A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



Australian Speakers Agency


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

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Renewables stress: The daily battle just to keep the lights on in Australia

Who’s afraid of a cascading blackout?

Last year investment in unreliable and asynchronous generators doubled in Australia thanks to government decree. For some reason, adding another few gigawatts of iffy capricious infrastructure to a 50GW finely-tuned-system appears to put the whole national grid in a near constant state of emergency. The AEMO (our market operator) had to intervene in the South Australian market eight times in 2016/17, but last year they had to do it 101 times.

This warning comes from the  Australian Energy Market Commission (AMEC) which makes the rules for the national grid. Why are they baring the dirty renewables laundry? Because the answer to the crisis is always bigger government and this is a reason to call for it.

Renewables stress the grid

Perry Williams, The Australian

Australia’s electricity grid is relying on emergency safety nets to keep the lights on, …

The deterioration of the strength of the electricity network — most pronounced in South Australia — is also spreading to southwest NSW, northwest Victoria and north Queensland, adding to wholesale costs incurred by users.

SA’s electricity system is increasingly operating under the direct intervention of the grid operator, with last-ditch interventions reserved for emergencies becoming a default way of managing the network,…

Systems with lots of non-synchronous generation like wind and solar are weaker and harder to control — raising the risk of cascading blackouts. Unprecedented in their breadth and scope, these trends put extraordinary pressure on the security and reliability of our power grid.” Investment in large-scale renewable energy doubled in 2018 to $20 billion, with one in five Australians now owning rooftop solar and electricity generated by clean energy accounting for 21 per cent of the overall power mix, Clean Energy Council data will show today.

That trend is also pressuring wholesale market prices, with the cost of keeping the system stable soaring to $270 million as of September 2018, while the cost of maintaining frequency control surged nearly tenfold to $220m in 2018 from $25m in 2012.

Spot the trend in Frequency Control payments. The weekly bills used to be $400,000. Now it’s $5 million.

FCAS Cost, AER, Australian frequency control cost.

Frequency control has gone up ten-fold in cost since 2012.  Data AER.

Lo and verily, the solution to a problem the government created is to add more government…

Stop-gap measures propping up power grid

Angela Macdonald-Smith, AFR

Australia’s power grid is only coping with the rapid influx of intermittent wind and solar power with the help of costly daily intervention by the energy market operator to keep the lights on, an assessment of the electricity system has found, ramping up pressure for a long-term federal framework that integrates climate and energy policy.

AMEC could have pointed out the costs of trying to turn our national grid into a weather-changing-machine. Instead they are changing the rules and adding synchronous condensers, giant spinning discs to create some artificial stability.

“After AEMO declared a problem in South Australia that state’s network provider organized to install synchronous condensers which are due to be commissioned in 2020,” Mrs Pearson said. When that happens the need for very frequent directions to maintain system strength in South Australia will hopefully come to an end. It is a timing and technology issue. First AEMO declares a shortfall, then networks decide the best local solutions for them and start putting them in place.” — AMEC press release

Just let the free market back and renewables wouldn’t be a problem…

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (93 votes cast)

Midweek Unthreaded

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.1/10 (13 votes cast)

New poll: 54% of Australians are still skeptics of man-made climate catastrophe

Despite all the spin, the non-stop propaganda, a dreadful drought and the two “record” hot years, most Australians still don’t agree with the IPCC This is exactly the same as it was in 2015 when the CSIRO last did a serious climate poll.

The IPSOS Climate Change Report

So we sit, a nation of majority skeptics, with no major party to vote for and hardly any TV media, academics or politicians making the case that the IPCC might be wrong and the Paris agreement might be a waste of time. No one is allowed to discuss it and national leaders stay cowed in silence for fear of being called petty names.

There is little to crystallize or focus this sentiment that doubts the experts, yet it exists, even in surveys designed by a team who appear to be doing their best to find and amplify the “believer” vote.

The IPSOS survey suffers from the the usual flaws: loaded questions, ambiguous terms and one sided analysis. Respondents are asked magical pie questions about solving problems as if they only need to wave a fairy wand and it shall be solved. They’re not asked how many dollars they personally want to spend solving it. It’s as if life is not about the costs and benefits or trade-offs. It’s as deep as saying if you could save the world for free, would you?

54% of Australian are skeptical of man-made climate change, graph, poll, ipsos, 2019.

54% of Australian don’t believe man-made climate change is the dominant driver.   |   Ipsos, 2019.

What really matters is what would you give up in order to change this?

This  new IPSOS climate change poll of 1000 people was conducted in December and finally published, coincidentally, on Sunday before the Labor Party launched its climate policy. IPSOS are telling Australians on the verge of an election that this is some kind of new record momentum. Matt Wade, at The Sydney Morning Herald repeats the IPSOS press release, “this was a record share of Australians that say humans cause climate change”. It’s the usual half-truth — the whole truth is that the CSIRO did multiple surveys involving 17,000 people from 2010 – 2014 and nothing has changed. Isn’t that the kind of research that both IPSOS and investigative reporters might want to mention?

 Here are the CSIRO results from 2015. Spot the difference?


