Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Greenie climate models fail on a regional scale too

Are General Circulation Models Ready for Operational Streamflow Forecasting for Water Management in the Ganges and Brahmaputra River Basins?

Safat Sikder, et al.


This study asks the question of whether GCMs are ready to be operationalized for streamflow forecasting in South Asian river basins, and if so, at what temporal scales and for which water management decisions are they likely to be relevant? The authors focused on the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna basins for which there is a gridded hydrologic model calibrated for the 2002–10 period. The North American Multimodel Ensemble (NMME) suite of eight GCM hindcasts was applied to generate precipitation forecasts for each month of the 1982–2012 (30 year) period at up to 6 months of lead time, which were then downscaled according to the bias-corrected statistical downscaling (BCSD) procedure to daily time steps. A global retrospective forcing dataset was used for this downscaling procedure. The study clearly revealed that a regionally consistent forcing for BCSD, which is currently unavailable for the region, is one of the primary conditions to realize reasonable skill in streamflow forecasting. In terms of relative RMSE (normalized by reference flow obtained from the global retrospective forcings used in downscaling), streamflow forecast uncertainty (RMSE) was found to be 38%–50% at monthly scale and 22%–35% at seasonal (3 monthly) scale. The Ganges River (regulated) experienced higher uncertainty than the Brahmaputra River (unregulated). In terms of anomaly correlation coefficient (ACC), the streamflow forecasting at seasonal (3 monthly) scale was found to have less uncertainty (less than 0.3) than at monthly scale (less than 0.25). The forecast skill in the Brahmaputra basin showed more improvement when the time horizon was aggregated from monthly to seasonal than the Ganges basin. Finally, the skill assessment for the individual seasons revealed that the flow forecasting using NMME data had less uncertainty during monsoon season (July–September) in the Brahmaputra basin and in postmonsoon season (October–December) in the Ganges basin. Overall, the study indicated that GCMs can have value for management decisions only at seasonal or annual water balance applications at best if appropriate historical forcings are used in downscaling. The take-home message of this study is that GCMs are not yet ready for prime-time operationalization for a wide variety of multiscale water management decisions for the Ganges and Brahmaputra River basins.


Safe and healthy (not pristine) air

Federal air quality rules must be based on science – not used to stifle energy and industry

Paul Driessen

It’s called the Clean Air Act, but it was never intended to ensure pure, pristine air. Congress wanted America to have safe, healthy air, and regulations based on solid scientific and medical studies.

The law says costs cannot be considered where human health and safety are actually at stake. But legislators also understood that efforts to bring emissions to zero are unnecessary, technologically impossible, extremely expensive, harmful to electricity generation, factory output, job creation and retention, and living standards – and thus likely to reduce human health, wellbeing and longevity.

The Obama Environmental Protection Agency ignored these facts and employed highly dubious analyses to justify stringent new emission standards that impose enormous costs for no health benefits. The new Congress and Trump Administration must now restore integrity, rigor and balance to the process.

A good place to begin is with EPA’s rules for fine particulates: PM2.5, soot particles smaller than 2.5 microns (a fraction of the size of pollen and mold spores). EPA claims reducing PM2.5 emissions from power plants, factories, refineries, petrochemical plants, cars, light trucks, and diesel-powered vehicles and heavy equipment will save countless lives. In fact, it says, nearly all the (supposed) benefits from its Clean Power Plan and other recent rules are actually “ancillary benefits” from reducing PM2.5 levels.

Premature mortality is “associated with” fine particle pollution “at the lowest levels measured,” Obama EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has said. “There is no level at which premature death does not occur.” If we could further reduce particulate pollution, previous Obama EPA chief Lisa Jackson told Congress, it would be like “finding a cure for cancer” – hundreds of thousands of lives saved.

These assertions have no basis in reality. Even EPA’s own studies show they are predicated on two things: epidemiological analyses that count deaths within normal variations in death rates and attribute them to soot emissions; and experiments that unethically exposed humans to PM2.5 concentrations at levels which EPA says cause cardiovascular and respiratory disease, cancer and people “dying sooner than they should.”

The agency’s air pollution epidemiological studies are compromised by uncontrollable “confounding factors.” No data exist on actual individual exposure levels, so researchers cannot reliably attribute specific deaths to particulates, emergency room physician John Dunn explains. Moreover, PM2.5 particles emitted by vehicles, power plants and factories cannot be separated from particles from volcanoes, forest fires, construction projects, dust storms, agricultural activities, and even cigarettes that send hundreds of times more tiny particles into lungs than what EPA says is lethal if they come from sources it regulates.

