JoNova

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



The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper


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GoldNerds

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



Outgoing UK Environment Minister says green groups are profiteering anti-capitalist agit-prop

Some extraordinary statements from Owen Paterson, the man who was the UK Environment Secretary until a week ago. This is baking hot. Paterson also draws attention to the way big-goverment has fed big-government lobbyists 150 million euros since 2007. Can we get this man to Australia? — Jo

I’m proud of standing up to the green lobby

The Telegraph UK I leave the post with great misgivings about the power and irresponsibility of – to coin a phrase – the Green Blob.

By this I mean the mutually supportive network of environmental pressure groups, renewable energy companies and some public officials who keep each other well supplied with lavish funds, scare stories and green tape. This tangled triangle of unelected busybodies claims to have the interests of the planet and the countryside at heart, but it is increasingly clear that it is focusing on the wrong issues and doing real harm while profiting handsomely.

Local conservationists on the ground do wonderful work to protect and improve wild landscapes, as do farmers, rural businesses and ordinary people. They are a world away from the highly paid globe-trotters of the Green Blob who besieged me with [...]

Thanks to Green schemes Queensland dumps gas for coal

Green Fairy Gods of Economic Management

Another unintended consequence of policies to control the climate. Who would have guessed? Laws aimed to disrupt the energy market, disrupted the energy market. Just like Germany, parts of Australia are now dumping expensive gas, resurrecting old coal burners, and voila: The Fairy Gods of Economics tinker — and get the opposite of what they intended.

Here’s the chain of events as best as I can figure. The greener-governments raised the cost of all electricity, but tried to slap an advantage on some forms at the expense of others. The catch is that there is just not enough alternate energy to go around.

More projects used gas, partly due to other state based green schemes like the Gas Electricity Scheme of Queensland. So gas demand rose and gas became more expensive. At the same time, those who owned gas found that export markets will pay more for gas for other uses. So it didn’t make sense to keep the gas for the power-stations here when they could sell it for a greater profit elsewhere. Meanwhile, other forces were also at play. The Green drive created a glut in fickle solar and wind power. [...]

None of these people could *possibly* have a reason to like Big-Government

It goes without saying that all of these folk could just as easily prefer a sensible, small spending government that was frugal with taxpayer funds. Right?

The Australian finally gets the information on the ABC salaries: “ABC spares no expense”

 

Mark Scott | $678,940 Tony Jones | $355,789 Juanita Phillips | $316,454 Quentin Dempster | $291,505 Richard Glover | $290,000 Jon Faine | $285,249 Leigh Sales | $280,400 Barrie Cassidy | $243,478 “The ABC received $1.03 billion of taxpayer funds last financial year, of which $465 million was spent on wages, superannuation and other entitlements.”

The culture is obvious. The ABC show their respect for the taxpayer… by fighting doggedly for years in court to hide the details of their taxpayer funded salaries from legitimate FOI’s. Now that they’ve been leaked, Mark Scott has apologized to the public his staff and promises an investigation into how it happened. (Imagine taxpayers finding out how their money was spent!)

Remember Richard Glover? He gets paid $290,000 for insight like this:

“Surely it’s time for climate-change deniers to have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies”. – June 6, 2011

It’s not like you can pick up that kind of ill-informed [...]

US Schools teach kids high tech ways to waste money

Steve Goreham highlights a school program which spends 30,000 dollars to save 300. The program is called “Wise” and hopes to change global weather.

Presumably with such profligate wastage, delusional ambition, and little practical purpose, it will breed future political leaders.   — Jo

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US citizens pay for “solar school” foolishness

By Steve Goreham

Originally published in The Washington Times

Solar systems are being installed at hundreds of schools across the United States. Educators use solar panels to teach students about the “miracle” of energy sourced from the sun. But a closer look at these projects shows poor economics and a big bill for citizens.

Earlier this month, the National Resources Defense Fund (NRDC) launched its “Solar Schools” campaign, an effort to raise $54,000 to help “three to five to-be-determined schools move forward with solar rooftop projects.” The NRDC wants to “help every school in the country go solar.” The campaign uses a cute video featuring kids talking about how we’re “polluting the Earth with gas and coal” and how we can save the planet with solar.

[...]

The price of moral-vanity: A catalogue of Green economic disaster unfolds across Europe

The real cost of moral-vanity, of name-calling, poor reasoning, selecting one’s evidence, and the triumph of doing things because they “feel-good” rather than because of the cold hard numbers, is measured in the trillions. This disaster was entirely foreseeable, totally predictable, and completely unnecessary.

Thanks to Benny Peiser and The Australian, the utter folly is laid bare.

AS country after country abandons, curtails or reneges on once-generous support for renewable energy, Europe is beginning to realise that its green energy strategy is dying on the vine. Green dreams are giving way to hard economic realities.

