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

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GoldNerds

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



ABC bias against coal hurts the poor and the workers: Sell the ABC

A new report shows ABC journalists are fond of renewables and overlook their dismal economic value, while putting out bad news on coal, and ignoring the benefits of vast cheap profitable energy. Who could have seen that coming: a large public funded institution attracts employees who like large public funding?

The IPA arranged for a media analysis firm to compare the ABC reporting on coal and renewables.

ABC gives the green light to renewables, and the red light to Australia’s largest export industry and provider of 75% of our electricity.

ABC accused of bias against coalmining

Andrew Fraser, The Australian

The analysis of 2359 reports broadcast on the ABC over six months before March 15 this year found 15.9 per cent of stories on coalmining and 12.1 per cent of those about coal-seam gas mining were favourable, while 53 per cent of those on renewable energy were favourable.

It also found 31.6 per cent of stories on coal mining and 43.6 per cent of stories on coal-seam gas were unfavourable, while only 10.8 per cent of stories on renewable energy were ­unfavourable.

The ABC has become its own best case for privatizing the ABC. How much could we get? The [...]

Solar panels: warm your house or burn it down? Bankrupt your company?

A little too much solar success perhaps?

Solar panels in Queensland and NSW in Australia have been providing some householders with energy in a more concentrated form than they bargained for. At least 70 houses with rooftop solar panel arrays have had solar driven burnouts. The fire risk means that nearly 30,000 faulty solar power isolators have been recalled. The company that imported them went bust on Friday. (Ain’t that the way?)

Remember if your house burns down, it is the price we pay to save the planet. It will, unfortunately, blow your personal carbon footprint through the roof. (A point that will, no doubt, grieve you as you sift through the smouldering ruins.)

[...]

Sun dumps 500 times as many Hiroshima bombs of energy as “climate change”

Announcing the all new Solar-Insolation Hiroshima Bomb App, thanks to Dale Kent.

Since 1998, Global Warming has been occurring at 4 Hiroshima Bombs per second, not that we can measure that rate to a statistically significant value*, or that it means anything at all. Every second the sun pours 2700 Hiroshima bombs of energy on the Earth at the top of the atmosphere. 

As well as missing the big-picture, Cook and Nuccitelli show us they don’t have a good grip on cause and effect. The world may have been warming, but that does not  mean that CO2 caused it. Though they would very much like you to think that.

But if you want to scare people out of their money and impress fools, the Skeptical Science widget is just the thing. As SkS say on their page: “ Put a widget on your blog to let people know that climate change is important to you. ” To which  JoNova adds, “The Sks widget performs a valuable service, advertising the bloggers who don’t understand big numbers or trends, and who struggle with statistical significance. If someone wants to show they think-with-the-herd, and not with their brain, the SkepticalScience widget [...]

UK Government hides its own graphic comparing Nuclear to Wind and solar

Is this a 2013 Streisand-Effect finalist?

The UK has decided to build its first new nuclear power plant in 20 years. The UK Department of Energy & Climate Change posted this graphic below in a News Story probably to help justify why it really did make sense to go nuclear rather than renewable. The Renewable Energy Association called it “unhelpful”, and lo, it disappeared from gov.uk.

Credit goes to Emily Gosden’s Tweet, and  Will Heaven‘s Blog. Hat tip to Colin.

 

(Click to enlarge to see the fine print)

The fine print (edited out in the small copy here) says that Hickley Point C “is estimated to be equal to around 7% of UK electricity consumption in 2025 and enough to power nearly 6 million homes.” About onshore wind, the fine print reads: “The footprint will depend on the location and turbine technology deployed. DECC estimates the footprint could be between 160,000 and 490,000 acres“. That’s quite some error margin.

How many National Parks does one nuclear plant save then?

It’s a good representation of just how much of the Earths surface we have to give up if we want to live off renewables at the moment. So who [...]

The worlds biggest solar PV seller was worth $13bn: now bankrupt

How is the hallowed Green tech industry working out for China? Not so well.

Shi Zhengrong was called a “hero of the environment” by Time Magazine. He was a billionaire who ran the worlds largest seller of solar PV cells. But the glory days of 2008 – 2011 are gone. Another bubble bursts. Wiped out in two years. How fast was this fall?

Chinese solar panel maker Suntech flames out

By Steven Mufson, Published: May 3 The Washington Post,

In 2008, CNN named Shi “China’s Sunshine Boy.” In 2009, Fortune anointed him “China’s new king of solar.” That year, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman also cited Shi and Suntech as models of China’s green leap forward — which he called “the Sputnik of our day” and a spur for U.S. clean energy policy.

Now, however, the Chinese Sputnik has crashed to Earth, and the Sun King has been toppled.

… a Chinese court declared the company bankrupt after a petition from eight Chinese banks. On Wednesday, the company announced that its 2012 revenue had plunged 48 percent from the previous year.

Suntech — which in 2011 was the world’s biggest [...]

Imaginary solar panels rort renewables scheme while Alarmists “worry” about coal investors.