The gap between what the experts say and the public believes exists all around the world. In the US the AAAS found that while 87% of experts say climate change mostly “man-made” only 50% of Americans thought the experts were right. (And that was before Trump arrived — it’d be bound to be less now.)

 Only 86% of Australians “believe” man-kind has any effect at all

To get a high number IPSOS and the parrot-media bundle together all the people who believe man-made climate change has any possible effect at all. They report that “86% of Australians believe humans contribute to climate change in some way”.  That’s a category that would include most die-hard skeptics (like me) — so it’s about as meaningless a statement as anyone can make. The only thing it tells us is that the IPSOS investigators badly want to spin this.

If one third of Australians think the situation is part man – part nature, that’s a lot of people who already think the news is hyped and who won’t want to spend a lot of money.

Where do Australians rank climate change – last

When voters can rank climate change it’s the last thing they care about. Year after year, “the environment” is dead last on pretty much every survey, everywhere.

How many times do people need to tell politicians that being a skeptic isn’t the vote killer that some commentators would like you to believe? Even people who believe in man-made global warming just aren’t as concerned about the environment as they are about jobs, corruption, and the economy.

What’s the biggest issue at the moment: Cost of Living.

Note that this graph was done in colors that were so indecipherably similar it was almost like IPSOS didn’t want us to see the data (see that original). So I changed the colors.


IPSOS poll, 2019, climate change ranking.

IPSOS report page 4.

IPSOS’s headline about that bottom green line is “Environment returns as an important issue”. Well, No. It doesn’t.

I’ll have more to say about this survey…

h/t Dave B.

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.8/10 (72 votes cast)

Electric cars are perfect for socialists: Labor plan boosts Big-Gov, but worse for CO2, pollution, coal use, and grid

Holden Volt, Electric Vehicle.

Labor’s electric car plan means higher emissions, more pollution, more coal use, and threatens the grid but it’s great for socialists.

Fantasy-land: Labor wants half of all new cars sales to be EV’s by 2030. That’s a radical change in a big country that loves its cars and drives great distances. Last year only 0.2% of new car purchases were EV’s. Our grid is already struggling, and extra charging cars would push it over the edge and may add something like $20b a year in extra network and generation costs.

This makes no sense on so many levels: in Australia EV’s are 80% fossil fuel powered and over their lifetime they cause more pollution than internal combustion engines.

Electric Vehicles produce more carbon emissions if the grid that charges them is powered by fossil fuels.

The results reveal that the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of a battery electric vehicle production range from 92.4 to 94.3 GJ and 15.0 to 15.2 t CO2eq, which are about 50% higher than those of an internal combustion engine vehicle, 63.5 GJ and 10.0 t CO2eq. This substantial change can be mainly attributed to the production of traction batteries, the essential components for battery electric vehicles. (Qiao, 2017)

… an electric car recharged by a coal-fired plant produces as much CO2 as a gasoline-powered car that gets 29 miles per gallon (12.3 km/L).” (Sivak, 2017)

In a coal fired country, EV’s achieve nothing for carbon emissions, but over their lifecycle, they’re worse for human toxicity, freshwater eco-toxicity, freshwater eutrophication, and mineral resource depletion. (Hawkins, 2012).
Holden Volt, Electric Vehicle.
EV’s are so useless for the environment you might wonder why Labor and the Greens love them. Take your pick:

  1. Labor Green policitians are honest but stupid.
  2. Labor Green politicans don’t care less about the environment but want a great socialist car.

With our coal fired grid and long distances the only place on Earth less suited to EV’s is Antarctica, where it is too cold for the batteries to work and where people die when they run out of “fuel”. Although at least Antarcticans won’t have to worry about extreme heat setting their batteries on fire.

Electric Vehicles in Australia are 80% powered by fossil fuels

Unless our grid power goes nuclear the electricity draining into these cars is 60% coal fired, 20% natural gas and diesel powered and 20% “renewable”. The coal percentage would presumably be even higher if they get charged at night, like most electric vehicles surely are. (Figures from Dept of Environment and Energy)

99.8% of Australians don’t want an EV

This is a wild transformation. Currently 499 Australians out of 500 choose anything but an EV:

Behyad Jafari, chief executive of the Electric Vehicle Council which worked with Labor on the plan, said EV sales in Australia totalled 2216 last year, or about one in 500 cars sold. – Peter Hannam, SMH

As I said with the Greens policy. Only one in 4000 cars currently on the road in Australia is electric:

There are about 20 million cars currently registered in Australia. The total car pool of all electric vehicles sold here since Australia was federated is about 5,000 cars, making EV’s 0.025 per cent of all cars on the road. You can see how much we love them.

Each electric car needs about $2000 per year in extra network and generation:

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) released a warning in 2013 that electric cars will cost a lot more than just the purchase price and the electricity:

Electric vehicles in particular are another new “appliance” which is set to place new demands on Australia’s power system. This review has found that each electric vehicle could impose additional network and generation costs from $7500 up to $10,000 per vehicle over the 5 years from 2015 to 2020 in the absence of appropriate pricing signals and efficient charging decisions.

