JoNova

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


Handbooks

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper


Advertising

micropace


GoldNerds

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



Archives

Books

Madness and misinformation in renewables-land: South Australia brags they didn’t have to “load shed”

Hope foreign readers are enjoying the spectacle of a first world nation destroying its competitive advantage with renewables. Hope that helps you avoid the same fate.

Praise the lord, states without coal don’t have to load-shed-industry (because they don’t have much left):

The South Australian Treasurer is bragging that SA didn’t have to shed any industry load on Friday, but the coal state of Victoria did. Pull the other one:

“In terms of supply we should be okay,” he [the SA Treasurer] said.

“Victoria I understand is about to load shed industry. So they’re not coping with the power supply.

“They are a coal-dependent state and they are having to take industry offline to support their households. In South Australia we’re not having to do that today.” — h/t A H

The Treasurer didn’t mention that SA shed the load already over the last two years by driving heavy manufacturers out of business, and out of the state. Let’s name some:

Gone from the SA power load: Mitsubishi, GMH, Plastics Granulating Services (Recyclers), Caroma (76 jobs) after 79 years in business, Penrice, Arnotts biscuits (120 jobs), Aldinga Turkeys (79), ACI Glass (60 [...]

Forget Megawatts, ABC invents new unit of power — “size of Tasmania”

Outback couple build solar farm to prove fringe-of-grid power generation needs

Building a $14 million solar farm is an expensive way to send a message about electricity prices, but Doug and Lyn Scouller said they were left with few options.

In Normanton, 500 kilometres north of Mount Isa in north-west Queensland, the Scoullers built a solar farm big enough to power an area almost twice the size of Tasmania, in a move to prove to stakeholders the benefit of positioning power generation sites at the end of the grid.

In old fashioned terms, the “farm” produces five-megawatts. But yesterday, Tasmania didn’t use 5MW it used 1,072 MegaWatts. So this solar farm would have supplied 0.2% of the houses and businesses on an area “twice the size of Tasmania”. The only Tasmania-sized-areas that would be functioning on 5MW are in the empty desert or the Great Southern Ocean.

And we wonder why some Australians think solar power is a no brainer. If this little farm can supply 120,000 km2, we just need another 60 like it, and we could do the whole continent!

ABC journalists are not good with numbers. If only they had a billion dollars a year [...]

ABC renewables fantasy island “farewells diesel” (except for 40% of its power)

Flinders Island is in the Bass Strait North of Tasmania.

If there is a heaven for renewables, this island should be it. But instead, even on Flinders Island, renewables aren’t cheaper than diesel generators. This is a dismal reality, yet the ABC promotes it as a fantasy poster-isle, interviewing only vested or “no idea” people, asking no critical questions, doing no counter research and telling us renewables will be “more reliable” and implying they are cheaper too. The ABC is a three-million-dollar-a-day advertising outlet for other government agencies. Instead of serving Australians it appears to be there to help shake down the taxpayer.

ABC renewables hype strikes again: Rhiannon Shine reports Flinders Island as a showcase of the brave new renewables world. Let’s translate that spin and see just how pathetic it is. If anywhere was going to be totally renewable, Flinders Island would be it — a first world island, tiny population, massive subsidies, no access to cheap coal or gas power, government support at every level and placed in a handy wind stream known as “the Roaring Forties”.  Yeah! This is one of the last places in the first world (short of Antarctic stations) where renewables [...]

ABC: Let’s pretend base load power doesn’t exist, call it a dinosaur. Who’s in denial?

The new phrase that must be neutered is “base load”. It’s like kryptonite for renewables!

Nick Kilvert at the ABC helpfully provides a no-hard-questions mouthpiece and tells us Base load power is the dinosaur in the energy debate.

To serve the Australian taxpayer he quotes a Professor Vassallo, Chair of Sustainable Energy Development (USyd), and CSIRO Energy Director Dr Glenn Platt. Just in case they weren’t green and biased enough he also interviewed Professor Blakers, director of the ANU Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems. Finally he turns to Dr Mark Diesendorf, who is apparently just some guy at UNSW with a team of modelers. (Kilvert doesn’t give us his title, but a two second search suggests he works at the “Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets“. Perhaps it was an oversight, or maybe Kilvert was feeling guilty that every single person he quoted has a career in sustainable energy). Glenn Platt — by the way, is not just “Energy Director” but is described at The Conversation as leading the Energy Transformed Flagship research centre at CSIRO. So that’s four green academics, no one from the coal industry, no skeptics, no other engineers, and no one involved in managing a grid.

[...]

Alan Kohler dreams of banning combustion engines in cars in Australia

You have to hand it to The Australian – they will publish both sides. Take this (please, take it): “Our energy policy still stuck in coal country”. This is Alan Kohler, bless him, who doesn’t get it and dreams of a nation of motor-heads “going electric”. But, wow, ouch, watch how he reasons it out… not with numbers and graphs (he’s the numbers man on the nightly finance report) but with pop psychology?

The idea of an Australian government banning petrol and diesel cars to promote public health seems especially remote right now: we can’t keep the lights on as it is, having closed a few fossil fuel power stations.

But you can bet that the Coalition government and its media supporters will argue that the electrification of transport makes it even more necessary for there to be more “baseload power” from coal-fired power stations — how could we possibly charge millions of cars, and run millions of airconditioners and fridges if we let Liddell close in 2022?

And you can fix that Mr Kohler, how?

Wait for it…

This is the underlying reality of Australia’s energy debate: a majority of the government does not actually [...]

