Monday, June 01, 2015

You knew it!  The Indian heatwave is caused by global warming

"The Guardian" (below) is being entirely predictable.  Just one problem:  Even Warmist scientists admit that there has been no terrestrial warming for 18 years.  So how can something that doesn't exist cause anything?

Roads have twisted in the heat. Hospitals are overwhelmed by thousands of dehydrated people, the poor, the elderly and children among the worst hit. Urgent instructions to wear wide-brimmed hats and light-coloured cotton clothes, use umbrellas and drink lots of fluid have been issued by the government.

India is struggling to cope with one of the deadliest heatwaves to hit the subcontinent. And its attempt to do so is raising a question for the whole planet – how can humans cope with the kinds of temperatures that scientists fear may become ever more common?

In only 10 days, the death toll is reported to have reached around 1,800, a 20-year high. The brunt of the burden has fallen on the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, where 1,300 people have died, the highest loss of life due to heat the state has known, according to officials. By comparison, 447 people in the state died from the heat last year.


Merchants of Doubt: A Climate Change Dud

Financially speaking, Merchants of Doubt, which purports to debunk global warming skeptics by revealing their nefarious sources of funding, is a dud. Three box office sales reporting sites, The Numbers, Box Office Mojo, and Pro Box Office all show ticket sales of barely over $190,000 from its March 6 opening date through the first weekend of April. It is still showing in a handful of theaters through June 20th, but my inquiry to The Numbers site yielded a response from Nash Information Services, LLC in Beverly Hills that “Sony Pictures Classics hasn’t reported any box office for this film since the weekend of April 3.”

Content success is an entirely different matter. In any movie review, the reviewer’s objective is to explain how the movie succeeded or failed to tell its intended story. Documentaries face a tougher challenge than fictional movies, namely to successfully and accurately tell the story of a real-life situation.

Merchants of Doubt does indeed succeed at telling a tale in an attention-keeping way. People who accept its assertions without question say they have all the information they need to justify animosity against scientists who express skepticism about catastrophic human-induced global warming. However, if anyone deeply questions its assertions, the movie unravels.

Merchants of Doubt is no dud on presentation. Director Robert Kenner provides us with an entertaining opening, a consistent theme using a sleight-of-hand metaphors from “close-up card trick magician” Jamy Ian Swiss, and effective visuals, leaving viewers with a memorable impression about skeptic climate scientists being little more than the latest in a lineage of industry-paid and directed shills. So long as nobody checks the veracity of that impression, the movie accomplishes its goal.

For example, the movie claims the ClimateGate scandal was not a scandal but instead nothing more than a few leaked email statements taken out of context. But people can easily read those leaked emails in their full context and read analysis at so intensely detailed about ClimateGate scientists’ actions that they might get migraine headaches from doing so. The movie also features former Greenpeace USA executive director John Passacantando, speaking vaguely about his role in ‘discovering industry-corrupted skeptic climate scientists’, but people can check for themselves whether this so-called discovery happened while he was at Greenpeace, or at another organization, and whether that particular situation ever actually produced evidence proving its accusation was true.

There’s more: Merchants of Doubt portrays the Oregon Petition Project as worthless because of the fake scientist signer names found within it, but people can check for themselves to see if a certain organization played a role in planting a fake name in the petition, whether the other ‘fake’ names are actually in the petition, or just how many legitimate PhD-level scientists signed it.

For me, one of the more amusing instances in the movie came from former Republican South Carolina Representative Bob Inglis’ claims that he, as an affirmed conservative, lost his election solely because of his pro-global warming beliefs. Among the visuals for this passage was news video of the other completely unnamed Republican primary challengers he faced, which comically prompted a movie viewer seated near me to audibly gasp the name of one of those challengers: Trey Gowdy! People can do their own objective analysis to see whether Inglis was just as conservative as Gowdy, of course…. to the detriment of the movie.

Therein lies the problem with Merchants of Doubt. In what turned out to be a pair of hugely ironic statements, John Passacantando said the public will ultimately catch up on what is truly going on in the global warming issue, and at the 1:28 point of the movie’s trailer, Naomi Oreskes — who wrote the book the movie is based on — said, “It’s all about preventing you from looking at where the action really is, which is in the science.”

