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


Advertising


Australian Speakers Agency



GoldNerds

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



Archives

Books

Turnbull’s “pet fetish” – thinks people will sing hallalujah to climate change. He’s ruined. (Blame Abbott)

Abbott is an incredibly powerful man. From the backbench he’s creating disunity, stopping legislation, ruining careers, and bringing down Prime Ministers, all just for the fun of it.

This has nothing to do with the 54% of Australians who are skeptics.

Turnbull has lost control of government. He cannot get legislation through the lower house. But hey, if only Abbott wasn’t there, Australians would be happy to buy expensive electricity. It would take a ‘miracle’ to save Malcolm Turnbull

Peter Hartcher, The Sydney Morning Herald

“Turnbull thinks people will fall on their knees and say hallelujah!

Turnbull’s supporters are angry and frustrated at Abbott. But among many in the conservative faction of the Liberal Party, there is glee. Turnbull has been humiliated. And, to the conservatives’ great satisfaction, he has been humiliated over what they consider his pet fetish – climate change and carbon emissions.

“Turnbull is obsessed with this issue,” says a leading conservative MP. He thinks it’s a “‘greatest moral challenge of our time’ type of initiative”, a reference to the Kevin Rudd description of climate change. It was a challenge that Rudd failed because of an internal insurrection and now Turnbull [...]

Turnbull stays – can’t last

Good news for people who like political drama. Turnbull lives on, as does the lack of unity, purpose and meaning of The Australian Liberals.

Malcolm Turnbull wins partyroom ballot against Peter Dutton 48-35

The Australian

Malcolm Turnbull has won a leadership ballot against Peter Dutton in the Liberal partyroom by 48 votes to 35 and Peter Dutton has resigned to the back bench.

Dennis Shanahan:

Malcolm Turnbull’s victory in the leadership ballot has solved little for the Liberal Party.

It has also shortened the odds of an election before Christmas and confirmed the rebellion against the Prime Minister is far wider than just a few malcontents.

As the leadership crisis engulfs the Australian Government…

Turnbull braces for leadership challenge

Simon Benson, Geoff Chambers, The Australian

Malcolm Turnbull has lost the confidence of half of his Liberal Party cabinet colleagues as the Prime Minister’s backers admit they are bracing for a leadership challenge from Home Affairs Minister and leading Queensland conservative Peter Dutton.

As the leadership crisis engulfs the government, sources close to the Prime Minister were yesterday briefing that they were expecting a leadership challenge as early as today. Liberal MPs last night claimed that Mr Turnbull had begun calling colleagues to shore up support.

Mr Dutton’s camp believed that it could get to the required 43 votes to roll Mr Turnbull…

Peter Dutton may be ineligible to sit in Parliament. His lawyers say clearly no. Other lawyers say “Maybe”.

Anne Twomey, The Conversation

Section 44(v) says that any person who “has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any agreement with the Public Service of the Commonwealth” is disqualified from sitting as a member of parliament.

Dutton, as recorded in the parliamentary register of interests, is the beneficiary of a discretionary family trust. This trust, through its trustee, apparently owns two childcare centres [...]

Rebel numbers swell: Carbon emissions poised to bring Turnbull down a second time

An imminent train wreck that has been coming a long time…

Supporters of an overthrow of the Australian PM are phoning in, numbers are being tallied:

by Simon Benson, Dennis Shanahan, Joe Kelly, The Australian

The leadership crisis engulfing Malcolm Turnbull has deepened, with cabinet ministers privately accusing the Prime Minister of cobbling together his plan to cap retail power prices in a last-minute bid to save his leadership.

The Australian is aware that a number of MPs called Home ­Affairs Minister and leading Queensland conservative Peter Dutton at the weekend to pledge support should he seek to challenge Mr Turnbull.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott told a Tasman­ian Young Liberals meeting at the weekend he was looking forward to serving under a “Dutton government”.

Even PM’s allies ask: what use is he to us?

Simon Benson, National Affairs Editor, The Australian, says the word is that the challenge is “inevitable”.

Malcolm Turnbull is in full capitulation mode. In the face of a possible and increasingly likely challenge, he has buckled to rebel MPs, and in the process surrendered the future of his leadership to the demands of a few.

It’s [...]

Abbott wins this round: Turnbull pulls Paris Agreement from NEG, but still wants to meet it “for free”

Too little, too late, not enough

Turnbull has to go.

Faced with a possible and imminent challenge from Peter Dutton, a limping Malcolm Turnbull has done the barest minimum just to stay in power. He has capitulated, and won’t try to mandate the Paris agreement through law, but he still wants the nation to meet the Paris agreement. If he had pushed it through Parliament he would have faced a leadership challenge for sure, and pundits are saying it’s still likely. How long will Liberal lemmings allow him to lead and give up the easiest, well trodden and winning election strategy?

Tony Abbott is leading the nation from the back bench.