UPDATE: Malcolm Roberts, One Nation replies the two-stroke mower *change* is about real pollution, not CO2

Thanks to Malcolm Roberts for contacting me tonight with more information. CLARIFICATION: It’s not a complete ban on two-strokes, but a change to increase standards on motors. (It appears it will reduce real pollution, and the legislation also claims it will reduce CO2, though no CO2 limits are mandated as far as I can tell. It will stop the sales of most conventional two-stroke outboards and mowers, but not “direct injection” outboards. Gory details below)*

From Malcolm Roberts:

 Re: Genius Plan to ban two-stroke motors

Please note that Soichiro Honda himself banned his company from making 2-stroke outboard motors in the 1970’s after he visited Lake Tahoe and was shocked to see oil film on its waters. That pollution was produced by 2-stroke outboard motors.

He had the courage to do the right thing so despite the inherently higher weight and lower power of 4-stroke motors at the time. He put the real environment ahead of profits and as a result the new path led Honda to designing and building superior motors.

[...]

Antarctic scientists may find climate Holy Grail, ice with magic 7 digit age

ABC news tells us intrepid researchers are in a race for the sacred key. The news is a sexed up advert for climate funding done in the theme of Raiders of the Lost Ice:

“It’s the “holy grail of climate science”, a piece of ice so old that it might be able to reveal the climate of the past and help predict the future of Earth’s atmosphere.

And Australia’s Antarctic scientists are now part of an international race to find the ancient time capsule.

So, what is it?

Somewhere deep below the surface of Antarctica, ice has laid untouched for a million years or more — it’s believed to be the world’s oldest ice“

I don’t know why scientists think the million year mark is so holy, they’ve pretty much ignored the message in the first 800,000 years. They hunted and drilled but the telex from prehistory kept saying temperature controls CO2, not the other way around.

Either CO2 followed the temp, or CO2 stayed high, but temp did its own thing. (See the spot from circa 130,000BC, for about 15,000 years? CO2 was at “record highs” unseen for 120,000 years, but that didn’t stop [...]

Brian Cox thinks 17,000 employees at NASA always produce perfect graphs. NASA employees disagree. Who to believe?

The key moment making headlines from the Q&A “Science Weak” episode — Brian Cox shows a temperature graph. Malcolm Roberts said the GISS temperature data has been “manipulated”. The Particle Physics Genius’ reply was argument from incredulity:  gushing, gratuitous astonishment spread over six attempts to form a complete sentence:

By who?    NASA?   The people the…  Hang on a minute.   No, no, see this is quite serious.    But can I just – just one thing. NASA, NASA…     The people that landed men on the moon?

In a blink of reductio ad absurbum, Cox sweeps aside a potentially useful discussion about thermometers near car-parks, airports, skyscrapers, and mysterious 1,200 km homogenized smoothing. In its place he gives cheap theatrical tricks. Follow his thought to its logical conclusion — everything that NASA does (or presumably will ever do) must be 100% correct. NASA becomes an apostle of the holy order. He treats the brand name as untouchable, but NASA is not just Neil Armstrong and a Big Step, it’s an agency with 17,000 employees. But hey, none of them have ever produced a manipulated graph.

Since experts matter (so Cox tells us) let’s ask the experts — like say, Buzz [...]

Malcolm Roberts on Q & A : 1 skeptic against 6 who believe the consensus

On the Eastern side of the country the new skeptical Senator, Malcolm Roberts is on Q & A.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Greg Hunt - Minister for Industry, Innovation & Science Linda Burney - Shadow Minister for Human Services Brian Cox - Particle Physicist and TV Presenter Lily Serna - Mathematician and TV Presenter Malcolm Roberts - One Nation Senator-elect for Qld

As usual it is 6 against 1 the skeptical views that 54% of Australians share. Glaciers will form in hell before the ratio on the ABC would run 1:6 the other way. For Groupthinkers it’s very important that the group discussing a “controversial” topic agrees with each other. This neutralizes any damaging effects of hearing a lone voice put forward counter arguments.

John Cook has sent in a Question about empirical evidence.

Cook points at “less heat escaping to space” – Jo says –this doesn’t mean anything. We assume he means less heat escapes at certain frequencies (which he should have said). Sections of the outgoing spectrum are missing (e.g. Harries et al), which shows that CO2 is stopping some outgoing radiation and is a greenhouse gas (and we knew that already), but it doesn’t show that overall extra heat is staying [...]

ABC reports pushy brain-snap from greenie activists to rename “Eggs and Bacon Bay”

Eggs and Bacon Bay, Tasmania

Their billion-dollar-ABC reports every irrelevant thought bubble a greenie group can dream up:

“PETA launches bid to change Eggs and Bacon Bay to healthy alternative”

The ABC can’t find a single local who wants the change, but they treat the fantasy to a three-photo feature, complete with expert opinions and interviews. The locals think the idea is a bad joke. Listen to Doug:

…Doug said locals were perfectly happy with the name.

“These single-interest groups ought to go overseas and annoy the shit out of ISIS,” he said.

The only person outside the ABC who thinks this issue is worth discussing is some poor chicken mayor who is happy to sell out the locals for fear of offending the busybody control-freaks:

Huon Valley Mayor Peter Coad is willing to consider the idea.

“Obviously these issues should be taken seriously and have some merit,” he said.

Dear Mayor Coad, PETA are demanding a meat-free map. You think this is serious?

One type of Eggs And Bacon Flower.

The town, by the way, is named after a flower. That’ll be next on the hit list, and before [...]