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



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Sunday Open Thread

9 out of 10 based on 8 ratings

Expert scientists wrong again: Bumper snow season kicks off in Australia

Year after year they told us it would get warmer, ski seasons would get shorter and children won’t know what snow is. Instead Thredbo in the Australian Alps has just had 125cm of snow, a full 4 feet in 7 days, which some are calling a 54 year record.  Skiers in Australia are thrilled.

Thredbo alpine resort in Australia receives over 125cm (4 feet) of snow in 7 days ahead of its official opening

NSW snow season ‘best in 20 years’ as weather experts’ dire predictions fall flat

Daily Telegraph

In my many years living and working in Thredbo, I have never seen the Village so covered in snow ahead of the June long weekend,” Thredbo Resort general manager Stuart Diver said.

In the year 2000 the world’s top global warming experts at East Anglia University claimed “children just aren’t going to know what snow is” within a few years.

In 2003, a CSIRO report found that the total area covered by snow in Australian mountains could fall by up to 40 per cent.

“By 2020, the average annual duration of snow-cover decreases by between five and 48 days; maximum snow depths are reduced and tend to occur earlier in the year; and the total area covered in snow shrinks by 10-40 per cent,” it stated.

Think tank IPA’s senior fellow Dr Jennifer Marohasy said it had been a cold start to winter but because the Bureau of Meteorology had closed down weather stations and set limits on stations recording cold temperatures, it made comparisons difficult.

As Jennifer Marohasy says, they’ve closed long standing stations, and set limits of minus 10.4 C so if Australia were to break our long time cold records we’ll never even know it. Charlottes Pass in Australia reached minus 23 in 1994. How can we even measure that with thermometers that “stop” at minus ten?


9.9 out of 10 based on 93 ratings

EnergyAustralia (a Chinese company) tells Government we need a plan to end Australian coal

EnergyAustralia is 100% owned by China Light and Power (CLP Group) and owns a suite of generators that include coal, gas, wind farms and battery storage in Australia. It was sold by the NSW government for $1.4 billion in 2011. According to Wikipedia, the mothership company, CLP, owns “a number of power stations in Asia” and most are either coal-fired or fossil fuel power stations. It also owns Hong Kong Nuclear Investment Company.

CSIRO Yallourn Power Station, Brown Coal

Yallourn Power Plant, |    Malcolm Paterson, CSIRO


A year ago the same company that announced it was speeding up the closure of Yallourn coal power plant to 2028 instead of 2032, now warns the transition “may not be smooth” and the governments plan to pay incentives to keep them open “may not be enough”. But back in March last year, when EnergyAustralia said it wanted to close Yallorn, it also said that it wanted to show that the transition is possible “without disruption”. In fact the Managing Director raved at the time “”We are determined to show Australia, that it is possible to move from the old to the new in a way that does not leave people behind.”. Blah Blah Blah, eh?

The plan, apparently, was to close the 1,500MW cheap brown coal plant and replace it with a “large” 350 megawatt battery. The Victorian Minister of Energy said this was reasonable because another 5,000 megawatts of electricity was going to be added to the grid in coming years. Perhaps she didn’t realize that not all megawatts are equal?

Perry Williams, the journalist at The Australian did not ask if EnergyAustralia would profit from getting cheap coal competitors off the grid, thus raising the price every generator earns in the NEM auction system.

Nor did he ask whether the owners, CLP, are calling for orderly transitions out of coal in Asian markets or only in Australia.

EnergyAustralia calls for orderly exit of coal-fired power plants

Perry Williams, The Australian

Power giant EnergyAustralia will call on governments for a new policy to plan the orderly exit of coal-fired plants from the electricity system amid a growing energy crisis.

EnergyAustralia, which owns the big Yallourn and Mt Piper coal-fired power stations in Victoria and NSW respectively, is under short-term pressure to keep the fossil fuel in the energy mix after a string of big units suffering breakdowns amid a broader crunch in the national electricity market.

EnergyAustralia’s Yallourn station in Victoria – which started operating in 1974 – supplies 22 per cent of Victoria’s electricity and 8 per cent of the national electricity market, but has been under pressure for several years as Australia’s national power grid accelerates a transition to renewable energy.

It will close in mid-2028, more than four years earlier than its planned retirement date of 2032, after striking a confidential deal with the Victorian government. Meanwhile, the final NSW coal power plant will be shut by 2040 at the latest after EnergyAustralia’s decision to bring forward the closure date of its Mt Piper facility by at least two years in a bid to hit new green climate targets.