Problem is, the public may very well catch up to the fact that the collective two-decade effort to portray skeptic climate scientists as ‘paid shills of industry’ is all about distracting everyone from looking at what the issue actually is, an unsettled debate over whether human activity is the primary driver of what little global warming there’s been over the last century.

From my knowledge about the issue, Merchants of Doubt employs outright misdirection to tell the story of skeptic climate scientists’ alleged “misdirection.” Essentially anybody having full familiarity of the issue could do a Rush Limbaugh-style “stop the tape!” point-by-point dissection of the movie’s misdirection attempts. I’ll finish with one more item: the movie wants us to believe the issue is a battle of settled science versus ‘paid industry shills’ who have no credibility because they aren’t scientists, a sleight-of-hand trick specifically described within the movie as “once revealed, it cannot be concealed.” The problem is, Oreskes herself appears toward the end of the movie authoritatively proclaiming the near-certainty of a future plagued by rising seas from melting ice sheets, droughts, and other extreme weather. But she has no scientific expertise, she is no more than a history professor.

Indeed, a problem once revealed that now cannot be concealed.

Believers in human-induced global warming heartily recommend that you see the movie and trust all of what is said within it. For anyone near the handful of theaters still showing it through June, I also recommend that you see it, but that you also look deeper into every assertion it makes and see how many other problems are found in it that, once revealed, cannot be concealed.


Curbing EPA abuses

Action needed now to end EPA deception, fraud, collusion, tyranny and destruction

Paul Driessen

Russian President Vladimir Putin is outraged that the United States has indicted 14 FIFA soccer officials, accusing them of corruption, racketeering, fraud and conspiracy, involving bribes totaling over $150 million in kickbacks for awarding tournament rights. He says the US is meddling in Russian affairs and plotting to steal the 2018 World Cup from his country. What chutzpah.

This is the same Mr. Putin who annexed Crimea and parts of Ukraine, and whose close cronies have been secretly channeling millions of dollars to US and EU environmentalist groups to oppose both American oil drilling in the Arctic and hydraulic fracturing – the game-changing process that is producing so much oil and gas that it’s slashed energy prices … and Russian revenues.

The Justice Department indictments generated global applause. Now the DOJ needs to conduct an equally zealous investigation into corruption, fraud and collusion in the Obama Environmental Protection Agency. Of course, that will never happen – no matter how rampant or flagrant the abuses have been.

As Kimberly Strassel documents in May 14 and May 21 articles, EPA emails and other documents reveal that the agency had already decided in 2010 to veto the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska on ideological grounds, “well before it did any science” on the project’s potential environmental impacts. Meanwhile, an EPA biologist was working with eco-activists to recruit Native Americans to oppose the mine. “It’s not much of a leap,” Strassel writes, “to suggest that the EPA encouraged [petitions against the mine] so that it would have an excuse to intervene, run its science as cover, and block a project it already opposed.”

At the same time the biologist was aiding the petition drive, he was also helping to write EPA’s “options paper” for the mine – and lobbying his co-authors and report contributors to veto the mine, Strassel notes. Now, contrary to newly discovered agency emails, EPA bosses are pretending they never saw the options paper and trying to put the blame on low-level functionaries, when they were deep in cahoots all the way.

This represents incredible collusion, deception, fraud and abuse of power – to impose agency edicts and appease environmental ideologues in and out of EPA. Moreover, it is just the latest in a long line of abuses and usurpations by this Obama agency, under a culture of corruption and secretive, manipulated science used to justify regulatory overkill that imposes extensive damages for few or no benefits.

On climate, EPA relies on computer models and discredited IPCC reports to predict global catastrophes that it insists can be prevented if the United States slashes its fossil fuel use, carbon dioxide emissions and living standards, even if China, India and other developing countries do nothing. Meanwhile, real-world temperatures, hurricanes, tornadoes, polar ice and sea levels continue to defy the fear-mongering. So now the rhetoric has shifted yet again, to alleged national security and asthma threats from climate change.

Just this week, EPA announced that it will henceforth regulate any ponds, puddles, creeks, ditches and other waters that have a “significant nexus” to navigable waterways, even if that ill-defined connection enjoys six degrees of separation from streams in which you can actually paddle a kayak. EPA itself recognizes that “science” does not support its new regime, so now it says its “experience and expertise” justify regulating virtually all “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) – and thus of all lands, land uses, and family, farm and industrial activities not already covered by its climate and other rules.

