Doomed Planet

A Billion Reasons to Despair

The support that certain people offer for a policy is Quite often  a clear indication that it is hopelessly wrong.  So it is when Malcolm Turnbull registered support for the government’s intention to fling an extra billion dollars at the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to “future proof the electricity grid”.

Turnbull’s favoured green energy policies involve subsidies to renewables, both directly and by hidden taxes on consumers and in the form of the Renewable Energy Target.  The policies were initiated by Howard, in a pale form, and accelerated by Rudd/Gillard. Abbott tried with only modest success to roll them back.  Then Turnbull as prime minister, with then-energy minister Josh Frydenberg, attempted to intensify the policies by introducing a carbon tax, deceptively called the National Energy Guarantee. Turnbull’s attachment to this duplicity cost him his prime ministership, just as it cost him his party’s leadership back in 2009.

Australia’s green energy subsidies have transformed the nation from having the cheapest electricity among major global entities to one of the dearest.  For households, the average Australian price at 25 (US) cents per kwh, is three times that in India and China, which do not have our cheap coal, and almost twice that of the US (the average of which is boosted by green fruitloop West Coast policies).  We do, however, remain better placed than Germany, where the “Energiewende transition” has brought prices to 36 cents per kwh.

Australia’s deindustrialisation is certain under the policies being adopted by both the Coalition and the ALP; the next major manufacturing plant departures will be at least two of the three east coast aluminium smelters.  With electricity comprising 30 per cent of aluminium’s costs (relatively low Australian electricity costs were the magnet for the facilities’ establishment here) only a radical change of policy can restore their competitiveness. Such a change is not on the cards.

For its part, the Commonwealth is rather lamely trying to prevent the expansion of green energy subsidies and is taking action to soften their immediate outcome.  Hence today’s statement by Mr Morrison.  Under current policies, 36 per cent of energy will come from renewables, with only the 10 per cent from hydro being commercial.  The Coalition claims it will meet its Paris Agreement 26-28 per cent carbon-reduction commitment “at a canter”, partly because it is claiming for the over-achievement of the previous Kyoto targets.  Even so, the 2030 implicit carbon tax estimated by Brian Fisher is $73 per tonne.

The ALP is wedded to a higher level of renewables, which it deludes itself is consistent with lower electricity prices and a resurgence of domestic manufacturing.  The policies it took to the May election involved a de facto carbon tax of almost $700 per tonne.  State government policies go even further.

All politicians are driven by focus group polling, the results of which reveal strong support for renewable energy, seemingly irrespective of the costs.  Hence Energy Minister Angus Taylor’s continued support for ongoing subsidies to rooftop renewables when even the ACCC counsels for that measure’s closure.  The Prime Minister is not prepared to exercise leadership over the issue, as Donald Trump has done, including in his imminent formal renunciation of the Paris Agreement.

Nor can the government obtain useful advice from the bureaucracy. This is evidenced by last year’s ACCC report, which failed to recognise that wholesale electricity price increases have been driven by subsidised renewable energy causing the closure of coal generators. Such poor knowledge and analytical skills concerning energy have long been evident in Treasury, now headed by Stephen Kennedy, the author of the 2008 catastrophian Garnaut Report.  Kennedy is supported by Deputy Secretary Megan Quinn, who unflappably estimated the tax necessary to decarbonise the economy at $120-200 per tonne by 2050.  This represents a three- to fivefold increase in electricity prices, which alongside other outcomes, Treasury said it would shave what it regards as a negligible few thousand dollars from the nation’s 2050 $85,000 per capita annual income.  Quinn projected a 60 per cent real per capita income growth compared to 2010.  Not unexpectedly, this Treasury 2011 “Low Pollution Future” report is no longer accessible on the department’s site.

At least three of the four main electricity regulators (the industry’s regulation have undergone boom times!) are equally committed to accepting the coming displacement of coal/gas generation by renewable energy.  In some cases, this is because they expect future nirvanas in hydrogen from coal and methane, as well as the mirage of a fall in renewable costs, battery advances and so on.