Nor does a death certificate determine whether a death was caused by airborne particles – or by viruses, bacteria, dietary and exercise habits, obesity, smoking, diabetes, cold weather or countless other factors.

If particulates are a short-term cause of death, there should be a clear association between bad air and deaths within clusters of similar areas, and effects should be consistent across clusters, notes statistician Stan Young in discussing causation versus association.  However, a recent re-analysis of 1969-1974 data from 533 US counties confirmed the previous conclusion: improved air quality did not reduce mortality.

Similarly, in 2002, Canadian forest fires sent massive amounts of smoke (composed largely of PM2.5 particles) into Boston and New York City. EPA doctrine says deaths should have shot up, but they did not. 2008 forest fires in California engulfed Los Angeles in smoke and PM2.5 soot, but again deaths did not increase. In fact, they were below normal as soot levels soared during the fires.

EPA has not proposed a plausible medical explanation to support its claim that super-tiny particles cause multiple diseases and kill people by getting into their lungs or bloodstreams. It just counts deaths during arbitrarily chosen intervals of days, and says differences in the number dying in relation to air pollution levels represents “premature” deaths – rather than the fact that more people die on some days than others.

People certainly did die during some atmospheric inversions that trapped large quantities of airborne chemicals in urban areas like London in 1952. However those pollutants have been dramatically reduced in America’s air. For example, since 1970 US cars have reduced tailpipe pollutants by 99% and coal-fired power plants have eliminated over 90% of their particulate, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions.

EPA thus sponsored 20 years of lab experiments that exposed human test subjects to high air pollution levels. That raises legal, ethical and scientific problems. US laws, the Nuremberg Code, the Helsinki Accords and EPA Rule 1000.17 make it unethical or illegal to conduct toxicity experiments on humans.

In addition, researchers failed to advise volunteers that EPA claims the pollution they were going to breathe is toxic, carcinogenic and deadly. Moreover, many of the human guinea pigs were elderly, asthmatics, diabetics, people with heart disease and even children – the very people EPA claims are at greatest risk and most susceptible to getting sick or dying from the pollutants volunteers would breathe.

Finally, test subjects were exposed to eight, thirty or even sixty times more particulates per volume of inhaled air – for varying periods of time: up to two hours – than they would breathe outdoors during routine physical activities. And yet, they did not get seriously ill or die. That raises important questions:

* If PM2.5 particulates are dangerous or lethal when emitted by factories or vehicles, and there is no safe threshold – how can those same pollutants be harmless to people who were intentionally administered pollution many times higher, and for longer periods, than they would encounter in their daily lives? Why didn’t those test subjects have seizures, develop lung, cardiac or cancer problems, or die?

* If they did not, how can EPA say there is no safe level, all PM2.5 particulates are toxic, its regulations are saving countless lives, and regulatory benefits vastly outweigh their multi-billion-dollar annual costs?

Simply put, there is no basis for these claims – or for the Obama EPA’s war on fossil fuels and factories.

America’s air is healthy and safe. EPA’s PM2.5 emission standards and regulations are clearly based on bald assertions, rank conjecture, epidemiological studies that provide no scientific support for the agency, and human testing that actually proves small particulates pose no toxic or lethal risk to risk to human health, even at levels dozens of time higher than what EPA claims are dangerous or lethal in outdoor air.

Any computer models based on these assertions and studies are thus garbage in-garbage out game playing that provide no valid basis for claims about lives saved or regulatory benefits exceeding costs.

(A thorough analysis of this untenable situation can be found in director Steve Milloy’s new book, Scare Pollution: Why and how to fix the EPA, which documents the ways EPA uses deceptive tactics to frighten people into believing the air they breathe is likely to sicken or kill them.)

The incoming Trump EPA needs to conduct its own internal review of existing agency PM2.5 claims, documents, emission levels and regulations – and fund an independent review by respected medical experts – to determine whether they are based on honest, replicable science. If they are not, everything based on the fraudulent PM2.5 pollution narrative should be subjected to a total do-over.