Homeowners, farmers and businesses will now have to apply for permits to do almost anything that might theoretically pollute or affect waterways. Even taking a shower is now subject to EPA regulation.

On mercury, EPA is shutting down coal-fired power plants that emit barely 3% of all the mercury in US air and water. It claims this will prevent “0.00209 points” in American IQ losses and protect nonexistent “hypothetical female subsistence consumers” who every day for 70 years eat a pound of fish that they catch themselves in US navigable or “nexus” waterways.

For fine particulates, EPA wasn’t satisfied with regulations that prohibited more than one ounce of soot spread evenly in a volume of air a half-mile square by one story tall. When illegal experiments on humans failed to demonstrate that these levels were not actually “dangerous” or “lethal,” it imposed tougher standards anyway, as part of its war on coal.

Before he landed in jail for fraud, high level EPA bureaucrat John Beale concocted the sue-and-settle tactic, under which agency lawyers meet with environmentalist groups behind closed doors, agree to new regulatory standards, and then settle a friendly lawsuit whereby a court orders EPA to adopt the rules. Parties actually impacted by the new regulations never find out about them until it’s a “done deal.”

As presidential candidate Obama promised, under his policies electricity prices would “necessarily skyrocket.” But this means poor families, small businesses, factories, school districts, hospitals and churches must pay far more to keep their lights, heat, air conditioning and equipment running. That means people get laid off, fewer jobs are created, living standards decline, people’s health and wellbeing suffer, stress, depression, and drug and alcohol abuse increase, more people die during heat waves, and far more die during much deadlier winter cold snaps.

However, EPA ignores all these cold, hard realities – as it cherry-picks research and pseudo-science to support its agenda, ignores contradictory studies, and pays advisory boards and activist groups like the American Lung Association millions of dollars annually to rubberstamp and promote its decisions.

What can be done to curb these abuses and usurpations, and rein in this renegade agency?

Congress should cut EPA’s budget, to eliminate money that it routinely gives to activist and propaganda groups – and prevent the agency from spending any further taxpayer funds to regulate carbon dioxide, impose its new ozone, mercury and WOTUS rules, or participate in new sue-and-settle lawsuits.

Congress should also pass the Secret Science Reform Act, to ensure greater honesty and transparency in EPA rulemakings – and hold hearings on the Pebble Mine and other questionable agency actions, with EPA officials under oath and subject to penalties for perjury, malfeasance and criminality in office.

Presidential candidates must become well versed in these issues, discuss them during interviews and debates, and be prepared to amend, suspend and upend EPA decisions and regulations that were implemented in violation of transparency, integrity, and honest, robust science.

They should also examine how the federal EPA behemoth can be systematically dismantled and replaced with a “committee of the whole” of the 50 state environmental protection agencies – so as to balance and protect our needs for air and water quality, livelihoods, living standards, health and welfare.

State legislators, governors and attorneys general, companies and other aggrieved parties should continue to file lawsuits to block EPA excesses. However, they should stop relying on “abuse of discretion,” as courts almost always bow to government agencies. Instead, they need to demand that every agency decision is grounded in reliable, replicable, testable, peer-reviewed evidence, data and standards – as set forth in the Supreme Court’s Daubert, Joiner and Kumho decisions – and that the agencies demonstrate that they have fully accounted for the negative job, economic, health and welfare impacts of their rulings.

Meanwhile, as Charles Murray (author of By the People: Rebuilding liberty without permission) and others have suggested, states, communities, companies and individuals should engage in a new form of “systemic” civil disobedience: refusing to bow to harmful, nonsensical, tyrannical EPA regulations.

In short, we should take Dylan Thomas’s advice – and rage, rage against the dying of the light – due to regulations that are dimming the lights in our homes and the light of liberty and American exceptionalism.

Via email

The Climate Alarmists’ Latest Argument About Polar Ice – And Why It’s Wrong

That journalist Mooney gets it wrong is simply in form for him but it is disappointing that "Bad astronomer" Plait lives up to his name

by James M. Taylor

Expanding polar ice caps are defying alarmist global warming claims, sending global warming alarmists into desperate damage control. Since late 2012, polar ice extent has averaged greater than the long term mean. When I pointed this out in a recent column, and after more than a quarter million people learned the truth by reading my column, the alarmists predictably began searching for ways to spin the expanding polar ice. Fortunately, the truth will always win out over scientifically unsupported spin and fearmongering.