Slowly but gradually, Europe is awakening to a green energy crisis, an economic and political debacle that is entirely self-inflicted.

The media is finally starting to do what it should have done ten years ago:

A study by British public relations consultancy CCGroup analysed 138 articles about renewables published during July last year in the five most widely circulated British national newspapers: The Sun, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror, which enjoy a combined daily circulation of about 6.5 million.

“The analysis revealed a number of trends in the reporting of [...]

Australian emissions reductions target is undone by one week in China

Here’s a graph showing something about Australian, Chinese and Indian emissions (thanks to Tom Quirk). At a glance you might think we are up there with the best of them (doing our bit to fertilize the flora of the planet, and to regreen the deserts). Alas, the Australian tally (the green triangles) represents the total emissions of Australia. The lines depicting Chinese and Indian emissions just show their annual increases.

Chinese annual increases in emissions are larger than the entire Australian output. India is not too far behind.

UPDATE: TonyfromOz points out the Y-axis scale  is missing three zero’s. Data source: CDIAC (Thanks Anton).

It appears the new coal fired power stations and cars coming on line in the breakneck-evolution-of-China produced twice the emissions of the entire continent of Australia.

Remember our aim to reduce our national output by 5% or so by 2020. Thanks to the Renewable Energy Target, the Clean Energy Fund, the Remote Indigenous Energy Program, the Low Income Energy Efficiency Program, the Living Greener program, the Regional Natural Resource Management Planning, the Light Vehicle CO2 Emissions Standards, the Household Assistance Package, and not to mention another 36 programs I could have listed as well as [...]

Let’s burn forests and millions of dollars! It’s another Nanny-State business “success”

7:30 Report, ABC

Nothing succeeds in flagrant waste quite like Big-Government.

Following in Soviet footsteps with gusto, politicians of all persuasions manage business failure on a grand scale. Did you miss yet another case-study on 7:30 report from last week (see the segment there)?

A mass of taxpayer-funded forests designed to make Australia self sufficient in plantation timber and paper are now being burned by land owners as the companies running the schemes collapse amid allegations of rorting, fraud and mismanagement.

The Howard government made plantations a tax deductable investment, and then the Rudd and Gillard governments made it even worse — broadening the rules in 2008 to include trees for “carbon sequestration” (which perversely could still be logged). Lo and behold, two and a half million acres of taxpayer funded forests were planted. What could possibly go wrong? Just a few things:

1. The bottom fell out of the timber market. There is no demand for the wood and the trees are not worth harvesting, so the forests are being burnt and the land reclaimed for other purposes.

2. Whole districts of farming communities were upended by the artificial boom and bust, as farmers sold their properties to [...]

Most Useless Flagrant Flop of Government (MUFFOG 2012): Finalist — Victorian Desal

In a competitive field it’s going to hard to beat this.

In 2007 the Victorian Government thought it was a good idea to spend $24 billion to build a humungously big desalination plant. There was a drought on at the time, and a specialist in small dead mammals said the drought would never end.  But now Victorian households will pay up to $310 extra in water bills next year, and something like that every year for the next 28 years until it’s paid off.

Even the people running the plant say it’s too big,

Herald Sun EXCLUSIVE: THE French boss of the troubled Wonthaggi desalination plant has admitted for the first time that the plant is too big for Melbourne’s water needs.

Suez Environment chief executive Jean-Louis Chaussade told the Herald Sun the size of the plant was based on unrealistic rainfall expectations.

“The design was done to provide water to the full city of Melbourne in case of no rain during one year – which was not realistic … The details why it was 150GL per year, I don’t know,” he said.

Which bright spark believed the government paid advertising that said there will be endless droughts? Who [...]

Government burn $70 billion a year subsidizing renewables, and wild claims of “fossil fuel subsidies” debunked

When activists protest about “fossil fuel” subsidies, it is a case of extreme-wordsmithing. Like chinese-whispers, the truth gets turned 180 degrees. It takes a string of half truths stacked in a series to come up with something which is so completely counter to reality it is meaningless.

The reality is that governments around the world are paying billions each year to prop up an industry that is inefficient, uncompetitive and unproductive. It’s money that is desperately needed in health or in real medical and scientific research.

“More than US$70 billion of support is provided by governments to renewable energy production and consumption worldwide.”

[IEA (The International Energy Agency, which promotes "green energy" in it's header)]

That’s an annual figure. And the plan seems to be even more subsidies. (I thought the plan was to make renewables competitive?)

Source: IEA Key Graphs…

Source: IEA Key Graphs

Could it be $200 billion?

This UN group has an even higher number. I don’t know exactly how they define “green stimulus” spending, perhaps it was a one-off:

[UNCTAD]

“Green government procurement will also be essential in the early stages of a transition to a green economy. In 2009, global green stimulus [...]