Who pays for the extra generation capacity? Under current market arrangements all consumers would have to pay this extra cost regardless of whether they owned an electric car. Using the AMEX figures, if half our 20 million cars were electric that would add another $20 billion dollars a year to network and generation costs (and that was in 2013 prices).

New “fat” batteries on EV’s draw so much current we need a whole new grid:

New bigger batteries need two days to charge at 7kW which is like adding “three new houses to the grid” and that’s the good option. If consumers want to fast charge (who wouldn’t) the 50kW option is like adding “20 homes”. (Vector, New Zealand Report 2018)

Ten million cars fast-charging at the same time would be like adding 200 million homes to the grid. Psycho.

EV’s are perfect for socialists because no one wants them without subsidies

All around the world consumers need lavish subsidies and rewards to be coerced into buying EV’s. Governments have to offer subsidies in China, India, Japan, Denmark, Norway and practically every country on earth.  In South Korea the subsidy is something like US$12,000. In Norway electric vehicles are exempt from purchase taxes (which are extremely high for other cars). They’re also exempt from the annual road tax, all public parking fees,  and toll payments. How much icing does that cake need? A lot: Sales of EV’s collapsed from 2000 cars to just 32 cars in Hong Kong when subsidies were withdrawn.

Last year, Australia’s Electric Vehicle Council predicted more than three million electric vehicles could be on Australian roads within 12 years (that’s along way short of ten million). The council wants $7000 tax breaks for buyers of electric vehicles.

EV’s in Australia just cost too much.

The Mitsubishi iMiev arrived in 2010, with a range of just 150km and a hefty price tag of $49,000. The Nissan Leaf was about three times as expensive as a comparable petrol-powered car. The Holden Volt cost $60,000. Only the super-rich could hope to afford the more glamorous Tesla Roadster at more than $200,000.   — Sam Clench,

Electric vehicles are the perfect car for socialist governments. It’s another industry destined to be totally dependent on Big Government. EV cars and their owners are born Big Gov lobbyists. They form part of a club to cheer on other big-gov dependents.

The ALP are simply copying the Greens fairytale plans and multiplying by half. But make no mistake, the Labor plans are obscenely ridiculous all on their own. The job of the Greens is to make extreme Labor policies look “moderate” in comparison with something twice as stupid.

h/t Dave B, Pat

Other posts on EV’s:

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.3/10 (87 votes cast)

Weekend Unthreaded

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.3/10 (28 votes cast)

Earth hour becomes the Power Hour tonight at 8:30

Tonight celebrate the Power Hour and your incredible good luck

In the hundred thousand years since homo sapiens came to be, people have fled bondage, wars, small-pox, dysentery, died from minor scratches, starved to death, been ravaged by lions, stricken by cholera, and survived ninety thousand year stretches of abysmal ice age.  We lived in the darkness for 99,900 years.

It’s your chance to show your commitment to fighting the forces of darkness.

Some of those fossil fuels have been waiting for 100 million years to return to the sky. This is a lot of fun to do with kids.

From past years festivals of light:

Things you can do at 8.30 on Saturday:

  1. Turn on all the lights you can find (bonus points for incandescents from the stash.)
  2. Put on the party lights, the patio light, the pool light, the mozzie zappers, unpack those Christmas decorations. Get out your torches. Switch the movement detector spotlights to continuous operation. (Involve the kids — they love to help).
  3. Light your backyard with the landcruiser headlights! (Don’t flatten the battery, make sure you keep that engine running.)
  4. Don’t forget those bar radiators — revel in that infra red! (Light the kitchen with the ones in the oven and grill.)
  5. Eat Argentinian Lamb steak, Danish butter, Argentinian Cheese, Belgian Chocolate, and Californian Oranges.
  6. Drink German Beer and or French Champagne. Drink toasts to coal miners, oil rig workers, and power station staff.
The  Competitive Enterprise Institute runs Human Achievement Hour.
There is only one type of Freedom – and all else is servitude, slavery or tyranny.
h/t Leo
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.5/10 (94 votes cast)

A few women swim naked to give free adverts to renewable industry. ABC loves it.

Save the world, skinny-dip for a photo.

It doesn’t matter how pointless your action is, the ABC will cover it as long as it gives free advertising to giant multinationals and fellow lobbyists for big government.

Six women take a swim, put it on the news. No hard questions asked.

Naked group swim in pristine Jervis Bay helps photographer highlight climate change

Justin Huntsdale, ABC

When South Coast NSW photographer Tamara Dean asks you to be involved in her latest project, be prepared to make a bold environmental statement in your birthday suit.

“Biologists predict that if we continue carrying on the way we are, by the end of this century, 50 per cent of species living today will face extinction,” Ms Dean said.

Canberra environmentalist and economist Tory Bridges said she would do whatever it took to get people thinking about climate change.

That included swimming naked in the open ocean with 20 other women on a rainy weekend. But she was willing to suffer for the art, especially with the future of the environment at stake.

The photo shoot was part of Ms Dean’s ongoing project called Endangered.

She wanted the photo shared, so I’m happy to help. Be convinced all ye doubters.