In an article posted yesterday at the Washington Post, climate alarmist Chris Mooney tries his hand at damage control. Responding to my article, “Updated NASA Data: Global Warming Not Causing Any Polar Ice Retreat,” Mooney makes three arguments: “1) total (or global) polar sea ice is in fact declining, according to both NASA and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Cryosphere Today; 2) if you analyze the Arctic and Antarctic separately — which makes more sense to do, as very different things are happening to sea ice in the two places — you realize that the Arctic sea ice decline in particular is very stark; 3) there is also bad news about the melting of ice atop land, based on data that are completely outside of this discussion, but that are perhaps the most worrying of all.” Let’s examine Mooney’s arguments one-by-one.

(1) Government-funded spokespersons at NASA and the University of Illinois’ Polar Research Group indeed have attempted to spin the latest polar sea ice data to preserve their bloated climate research budgets. Without an ongoing global warming crisis, their taxpayer-funded staffing and budgets will be cut. Fortunately, however, we don’t need to rely on people with a financial self-interest to “interpret” data that are readily available for objective review. And the objective polar sea ice data, linked here and explained in my column, show “the polar ice caps remained at approximately their 1979 extent until the middle of the last decade. Beginning in 2005, however, polar ice modestly receded for several years. By 2012, polar sea ice had receded by approximately 10 percent from 1979 measurements. (Total polar ice area – factoring in both sea and land ice – had receded by much less than 10 percent, but alarmists focused on the sea ice loss as “proof” of a global warming crisis.) A 10-percent decline in polar sea ice is not very remarkable, especially considering the 1979 baseline was abnormally high anyway. … In late 2012, however, polar ice dramatically rebounded and quickly surpassed the post-1979 average. Ever since, the polar ice caps have been at a greater average extent than the post-1979 mean.”

You don’t have to take my word for it, you can see it for yourself in the data. Yes, there was a very modest decline from 2005-2012, but polar ice extent has averaged above the long-term mean since 2012. NASA and the University of Illinois’ Polar Research Group may argue polar sea ice may decline again in the future, but such self-serving speculation does not rebut the objective truth that polar ice extent has averaged above the long-term mean since 2012.

(2) Analyzing the Arctic and Antarctic polar ice data separately is disingenuous when the issue is global warming and global polar ice extent. Alarmists have long predicted a decline in Arctic sea ice, Antarctic sea ice, and total global sea ice, yet only one of the three has occurred. Two of the three predictions have proven spectacularly wrong. Now, like a street-corner shell-game hustler hiding one ping-pong ball among three coconut shells, Mooney and other global warming alarmists tell us we should ignore the two datasets showing an increase in Antarctic and global polar ice extent and only consider the one dataset showing a decline in Arctic ice extent.

Mooney also claims the decline in Arctic ice extent is “very stark” and the increase in Antarctic ice extent is only “modest.” If that is the case, then how does the increase in Antarctic ice extent dwarf the decline in Arctic ice extent such that global ice extent is above the long-term average? Mooney has a very interesting way of defining “very stark” vs. “modest.”

(3) Mooney argues melting polar ice on land masses are more consequential than sea ice because melting ice from land masses raises sea level. Mooney, however, supports his argument merely by linking to an article he wrote himself. Mooney’s linked article mentions thinning ice in two individual sections of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, but fails to mention the ice is thickening throughout the larger East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Mooney also fails to mention that global sea level is rising no faster now than it did throughout the twentieth century. If human civilization was able to cope with modestly rising sea levels last century utilizing twentieth century technologies, it is difficult to imagine human civilization having a much harder time coping with the same sea level rise this upcoming century utilizing twenty-first century technologies.

So in sum, it is hard to find anything worrying about the polar ice caps, even when the Washington Post assigns its best spin doctor to raise the alarm.

In an article yesterday for Slate online magazine, columnist Phil Plait attempted to divert attention away from the expanding polar ice by alternately attacking the messenger and presenting false and misleading arguments. Let’s examine them one-by-one.