While all that is being done, EPA should suspend implementation of all policies, guidelines and rules based on the scheme. It must also inform legislators, journalists and citizens about the facts – and clearly and vigorously address inevitable environmentalist objections and denunciations.

The new EPA and Congress should also require that all past, current and future researchers make their raw data and methodologies available for outside peer review. They should stop funding activist groups that have engaged in collusive lawsuits or rubberstamped EPA actions, including the American Lung Association. Last, they should fully reform the agency’s supervisory panels, board of scientific counselors and Clean Air Act Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) – and repopulate them with experts who do not have government grant or other conflicts, and will bring integrity and rigor to the scientific process.

These steps will help make EPA credible and accountable, and its actions based on solid science.

Via email

In EPA rebuke, judge orders quick evaluation on coal jobs

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A judge has ordered federal regulators to quickly evaluate how many power plant and coal mining jobs are lost because of air pollution regulations.

U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey in Wheeling made the ruling after reviewing a response from outgoing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy.

McCarthy had responded to the judge’s previous order in a lawsuit brought against her by Murray Energy Corp. that the EPA must start doing an analysis that it hadn’t done in decades.

According to Wednesday’s order, McCarthy asserted it would take the agency up to two years to devise a methodology to use to try to comply with the earlier ruling.

“This response is wholly insufficient, unacceptable, and unnecessary,” Bailey wrote.

The judge said the EPA is required by law to analyze the economic impact on a continuing basis when enforcing the Clean Air Act and McCarthy’s response “evidences the continued hostility on the part of the EPA to acceptance of the mission established by Congress.”

Bailey ordered the EPA to identify facilities harmed by the regulations during the Obama presidency by July 1. That includes identifying facilities at risk of closure or reductions in employment.

The EPA had contended that analyzing job loss won’t change global energy trends.

The judge also set a Dec. 31 deadline for the EPA to provide documentation on how it is continuously evaluating the loss and shifts in employment that may result from administration and enforcement of the Clean Air Act.

The EPA said it was reviewing the ruling, first reported by the Wheeling Intelligencer and News-Register. A Murray Energy spokesman didn’t immediately offer comment.

Murray Energy and other coal companies have blamed thousands of layoffs this decade on President Barack Obama’s anti-global-warming push that imposes limits on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. The U.S. Supreme Court has delayed implementation of Obama’s Clean Power Plan until legal challenges are resolved.

West Virginia’s economy is reliant on coal mining and gets 96 percent of its electricity from coal-fired plants.

McCarthy has said no administration has interpreted federal law to require job impact analysis for rulemaking since 1977. She said the most that the EPA does is “conduct proactive analysis of the employment effects of our rulemaking actions,” but that has not included investigating power plant and mine closures and worker dislocations on an ongoing basis, according to the order.

Bailey wrote that the EPA can recommend amendments to Congress if it feels strongly enough.

“EPA does not get to decide whether compliance with (the law) is good policy, or would lead to too many difficulties for the agency,” Bailey wrote. “It is time for the EPA to recognize that Congress makes the law, and EPA must not only enforce the law, it must obey it.”

President-elect Donald Trump, who has selected Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA, has promised to overturn many of the EPA’s regulations on coal.

President-elect Donald Trump’s EPA nominee, Scott Pruitt, has repeatedly sued the EPA since becoming Oklahoma’s attorney general in 2011, including joining with other Republican attorneys general in opposing the Clean Power Plan.


Scrutinizing Sen. Carper's Questions for EPA Nominee Pruitt

Yesterday, The Hill’s Timothy Cama reported that Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is unwilling to hold a confirmation hearing on President-elect Trump’s choice for Environmental Protection Agency administrator until the nominee, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, answers a seven-page questionnaire.

Below, I’ve answered 13 representative questions, in no particular order. A few of Carper’s questions don’t make a lick of sense (see questions 2, 3, 10). Others were based on factual inaccuracies or otherwise demonstrate the Senator’s ignorance of how the EPA works (see questions 8, 12, and 13). Some questions served to demonstrate the excesses of the EPA during the Obama era (see questions 9 and 11). Finally, at least one of his questions serves no purpose other than to gum up the nomination process (see question 7).

Question #1: Do you agree with this statement from NASA: “97% or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.”? If not, please explain why you do not agree.