Women swim naked to help renewable energy firms

Women swim naked to help renewable energy firms

Tamara Dean has done this before on the Great Barrier Reef.  This is “climate science” via Tim Flannery:

 Sydney-based photographer Tamara Dean was recently invited to Heron Island, near the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern Great Barrier Reef. During the trip, she learned about the effects of climate change from Professor Tim Flannery and world-leading coral experts, while experiencing ‘the beauty and fragility of the reef’.

 The reference for the apocalyptic prediction about 50% of all species was from “leading biologists” who were speaking at a conference with Paul Ehrlich, sayth the Guardian. Don’t forget that one (count it) one single mammal has gone extinct anywhere in the world so far and it was a rat stranded on a 3m high sand dune far out to sea. It was surely destined to be wiped out by the next available storm. Just  3,000 species to go til we hit the halfway mark.

How about some taxpayers jumping in with only their wallets on? Do you reckon the ABC would cover their protest about being forced to spend a billion dollars paying for hate-male and naked political advertising?

h/t George.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (57 votes cast)

Mission Impossible: “100% renewable”. Greens ban coal and cars by 2030. Kiss goodbye to $30b and life as we know it?

The Australian Greens are actually proposing an end to thermal coal exports and coal plants and a ban on new internal combustion vehicles by 2030.

The Greens, Australia.

Their policy plan: Renew Australia 2030

The Greens policy blueprint suggests Australia would become a “renewable energy superpower”, with coal exports to be replaced by clean hydrogen, and the construction of a $6bn taxpayer-funded ­energy grid upgrade to develop new renewable energy zones.

– Ben Packham, The Australian

Coming soon, the Greens will ban planes, holidays and jokes…

Greens set 2030 cut-off for coal exports and coal-fired power stations

The Greens will propose 2030 as the cut-off point for thermal coal exports, and the shutdown date for Australia’s fleet of coal-fired power stations, in the party’s new climate and energy policy heading into the federal election.

– Katharine Murphy, The Guardian

Current thermal coal exports bring in $25 billion dollars each year. That’s a lot of money and taxes taken out of our economy. Which hospitals will the Greens close? (Maybe all of them, especially at night time). We could just ban people from getting sick?

Closing our 23GW of coal fired electricity will be a glorious collectivist fashion statement. But China is currently building seven times the entire Australian coal fleet and plans another twelve “Australian coal fleets”. China already has nearly fifty times as much coal power as Australia has. And all that is “part of the Paris agreement”. Geddit? Of course you don’t. None of it makes sense to anyone who can add up numbers bigger than two.

The Coal Council of Australia branded the Greens platform as “economic vandalism” that would threaten up to 150,000 direct and indirect jobs, and hit the governments of NSW and Queensland with the loss of $2.5bn in annual royalties.

– Ben Packham, The Australian

Shame about the 150,000 jobs lost. Still they can all move into tourism to cater for the people who are willing to sail 10,000 kilometers to an island filled with diesel generators and old rental cars.

Backpackers are bound to love the bicycle tours of solar farms and forests filled with windmills.

The party is proposing to phase out thermal coal exports by setting a yearly limit on coal exports from 2020, a set of procedures that would require resources companies to secure permits at auction in order to export product.

– Katharine Murphy, The Guardian

There are about 20 million cars currently registered in Australia. The total car pool of all electric vehicles sold here since Australia was federated is about 5,000 cars, making EV’s 0.025 per cent of all cars on the road. You can see how much we love them. Sometime in the next 11 years apparently Australian’s are going to give up the SUV’s, and long country drives:

The policy also advocates for vehicle emissions standards “that lead up to a complete ban on new internal combustion vehicles by 2030”, and a 17% tax on “luxury fossil fuel cars” to help cover the costs of scrapping registration fees, import tariffs, GST and stamp duty on electric vehicles, “reducing the cost of electric vehicles by around 20%”.

– Katharine Murphy, The Guardian

By 2030 with no coal or nukes running, the price of electricity will be $2 a KW/h (if it’s not $20) and EV’s will cost three times as much as petrol cars to drive and take 72 times as long to fill (assuming we still have electricity).

Does “internal combustion vehicle” mean more than just cars? I’m especially looking forward to battery powered combine harvesters and solar powered semi’s.

Just to make the impossible a little bit harder they won’t allow Kyoto credits:

The Greens have disavowed using Kyoto credits, which is an accounting system that allows countries to count credits from exceeding their targets under the soon-to-be-obsolete Kyoto protocol periods against their Paris emissions reduction commitments for 2030.

All the other parties in Australia must be loving this announcement. What a gift.

Even for the Labor Party, the Greens are there to make their suicidal 45%  reduction look less stupid.

The question is though, how could any party preference them anywhere except last?


VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (90 votes cast)

Power collapses again in Venezuela

What a mess. The power is down again in more than half the country — coming and going. People are desperate for water. Schools, industry and state buildings are closed. The Russians have sent in troops. The US has told them to get out.