Responding to my article on global polar ice, “Updated NASA Data: Global Warming Not Causing Any Polar Ice Retreat,” Plait first attempts to misdirect his readers by cherry-picking Northern Hemisphere polar ice rather than global polar ice. Presenting a large graph purporting to show recent Arctic ice trends, Plait writes:

“In the op-ed, he [Taylor] claims that global warming has not caused global sea ice retreat. This is a gross distortion of reality. The truth is that in the arctic we’re seeing record low levels of sea ice year after year, including just this year, when in March the North Pole saw the lowest maximum ice extent on record.”

Well, if we are talking about global warming, it is of course necessary to talk about global polar ice, not cherry-picked regional ice. Modestly declining Northern Hemisphere sea ice is not very indicative of global warming if Southern Hemisphere polar ice is expanding by a greater amount than modestly declining Northern Hemisphere polar ice. And that is indeed what is happening. As I documented in my article, objective data gathered by NASA satellite instruments show global polar ice has averaged above the long-term mean since late 2012.

“It takes a very twisted view of the world to claim global warming isn’t doing anything to polar ice not two months after that record was broken,” writes Plait. “And as we know very, very well, Arctic sea ice is on a long, drastic decline that does not show any signs of recovery at all.”

Actually, it takes a very twisted view of scientific ethics to attempt to fool your readers into believing a lie about global polar ice by presenting a chart that only addresses Northern Hemisphere sea ice.

Plait eventually gets around to addressing the topic of global polar ice, but does so again in a grossly misleading manner.

First, he attempts to rebut my objective, up-to-date polar ice data by linking to a chart that ends in 2009. The fact that a minor, very short-lived decline in polar ice ended in 2012 was a focal point in my Forbes article. Nevertheless, Plait attempts to rebut the post-2012 data showing a complete recovery since 2012 by presenting data from 2009. Not only is such an argument misleading, it is transparently ridiculous.

Second, Plait attempts to rebut the objective data showing above-average polar ice extent by arguing the ice may not be as thick as before. “In fact, land ice in Antarctica is melting away extremely rapidly,” writes Plait. This is quite a novel claim, considering Antarctic temperatures only rarely rise above freezing.

“January is the second warmest month of the year in Antarctica, according to data gathered at the American Amundsen-Scott station from 1957 to 1988,” USA Today reports. “The average high temperature in Antarctica in January is -18 degrees F.” That’s an average high temperature, during the peak of the Antarctic summer, a full 50 degrees F below the freezing mark. The warmest month, December, averages a high temperature of -16 degrees F, or fully 48 degrees F below the freezing mark.

So how can Plait claim the Antarctic ice cap is melting? Well, the only supporting sources he cites are two similarly misleading articles written by himself. In one of the articles, he misrepresents the reasons, pace, and significance of receding ice in a very, very small portion of Antarctica that is primarily affected by local geography, sea water temperatures, and nearby undersea volcanoes. In the other article, he asserts the smaller West Antarctic ice sheet is losing mass while grudgingly admitting the larger East Antarctic ice sheet is gaining mass.

Sure, the very edges of Antarctica occasionally top the freezing mark in the very brief Antarctic summer, but it is difficult to argue warmer temperatures are “rapidly” melting ice and afflicting the edges of Antarctica when this is the very region where polar sea ice sets new records almost every year. In short, temperatures do not get warm enough to melt the Antarctic interior, and polar ice is expanding in the only regions where melting is possible. Plait’s speculation about Antarctic thickness decline, if true, would have more to do with a decline in snowfall than “rapidly” melting ice.

Indeed, Plait inadvertently contradicts his own argument when he adds, “in fact wind-driven snow can be increased by global warming (warmer air can hold more moisture).” In other words, Plait points out warmer temperatures can cause in increase in the Antarctic snow and ice thickness. It therefore follows that cooling temperatures can cause a decline in the Antarctic snow and ice pack because less snow falls when below-freezing temperatures become even colder. Even if Plait’s assertion were correct that the Antarctic ice sheet is slightly less thick, Plait himself points out this would likely be due to a cold-induced decline in snowfall rather than “rapid” melting in places where average summer high temperatures struggle to get within 50 degrees F of the melting point.

Plait’s final attempt to mislead his readers about the expanding polar ice sheets is to link to a statement by the University of Illinois Polar Research Group claiming the expanding post-2012 polar ice will likely end soon. While the Polar Research Group – much of whose public funding is dependent on the continuation of an asserted global warming crisis – is free to make whatever prediction it wishes, the objective fact remains that the short-lived, minor decline (merely 10%) in polar ice extent is over, is now fully recovered, and has been since 2012.