Hence the Morrison initiative to subsidise more transmission. This is designed to patch up the wrecked energy-supply industry that government policies have created. It involves building more robust links from the fast-start hydro facilities and better links from Queensland, where supplies are more secure because investment in coal generation has taken longer for renewables to suppress.

Subsidising more transmission might avert near term calamities of power outages but will do nothing to restore the once-prevailing low prices.  Indeed, it will exacerbate longer term problems.  Government financing of the delivery of electricity to the southern states, will deter new commercial investment.

Alan Moran of Regulation Economics is the author of “Climate Change: Treaties and Policies in the Trump Era

34 comments
  • Ian MacDougall

    Being as charitable as I can manage to be to the author of this article, he nowhere mentions the huge subsidies paid by taxpayers in the past to coal-fired power. He might have mentioned, at least in passing that between 2009 and 2014, coal fired power scored $9 billion in subsidies, just in Queensland alone. According to the link below, global fossil fuel subsidies reached $5.2 trillion, and were $29 billion in Australia, in 2019.
    The switch to renewables has been a mass-based, democratic movement, despite at times frantic efforts by COALition politicians to stop it or at least slow it down, the most prominent of which was that of Tony ‘the future is coal’ Abbott.
    Well, we know what happened to him. He is now enjoying his fully indexed non-means-tested taxpayer-funded retirement courtesy of the obscene Parliamentary Superannuation Scheme, which strangely has bipartisan support without a single squawk of opposition from either side of any parliamentary Chamber.
    Moran’s rant and coal-shillery also has to assume that there are no adverse climate effects of pumping ever-increasing quantities of the heat-trapping gas CO2 into the atmosphere, or for that matter consequences of ocean-acidification, despite overwhelming scientific opinion to the contrary, and the evidence of ice melt and sea-level rise, and drought in Australia..

  • Blair

    “…the huge subsidies paid by taxpayers in the past to coal-fired power. He might have mentioned, at least in passing that between 2009 and 2014, coal fired power scored $9 billion in subsidies, just in Queensland alone. ”
    Ian, how do you define a subsidy paid by taxpayers?

  • Guido Negraszus

    The key is BASELOAD POWER. Without it you don’t have an industry nor high living standards. I don’t know about subsidies for coal but if true it’s not the same as subsidies for renewable energy. Renewable energy is worthless: lot’s of money for very little return. No sun or wind and you have no power. It’s astonishing how many people don’t get it. Coal and gas is vital for our survival for decades to come. Who knows what the future brings but we aren’t there yet.

  • Tezza

    Ian’s “ huge subsidies paid by taxpayers in the past to coal-fired power“ around the world turn out to be imaginary in Australia’s case: first, pollution costs, which Australia has practically eliminated by appropriate environmental protection and second, the absence of a greenhouse gas emissions tax. The latter is only thought to be necessary by Ian according to a theory embodied in computer models predicting a future too distant to be verifiable, but presently running 200-300% too hot.

    So the notion of “huge subsidies paid by taxpayers in the past to coal-fired power“ is farcical.

  • ianl

    Almost November.
    Watch the rolling power cuts over the summer when blocking highs squat over the continent, acting like a magnifying glass to the desert air until a southerly moves the high along. Happens 3-4 times most Southern Hemisphere summers, each cycle lasting 3-4 weeks. If the maximum heating occurs on a workday (ie. not a weekend), the grid will go black unless demand is cut.
    Trollster’s whine about coal “subsidies” is just repeated waffle from GetUp or LockThe Gate or … any of these propaganda setups. The biggest whinge is the diesel fuel tax rebate. This rebate is specifically legislated for all primary producers as the heavy machinery farmers, fishing fleets and miners use is rarely seen surfing the Hume Highway, unlike the heavy transport trucks that are deemed to damage public roads disproportionately. Most OECD countries have something similar.