Response #1: According to Professor Richard Tol, who has been involved with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 1994, the “97% consensus” claim is a “bogus” number that is based on a statistical manipulation. But assuming for the sake of argument that it’s true, the statement is of minimal utility for policymaking at the EPA. For starters, it tells us nothing about how a changing climate influences human well-being, which must be the primary metric from a policymaking standpoint. In fact, there is great uncertainty regarding the magnitude and effect of projected climate change. Finally, the statement tells us nothing about costs and feasibility of greenhouse gas controls, which must be considered under the Clean Air Act. As such, the nominee’s agreement or disagreement with the statement is immaterial.

Question #2: What is your definition of sound science?

Response #2: Carper is asking Pruitt to define the modifier “sound,” which is inherently subjective. Personally, I believe that there must be at least a 98% consensus before science is “sound”; a 97% consensus is insufficient. But seriously, this question is impossibly imprecise. It’s like asking someone to define the color blue.

Question #3: Prior to your nomination, how have you acquired scientific information relevant to the missions of the EPA? And since your nomination?

Response #3: Again, this is a strangely imprecise question. Does it count when Pruitt watches Shark Week with his kids? I assume Pruitt processes “scientific information” constantly, in addition to “legal information” and “family information” and “sports information.”

Question #4: Please list all undergraduate and postgraduate science courses that you have taken. Please describe any other science education that you have completed over the years beyond high school.

Response #4: Is this some sort of litmus test? If so, does this mean that Janet McCabe, the head of EPA’s Office of Air & Radiation—which is the most powerful public health regulatory body at EPA—is unfit for the job? According to her bio, she went to Harvard Law School and then worked as an Assistant Attorney General in Massachusetts, which is a very similar background to Pruitt. In a similar vein, does Al Gore’s science-free tertiary education render him unfit to head the EPA?

Question #5: What degree of scientific certainty should the EPA have about a potential health or environmental threat before acting to protect people from that threat?

Response #5: Of course, the answer depends on the statutory provision at question. The EPA only exists to the extent it has been created by Congress through organic laws that empower the agency with its authorities. So the necessary degree of scientific certainty, and whether or not costs factor into policymaking decisions, are determined by the law. I suspect it is Pruitt’s intention as EPA head to follow the law, unlike the current administration, which has expansively interpreted the law so as to grow the agency’s authority at the expense of Congress and the states.

Question #6: Please provide a list of all financial contributors to your attorney general and state senate campaigns, including their total donations and affiliations.

Response #6: I presume the silly logic behind this question is that Pruitt has been bought. Does this mean that Obama was bought by “Big Oil” when he took $900,000 from them in 2008? Better yet, let me see a list of all financial contributors to your campaigns, Senator Carper.

Question #7: Please provide a list of all the cases, briefs and other legal actions that your office has filed while you have served as attorney general.

Response #7: This looks suspiciously like a tactic to bog down the nomination process. After all, why would Carper want the non-environmental “cases, briefs, and other legal actions” filed by the Oklahoma Attorney General? After all, we’re talking about the nominee for the Environmental Protection Agency, and Sen. Carper is the ranking member of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee. Why would Sen. Carper want documents relating to larceny or murder? This would likely entail hundreds of thousands of pages, none of which have anything to do with environmental policy. Does that make sense?

Question #8: Every year during your tenure as Oklahoma Attorney General, the American Lung Association gave Oklahoma counties a failing grade for not meeting ozone air pollution health standards. In fact, your home town of Tulsa is ranked 18th out of 228 metropolitan areas for high alert ozone days. Are you concerned about the impacts of soot and smog pollution on Oklahoma citizens? What efforts have you undertaken as Oklahoma Attorney General to protect Oklahomans from soot and smog pollution?

Response #8: EPA is required to set ambient air quality standards for smog and soot at a level that is “requisite to protect public health” with an “adequate margin of safety.” That is, national standards have to be beyond what is necessary to protect public health. According to the EPA, no counties in Oklahoma fail to attain these stringent health standards. So I don’t have any idea what the American Lung Association is talking about. I should note that the accuracy of ALA’s annual air quality grades was recently challenged by Colorado air quality officials.

Question #9: In your joint brief against the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, it stated “human exposure to methylmercury from coal-fired electric generating units is exceedingly small.” What is the scientific basis for this statement?