Did taxpapers pay EnergyAustralia to rush the closure of their own coal assets or are EnergyAustralia trying to hit “new green climate targets” because they are just nice people? Who knows. It’s commercial in confidence. The costs of the Green Transition we don’t have-to-have are always a secret.

Is it possible they will make a motza from shutting cheap coal because they can earn so much more per megawatt hour in a system screwed by a crisis?


9.8 out of 10 based on 58 ratings

Weekend Unthreaded

10 out of 10 based on 8 ratings

Cold snaps and blistering electricity prices downunder — where one state burnt $2.4b in electricity in May

And the bonfire continues

As cold fronts sweep across the south east of Australia electricity prices are setting records nobody wants to set. The wholesale prices for electricity –across a whole month — soared past $300 a megawatt hour in three states of Australia. In NSW the cumulative cost of wholesale electricity for May alone worked out at $2.4 billion dollars. It’s enough to build a power plant. Back in 2015, before Hazelwood old brown coal plant closed and Australia installed more renewable energy per capita than anywhere else on the planet, the average price in NSW was $35/MWh. Back then it cost  $260 million for  the whole month. (And Hazelwood wasn’t even in NSW. ) The point is not about one coal plant, but about how recently the system still worked and how fast it fell apart. Hazelwood coal plant in 2017 was 53 years old and still selling electricity at $30 per megawatt hour when it was shut down. Since then the whole grid has so much more capacity yet so much less ability.  There’s no resilience left. A few speed bumps wiped out the whole road train.


Wholesale electricity prices are higher across the Australian grid than they have ever been

The graph comes from Tristan Edis at WattClarity who blames the current fiasco on coal and gas producers “selling at international market prices” saying it’s not a failure of solar or wind. But as Ben Beattie points out we’ve installed 3GW of rooftop solar in 2021, so getting the same power out of it in 2022 is hardly “success”. When the weather systems rained on the coal mines, they clouded up the solar plants. We’re now a weather dependent grid but it didn’t have to be this way. And in January the price of international black coal was $200 a ton  but Australian brown coal plants were still winning bids here in Australia at $22/MWh.

If only we had more brown coal plants in good condition?

The wind and solar plants ARE the vandals on the grid

The excess of random wind and solar at subsidized prices mean that cheap reliable providers get driven out of the market and we had no other alternative. It’s exactly what the Soviet-genius energy comptrollers were aiming to do. On top of that, the unloved baseload generators that haven’t been blown up  aren’t being repaired and maintained properly. Plus the expert climate modelers said that winter nights would be warmer and they aren’t, and coal was a dead asset, not a $400 a ton asset. And gas wasn’t worth exploring for and we’re a nuclear free zone. It was the same circle of brains that made all the wrong predictions.

When coal and gas hit bonanza prices, Australia should be reaping in the dough. If we had enough brown coal or nuclear plants to lighten the load on the gas and the black coal it would be fine. But we have no back up for the back up anymore. We just have back up for the renewables.

A sneak peak at June prices shows that things are a bloodbath. The average price for the first nine days of June is $440 in NSW and $520 in Queensland. (See the AEMO)


9.9 out of 10 based on 88 ratings

Censored Jokes: Its not that Facebook doesn’t get the “Socialism kills” joke, the problem is that everyone gets it

The most important jokes in the world right now are the ones Facebook doesn’t want you to see. Anthony Watts posted a 2018 cartoon which is so “hot” it got removed in just 8 hours.

This cartoon is not a joke, it’s a community safety message.

Source: The original Pat Cross cartoon.

10 out of 10 based on 78 ratings

Thursday Open Thread

8.3 out of 10 based on 10 ratings

Sudden Adult Death Syndrome: because young people die, just like that

In the year of collapsing athletes, we now have the coincidental rise of SADS

Naturally, its nothing to do with new large medical programs done for emergency use. We know that because of all the detailed human trial data that the FDA and company in question wanted to hide until 2096, and which we still haven’t seen in full.

But if you hear of someone young and healthy dying there’s a word for that now — “normal”, I mean SADS.

Healthy young people are dying suddenly and unexpectedly from a mysterious syndrome – as doctors seek answers through a new national register

Daily Mail

People aged under 40 are being urged to have their hearts checked because they may potentially be at risk of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.The syndrome, known as SADS, has been fatal for all kinds of people regardless of whether they maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle. The term is used when a post-mortem cannot find an obvious cause of death.

The US-based SADS Foundation has said that over half of the 4,000 annual SADS deaths of children, teens or young adults have one of the top two warning signs present. ‘There are approximately 750 cases per year of people aged under 50 in Victoria suddenly having their heart stop (cardiac arrest),’ a spokesperson said. ‘Of these, approximately 100 young people per year will have no cause found even after extensive investigations such as a full autopsy (SADS phenomenon).’