  • Ian MacDougall

    ianl (or whatever your real name is) you repeatedly refuse to define a ‘trollster’. I suspect that it means one who refuses to endorse the groupthink on a particular topic; not a carping critic who disagrees for the sake of doing so. Some opinions expressed on this site I have fully agreed with.
    Otherwise, it is argument by label. Be assured; when it is flung about by you as a substitute for rational thought in such discussions as this, it is a label I wear with pride.

  • pgang

    ianl, Tezza and Blair, please don’t feed the pigeons.

  • en passant

    This global warming is amazing. Some ski lifts are still operating and the sea level measured at Fort Denison continues to fall.
    Personally, I hope global warming is true and the sea level rises to wash away the Macbot virus.
    Fortunately, we need not worry as the Chinese will sort us out now that we have a non-lethal ADF lead by gender warriors and a declining economy unable to support our lifestyle. Like Venezuela, we have enormous assets, but are lead by pollies too stupid to exploit them to the fullest, so its back overseas for me next month to cheap energy, a vibrant economy and a warmer climate.

  • STJOHNOFGRAFTON

    “Moran’s rant and coal-shillery also has to assume that there are no adverse climate effects of pumping ever-increasing quantities of the heat-trapping gas CO2 into the atmosphere, or for that matter consequences of ocean-acidification, despite overwhelming scientific opinion to the contrary, and the evidence of ice melt and sea-level rise, and drought in Australia.”
    Mr MacDougall:
    Overwhelming scientific opinion or overwhelming scientific facts? The overwhelming issue here is that your article is based on Scientism not Science.

  • Alice Thermopolis

    “…despite overwhelming scientific opinion to the contrary, and the evidence of ice melt and sea-level rise, and drought in Australia..” Ian MacDougall – 30th October 2019

    Some people spend too much of their lives trapped in – or promulgating – alarmist tripe from Model Land, but there is a way out,.
    See: https://judithcurry.com/2019/10/29/escape-from-model-land/

    “Letting go of the phantastic mathematical objects and achievables of model- land can lead to more relevant information on the real world and thus better-informed decision- making.” – Erica Thompson and Lenny Smith – new paper

    “Model-land is a hypothetical world in which mathematical simulations are evaluated against other mathematical simulations, mathematical models against other (or the same) mathematical model, everything is well-posed and models (and their imperfections) are known perfectly.”

    “It also promotes a seductive, fairy-tale state of mind in which optimising a simulation invariably reflects desirable pathways in the real world. Decision-support in model-land implies taking the output of model simulations at face value (perhaps using some form of statistical processing to account for blatant inconsistencies), and then interpreting frequencies in model-land to represent probabilities in the real-world.”

    “It is comfortable for researchers to remain in model-land as far as possible, since within model-land everything is well-defined, our statistical methods are all valid, and we can prove and utilise theorems. Exploring the furthest reaches of model-land in fact is a very productive career strategy, since it is limited only by the available computational resource.”

  • DG

    Instead of ‘renewables’ we should use the term ‘unreliables’. Besides, sun and wind aren’t ‘renewable’ they are constant (although variable) and although most of their gear is definitely not renewable, or not renewed…maybe ‘variable’ power. But as the variation is random (within bounds), back to ‘unreliables’.
    As soon as you say it, you see the idiocy: ‘lets have unreliable power’.

  • DG

    “pumping ever-increasing quantities of the heat-trapping gas CO2 into the atmosphere…”

    A wild exageration, the CO2 released by human activity is trivial compared to natural sources, and ‘heat trapping’ is wildly overstating the physics.

    “consequences of ocean-acidification”

    This makes it sound like the oceans are perhaps becoming ph 1, when in fact the exageration of ‘acidification’ refers to them becoming a little less alkaline, with natural buffers maintaining a stable range.