When will the Liberals grow a spine and dump the Paris agreement completely?

Most of the party is too afraid to even talk about how much warming humans may be causing lest they be called a “denier” for doubting that it is not exactly the same as an unaudited, unelected and unaccountable foreign committee says. The nation can’t even have a sensible public discussion on climate change.

As Andrew Bolt says Turnbull’s leadership is now terminal. His clumsy gambit to present the NEG as a done deal too early [...]

Turnbull faces “sizable revolt” over energy prices and Paris agreement

Normally a governing party, especially with a margin of “one”, would consult with its own members before it consulted with the opposition. Turnbull’s gambit appeared to depend on sneaking the plan past the conservatives and libertarian skeptics.

Turnbull in bid to quash NEG rebellion

Simon Benson, Joe Kelly, The Australian

It emerged last night that Labor had been given a copy of the NEG legislation, another move that has angered Coalition MPs who are yet to see it.  A Liberal rebel told The Australian it was “disgusting” that Labor had the legislation but they were being asked to sign off on it sight unseen.

To forestall a revolt, Turnbull is said to be giving ground on all kinds of things, like ways to stop the big retailers gaming the market, but not “Paris”?

However, senior ministers have told The Australian this would not be enough to prevent Coalition MPs crossing the floor if the 26 per cent Paris emissions reduction target was not dumped or “decoupled” from the NEG.

The move to cauterise the growing threat of internal revolt came as the Prime Minister’s most senior conservative minister, Peter Dutton, suggested there could be a time [...]

Climate Wars back in Australia: Both parties pander to zealots, ideologues and renewables industry

The climate circus is back in Australia

Election 2019 is coming and Turnbull just lit a fire under the conservative base. The Deplorables are angry. Phones are running hot today. The DefCons awaken. In the last election defiant non-left voters were the “most influential group” — the swingers who ultimately decide the winner. This was the same group the journalists completely missed, like Brexit and Trump voters.

The Australian government, despite the polls showing Australians don’t want to pay more for renewables, has agreed to try to legislate a 26% reduction in emissions, setting a target in stone that almost no other country has done. (Have any?) Most countries have committed to nothing, or rather, they’ve committed to building nearly 300 coal plants. They’re planning 400 more.

A 26% mandatory target means so much more than just higher electricity bills, we’ll have to carve up our cattle and sheep, transport, waste and the rest of the economy too. What are they thinking?

We could lead the world in agriculture or medicine but we picked hara kiri?

We are the largest coal exporter in the world and it’s our largest export earner, we have a lower population density, bigger distances, higher [...]

Dear Australia, would you rather have $8,500 or a 0.0001C cooler climate for your 130th Birthday?

Why Australia must exit the Paris Climate Agreement, The IPA report.

IPA estimates Paris Agreement to stop storms and hold back the tide may cost $8500 per Australian family

What a deal. You could have free electricity for the next four years or an imperceptible difference in the air outside the nursing home for your children’s 94th birthday.

The Americans went for the money. So did nearly everyone else.

Damian Wild at the IPA calculates that the Paris Agreement will cost patsy Australians $52 billion dollars in the next 12 years.

Paris deal spells ‘irreparable damage’: IPA report

Rachel Baxendale, The Australian

A study by the Institute of Public ­Affairs, “Why Australia must exit the Paris Climate Agreement”, estimates our Paris target of reducing emissions to 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 will impose a $52 billion economic cost between now and 2030, equating to $8566 a family.

Paris Agreement To Cost Australia $52 Billion

“The immutable law of energy policy is this: lower emissions mean higher prices.”

“Each family in Australia will be at least $8,566 worse off under the Paris Climate Agreement, on average. This is at [...]

Seven reasons why BHP — a giant coal miner — wants to stop lobbying FOR coal

BHP is throwing its weight around to stop the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) saying what most miners want on climate change.

What coal company wants lobbyists not to lobby for coal?

The gauntlet is down — Which heavyweight will blink first?

In one corner — The MCA — the main lobby group for miners. It’s very effective, and wants to dump the renewables target (“yay” say most miners!). In the other corner — BHP –which has just threatened to quit unless the MCA stops being skeptical of climate change.

Thing is, BHP is the largest member of the MCA, providing 17% of the funding. The colossal miner is so big, it can do its own deals. Essentially, the Minerals Council needs BHP more than BHP needs the Minerals Council. BHP is testing it’s power.

A tough test for the MCA

In Australia, the MCA is influential enough that their fierce anti-mining tax campaign helped to bring down a Prime Minister and when industries want to threaten governments they talk of running a campaign “like it”.

If they fold and serve their largest client, effectively burning off almost all their smaller clients, then the smaller clients should quit and [...]

Santa’s arrived! Australia drops new Renewables Targets, will meet “Paris”, stop blackouts, reduce costs

This is good news but Turnbull still wants to have the Paris cake and power the fridge with the crumbs

Faced with national bill shock, dismal Newspolls, and even leadership rumors, Turnbull is, at last, dropping the deadweight Finkel Clean Energy Target. The biggest poisoned-band-aid will not be plastered on, though mini bandaids will be.