Total Body Scam? — Taking your money and freedom, (and coming to Australia too)

Was it just me? Was I the only one who noticed a tiny announcement in February that Airport Scanners were coming to Australia, the land where terrorists haven’t landed (yet), and … wait for it… there would be no (NO!) — opt — out– clause. Did I hear that correctly?

And the crowd roared (about the cricket), nobody said a word about the scanners, and the ten libertarians left who can bear to watch the ABC were too busy trying to save the nation from nastier threats. Australia is getting millimeter wave scanners at International Airports, and if you don’t want to be scanned, you need to leave the country… by boat. (Either that or swim with the crocs across the Timor Sea.)

Metal objects show up on a white body, but not on a black background. Image: Daily Mail and Herald Sun.

With no opt out clause, what happens when the first person facing deportation refuses to be scanned? Well that’s all right then, we’ll just book them on a cruise to Kandahar? Civil Liberties Australia was one of the few to speak up. Maybe those scanners are safe? Maybe? But at least one man with a pacemaker [...]

Government mismanagement kills 2,500 people a year

Bad governments don’t just “waste millions of dollars” — mismanagement kills.

We live in one of the richest nations on Earth. But waiting times for one type of cancer treatment in Australia have blown out to the point where 2,500 people are dying every year. Why do we have money to waste on fruitless efforts to change the weather?

NEARLY 2500 cancer patients are dying prematurely each year due to poor provision of radiation therapy services, experts have estimated — with many more waiting far longer for the life-saving treatment than clinically recommended.

Graeme Morgan, former director of radiation oncology at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital, said it appeared state governments were attempting to give preference to other treatments such as chemotherapy due to the high upfront costs of installing the linear accelerator machines required to deliver radiation treatments.

Yet he said the result was that nationally, 15,600 Australian cancer patients were missing out on radiation therapy each year, and 2500 dying early — figures he described as “a disgrace”.

Thirty percent of one cancer patient group was missing out on starting radiation therapy within six weeks (ideally, it ought to be within 4 weeks):

“If you don’t treat [...]

A warning from Europe: The green-tape jobs we don’t want

When Björn Lomborg wrote that Green jobs were overhyped, a visiting European friend agreed and sent me examples of the spreading inanity of the green-tape-jobs-market that has taken over Europe.

Stefan points out that most Green jobs created by building windmills or solar power are short lived. The permanent “green” jobs are, insidiously, the expanding green bureaucracy and police. In Europe, the green-police fine people for putting plastic in a glass recycling bin. They force people to write lists of what’s in their rubbish bags; to use electricity when it suits the wind-generators, and not the people.

The Green-police are self propagating. They unwittingly create problems that then need even more auditing, advising and checking. Green-police closed off the natural drafts in houses, then when people got sick from the fungus, they sent around officials to create artificial airflow to stop “sick building” syndrome. When green bureaucrats demanded everyone use less water (whether they needed to or not) stagnant ponds were created in places that had water to spare, and that then led to the creation of a new army of green-water-specialists to sort out the putrid ponds. In an exponential pattern, [...]

Eleven Principles to advance us to a Third World Nation

Here in Australia we’re copying techniques from tin-pot tyrannies. When the government wants a “consensus” that they know they have no way of achieving, they fake it. People in suits declare (with no hint of irony) that Business Needs Certainty (which means: certain-taxes, guaranteed imposts, global handicaps, Mmmm. Yes. Please).

The Ultimate State of Business Certainty will be found when the idea of costing carbon is dumped for good, laughed into history, and is mocked on whatever version of Saturday Night Live is running at the time.

Frankly the case cooked up as “Business Needs Certainty (so tax us)” is an inanity-cake with cherries on top. Can we bake it in public, chop and serve it with a smile, and all enjoy the joke together?

Is anyone kidding that there is any better kind of “business certainty” than when companies know for sure they won’t be hit with unnecessary taxes based on corrupt science? How about a future where a Government guarantees to get out of the way and stay out?

Gilllard has painted herself into a corner where the only escape hatch is “a consensus” (well not just any old consensus, but a fully predetermined one — hers).

[...]

BREAKING NEWS! The abdication of the West — the sting at Cancun

It did seem too quiet at Cancun.

The power hungry tyrants learnt from Copenhagen. They realized that they have a far better chance of success by underselling the expectations and sliding in long impenetrable documents in front of underling bureaucrats. Due to the importance of this I have reproduced Christopher Monckton’s words in full as reported at SPPI (see below).

The UN wants nothing less than 1.5% of our GDP.

That’s $212 billion from the USA every year ($2700 per family of 4).

That’s $32 billion from the UK every year ($2000 per family of 4).

That’s $13 billion from Australia every year ($2400 per family of 4).

