Guest Post by Rafe Champion: Famous last words?

Warwick McKibbin reckons Vladimir Putin might be the best thing that’s ever happened to the energy transition.

Speaking at The Australian Financial Review Business Summit on Tuesday, the economist, academic and former Reserve Bank board member argued that surging commodity prices caused by the war in Ukraine could force the urgent shift to clean energy to accelerate.


In the parallel universe Mark Mills at the Manhattan Institute has been sending warning signals for years that the push for intermittent energy in the west could have drastic geopolitical consequences. Here he explains how the conflict in the Ukraine has brought the drastic consequences upon us ahead of schedule.

Naivete about energy realities robbed the U.S. and its allies of important “soft power” options and helped finance Russia’s aggression. In the near term, our choices are limited, but continuing down the same energy path is a formula for yet more problems in the future.

He notes that the EU and the US over the past two decades spent more than $5 trillion and made countless mandates to replace oil, natural gas and coal.

This brought the hydrocarbon share of all energy use down by two percentage points […]

One more go at the 97% consensus

Rafe Champion guest post

I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had. Michael Crichton

The 97% consensus on catastrophic human-induced climate warming is one of the great PR coups of all time, demonstrating the effectiveness of The Big Lie for propaganda purposes. Cook’s 2013 paper became a springboard, coming strategically before the Paris COP, for Barack Obama and John Kerry to achieve a face-saving but meaningless result at the event. It was the rejoinder to the leaked emails from East Anglia that sank the Copenhagan COP.

It became the “go to” rejoinder and the killer argument in every private discussion and public debate – “I am just following the science.” Commentators and public service advisors use it to intimidate politicians […]

What would you say to Daniel Westerman, head of Australia’s AEMO?

Rafe Champion is fishing for responses

Daniel Westerman, AEMO

In May this year Daniel Westerman replaced Audrey Zibelman as the CEO of the Australian Energy Market Operator. She was appointed in the Turnbull era after she was tipped as a possibility for Energy Secretary under President Hilary Clinton. In the event their loss was our gain.

Daniel Westerman is now the head man in the organization that runs the operation of our grid and prepares scenarios for decarbonization of the power sector.

What questions would you ask him if you were on the panel to interview the candidates for the position?

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Rafe Champion guest post. Calling Paul Kelly and Greg Sheridan

A post written and edited by Rafe Champion

Note from Jo: This is a change from the last 5,000 posts. Rafe has written and edited this entirely a guest. Given the dearth of independent blogs in Australia since the end of Catallaxy, it seems an experiment worth trying.

Introducing myself. Jo has taken me on board as an occasional contributor after the old Catallaxy Files closed down and I was homeless. Due to the break I have not got back into the routine of posting four or five times a week on a wide range of topics and I am now spending more time wind-watching with the Energy Realists of Australia. You can see how we are taking on the renewable energy farce here. My thoughts on other issues can be found on my personal website.

Back to the topic.

Why are supposedly quality journalists so misguided on climate change?

Paul Kelly and Greg Sheridan have clearly taken on board the alarmist global warming narrative. To explain the context for overseas readers, Kelly and Sheridan are very senior and respected journalists on The Australian, the one national daily that Rupert Murdoch established in 1964. That paper along […]

Guest post by Rafe Champion. Will it work to press on with more wind and solar power with existing storage technology?

PS: From Jo. Rafe Champion has been posting at the lost Catallaxy site for years so I offered him a home to try to fill the vacuum on Australian blogs for discussion on energy issues.

The dilemma Australia faces is that if we keep stuffing subsidized unreliable energy into the system we will force stable fuels out, and be carbon free, but we will also be free of 50Hz cycles, 24 hour power, aluminium plants, and manufacturing jobs. Policy-dreamers are using magical words like “battery” and “pumped hydro” as if Australia is a scaled up Mechano Truck run on Monopoly-money and we can expect reliable rain for the first time in 2 billion years.

by Steve Hunter

The Energy Security Board, chaired by Kerry Schott, has at last delivered a report to the Federal Government with proposals for market reforms to resolve a looming crisis in the national power supply or at least the NEM, the National Energy Market that covers the south-eastern states, excluding WA. The crisis is twofold – increasing grid instability and the threat of supply if coal plants are forced out of business prematurely. Both of those issues arise from […]

Approaching a tipping point in the power supply

Guest post by Rafe Champion

We are installing wind and solar power at a great rate and the expectation is that this will go on and RE will increasingly penetrate the system as coal power fades away. In the SE we still have just enough conventional power to get by almost all the time but the tipping point will come when we lose another couple of coal stations and we will need to have a continuous supply of RE. There will not be enough conventional power to keep the lights on through windless nights. The point is that RE can DISPLACE coal power but not REPLACE it.

Note from Jo: With the sad demise of Catallaxy, I invited Rafe to continue here blogging about energy and electricity in Australia. So the format of the blog will flex somewhat to try to fill some of that void.

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