The Winds Have Changed

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop illustrates the total lack of awareness of how the world has changed, having just reaffirmed Australia’s support for the disastrous Paris Climate Accord at the same time that US president-elect Donald Trump underlined his determination to destroy it by appointing Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to run the EPA.  Among the many accolades for this choice is the damning opposition of the left-leaning Politico website. Progressively, the Trump appointments are demonstrating how he intends to unwind the economy-stifling green excesses of the Obama and previous administrations.

In the climate field the next target is NASA. Who can forget how warmist pin-up scientist Brian Cox was allowed to show a NASA doctored temperature map in a Q&A gotcha moment designed to humiliate Senator Malcolm Roberts (presently in Washington at a meeting with Myron Ebell, who heads up Trump’s EPA transition team.) Gavin Schmidt, who has inherited the much-arrested catastropharian James Hansen in heading the climate-alarmist branch of NASA and has warned off Trump. Fat chance!

The action on the EPA adds to the targeting of NASA. Bob Walker, a former congressman and Trump’s space policy adviser, said he would like to shrink NASA’s Earth-monitoring programs. “We see NASA in an exploration role, in deep space research,” he said. “Earth-centric science is better placed at other agencies, where it is their prime mission.” An irony of history is that NASA acquired its responsibility for monitoring the atmosphere in 1985 under President Reagan.

One area of NASA that is unimpeachable is the global temperature satellite-based recordings of the UAH at Alabama by Dr Roy Spencer.  These show a persistent undershooting  (below) of the temperature compared to modellers’ forecasts.Image result for climate models wrongBack in 1991, we only had 11 years of evidence from satellite measurements of the lower troposphere (the area where the warming picture would be most readily seen). At that stage a US friend, a professor of meteorology, commented to me: “Don’t knock this global warming crap!  It allows me to travel the world in comfort and to double my salary while doing consultancy work. And year by year the satellite data will come in so that, about when I am considering retirement in a dozen years’ time, the myth will be utterly discredited.”

My American friend was, of course, right about the data discrediting the myth, but he misunderstood the impetus being unleashed from scientists, environmental activists and subsidy-seeking industrialists. Climate modellers refuse to learn from 37 years of data on climate outcomes, persisting with forecasts (amplified by their theoretical treatment of water vapour) that serve their own careers rather than scientific truth. In 1991, the issue was little more than a glint in the eye of the more science-oriented politicians — people like our own Science Minister Barry Jones.

It would be another six years before the first and hesitant regulatory steps were taken, with John Howard announcing a “target of an additional 2% of electricity to be sourced from renewable sources by 2010”.  The ambiguous tone was swiftly reinterpreted and became quantified as 9,500 GWhs, a staging post to the current objective of subsidies to achieve 33,000 GWhs of large-scale generating capacity, plus perhaps 12,000 GWHs from roof tops. Current programs cost Australian consumers and taxpayers $5 billion a year, a staggeringly wasteful sum that grows larger as delusional policy is soldd as being in the country’s best interests.

The issue is being heightened in Australia ahead of next week’s meeting of energy ministers.  This has been preceded by the release of the Terms of Reference into the post 2020 Climate Review.  Mr Turnbull, having been forced by a backbench revolt, to abandon this as a catalyst for his renewed push for a carbon tax placed the blame for raising it on Josh Frydenberg, in the process cruelling the prospects of a possible leadership contender.  Following the backdown, South Australia is threatening to go it alone with renewables and a carbon tax – the latest power outage shows how well that would go!

Ministers at next week’s meeting will hear from the team the PM assembled under Chief Scientist Alan Finkel (“We are losing the battle against climate change”) to examine the national electricity market.  None of the team has experience in the key issue: the effect of intermittent wind energy on the wholesale market and its implications for transmission spending.  Ministers will likely get another Magic pudding-style variation of the energy intensity tax that Turnbull was forced to disown.  The variation that the Finkel group will offer aims to conjure the outcome of that tax as reduced energy costs, improved environmental outcomes, and a more hospitable world for investment.  Such outcomes do not pass the smell test. Sadly, gullibility is not in short supply, so that the mistake of heeding interested parties, such as the Grattan Institute and Frontier Economics, is persuasive. For an example, see the Australian Financial review, which has already been suckered into accepting the bogus logic.

Magic puddings abound in the energy space.  Only yesterday a paper prepared by our own CSIRO was published.  It was choker-block with assumptions.  CSIRO Chief Economist Energy, Paul Graham, said that “$16 billion in network expenditure could be saved by 2050 if the grid buys support services from customers with onsite resources”.  According to the report, shifting to 100% renewables by 2050 would mean:

  • $414 annual saving in average household electricity bills (compared with roadmap counterfactual, business as usual, pathway)
  • A medium family which cannot take up distributed energy resources is over $600 p.a. better off through removal of cross-subsidies

The paper has the usual array of fanciful wavy lines just to prove it has been honest and diligent.

Like NASA, CSIRO has become highly politicised over the years.  At one stage in the Rudd Gillard era, science commentator Tom Quirk estimated that half the agency’s resources were directly and indirectly associated with the climate change issue.  With the election of the Abbott government, this share fell — though perhaps only because programs were re-badged.

The latest post-2020 energy policy review shows we are little advanced in restoring the energy market to the highly competitive one that offered contracts at $40 per GWh before ministerial interventions destroyed investment confidence and forced the replacement of cheap, reliable coal by wind. Energy contracts are now priced at over $100 in South Australia and $80 in Queensland. It appears that it will be some time before the unravelling of this, commencing with the government taking Senator Cory Bernardi’s advice and withdrawing from the doomed Paris Agreement, and removing all subsidies and spending on the carbon caper.