Response #9: The scientific basis for this statement is the EPA, according to which it was “necessary and proper” to regulate mercury from power plants in order to protect a putative population of pregnant subsistence fisherwomen who during their pregnancies eat more than 200 pounds of self-caught or family-caught fish from exclusively the top ten percent most polluted bodies of fresh inland water, despite all of the signs that say “DO NOT EAT FISH FROM THIS RIVER IF YOU ARE PREGNANT.” I don’t believe these women exist, and EPA did not provide any examples. Instead, they were modeled to exist. While the rule’s “benefits” are indeed “exceedingly small,” its costs--$10 billion annually—are exorbitant.

Question #10: Who serves as your scientific advisor for climate change related issues during your time as attorney general? Please provide their name, their title and when they served as your science advisor.

Response #10: This is a very silly question. Why would the Oklahoma Attorney General have a climate change science advisor? Oklahoma is litigating one case related to climate change—should it have a discrete science advisory for each case it undertakes? What role would such a climate science advisor play? I fail to see how interpreting the limits of EPA’s statutory authority under the Clean Air Act requires knowledge of climate science.

Question #11: In 2013, you argued that the EPA’s decision to impose a Federal Implementation Plan on Oklahoma to address Regional Haze would cost more than $1 billion over 5 years. It is three years later. Do you still agree with this cost assessment? If not, why not?

Response #11: The $1 billion referred to the cost of four sulfur-dioxide scrubbers at four coal-fired power plants operated by the Oklahoma Gas & Electric. Indeed, the primary justification for EPA’s federal plan was that the agency disagreed with the state’s cost estimate of what the scrubbers would cost. In 2014, the utility proposed a $1.1 billion plan for the 4 scrubber retrofits, but the plan was rejected by state regulators. As a result, the utility re-submitted a different plan to spend $500 million on 2 scrubbers, and to spend about $70 million on converting the other two coal-fired power plants to gas-fired plants. Due to these changes, the current cost of the EPA federal plan is about $570 million.

However, the actual costs of the scrubbers aligns with what Oklahoma had estimated—i.e., the basis for EPA’s federal plan was disproved. More importantly, the “benefits” of the rule are literally imperceptible to the human eye. Thus, EPA’s takeover of the Oklahoma Regional Haze program demonstrates much that was wrong with the Obama-era EPA.

After the state of Oklahoma spent countless hours and resources putting together a visibility strategy, EPA rejected the state plan and then imposed a federal plan which cost $570 million more in order to achieve a visibility “improvement” that is literally invisible. Afterwards, events demonstrated that Oklahoma had been right all along.

Question #12: As attorney general, what types of environmental justice cases have you pursued? Please provide a list of cases and outcomes.

Response #12: I can’t find any evidence that Obama’s EPA brought a single environmental justice case. Given that environmental justice is a federal concept, and that EPA hasn’t brought any such cases during Obama’s tenure, I don’t understand why the Attorney General of Oklahoma would have done so.

Question #13: Would you explain your recent challenges to EPA’s finding that it is appropriate and necessary to regulate the emissions of carbon dioxide and hazardous air pollutants from power plants?

Response #13: This question gets the Clean Air Act wrong. Along with more than 20 other states in addition to Oklahoma, Pruitt did indeed challenge EPA’s determination that it was “appropriate and necessary” to regulate the emissions of hazardous air pollutants from power plants. He did so based on the EPA’s own science, as I explain in Response #9. Almost two years ago, the Supreme Court sided with Pruitt and the other challengers in determining that EPA was required to take costs into account when it rendered this “appropriate and necessary” determination.

However, contrary to Sen. Carper’s query, the EPA never issued a finding that it is “appropriate and necessary” to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants. Instead, EPA issued a determination at the end of 2009 that tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases from cars and vehicles “endangered” the environment. This was the determination that Pruitt unsuccessfully challenged based, inter alia, on the argument that the structure and design of the Clean Air Act strongly suggests that it was not intended to regulate greenhouse gases.


Australia: Unhinged electricity policy of the Leftist Queensland government

Everyone remembers the slogan: Queensland — beautiful one day, perfect the next. I have to inform you there has been an update: Queensland — beautiful one day, insane the next.

The idea that the state could achieve a target of 50 per cent of electricity generated by renewable energy by 2030 is bizarre, unachievable and mischievous — in a word, it is insane. And it is not just because such a target would drive up electricity prices for households and businesses to the high levels of South Australia — probably higher. It also would destroy the value of most of the electricity assets held by the Queensland government. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

Given Queensland’s extreme level of government debt, there is no doubt that, in due course, most of the government-owned cor­porations will be sold, particularly if the cost of servicing the debt were to escalate. The tragedy is that it is likely the value of most of these assets will have fallen through the floor by then.