The Australian

ALMOST 150 suspected rorts of the Gillard government’s Renewable Energy Target scheme were reported to the regulator last year, with NSW and federal authorities assisting with the execution of two search warrants as a part of the probe.

The Clean Energy Regulator yesterday released its annual report to government on the administration of the RET — a scheme that provides certificates for both large and small-scale renewable energy generation as part of the bipartisan target of ensuring 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity comes from renewables by 2020.

The regulator’s audit report revealed that during 2012 it received 147 allegations of rorts, the majority of which related to the creation of dodgy certificates for rooftop solar panels.

So far three “monitoring warrants” have been executed by NSW and Australian Federal police. One matter is before the Federal Court as a civil prosecution. One criminal matter was heard last year.

…businessman John Testoni of Sydney Solar Eco Solutions pleading guilty to improperly creating $170,000 in RET certificates for 24 non-existent solar system installations in the Sydney area.

Fake markets just ask to be scammed. Who can forget the Spanish winter of late 2009 when 4,500Mw hours of “solar” [...]

Renewable energy is a $250 billion dollar industry that makes about 3% of our electricity

In June this year the UNEP report announced that Global Renewable Energy investment reached $257 Billion in  2011. It’s so large it rivals the $302 billion invested in fossil fuel power. But how much electricity do we get for all that money? When the details are pulled from the fog, a quarter of a trillion dollars appears to produce only about 3% of all our global electricity, and even less of our global energy. All that money, so few gigawatts.

The 2012 UNEP report “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment” compares the

“…despite an increasingly tough competitive landscape for manufacturers, total investment in renewable power and fuels last year increased by 17% to a record $257 billion, a six-fold increase on the 2004 figure and 94% higher than the total in 2007, the year before the world financial crisis.”

Renewables growth has slowed somewhat:

“Although last year’s 17% increase was significantly smaller than the 37% growth recorded in 2010, it was achieved at a time of rapidly falling prices for renewable energy equipment and severe pressure on fiscal budgets in the developed world.”

The last couple of quarters have not been good for [...]

A nation still drawing 18,000MW in it’s sleep can’t go solar…

I’m away, so this is a good time for Guest posts. Here Tony explains that we need lots of electricity even while we sleep. I didn’t realize our electricity needs were so high at night. The lowest power use each day is still as much as 60% of the peak. That’s the base load at 3am, and solar panels and wind farms just can’t provide it. We can burn the odd $500 billion building hundreds of solar plants, but even then, we would have to go “medieval” for about 8 hours each night. Candles anyone? — Jo

Guest post by Anton Lang

AUSTRALIAN POWER CONSUMPTION LOAD CURVES

There’s a message in these two diagrams that underlies every decision about national energy.

 

Summer power curve – Time of Day versus power consumption (MW)

 

These two diagrams are the most misunderstood images in the whole debate — the Load Curves for actual power consumption. These two shown here are for the whole of eastern Australia (including Tasmania and South Australia).

The top diagram shows typical consumption for a day in mid summer (Monday 30th January 2012) and the second is for a typical mid winter day (Friday 22nd July [...]

Skeptics are winning: “the carbon market is dead”

The collapse of the Man-Made Myth continues apace. You may not read headlines as such (at least not in major dailies) but all the signs are there.

People who we never would have imagined speaking against the Big Scare Campaign are now doing so. Key glaciers are not melting and corals are happy. Governments won’t tell you it’s over, but they are behaving that way (the Australian one excepted, due to an election fluke that gave the Greens the balance of power). The Catholic Herald headlined it:  Is the ‘anthropogenic global warming’ consensus on the point of collapse? 

Source Barchart.

The last year of carbon trading in EUR's continues to fall. (Click to enlarge).

Mini update: The carbon market is being referred to as “dead”. Johannes Teyssen, chief executive of Germany’s EON, urged policymakers to make fixes. “Let’s talk real: the ETS is bust, it’s dead,” Mr Teyssen said in Brussels this week, adding: “I don’t know a single person in the world that would invest a dime based on ETS signals.” [full story: Financial Times]. Point Carbon analysts have downgraded the forecast price of carbon credits for the second time in two months as the carbon market [...]

When your subsidies undermine your subsidies

For forty years, people have tried to get Solar to work.  Now, the worst possible thing for the industry has occurred: The Left are serious about trying to help it.

The Large-Scale Solar Subsidies are bountifully generous on an unprecedented scale that involves taxing everything else that moves, but even that generosity is not enough to compete with…wait for it… the even more insanely lavish Small-Scale Solar Subsidies. Who would have thought? Remember these are the same people who tell us that the “free market solution is best”. They offered three times the going rate for rooftop solar electricity, and through utterly predictable market mechanics, created a glut in rooftop solar panels as every man and his dog rushed in to get free electrons from their roofs, and on good sunny days, even cheques in the mail. Now, the large-scale projects are struggling to get major electricity retailers to sign long-term contracts.

 

THE federal government has delayed issuing key grants under its $1.5 billion Solar Flagships program after a preferred applicant, the Moree Solar Farm, failed to meet a December 15 deadline to reach financial closure on its project.

Solar projects have struggled to secure contracts with retailers, who [...]