Five current articles below

The Church of England and Divestment from coal

Grant Goldman broadcast this editorial on Radio 2SM and the Super Radio Network at 7.10am Friday 29 May 2015

As we discussed yesterday the Church of England is part of a push to reduce Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions compared with 1990 levels by the draconian figure of 80% in the next fifteen years, which would make Australia unable to feed, house and clothe Australians.

In Britain, North America and Australia the Church of England has declared war on coal, through a combination of divestment programs and propaganda from the pulpit.

Time for some facts about coal. The gerontologist and evolutionary biologist Caleb Finch tells us that since the early 1800s life expectancy in Europe has doubled. The single greatest factor in the longevity revolution has been coal. Beginning in the eighteenth century and accelerating into the nineteenth century, coal made possible stunning increases in productivity.

Coal saved from destruction the forests of Britain which by the mid-eighteenth century were rapidly disappearing. Coal dramatically reduced pollution caused by cooking and heating with wood and animal dung. Coal permitted large scale smelting of metals. Coal made possible modern medical science and modern agriculture. Coal opened the way to commerce and freedom of movement on a scale never before imagined.

Thanks to coal, for the very first time ordinary workers who were not members of the aristocracy nor of the clergy had leisure time. Life was still tough, but thanks to coal life rapidly improved. Instead of being permanently enslaved to tasks like collecting wood to heat and to cook, women had the opportunity to learn to read and become educated or musical or artistic or political or charitable as they wished.

Coal made possible the growth of democratic institutions and, vitally important, the abolition of slavery. Nineteenth century Britain saw the flowering of culture with bands, orchestras, choirs, drama societies, literary societies, trade unions, and, of course, the flowering of the Church of England. I’ll mention some of the great hymnists of the late eighteenth century and the nineteenth century. In chronological order:

John Wesley (1703-1791)
Edward Perronet (1726-1792)
William Cowper 1731-1800
John Newton (1725-1807),
Reginald Heiber (1783-1826 v
Joseph M. Scriven (1819-1886)
Matthew Bridges (1800-1894)
Carl Gustav Boberg (1859-1940)

Thanks to coal, hymn books could be printed cheaply and thanks to coal there were trees left in the land to make the paper.

In Britain by 1860 around 400,000 coal industry workers were each producing around 175 tonnes of coal in a year for an annual total of seventy million tonnes of coal. In 1913 around 1,100,000 coal industry workers were each producing around 264 tonnes of coal in a year for a total of 290 million tonnes. This great increase in coal production coincided with wonderful progress in every aspect of society. People lived longer, ate better and their purchasing power increased year by year.

As the twentieth century dawned, coal was already popularising the wonderful blessing of electricity. The former major disadvantage of coal-fired power – sulphur dioxide emissions – was overcome with fluidised bed combustion using limestone, and coal has continued as the world mainstay of electrical power.

Tragically, 1.3 billion people – eighteen percent of the world’s population – have no access to electricity and so are deprived of all the wonderful things we take for granted. Expansion of coal production is vital as part of the energy mix necessary to offer the poor and disadvantaged of the world an escape route from poverty, misery and short life spans.

By declaring war on coal, people who purport to represent the Church of England are committing a terrible crime against the world’s poorest people.

My suggestion to the people purporting to lead the Church of England is re-read the Parable of the Talents. It’s still there in Matthew Chapter 25, verses 14 to 30.


The $9b waste that is Australia's solar industry

It's been dubbed 'middle class welfare' of the first order, since it is typically only wealthy households that can afford to install photovoltaic (PV) solar systems, with the higher power costs hurting low income households and renters, neither of which benefit.

As a result, the Grattan Institute reckons it ranks among the worst government disasters of recent years with as much as $9 billion of the $14 billion spent on rooftop solar systems in Australia wasted.

In raw numbers, Queensland - especially the south-east around Brisbane and the Gold Coast, has led the way with the introduction of solar systems, followed by NSW and Victoria.

Splitting the data up to look at the underlying distribution by household, then more than a third of households in Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth have solar, easily outstripping the more populous states.