It’s easy to take civilization for granted — until you don’t have one.


h/t to Rafe Champion, who links on Catallaxy to my post on how hard it is to restart a grid. And also to Lance’s comment which was so useful I added it as an update to that post and which is now starring on Catallaxy too .  In case you missed his comment, and because it’s so apt, here it is again:

Lance predicted this could take 3 – 6 months to restart (and scored 67 thumbs up)

This is a teachable moment. Smart people will pause and reflect upon what is happening, lest it happen elsewhere. This is not a game sane people want to play. Societies melt down in a matter of days to weeks without electric power, water, food, transportation, communication, etc.

We’ve yet to see how bad this is going to get. It will get a LOT worse before it gets better.

My guess is it will take 3 to 6 months to restart the grid in Venezuela, even if things go swimmingly. If a few substations and alternators are blown out, it could take 2 years. Longer if some turbines are damaged.

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.5/10 (53 votes cast)

Day 2: James Cook Uni checks your emails but not the science

Day 2: Jennifer Marohasy gives us an update on Peter Ridd’s battle for free speech

Today, Judge Vasta asked how it could be that James Cook University – a recipient of so many billions of dollars over the years – could leave no stone unturned in its disciplinary process against Peter Ridd, while doing absolutely nothing to address his complaints about the lack of quality assurance of its research.

Not once in court today, or yesterday, was there any defense by the James Cook University Team of “the science” that Peter Ridd has been so critical of.  The university is simply arguing that he doesn’t have a right to speak-out.

Let’s remember how important “quality control” is to JCU: One researcher at JCU was found guilty of fabricating results by Upsalla University. Peter Ridd reported the same researcher has presented photos of 50 fish that contained manipulated, flipped duplicates. These are serious allegations in science. In response JCU took a whole year to even name the people on the investigation panel, let alone start investigating. As I said at the time:

James Cook has done what any ambitious, money-hungry grant troughing institute would do, a very slow investigation of allegedly corrupt behaviour and a very quick sacking of the honest researcher who threatens to expose them. Any respectable Science Minister would freeze all grants to James Cook until this situation was resolved and reversed.

From Gideon Rozner of the IPA on the proceedings of Day 2

The words, “wild”, “bizarre” and “extreme” come to mind:

“Chris Cocklin, dep Vice Chancellor of JCU, tried to suggest that Professor Ridd was not a “distinguished academic” at the university and therefore was not covered by the academic freedom clause.”

– Gideon Rozner

Ridd has worked at JCU for over 30 years.

The Australian, March 27th: I had no choice, why sacked JCU academic Peter Ridd went public

Peter Ridd says he felt he had no choice but to publish information on the GoFundMe page because he was being gagged, had lost all faith in the disciplinary process and needed to raise funds to mount a legal challenge.

He explains why quality assurance is so important:

by Charlie Peel. The Australian

“I [Peter Ridd] was disciplined for saying these institutions were untrustworthy and that was referring to quality assurance in science.”

He argued the studies affected “a lot of people” because it informed public policy on legislation to cut fertiliser use in Great Barrier Reef catchments, shut down dredging and mining operations and was affecting tourism because visitors thought the reef was dying.

“The science needs to be rigorous because it affects a lot of people,” he said.

More from Jen Marohasy:

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (91 votes cast)

Midweek Unthreaded

Forgot these lately… sorry.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.8/10 (14 votes cast)

Peter Ridd’s Court Case — Free Speech versus James Cook Uni

The court case is on Day Two of a three day process.

For the latest see GideonRozner on twitter


Peter Ridd Challenges James Cook Uni Sacking

Charlie Pell in The Australian, 2016

The first alleged breach of the code occurred in April 2016, when Professor Ridd emailed a journalist to allege that images given to the media by the Australian Institute of Marine Science and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority were misleading.

Professor Ridd said the images of bleached coral reefs near Stone Island, off the coast of Bowen in north Queensland, were misleading because they showed poorly affected corals, which were selected over nearby healthy coral and used to show “broad scale decline” of reef health.

Field technicians working for Professor Ridd took photos in the same vicinity as the bleaching pictures supplied by the university and GBRMPA which showed “spectacular coral living there”.

Professor Ridd told the journalist in the email that the use of the pictures was “a dramatic example of how scientific organisations are happy to spin a story for their own purposes”.

At one stage Professor Ridd was told he could not even discuss the proceedings with his wife, leading Mr Wood to compare the proceedings to a coercive “star chamber”.

Jennifer Marohasy reminds us this incident was a trigger that set off Ridd’s eventual sacking.  Ridd objected to the reef near Stone Island in Queensland being used to tell a story of disaster when the reef around Bowen (nearby) is in blooming health. Peter Ridd took photos in 2015 showing that the same area was doing fine and pointed out that anyone could find both good and bad examples of reef in the area and selectively claim a climate change disaster. In 2016 Nature published a paper “characterising recent loss of coral cover” which AustralianGeographic and others used to sell a story of a reef catastrophe.

This is when the censure motion started. Graham Lloyd, The Australian, 2016:

When marine scientist Peter Ridd suspected something was wrong with photographs being used to highlight the rapid decline of the Great Barrier Reef, he did what good scientists are supposed to do: he sent a team to check the facts.

After attempting to blow the whistle on what he found — healthy corals — Professor Ridd was censured by James Cook University and threatened with the sack. After a formal investigation, Professor Ridd — a renowned campaigner for quality assurance over coral research from JCU’s Marine Geophysics Laboratory — was found guilty of “failing to act in a collegial way and in the academic spirit of the institution”.