  • Ian MacDougall

    Alice,
    Cimatologists use mathematical modelling because we do not have a ‘control’ planet to run experiments on: except maybe Venus, which is not a good model from the climate ‘sceptic’ point of view.
    As you would I am sure know, the atmosphere-hydrosphere-lithosphere-cryosphere-biosphere setup is the most complex system we know about, in the entire Universe. (The best book I know on it is Seinfeld and Pandis, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics [1120 pp.])
    Climatology has as a discipline to take account of all parts of that system. Added to that, the human economy (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the biosphere) is wall-to-wall with vested interests, which are all well-connected politically. So there really is no such discipline as economics as such. There is only political economy.
    Atmospheric CO2 concentration is relentlessly rising, (as measured at Mauna Loa and Cape Grim.) If at the same time, global ice mass was increasing, satellite altimetry showed global sea level falling, and extreme weather events were becoming less frequent, then I would be a candidate to join the climate ‘sceptics’.
    But they ain’t.
    https://scholar.google.com.au/scholar?q=atmospheric+chemistry+and+physics,+Seinfeld+and+Pandis&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart

  • Alice Thermopolis

    “Atmospheric CO2 concentration is relentlessly rising,” (IM above)

    True, but like Dr Curry: “Personally I think that the situation with regards to 21st century climate projections is much worse.”

    From Climate Models for Laypersons:

    “The IPCC’s projections of 21st century climate change explicitly ASSUME – NOT PROVE – that carbon dioxide is the control knob for global climate. The CMIP climate model projections of the 21st century used by the IPCC are not convincing as predictions because of:

    • failure to predict the warming slowdown in the early 21st century
    • inability to simulate the patterns and timing of multi-decadal ocean oscillations
    • lack of account for future solar variations and solar indirect effects on climate
    • neglect of the possibility of volcanic eruptions that are more active than the relatively quiet 20th century
    • apparent oversensitivity to increases in greenhouse gases”
    With regards to fitness for purpose of global/regional climate models for climate adaptation decision making, there are two particularly relevant articles:
    • The Myopia of Imperfect Climate Models, by Frigg, Smith and Stainforth
    • On the use and misuse of climate change projections in international development by Nissan et al.

    BUT do not despair: there are pathways out of Model Land and back to reality

    Indeed,Thompson and Smith kindly provide the following criteria for identifying whether one is stuck in ML with a model that is not adequate for purpose:

    “You may be living in model-land if you…

    • try to optimize anything regarding the future;
    • believe that decision-relevant probabilities can be extracted from models;
    • believe that there are precise parameter values to be found;
    • refuse to believe in anything that has not been seen in the model;
    • think that learning more will reduce the uncertainty in a forecast;
    • explicitly or implicitly set the Probability of a Big Surprise to zero; that there is nothing your model cannot simulate;
    • want “one model to rule them all”;
    • treat any failure, no matter how large, as a call for further extension to the existing modelling strategy.”
    And so on and so forth.

  • Tricone

    McDougall’s link is to a renewables industry propaganda organ that simply invents numbers based on the wildest projections in order to pretend that coal receives net subsidy.

    Why would they want to do that?
    In order to stifle discussion of the renewables subsidies that , far from being democratic, have been rejected at every election in Australia this century.

    And lord knows, we’ve had plenty of them. But politicians persist with the myths of “renewables economy”, “green jobs” etc.

  • Ian MacDougall

    Tricone (or whatever your real name is) I put my money where my mouth is. I have an array of 20 solar panels on the roof of my house. They charge batteries. The excess power feeds into the grid. Pays well.
    All over Australia, farm water supplies are being solar-driven, and bore pumps taken off the grid. Rural Australia provides a big and growing market for solar.
    Have a read of Simon Holmes a Court (CAUTION: It’s in the GROAN !!) on renewable power and the Aluminium Industry. Maybe follow up with the article below entitled ‘Why the coal sector is so excited about Australia’s move to ‘clean’ hydrogen: (CAUTION AGAIN!!! That one is from the (choke! caaargh! splutter! hawk! spit!*) ABC.)
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-31/hydrogen-strategy-fossil-fuels-versus-renewables/11653336

    “And what a dreadful shame that would be, so close to the end of the tunnel. Fast -forward a decade from now and emissions from Victoria’s grid will be half of what it was a decade ago. A portfolio of wind and solar storage coupled with flexible load will deliver power significantly cheaper than our current grid. Australia will once again be competitive.”
    Link next.