Too much regulation is never enough and the energy market is still being micromanaged.

Cabinet dumps Clean Energy Target for new ‘affordable, reliable’ power plan

[ABC news] A Clean Energy Target recommended by Australia’s chief scientist will not be adopted, with the Federal Government instead proposing a new plan to bring down electricity prices.

The details have not officially been released, but the ABC understands Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will argue his policy will lower electricity bills more than a Clean Energy Target (CET), while meeting Australia’s Paris climate change commitments.

And they wonder why no one wants to build a coal station here, despite finding 1,600 other places to build them in 62 other countries:

Cabinet is also keen to adopt a generator reliability obligation, which requires three years’ notice of closing a power station, in order to [...]

Dangerous Abbott unleashed, speaks the truth, critics froth and flounder

Finally the gloves are off

The critics called him a climate denier anyway, even when he toed the politically correct line, so there was nothing left to call him. For former Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, there is no point in pandering. Now after a great speech, the EcoWorriers are left saying he is “loopy”. The new unleashed Abbott is so much stronger, more compelling, and his message is being spread far and wide. Not only will his GWPF speech fire up the footsoldier deplorables, but he is more likely to reach the undecided centre by speaking his mind freely. The ABC was pasting his message in large type all over the TV news and in article after article. That’s great for skeptics. The ABC is so blindly consumed with the dominant paradigm they can’t see how appealingly sensible Abbott looks by speaking about cold being a killer, CO2 being good for agriculture, and a bit of warming being beneficial for humans. His message of irrational electricity pain is so terribly sane. He looks at Manly beach and can see that sea levels haven’t changed much which surely everyone else with open eyes can see too. The ABC frames it [...]

Australian govt may dump renewables subsidies, testing, 1,2,3…

Minister Josh Frydenberg has just implied Australia might drop ongoing endless renewables subsidies (and thus dump the Finkel chief-”scientist” plan). He didn’t say that in so many words, but hinted at it, and will now wait to see how the idea goes down.

Soak in this reasoning — renewables are becoming so cost competitive they don’t need subsidies. He’s calling their bluff.  It’s like the announcement to sack climate scientists because “the science is settled”. Let’s take them at their word and follow that propaganda to its logical end:

The key message from Josh Frydenberg is that subsidies for renewable energy are coming to an end.

There is no Clean Energy Target in sight in Frydenberg’s plan for a new policy by the end of this year. The phrase does not get a single mention in his new speech on the way ahead.

In a key argument, the Energy Minister argues that the cost of building wind and solar power has more than halved in recent years.

He does not rule out more subsidies explicitly, but the clear suggestion is that renewable energy generators are now at a point where they can [...]

Abbott vows to cross the floor against any new renewables subsidies — most of Parliament should be with him.

Democracy in action.

Fully 62% of Australians don’t want to pay a pitiful $10 a month for renewables. They are already paying more, therefore at least two-thirds of our parliament should be voting “No” on this. Why is Turnbull even toying with this?

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has threatened to cross the floor of Parliament and vote against any move to introduce a clean-energy target, describing as “unconscionable” any move to wind back support for coal in favour of renewables.

In his first interview with his former chief of staff Peta Credlin on Sky News’ Jones & Co on Tuesday night, Mr Abbott described climate change as “very much a third order issue”.

He suggested Liberal MPs had “extremely serious reservations” about the government’s clean energy target, and said last year’s power blackouts in South Australia had influenced the attitude of Liberal MPs to renewable energy.

“I think there is no chance that our party room will support any significant increase in the amount of renewables in our system.”

Asked whether he would support an attempt by Mr Turnbull to legislate for a clean-energy target, Mr Abbott replied: ”It would be unconscionable, I underline that word unconscionable, for [...]

Momentum shifts on Renewables Targets in Australia (mini revolt brewing)

Things are heating up to stop other things blacking out

Last week the AEMO (which controls our electricity grid) said we needed 1,000MW of spare power to keep the lights on in SA and Victoria this summer. Didn’t that light a fuse? Then AGL (a major energy player in Australia with coal, gas and wind assets) dug in and repeated that it was going to be hero and definitely close another coal plant (called Liddell) in 2022. At this point, the Prime Minister, no less, had to suddenly enter into talks to convince AGL to sell Liddell or keep it running a bit longer — anything but a shut down. (Figure how screwed up a market has to be for the owner of an asset to need to be talked into perhaps, maybe selling it for money instead of throwing it away? Isn’t any money better than none? Well, maybe not in a river of subsidies… more on the games going on in AGL soon.)

Desperate, Turnbull even offered to buy a stake in Liddell (with tax dollars). So the government may have to buy up exactly the kind of project the government has been working to close with RET [...]

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 [...]