is the immoveable problem. It eats into the daily chart of the cheapest stable electricity supply — which is coal fired. Coal can’t be ramped in and out in minutes. It is a creature that runs best non-stop, efficiently, smoothly, at a high capacity factor (meaning it works best when it is producing around 90% of it’s design limit continuously).

Tom Quirk points out that sometime after these intermittent renewables hit 30% of the average daily supply, as they have in South Australia — locally sourced coal power becomes uneconomic. There are times during the daily cycle when renewables are providing almost all the demand. There is little demand left for the massive coal turbines to supply, so they spin on pointlessly, but costs remain, and profits are zero.

In [...]

Surely not: Climate revolt and another Australian PM?

It’s hard to believe Turnbull could fall for this one twice.

Dennis Shannahan warns us:

There is a revolt in the Coalition ranks and there are those prepared to say that Finkel is dead or worse.

More than 20 Coalition MPs spoke against the Finkel report last night, including Tony Abbott, all concerned that the priority is for cutting emissions and not electricity prices.

History repeats?

David Crowe on what he’s heard about the same liberal party room meeting:

Former prime minister Tony Abbott was a sharp critic of the clean energy target and made interjections throughout the ­discussions.

“He was the most sceptical about it — he said it wasn’t going to cut prices or provide certainty for consumers,” one Liberal said.

“He was probably the strongest critic throughout the whole ­meeting.”

One of the senior Liberal figures who took notes on the meeting said last night that about 32 people spoke and about one-third of them were not in favour of the Finkel proposal, while one-third supported the clean energy target and another third asked questions or had suggestions for changes. Victorian Liberal MP Russell Broadbent, [...]

Finkel: Turn the whole country into South Australia by 2030 — 42% “renewable”

In one of the most massaged spin-doctor sales messages in Australian history, the Finkel Report is here to “take the politics out” and solve our energy instability and out-of-control prices. But it’s actually an aggressive green-left weather-control program where cost and stability are secondary to the unspoken but main aim which is to slow storms in 2100. If Finkel were really aiming for stability and price control he’d let the free market run, get the government out of our electricity grid and look at the evidence that shows that solar-panels and wind farms don’t, won’t and can’t work as global air-conditioners for us or our grandchildren.

Australians, read this line and weep:

“Modelling for the Review estimates that by 2030, 42 per cent of electricity demand will be met by renewable generation.”

This is where South Australia is currently at, but it has a lifeline to coal power in Victoria whenever it needs it. What happens when the whole National Grid needs a lifeline? Pull out your wallet…

How much does an undersea cable to New Zealand cost? It’s only 2,000km.

For the same price we might be able to afford a new ultra-supercritical coal plant and catch [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Finkel report: governments should control electricity market to change weather

Tomorrow Chief Scientist Alan Finkel is delivering a report that could potentially split the Liberal Party. Turnbull was tossed out by the party in 2009 because he supported the bank-friendly emissions trading scheme.  Now the debate is back again in a different guise — called a LET scheme (low emissions target), or a CET scheme (Clean Energy Target). Details are scant at the moment. On the plus side, it appears it’s not necessarily a trading scheme (code for banker driver fiat currency) and it’s aimed at “emissions” directly instead of “renewables” (which makes it slightly more direct and gives the market a tiny bit more freedom, except of course, the market can’t choose “Nukes”.). On the downside, it’s still a pointless waste of billions of dollars in a futile attempt to slow storms for our grandchildren.  If it succeeds in reducing emissions, it will reduce airborne plant fertilizer.

Split coming in the Liberal Party again?

Tony Abbott has warned the federal government it would be making a big mistake if it adopted a low emissions target that made it hard to build new, more efficient coal-fired power stations. The former prime minister expressed his “anxiety” around reports [...]

Electric car industry wants subsidies to grow Australian market (current national sales = 4 cars a week)

Apparently, what electric cars need is not better performance but better subsidies:

Australia’s electric car market was unlikely to take off beyond its current tiny niche unless the federal government introduced subsidies to encourage consumers, says Nissan’s global chairman Carlos Ghosn.

It’s a micro-mini-market for electric cars in Australia:

Despite record sales of new cars, just 219 of the 1.2 million new vehicles sold in Australia in 2016 were electric, even that was a 90 per cent drop from the previous year.  Battery powered cars represented only 0.0018 per cent of the total market.

People buy cars to get places. Governments “buy” cars to change the weather.

One of the justifications for subsidies was that sales of electric cars were not driven by consumer demand, but by governments’ desire to reduce emissions.

How rich is the State of California?

In California, sales of Nissan’s Leaf Electric vehicle, which retails at US$30,680, attracts a US$2,500 clean vehicle rebate, a $7,500 federal tax credit and gets some preferential treatment on high occupancy vehicle lanes.

You know a car is bad when it is allowed to go in “bus” lanes.

h/t Dave B

Trump = Hitler! The word “laughter” now is code for Nazi white supremacist

The cult brain can spot a link anywhere

In the new Analytical Tool of Weaponized Outrage, anyone who talks about a group “laughing” at them is, ergo, ipso fantastico, channelling Hitler. Sasha Abramsky does word analysis and finds both Hitler and Trump used the word “laughing” therefore Trump is a neoNazi, white nationalist, fascist (who is, by implication, probably planning to do mass-gassings.)

Trump Echoed Hitler in His Speech Withdrawing From the Paris Climate Accord

Seriously—it’s not a direct quote from the Führer, but it’s perilously close.

 By Sasha Abramsky

Define “perilous”? It used to mean, you know “danger”.

Who is in peril here  — Only the socialist parasites who need a symbolic supranational committee to suck funds from the free west in an effort to change the weather and provide two-week 5-star conference junkets for cult believers.

 On September 30, 1942, shortly after the death camps began gassing Jews, Hitler declared, “In Germany too the Jews once laughed at my prophecies. I don’t know whether they are still laughing, or whether they have already lost the inclination to laugh, but I can assure you that everywhere they will stop laughing. With these prophecies I shall [...]