But apart from the 'feelgood factor' does solar really make that much of a difference? Most solar electricity is produced around the middle of the day which pushes down wholesale electricity prices and hurts the big carbon emitting power generators, but solar doesn't help much at the peak demand period for electricity in the late afternoon and early evening.

And despite the optimism of its supporters, only around half of all houses may be suitable for solar systems, AGL reckons. But while the take up has been high thanks to government subsidies, only a modest portion have solar systems installed.

On AGL's numbers, without subsidies and if the changes to the network charges being debated take effect, then it could take around thirteen years for a solar system to cover the cost of purchase and installation.

But that may change if solar PV prices continue to slide, as many predict. But the real cut through for solar will come if it manages to boost the efficiency of converting solar heat into energy, which remains low.

The Grattan Institute reckons greater savings in carbon emissions could have been achieved far more efficiently with other policy measures, than the solar subsidies.

Germany also had heavy subsidies for the introduction of solar for a time, but because its subsidies applied not just to households but also industry, more than 85 per cent of its solar come from systems of more than ten kilowatts, while in Australia more than 90 per cent of the systems are small household systems. So Germany now has a quarter of global installed solar capacity, the Grattan Researchers say.

"Government's have created a policy mess which should never be repeated," it said in a study released on Monday.


Australia welcomes UNESCO decision on Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef will not be listed as endangered but will remain under watch because of "major threats" to its health, a draft recommendation to the UN's World Heritage Committee says.

The federal and Queensland governments have welcomed the draft report released by UNESCO on Friday, with Environment Minister Greg Hunt calling it "an overwhelming endorsement" of their approaches to reef protection.

But environmental groups say the report puts both governments on notice to deliver on their promises to protect the reef.

The UN's conservation agency said it noted "with concern" the state of the reef which has had World Heritage Site status since 1981.

UNESCO warned that the "in danger" label wasn't off the cards as "the overall outlook is poor" and it urged Australia "to rigorously implement all of its commitments" and submit a progress report by December 2016.

The report said measures that represent significant progress to protect the reef included restoring water quality, "restricting major port development" and "a permanent ban on dumping of dredged material".

Mr Hunt welcomed the report, saying it recognised the "unprecedented" work by the federal and Queensland governments to protect the reef, including a ban on the dumping of dredge material and port development restrictions.

"Indeed, all references to in danger have been dropped and Australia and Queensland's efforts have been praised," he said in a joint statement with Queensland's Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Environment Minister Steven Miles.

"This is an overwhelming endorsement, but we want to make sure that we keep the pressure up on ourselves and inviting a little bit of long-term international scrutiny, I think, is a very valuable thing,"

Ms Trad said the decision reflected the commitment made by the Palaszczuk government.

"We were elected with a mandate to save the reef for generations to come and we intend to deliver on those promises," she said.

The Queensland Tourism Industry Council said listing the reef as "in danger" would have been catastrophic for the tourism industry, as it would have discouraged tourists.

The Queensland Resources Council said the report recognised Australia's huge strides in the management of the site.

But Greenpeace said the decision by UNESCO to demand a report on progress within 18 months showed the federal and Queensland governments were on notice.

"The Australian government can't talk about protecting the reef while aggressively supporting the licensing of mega-mine and expansion of coal ports along the Great Barrier Reef coast," said Shani Tager, Greenpeace Australia Reef campaigner.

WWF-Australia's CEO Dermot O'Gorman also pointed to the measures demanded of Australia in the draft decision.

"The Australian and Queensland governments must now deliver on their promises to better protect the reef,"he said in a statement.

The 21 nations in UNESCO's World Heritage Committee will decide whether to accept the report's recommendations at a meeting in Germany at the end of June.


The green movement’s role in the sorry Reef debacle exposes them as frauds

Last week’s UNESCO report accepted that enough has been done by Australia to stop the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.
THOSE conservationists and wacky scientists who waged a jihad against Queensland by falsely claiming that the Great Barrier Reef was in danger because of degradation and over-development should leave the state and go and live somewhere else.

With UNESCO giving the Reef a clean bill of health in a long-awaited report, the likes of Greenpeace, WWF, GetUp and the Australian Marine Conservation Society have been discredited and should not be permitted to peddle their lies in Queensland. In fact, the green movement’s role in this sorry debacle exposes them as frauds.