His crime was to encourage questioning of two of the nation’s leading reef institutions, the Centre of Excellence for Coral Studies and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, on whether they knew that photographs they had published and claimed to show long-term collapse of reef health could be misleading and wrong.

 This historic photo shows healthy reef above tide circa 1890.

Stone Island Reef, Queensland, Photo, 1890

Reef near Stone Island,  Queensland, Photo, 1890

This is allegedly the same area in 1994 showing a coral disaster

Stone Island Reef, Queensland, Photo, 1994

Reef near Stone Island, Queensland, Photo, 1994

Again in 2012, the area still hadn’t recovered — or so the story goes

Stone Island Reef, Queensland, Photo, 2012

Reef near Stone Island, Queensland, Photo, 2012

Peter Ridd photographs the same area in 2015 showing healthy reef

Note the same landscape in the background.

Stone Island Reef, Queensland, Photo, 2015

Reef near Stone Island, Queensland, Photo, 2015

The IPA have supported Peter Ridd in his battle for free speech, and are broadcasting updates:

Day one (yesterday)

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.8/10 (62 votes cast)

Surprise: Largest Glacier in Northern Hemisphere has started growing again

jakobshavn glacier, greenland

Jakobshavn Glacier, Greenland          Image: NASA

The Jakobshavn is the glacier that dumps more ice in the ocean than any other in the Northern Hemisphere. It made the iceberg that “sank the titanic”. It has been receding for years, and the losses were accelerating, but then it astonished the scientists.

 ”At first we didn’t believe it,” said glaciologist Ala Khazendar of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “We had pretty much assumed that Jakobshavn would just keep going on as it had over the last 20 years.”


“That was kind of a surprise. We kind of got used to a runaway system,” said Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland ice and climate scientist Jason Box. “The good news is that it’s a reminder that it’s not necessarily going that fast. But it is going.”

Box, who wasn’t part of the study, said Jakobshavn is “arguably the most important Greenland glacier because it discharges the most ice in the northern hemisphere. For all of Greenland, it is king.”

– Associated Press

But it’s OK, seriously, we’re all still going to bake in climate hell because all the models that didn’t see this coming are now saying it will be “temporary”. In a rush, climate-scientists hit auto-excuse-mode — saying the things they never say when there’s a bit of warming.

Apparently it is just some natural variation caused by a butterfly or something

It’s such a quirk, a blip: in a spot 1000 km away the atmospheric pressure changed “resulting in either warming or cooling” (I don’t think the laws of physics are too happy about that) and then ocean currents carry that up to Greenland which affects the glacier. Sure. We never hear them work so hard to explain some temporary warming.

The cooling began in the North Atlantic Ocean, 966 kilometres (600 miles) south of the glacier, triggered by a climate pattern called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO): every five to 20 years, atmospheric pressure at sea level fluctuates, ultimately resulting in either warming or cooling, which is then carried northward by the ocean currents up the southwestern coast of Greenland.

So the grand coupled climate models didn’t predict the air pressure, the ocean currents or the glaciers, but apart from that…

But wow. That water is a lot cooler:

In 2016, the water in this current was cooler by 1.5 degrees Celsius, cooling the Atlantic around Greenland by about 1 degree Celsius; this made its way to the mouth of Jakobshavn, allowing the ice to thicken.

The Abstract says:

Ocean temperatures in the bay’s upper 250 m have cooled to levels not seen since the mid 1980s.

So 30 or 40 years of warming was wiped out just like that?

Get ready — Quote of The Year coming:

“We didn’t think the ocean could be that important,” OMG principal investigator Josh Willis of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory told National Geographic.

I wondered if Josh Willis’s job description was really the Oh My G*d principal investigator, but I see it may mean Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) — except that isn’t happening.

He has to dig deep to explain how they got it completely, utterly, wrong:

“The thinking was once glaciers start retreating, nothing’s stopping them,” explains Josh Willis, an oceanographer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and OMG’s lead scientist. “We’ve found that that’s not true.”

So our top glacier experts are just discovering that glaciers come and go, that oceans are important and that CO2 is not their only driver? This is news to them?

He’s effectively throwing their own knowledge under the bus. It’s that bad.

It’s interesting that they are announcing this growing glacier now, just as they have “found the reason/excuse” but not for the last few years when it was growing but they didn’t have an answer. For free and with no grants, skeptic Tony Heller pointed out it was growing two years ago.

 Crystal balls say it’s worse than we thought:

This research demonstrates that glacial recession is not a one-way trend, but it doesn’t show a reversal of climate change. It does indicate that the effects are a little more complex than we thought, but, ultimately, that bird has flown the coop.

“This cooling is going to pass,” Khazendar told National Geographic. “When it does, the glacier is going to retreat even faster than it was before.”

You will not believe, this will cause sea levels to rise:

While this is “good news” on a temporary basis, this is bad news on the long term because it tells scientists that ocean temperature is a bigger player in glacier retreats and advances than previously thought, said NASA climate scientist Josh Willis, a study co-author. Over the decades the water has been and will be warming from man-made climate change, he said, noting that about 90 percent of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases goes into the oceans.