In the meantime, the flow of dividends that the government is relying on to create the appearance of fiscal rectitude will dry up, even if the present unconventional directive of ordering a payout ratio of 100 per cent of profits of the government-owned corporations continues.

An important question is: why would the Palaszczuk government opt for such an economically harmful and foolish policy? We should not forget that Queensland has the lowest percentage of electricity generated by renewable energy — at just more than 4 per cent.

So the policy involves an increase of 46 percentage points in the penetration of renewable energy as a source of electricity generation in the space of 13 years. Pull the other one.

To provide cover for this madcap policy, the Queensland government appointed a “renewable energy expert panel” to provide a veneer of credibility to the feasibility of the target.

With carefully chosen panel members, the draft report — unsurprisingly — concluded that there were no problems with reaching the target and that electricity costs to households and businesses in Queensland would probably stay steady. Again, pull the other one, but I am running out of other ones.

We should just take a look at the figures. There will need to be between 4000 megawatts to 5500MW of new large-scale renewable energy capacity between 2020 and 2030, something that has not even been achieved for Australia as a whole across the same period. The consensus view is that 1500MW of additional renewable energy a year is the top of the range for Australia and Queensland is only 15 per cent odd of that total.

And don’t you just love the prediction of the panel that electricity prices will remain steady for households and business in Queensland as a result of the government’s bold, go-it-alone policy? The background to this, as noted by the Queensland Productivity Commission, is that “since 2007, Australian residential retail electricity prices have increased faster than any other OECD country and Queensland prices have increased faster than any other state or territory”.

Mind you, it is clear why the Palaszczuk government didn’t simply ask the Queensland Productivity Commission to analyse the feasibility of the 50 per cent state renewable energy target. That would be because it wouldn’t be seen as “reliable”, having made the wholly rational suggestion last year that the state government withdraw the generous and unjustified subsidies to households with solar panels on their roofs.

Premier Annastacia Palasz­czuk was not having a bar of that idea. How could she continue to conflate small-scale solar panels with large-scale renewable energy, thereby buttressing the support of the public (well, the better-heeled part of the public that can afford solar panels) for anything called renewable energy? If X is good, 2X must be better and 12X must be a blast. Continuing to subsidise households with solar panels is part of the political game, hang other electricity users.

So what does that “independent” panel conclude about the impact of the 50 per cent renewables energy target on electricity pricing? The answer is “broadly cost neutral to electricity consumers where the cost of funding the policy action is recovered through electricity market mechanisms”. (This is code for: we could always skin taxpayers or ask Canberra to chip in.)

But here’s the rub: “This occurs as a result of increased renewable generation placing downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices, which is projected in the modelling to offset the payments to renewables.”

Mind you, the point is added that “the pricing outcome is not guaranteed and could differ, for example, if existing generation capacity is withdrawn from the market, especially coal-fired generation”.

Think about this. What the panel is saying is: if existing generators, which are owned by the government in Queensland, are driven out of the market, which is likely because of the renewables energy target — see the South Australian and Victorian cases as live examples — then prices will rise. And the capital value of these withdrawn government-owned generators will be close to zero, having probably experienced years of underinvestment in maintenance.

This leaves the question: why would the Queensland government decide on such a dimwitted, self-defeating and economically damaging policy position?

In keeping with the rule of following the money, it is clear that the lobbying efforts of the clean energy rent-seekers have been directed at the Queensland government, in particular.

After all, the large energy providers generally have a foot in both camps — conventional electricity generation plus renewable energy assets.

But they don’t stand to lose anything in Queensland by virtue of the astronomical state renewable energy target because the conventional electricity generation assets are all owned by the government. If these generators are driven out of business, it’s a big plus for them, not a negative.

Silly estimates of the gains in employment and billions of dollars of investment, mainly in the regions, associated with renewable energy make gormless politicians simply salivate. The sad thing is that it will be lose-lose for Queenslanders down the track.

The challenge for federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg is to convince state governments to junk their vacuous, go-it-alone renewable energy targets that will lead to even higher electricity ­prices and further threaten the reliability of the grid.



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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