The UNESCO report accepted that enough has been done by Australia to stop the destruction of the Reef. The trigger for the UNESCO probe was the Port of Gladstone expansion to cater for the boom in coal and coal seam gas exports, featuring the biggest dredging project in Australia’s history. Despite heavy conditions and environmental regulations, the greenies jumped on the issue which allowed them to link coal exports to climate change and the Reef.

For the Queensland tourism industry, the possibility of a UNESCO listing of the Great Barrier Reef as endangered would have had catastrophic implications for the state. It would have sent a message to tourists that the Reef had lost its lustre. But of course, the conservationists don’t have time for the trivialities of an industry worth billions every year to the economy.

Cult-like zealotry to save the world from capitalism is all-consuming and factoring in economic effects is not part of the charter. The Greens are a major threat to the Queensland economy, fuelled by the Labor Left’s love affair
with the movement and its capacity to stop progress.

Most Greens in Queensland are watermelons – green on the outside and red in the middle. They tend to take a BANANA approach (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) to development, Their warped ideology and passion for power won’t allow them to even see, for example, a cruise ship terminal built on the Gold Coast. Not the Broadwater, not The Spit, not anywhere, thanks very much.

The Great Barrier Reef tick of approval from UNESCO has exposed the state’s eco-warriors as the kings of deceit and lies. They should not be given a platform for their views because they have proven they are not capable of being honest and candid. This win-at-all costs mentality is dangerous and their currency has now depreciated to the point where we can’t believe a word they say


Australia primed as heartland for battery-storage revolution

Low cost, high capacity batteries alone could make solar and wind power viable but we are still a long way off that

The battery-storage wars are breaking out, with Australia in the thick of it. Tesla, while the highest profile, will not be short of combatants.

The mass popularity of rooftop solar – more than a third of Queensland houses have solar PV – and the way people pay for the power make Australia a much more attractive market than the United States.

Raghu Belur, co-founder of Silicon Valley start-up Enphase Energy, which will launch its home battery in Australia in early 2016, points to the wide gap between the typical "feed-in" tariff that a household in Australia will receive for its excess solar power and the price of power from the grid.

Prices for mains-supplied power more than four times as much as the feed-in tariff in some cases make battery storage worth a look.

Not so in the US, where electricity is charged by "net metering", so a household will pay for the power consumed from the grid over a set period of time, less any electricity they generate themselves.

The US battery market, for now at least, will be driven mostly by demand for back-up power, not economics, Belur says.

No surprise, then, about Tesla's early focus on Australia for its Powerwall system, with its sleek, coloured wall-mounted 7-kilowatt-hour or 10kWh batteries to be available in 2016.

Bernstein Research, a bull on the lithium-ion battery space, says that at $US350 ($455.46) a kilowatt hour installed capacity for the 10kWh model, Powerwall is well below the $US550/kWh it had been modelling for storage costs. In optimal conditions, Powerwall could supply power at US27¢ a kilowatt hour, ranking Tesla on the scale – though admittedly at the high end – of residential retail power prices in large markets around the world.

Bernstein describes Tesla's system as already "modestly attractive" in Australia – the 20¢ a kilowatt hour spread between wholesale and retail power prices gives a five-year payback.

But the Grattan Institute puts the realistic cost of a Tesla battery, including inverter, charger and installation, at more than $7000 in 2017, too expensive for most. It says the price would have to fall to about $1600 before it made economic sense in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, and by more in other cities.

Yet lithium-ion battery costs have fallen 94 per cent since 1991, while the energy packed into them per kilogram has increased. Bernstein sees usage costs continuing to fall by 20 per cent a year, cannibalising competing technologies for the next decade.

Belur won't talk dollar costs yet for Enphase's 1.2kWh battery, which comes with built-in inverter and software to communicate with the grid. But he insists that all up, the "plug and play" system will be competitive with Powerwall. Australia will be its global launchpad.

Meanwhile, Panasonic, a battery supplier for Powerwall and one of the "big three" lithium ion players alongside Samsung SDI and LG Chem, will launch next week an alliance with Australian electricity retailers targeting home storage.

Yet to be seen is how these suppliers align with local retailers. AGL Energy launched recently a 6kWh lithium-ion battery and is due to make larger sizes available later in 2015. Origin Energy is understood to be bringing forward its battery launch plans, potentially to the third quarter, while EnergyAustralia is in talks with Enphase on its battery, to add to their solar panel alliance.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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