“In the long run we’ll probably have to raise our predictions of sea level rise again,” Willis said.

–AP News

 View the glacier here over time (h/t to Tony Heller for the link)

 The fastest-shrinking glacier in Greenland has made an unexpected turn.

Although it’s been melting for 20 years, the Jakobshavn Glacier in West Greenland – famous for producing the iceberg that sank the Titanic – has now started growing again.

–Science Alert


Glacier retreat, advance, Greenland.

Jakobshavn’s calving front from 1851 to 2013. (NASA Earth Observatory)

 Key Melting Glacier in Northern Hemisphere is growing again

We even see the Precognitive-Preemptive-Headline – just in case you think that if shrinking glaciers prove the world is warming then growing glaciers must mean the opposite:

One Greenland Glacier Has Started Growing Again, But That Doesn’t Mean What You Think

Michelle Starr, ScienceAlert

What does this mean? Perhaps not much, but if the world was starting to cool, stuff like this would start to happen more often. No way to know that answer at the moment.

h/t Scott, and Sunsettommy for the Heller hint.

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.6/10 (72 votes cast)

Trump wins: Russiagate becomes the weapon of mass destruction for Mass Media’s reputation

Trump is vindicated. The real substance of Russiagate is what it says about the media

Dragged out for two years of hate, denigration and abuse in the media, in the end the Muller inquiry found no collusion. How many journalists predicted this. How many even wrote as though it was possible? Credit to Matt Taibbi for the scathing WMD comparison.

Mueller report into collusion a stunning victory for Donald Trump, by Cameron Stewart, The Australian.

The summary of the Mueller report issued today by Attorney General William Barr clears the president and his aides of any collusion with Russia and says there is no legal case to support obstruction of justice charges against him. …

It is a devastating defeat for the Democrats and for much of the US media who had hoped, prayed and frankly expected that Mueller would somehow find a silver bullet to end or at least cripple Trump’s presidency.

Matt Taibbi on Russiagate: ‘Death Blow for the Reputation of the American News Media’

It’s official: Russiagate is this generation’s WMD

Nothing Trump is accused of from now on by the press will be believed by huge chunks of the population, a group that (perhaps thanks to this story) is now larger than his original base. As Baker notes, a full 50.3% of respondents in a poll conducted this month said they agree with Trump the Mueller probe is a “witch hunt.”

The Special Prosecutor literally became a religious figure during the last few years, with votive candles sold in his image and Saturday Night Live cast members singing “All I Want for Christmas is You” to him featuring the rhymey line: “Mueller please come through, because the only option is a coup.”

Stories have been coming out for some time now hinting Mueller’s final report might leave audiences “disappointed,” as if a President not being a foreign spy could somehow be bad news.

UPDATE: On the legal process, read Mark Steyn, Read it all. Read it twice.

 Deep-State Dumpster Fire

It started in April 2016, when it became clear that Trump was going to win the Republican nomination. The Hillary campaign and the DNC gave millions of dollars to Marc Elias, a Clinton lawyer, who in turn hired Fusion GPS, who in turn hired former MI6 agent Christopher Steele. Why use Mr Elias as a cutout? Because Hillary and the DNC could then itemize the expense as “legal services” rather than list payments to Mr Steele, which would be in breach of federal law…

Steele’s dossier was passed along to the FBI. It seems a reasonable inference, to put it as blandly as possible, that the dossier was used to justify the opening of what the Feds call an “FI” (Full Investigation), which in turn was used to justify a FISA order permitting the FBI to put Trump’s associates under surveillance. Indeed, it seems a reasonable inference that the dossier was created and supplied to friendly forces within the bureau in order to provide a pretext for an FI, without which surveillance of the Trump campaign would not be possible.

But that’s all you need. The dossier is a remarkable thing. It self-regenerates and corroborates itself as it ricochets back and forth between corrupt bureaucrats, biddable hacks and rubber-stamp judges…

Fifteen lawyers in search of a crime:

They’ve already been on it for a year, and, if there were any “collusion”, it would have been leaked months ago: If Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, the “Russia investigation” is a nullity wrapped in an absence inside a void, now shimmering in the black hole of the billable hours of fifteen lawyers and the expense accounts of a hundred FBI agents.

But tally-ho! The Great MacNuffin Hunt goes on -..

We have witnessed an extraordinary sustained attempted coup in which senior officials of the “justice” department shoot the breeze about wearing a wire to get the goods on the elected chief executive. If there are no consequences to that, it will happen again.

Do read it. Send it to your friends. Steyn at his scathing best. (h/t Kevin L)

Peter Baker, New York Times, three days ago: it’s a reckoning coming for the media and the system

Moreover, the president and his allies have raised enough questions about the conduct of his investigators to convince many of his supporters that the real scandal is the “deep state” trying to thwart the will of the democratic system by dislodging him from office.

The sheer volume of allegations lodged against Mr. Trump and his circle defies historical parallel, possibly eclipsing, if they were all proved true, even Watergate, the nonpareil scandal of scandals.