  • Ian MacDougall

    Alice,:You may pick holes in all the models all you like. I have never been interested in them; though I know mathematicians who use them in complex fields like economics. Planet Earth is a complex little number. Glacier retreat, loss of ice mass and sea level rise as measured to half-millimetre accuracy by satellite altimetry tell me more than any model can.

  • rod.stuart

    Given the references that the resident troll puts forward (Renew economy, The Guardian, the ABC) it is little wonder that he fails to grasp reality.
    Perhaps he would be interested in some factual information rather than fantasy and sophistry.
    https://papundits.wordpress.com/2019/10/31/climate-science-socialism-or-eco-fascism/

  • Ian MacDougall

    rod.stuart: Ah, only sources of information as approved by the Ostrich School of Climatology. Now I see clearly the error of my past ways.! I have been living a life devoid of factual information and full of fantasy and sophistry.!
    Many thanks.

  • Ian MacDougall

    But that link of yours is a beauty.
    “Green New Dealers have convinced themselves that our planet faces an imminent, existential, manmade climate cataclysm – that can be prevented solely and simply by government edicts replacing fossil fuels with biofuel, wind, solar and battery energy. They achieve this state of absolute certainty largely by propagating constant scare stories, while ignoring and suppressing contradictory evidence and viewpoints.
    That’s about all I have time for right now. Got to get back out there to propagate some more scare stories and suppress more contradictory evidence. It’s a hard life, but someone has to do it.
    (Chuckle.)

  • rod.stuart

    Not to worry. You can probably find a retarded kid from Sweden to help with the propaganda er PR, or a brain-dead former vice president.

  • Alice Thermopolis

    “Alice,:You may pick holes in all the models all you like. I have never been interested in them….Planet Earth is a complex little number. Glacier retreat, loss of ice mass and sea level rise as measured to half-millimetre accuracy by satellite altimetry tell me more than any model can.” Ian MacDougall – 1st November 2019

    It is precisely because “Planet Earth is a complex little number” that (i) climate models are not “fit for purpose’; and (ii) one can’t merely assume correlation (of phenomena with increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide) implies causation (that the phenomena are caused by increasing CO2). Where is your proof?

    The number of shark attacks at the beach in summer correlates well will the amount of ice-cream consumed, but it would be a stretch to argue that eating ice-cream causes shark attacks, even if one can measure weekly or monthly ice-cream consumption to three decimal places. And so on and so forth.

    Climate Change….Logic: an argument by default of the form – “we do not know what is causing the climate to change, therefore it must be our fault” – is not a valid argument.

    (The Devil’s Dictionary of Climate Change, George Lexicon, 2018, Athena Books)