Alan Moran is on the Advisory Board of LibertyWorks and runs the website Regulation Economics. Ths article also appeared concurrently in Quadrant Online.

Alan Moran

40 Comments on "The Winds Have Changed"

  1. Conservatives only refer to Coal as “cheap” and “reliable” because they don’t factor in the associated costs of the pollution it produces, or the fact that it is fundamentally finite.

    Regardless of your denial of climate change, you must concede that it is factually incorrect to propose that coal is a sustainable source of long-term energy.

    • There are 892 billion tonnes of proven coal reserves worldwide, enough to last 110 years. I’m sure we can get away with using it for a few more years yet before innovations in energy technology move us away from it.

    • Nicola Wright 110 years at current usage rates… It will barely last half that if population and energy usage continues to grow. Even so, it’s a good reason to start implementing and perfecting renewable energy now, while we still have backup reserves.

    • Anthony, I’m happy to concede the obvious, coal is finite, like diamonds, so what?

    • LibertyWorks We can produce diamond in a lab, when we require it’s unique properties for various applications…. The same can’t be said for coal.

      The point is, the smoother the transition to renewable energy is… the easier it will be on everyone. And the EARLIER that transition begins (ie: yesterday) the smoother the transition will be.

      We have reached a point in our civilisation where we need to plan tens, even a hundred years into the future to ensure our quality of life is sustainable.

      That is why renewable energy targets now are not only necessary, they are smart policy.

  2. Wow look at the pollution this is causeing, coal don’t do that,

  3. POOF, I wonder how many hours we got out of this one, and I wonder what the replacement cost will be, and I wonder who will be billed for the cost of replacement, and I wonder how many more are ready to go POOF, That had been running for the same Hours ?

    • Most probably the same as men killed in Coal mines or underground coal fires or hit by coal trains not to mention the pollution coal brings and causes

  4. All Trump will do in America is leave more towns cities and their peoples like the citizens of Flint with poisoned waters and like the people of California where Nestle can rape the rivers whilst the people go without Climate change is real but business well some of them just deny it to get more profits at any costs and like Trump they won’t be around to see the damage they have helped cause

  5. Actually… three points.

    1) Regardless of your viewpoint, this article is baseless propaganda that was clearly written by someone who did not pass high school English. It’s one large rambling, run-on sentence that hits every catch phrase and fails to make a clear argument.

    2) Actually, yes we can. Synthetic coal can be made just as easily as artificial diamonds (which are actually made from synthetic coal) and synthetic gasoline and other hydrocarbons can be made from corn. The process is simply not economically competitive.

    3) Joe Lihou, you must have been on the opposite side of the high school debate team as the guy that wrote this article, because you clearly have failed to grasp the key elements of a logical argument and instead found they key to mindless rambling. In fact, you have found the path to a completely unrelated topic and inserted your foot.

  6. Nikola Jane see – they’re dangerous!

  7. So all you freaks that think this is not the BIGGEST-SCAM ever then just wait it’s all coming out soon & it will be exposed next-year & then I can’t wait to hear all your comments then LMFAO

  8. look at all of that nasty carbon…

  9. Oh dear, I feel quite pessimistic about the future (to put it mildly).

  10. The wind is changing. You can fool some of the people all of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

  11. Coal is only finite until new energy generation is established. There is enough coal for the next thousand years. Coal’s alternative has already been discovered but hidden by the PTB who will decide to release it.

  12. Turncoat and Bishop need to get their heads out of their asses and start listening to the people!

  13. Fake news Channel? The liberty of being shackled to works of big coal & BS

  14. Now that’s a fire …a coal fire

  15. They are a complete waste of time and money ,coal will always be ,it’s just more wasted money driven by the greens and environmentalists which have saved NOTHING on this planet

  16. ha ha good one….every left wing drongo should have on in their neck of the woods…see what the poor land owner has to put up with…not just the bloody noise…..but a bloody eyesore…a blight on the beautiful landscape!!!

  17. I got solar power to reduce my energy cost. Use less water to reduce my bill. Climate is real. It’s been happening for 4.5 billion years.

  18. Well that’s obviously helping the enviroment…

  19. To many people one the earth going down hill fast

  20. Hey! Tom Molnar, ever seen the damage done when a steam turbine rotor decides to take up flying and leave the stator, and how much it costs to replace that steam turbine? I suppose you never thought of that, I’ve seen it,

  21. Alan, crawl back in your hole. It’s real, it’s here, and the world is responding with or without the likes of you, Trump or deadshits like Roberts. You may enjoy doctoring charts and misquoting reports, and no doubt get a thrill from sucking in your acolytes, but you do not fool the majority. Time to leave.

  22. Coming to you in SA, Qld and Danland – windmills galore, a Cervantes nirvana!

  23. I haven’t used any offensive language or inappropriate subject matter, yet this page keeps deleting my comments… Why are factual comments, citations to scientific studies and pertinent questions being censored?

    This page clearly doesn’t value free speech.

  24. Just shows you how stupid our government and opposition really are

  25. Look at all that pollution

  26. Best thing that could happen to them

  27. Turnbull and Shorten are such idiots!

  28. Carbon Tax & speed camera’s have something in common

  29. Hell, why stop there.
    Let’s arrest all the intellectuals and burn the books.

  30. Wow is this how clean energy helps the environment …you people are a joke?

  31. Another reason why liberty works sucks. It is just another mouthpiece for the right wing nut bags that have recently appeared in our government.

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