Figures calculated from the CIA world Factbook

 

The Secretariat will have the power not merely to invite nation states to perform their obligations under the climate-change Convention, but to compel them to do so. Nation states are to be ordered to collect, compile and submit vast quantities of information, in a manner and form to be specified by the secretariat and its growing army of subsidiary bodies.

Please [...]

Funeral for Property Rights

UPDATED: Dates for the West Australian Speaking Tour below

Magna Carta

The Thompsons protest on Monday was moving. Janet Thompson delivered one of the best speeches I’ve heard at a protest. I was going to copy parts of it and attach the full speech in documents. But so much is worth saying, I’ve put it here almost in entirety.

In Part I – Janet reads the eulogy to “property rights”: from the Magna Carta til Maxwell Szulc was put in jail for clearing firebreaks on his own land.

In Part II — she recalls those who are not with us, and then those who are. Government infringements on rights destroys lives, and breaks up families. Janet gives us brief examples of other travesties unfolding.

In Part III  — Matt reminds us that the government encroachment affects us all, contributes to suicides and points out that we bow daily to the UN. Every other time people have been subjected to centralized, unelectable power, the death toll has mounted. Now we are now presumed guilty until we prove our innocence.

Matt quotes Ayn Rand:

““When you see that trading is [...]

Nanny State Goes Ballistic: $100 fine if you fly a kite or dig a hole on beach.

Welcome to council-control-freak insanity in WA –  the ruling class who think there is no cost to adding more rules and regulations, assume they can replace common sense with guidelines that dictate the size of the hole you can dig on a beach.

From The West Australian 22-Sept-2010

In Australia we’re passionate about our beaches and equally so about them belonging to all Australians. But one of the most popular beaches in Perth could be hit with council rules that stop you flying a kite, digging a hole, bringing a toy truck, or meeting with 11 friends. Good intentions run amok.

[...]

Thompsons part 4: Every slope is a watercourse

See the ridiculous application of laws that are supposed to protect the environment. We mock DEC’s use of the word “watercourse”. The Thompsons case and all their pain depends on a paddock being listed as a watercourse. They have in effect lost it all because in a 100 year flood, water from this paddock might possibly reach a salt pan 10 km away. This is not about the environment. This post includes maps of the property and surrounds. By paying attention to the detail of the licences we can see just how powerful the Department of Environment (DEC) is, and how selective it can be. You would think it would be easy to measure 100 m toward a waterway, but how do you define a waterway? You might expect that it would have banks, or that in a 100 year flood the water flowing in the gully might have a chance of reaching a body of water big enough to have a fish. If so, don’t apply for a job at DEC in WA. [...]

4 days notice! The Thompsons are served notice of eviction.

Have green government officials targeted a family farm because they are vocal skeptics? This is a family with four young children, who ran a profitable business; they filled in every form and ticked every box. They have broken no laws, and there are no outstanding environmental notices, but yet, they came to Western Australia with their life savings and they are losing everything. After years of government red tape, delays, and impossible requests the bank has given them 4 days to pay up. [...]

Green-socialist-autocrats generate bluster, media copies it

I realize non-Australian readers are only so interested in the mining tax debate down-under, but the techniques for an unfair fight are the same everywhere. Instead of answering green-socialist-autocrats on their own ground, we need to raise the debate and expose the way they add confounding fog.

There are rhetorical tricks that friends-of-Big-Government use to promote their own political aims. They reframe debates entirely, and are expert at pouring confusion. Watch how these coalition of Green-Unionified groups appoint themselves as speakers for the people, then ignore the people, they create a false conflict, and turn groups of productive entrepreneurs and hard working employees  into an inanimate entity (the enemy). Read between the lines, the voters are turning away from the option these advocates prefer, therefore the public are easily misled (code for not-too-bright, you know, easily fooled by adverts from billionaires).

“Fairness” is apparently what the anointed decide it is, not what voters actually vote for. These groups believe in a fake democracy. The will of the people only counts if it’s also the will of the anointed.

SMH: Tax debate must return to average Aussie.

Which comes from AAP, which took most of it and rephrased bits [...]

Hate those deniers — Super tax their backers?

Our PM’s rapid descent is described as due to the failure of the carbon trading scheme tonight on the 7.30 Report. To make it so much more pointed, on top of that, there’s the suggestion that Rudd is driven by anger, and that his latest attack on the Mining Industry (with the massive new tax scheme) is about beating the same forces that succeeded over him on the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Author and journalist David Marr spoke with the 7.30 Report‘s Kerry O’Brien about the psychological make-up of the Prime Minister and his collapse in public approval.

Apparently it all boils down to the carbon trading scheme that failed.

The point he started to unravel was not the Global Financial Crisis, an ongoing war, or the weak outcome of his feted hospital plan, it was about the carbon scheme:

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