  • Ian MacDougall

    Alice and other readers note: if impatience strikes, use the scroll-down key.
    “We do not know what is causing the engine to misfire, therefore it must not be our fault, and therefore we should keep driving along as we have been” – is not only not a valid argument, it is also a fool’s paradise, as any competent mechanic will tell you.
    The coal industry behaves as if it wants the coal reserves to last as short a time as possible. Hence their cheer squads here and elsewhere are down on renewables as hard as they can go.
    GMSL (Global Mean Sea Level Rates):
    CU: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
    AVISO: 3.3 ± 0.6 mm/yr
    CSIRO: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
    NASA GSFC: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr
    NOAA: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr (w/ GIA)
    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/
    Do the arithmetic. 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr (CSIRO) ~ 33mm/decade (= 3.3 cm/decade ~ 33 ± 4 cm/century ~ 330 cm/1,000 yrs: ie 3.3 metres/1,000 yrs
    ~ 33 metres/10,000 yrs.
    And that is without the great hunk of Antarctica’s Totten Glacier slowly but steadily sliding into the sea.
    The graph at http://sealevel.colorado.edu/ is only since 1993, but shows that unmistakeable trend upwards. However, it was the Industrial Revolution whose start is taken as C 1750 AD which created and satisfied the demand for coal, steel and later, electric power and automobiles. I put it to you that sea level had not risen by anything like 33mm per decade before Cook’s arrival in Botany Bay in 1777, 27 years after the revolution’s commencement.. To quote from the source below:
    “The Earth has seen sudden climate change and rapid sea level rise before. At the end of the planet’s last glaciation, starting about 14,000 years ago, sea levels rose by more than 13 feet a century as the huge North American ice sheet melted. But researchers are hesitant about predicting similarly rapid climate shifts in our future given the huge stakes involved: The rapid collapse of today’s polar ice sheets would erase densely populated parts of our coastlines.
    “’Today, we’re struggling with 3 millimeters [0.1 inch] per year [of sea level rise],” says Robert DeConto at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, co-author of one of the more sobering new studies. “We’re talking about centimeters per year. That’s really tough. At that point your engineering can’t keep up; you’re down to demolition and rebuilding.’
    “Antarctica and Greenland hold the overwhelming majority of the world’s ice: Ninety percent of the planet’s freshwater ice is locked up in Antarctica’s ice cap and nine percent in Greenland’s. Today, the ice sheet that’s inarguably melting fastest is Greenland. That giant block of ice, which has the potential to raise global sea levels by 23 feet if it melts in its entirety, is losing some 200 billion tons of ice each year. That rate has doubled from the 1900s to the 2000s. “

    https://e360.yale.edu/features/abrupt_sea_level_rise_realistic_greenland_antarctica

  • Blair

    “I have been living a life devoid of factual information and full of fantasy and sophistry.!”
    Perhaps that explains Ian why you can’t tell me ” how do you define a subsidy paid by taxpayers?”

  • brandee

    I hope Mark Latham of One Nation will follow through on calling out the connection between unreliable-energy lobbyists working for the rent seekers in the power industry who want more government subsidies. Remember the liberal Liberal lobbyists who manipulated Scott Morrison to displace candidate Peter Dutton for PM? Turnbull’s son has interests in unreliable energy as does perhaps does the father and others including power companies!
    Morrison and Freudenburg are little more than Turnbull light

  • Ian MacDougall

    Blair,
    How to define a subsidy? Look it up in any dictionary. I will agree with whatever the book says.
    I don’t like being interrogated. He who asks the questions always sits in the power chair; or tries to; or wants to. (Present company perhaps excluded of course.)

  • Alice Thermopolis

    “We do not know what is causing the engine to misfire, therefore it must not be our fault, and therefore we should keep driving along as we have been” – is not only not a valid argument, it is also a fool’s paradise, as any competent mechanic will tell you.”

    Any argument by false analogy is an invalid argument.

    Analogy, n., 1. An inference based on resemblances: things that are alike in most respects are probably alike in the respect in question. 2. Climate-craft: an inference where essential differences are greater than essential similarities, e.g., climate and an engine, climate and DNA, the Earth’s troposphere is like a greenhouse, climate is like your personality; extreme weather attribution science is like baking cookies, a session with Jeremiah or your family doctor, etc. .
    Formally, if A is like B, and if A has property P, therefore B has property P; if and only if A really is “like” B. If, however, A is not really “like” B – the climate is not really like an engine – the argument is invalid.

    Fool’s paradise? Oh, you mean that place where some people want to use the “precautionary principle” – pseudoscience – to overturn the global energy system – 85% driven by fossil fuels – natural gas is a fossil fuel – without having clear evidence that CO2 is the control knob for global “climate change”.

    That seems foolish to me. And as for the outcome of such delusion, it won’t be paradise.