It’s surprising that it took this long for the media campaign to start.

There are reasons whereby indemnity for pharmaceutical companies or the government might be made invalid —  but we can’t tell you that either.




Matthew, Evo of Gong, Kevin a, Scott of the Pacific

10 out of 10 based on 70 ratings

Trip in EV saves $100 but costs hours

So a lady tried to drive an EV from New Orleans to Chigago and back in less than four days with a car that had a battery life of 310 miles on a trip that was 2,000 miles long. She saved $100 in fuel but the fast chargers weren’t fast, the waits were inconvenient, and then there was the stress and uncertainty of just not knowing, and of wandering around unknown streets on foot, waiting for the car to charge, and trying to make appointments that failed. It took 12 hours to drive a 7.5 hour trip on the way there. But on the return as the weather got worse, so did the battery mileage. Just when you need it, it isn’t there… they ended up getting only 4 hours sleep on the last night so they could allow long enough to fit in the charges on the last leg.

Remember, you’re suffering so your great-grandchildren won’t have too.

Joel B. Pollak, Breitbart

The Wall Street Journal reported this weekend on a four-day road trip from New Orleans to Chicago and back in an electric vehicle (EV) that ended up as a disaster — one that left the author grateful for her ordinary car, even at today’s high gas price.

The Journal article, by Rachel Wolfe, was titled: “I Rented an Electric Car for a Four-Day Road Trip. I Spent More Time Charging It Than I Did Sleeping.” In it, the author described planning the journey, using the PlugShare app to map charging stations and estimate charging times, based on the relative strength of each public charging station. She noted that more charging stations should, in theory, be available in future, thanks to the federal government’s new infrastructure bill.

For now, however, long-distance travel by electric vehicle proved almost impossible, saving just $100 and costing hours. At several points, Wolfe recalled, the car nearly ran out of battery; they missed several appointments. They also had to take drastic steps to curb their use of power, such as unplugging their phones and turning down their windshield wipers.

h/t OldOzzie



9.8 out of 10 based on 66 ratings

Half of Australians already think nuclear power is a good idea

The election horse that mysteriously got away

Radioactive, nuclear energy

With virtually no public campaign at all, out of the starting gates, 53% of Australians thought nuclear power was good idea. Only 23% were against it. This was a survey done in April. Scott Morrison could have played the brave man-of-action card — (solving the climate wars with a 50 year old tried and true technology!).  It would have been an easy sell once Australians found out there were 440 nuclear power plants in the world, and that even Armenia has one. And so does Belarus. Mexico has two,  Hungary has four, and the Czech Republic has six. They’re everywhere.

Prime Minister Morrison may have even had these survey results in the lead up to the election? So why didn’t he play that card? Was it really fear of “the anti nuclear” green hippies, or something else…?

The conservative government missed the chance to sell a big vision, and nobble “Climate” witchcraft

Most Australians want nuclear power to reduce emissions from coal-fired plants – but the Greens will never let it happen

Daily Mail

Most Australians want a nuclear power industry to reduce emissions by scrapping coal-fired plants, but it’s unlikely to happen because politicians don’t agree. A poll found 53 per cent in Australians support ‘building nuclear power plants to supply electricity and reduce emissions’ and only 23 pre cent opposed.

Even Greens voters, whose party is fundamentally opposed to it, are warming to the idea with 44 per cent in favour compared to 30 per cent opposed. The nuclear option also gathered  70 per cent approval from Coalition voters, with 13 per cent opposed, and 52 per cent from Labor supporters while 27 per cent opposed.

The survey of 1,000 people was commissioned by the Institute of Public Affairs in April.

Make no mistake, the cheapest solution to our power crisis starts with checking the scientific evidence of the foreign committee in Geneva that claims CO2 causes a catastrophe. For a mere 0.00001% of what we spend on renewables we could discover that the hot spot is still missing, the models were wrong, and CO2 is good for crops, forests and desert plants. We’d be free to use cheap brown coal power at 3 cents a kilowatt hour wholesale.

Nuclear isn’t that cheap but it’s better than the bonfire extravaganza of Snowy 2.0 pumping to nowhere, plus billion-dollar interconnectors, burning batteries and bird killing windmills.

France built 56 nuclear plants in just 15 years. Imagine how silly the conservatives will look if the Labor Party manages to build the first nuclear plant in Australia?

Image Cary Bass |

10 out of 10 based on 78 ratings