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.8/10 (109 votes cast)

Australian electricity market wrecked by big-gov: corporates gouge $3b from electricity customers

Thanks to Big-Gov’s Renewable Energy Target, big corporate greed was unleashed:

ABC — Australian energy giant AGL ‘gouged’ customers after Hazelwood closure, new research shows

Some of the nation’s biggest energy companies have allegedly used the closure of Australia’s dirtiest coal-fired power station to price gouge customers and make an extra $3 billion in wholesale profits, according to a new report.

We already knew that renewables are so poisonous they make other generators more expensive. But this is something “extra”. Either big corporate’s suddenly turned into greedy machines or the government destroyed the free market that worked fine for years:

When the closure of Hazelwood was announced just a few months earlier, AGL increased the price of much of the coal-fired power on offer from the Bayswater and Liddell plants in NSW.

The study found a significant part of the output from the Liddell plant was repriced from $40 to $60 per megawatt hour, to greater than $5,000 per megawatt hour — so expensive it effectively restricted supply.

At the same time, much of the power offered by the Bayswater plant almost doubled in price, from about $40 per megawatt hour, to about $80 per megawatt hour.

AGL’s competitors, Energy Australia and Origin, hiked the prices of their coal-fired power too.

Remember when competition from cheap energy would reduce the bids of competitors?

The free market could solve this, but our government forbids it

Right now in Australia you could not legally set up a coal fired cheap plant and supply consenting adults with cheap electricity through our national grid. The government has decreed that in order to change the weather, all coal plants must charge their customers extra so they can pay off “cheap” wind and solar providers who provide green-nice-weather electrons. The government also says that when these green electrons are available (randomly) the market must buy them and ignore cheaper options. Both Liberal and Labor governments endorse this socialist control. Voters who want cheap electricity need to pick “something else”.

Where is our major free-market party?

Did he just admit wind and solar couldn’t supply cheap energy?

Mark Collette from Energy Australia, has denied price gouging, and says that there was no cheap energy available to replace Hazelwood brown coal.

“I think the market did everything it could to replace that energy as cheaply as possible but there was no source of cheap energy available in the timeframe.”

For some reason, all that new cheap wind and solar are not filling the gap left by the 53 year old Hazelwood coal plant?

The ABC finds a government funded “independent” spokesperson to lay the blame at big corporates:

Bruce Mountain, the lead researcher and director of the Victoria Energy Policy Centre, said the price increases flowed through to consumers, and the effects were still being felt.

“[Consumers] are paying roughly $200 more than they should and that’s ongoing,” he said.

“Hazelwood should not have had such a large impact on the market. It was about 5 per cent of the national coal generation market, it was not a big deal. It should have been handled easily.

If the government funded ABC had asked an actual independent commentator (like me) I could have told them that actually closing Hazelwood was a big deal and for blindingly obvious reasons. Even though Hazelwood closed in autumn, during the low demand part of the Australian year, in its last month it was supplying wholesale electricity for $30/MWh and providing more electricity than Australia’s entire wind powered fleet.

How could prices not rise when we force out one of the cheapest most reliable providers?

ABC reports on evil capitalists — says nothing about big-bad-government

The ABC is happy to say that AGL is being a big greedy corporate. They won’t admit that it was government rules that caused cheap coal to close and made it possible for companies to legally screw billions out of the market. They won’t admit that if wind and solar were really as cheap and reliable as coal that AGL, Origin and EnergyAustralia couldn’t have done this.

It’s all legal, but couldn’t have happened without the RET (Renewable Energy Target)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission also examined the price rises, according to its chairman Rod Sims.

“We did not find a breach of the law, because it’s not against the law, it’s not against competition law or consumer law when you’ve got something that’s relatively scarce, to price higher,” Mr Sims said.

“So if I buy an apple for $1 and sell it to you for $10, I’ve ripped you off but that’s not against the law,” he said.

“There’s no law that stops people charging excessively.”

The RET makes sure that coal fired stations are working at a competitive disadvantage. That was the point — to force coal generators out of business, and it’s working.

AGL was given Liddell coal plant for free in 2014. It plans to shut it down in 2022 and despite pleas to sell it or revive it — it turned down offers of a quarter of a billion dollars.

When is an asset is worth more in the trash-can than sold to a willing bidder? — when the market is so screwed the owner makes more profit from destroying an asset than selling it.

Handy questions ABC journalists could’ve asked

  1. If solar and wind are cheaper why did prices rise after Hazelwood closed?
  2. Don’t the comments by Mark Collette demonstrate that renewables can’t yet replace cheap brown coal?
  3. Why did our national electricity market work so well to create low prices and competition for years and then fail recently? Australian electricity wholesale costs were around $30 per MWh for years, now there are almost no settlements at these prices. Surely the big three corporates would have taken the opportunities to profit in the past if they could have?
  4. Is there any country around the world which has a high penetration of intermittent renewables and cheap electricity? Please name them…
  5. Isn’t this another hidden cost of intermittent power — how the irregular supply affects other generators and raises their costs? eg.Stacy, 2015, showed wind generation makes gas power 30% more expensive.

h/t George, Dave B, El Gordo

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.9/10 (58 votes cast)