    Oh, still waiting for your proof of causation. See my above queation.

    “The coal industry behaves as if it wants the coal reserves to last as short a time as possible.”
    The coal industry is merely responding to international consumer demand, which is driven by the expanding developing world and its growing populations – China, India, Indonesia, etc for cheap power.

    Get used to it. Unless a solar flare, asteroid, ebola, water shortages, etc., intervene, there will be probably 12,000 million people on the planet by 2100. If we don’t export it, we might find ourselves speaking Mandarin or Hindi sooner than later.

  • Ian MacDougall

    “We do not know what is causing the engine to misfire, therefore it must not be our fault, and therefore we should keep driving along as we have been” is I suggest, a fair analogy: vide the position of a that faction of the Ostrich School of Climatology which says “the climate is changing, but CO2 is not responsible.” (Read ‘cannot be responsible’ because if AGW were right, it would be bad for established business.)
    With increasing numbers of voters in the bush putting pressure on their local politicians because of the present historically unprecedented drought, (cue whataboutery) I think a fair hunk of the Morrison government inclines to that view.
    At last count, 198 scientific organisations worldwide were endorsing the AGW proposition, including the Royal Society, the CSIRO and the AAAS. Polar and Himalayan ice melt, exacerbated by rising atmospheric CO2 may create world-wide flooding in low-lying areas such as coastal SE Asia, and also alter supplies of fresh water in rivers. We are flying pretty blind here. I put it to you that this is an unprecedented situation, not in the history of the Earth, but it is unprecedented in the history of civilisation.
    If drought becomes established in Australia the way it has established in North Africa in historic time, Australia may not be such a popular destination for refugees after all.
    Coal and petroleum are a wonderful source of long-chain organic molecules. Burning them up for heat to drive steam turbines in power stations is a pretty brainless short-term use for them, especially when the sky is the limit for solar, wind, and hydroelectric including tidal power, no matter what ignorant shills like Alan Jones might say.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Ian Mac, Alice has shot your arguments from analogy, authority, and all the rest of the whole index of logical fallacies down in flames.

    You don’t have a feather left to fly with.

  • Alice Thermopolis

    “ I put it to you that this is an unprecedented situation, not in the history of the Earth, but it is unprecedented in the history of civilisation.” Ian MacDougall – 1st November 2019

    Agreed. It’s unprecedented because never in the history of civilisation have so many allowed themselves to be possessed by what some psychoanalysts would diagnose as a dangerous infantile fantasy: namely that a bunch of bureaucrats can control the climate, weather, temperature, etc. The ancient Greeks had a word for it: hubris. At least in the past they gave that power to a god or goddess: “throw another virgin into the climate volcano”.

    We can’t even control our economic or population growth – about one billion in 1800, perhaps ten billion in 2100 – and countless other aspects of life and change. By what magic can we control a complex system like the global climate? Oh, simply by turning the anthropogenic CO2 control knob?

    In one “Get Smart” episode, Maxwell Smart is administered a Rorschach test by a psychiatrist. To Max all the ink blots looked “sexually oriented”. When asked about his predilection for seeing these ink blots as “sexually oriented” Max, proclaimed, “Me? You are the one with the dirty pictures!”

    When they remake it, the ink blots will be some “complex little aspect of planet Earth”. To Max they all will resemble clouds of CO2 (mostly stream in reality) emanating from coal-fired power plants. When he is asked about his predilection for seeing the ink blots as CO2 molecules, he will proclaim (loudly): “Me? You are the one with the pictures of dirty carbon!”

    “I rest my case, your honour.”

  • en passant

    The MacBot has 12 comments and wrote more than the original excellently logical article.
    How sad that he is so obsessed that he must stalk us relentlessly as we are his only friends.
    I don’t answer him any more as he broke his word when he posted he would not renew his subscription and would go away, but then missed our company and returned like a bad dream or a zombie..

  • irisr

    En passant, a bon entendeur, salute!

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