Doomed Planet

Page after Page of Fanciful Futuristic Bumf

The Australian government takes a polarised view of the climate-change hoax. First, it will bring “more frequent and extreme weather events that will impact ecosystems, infrastructure and the built environment, food production, health and global security.” Yet, second, it will bring opportunities. To wit, “Australia is in a strong position to benefit from the global transition to net zero…with some of the world’s largest reserves of critical minerals such as lithium, cobalt and rare earth elements [and] With more abundant wind, sun and open spaces Australia can generate energy more cheaply than many countries.”

The two quotes above are from the latest Intergenerational Report, which purports to describe what the next 40 years will look like. I will come back to the second of the quotes. The report has been extensively covered in the media. References have been made to the first such report, issued in 2002, and its failed forecasts. A popular choice is that first document’s forecast that Australia’s population would hit 25 million by 2040. A miss by a mere 22 years; the target having been reached in August 2018.

The are two reason why intergenerational forecasting exercises are useless. First, government ministers and their apparatchiks who compile them are inclined to the naive belief that their policies will work. Behind this naivete is a flawed recollections of past failures. Second, and most importantly, life happens way beyond the term of the prevailing government.

Governments should be in the business of getting policy settings right; not in producing 290-odd pages of fanciful futuristic bumf. Lifting productivity is the main economic goal. That’s straightforward in a well-run country. Ignore any proposition which includes the word ‘planning’. Ignore advice from Big Business (apropos the Business Council of Australia in particular) and from unions (apropos the ACTU). Contain government spending, and reduce business taxes and regulations. If governments fail on any of these three measures then productivity will suffer. If they succeed brilliantly, productivity will soar. Everything else is irrelevant. Simple as.

Judge governments on what they do in their first term to lift productivity. As a general rule, ignore the bumf. Yet, there is an ominous ring to the latest bumf. It can’t be as easily thrown away and ignored as could the previous pathetic attempts at crystal-ball gazing. And so back to the second of the opening quotes and its attendant optimism about Australia’s green export opportunities.

France has formed a nuclear alliance of 14 European countries. Italy and the UK are also involved, though as yet outside the formal alliance. The US is the largest producer of nuclear power. New developments have stalled over the past 20 years, due mainly to the effect of nuclear accidents at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. But there are indications that this is changing. According to Forbes, two nuclear reactors are starting up in Georgia this year, and the commercial development of small modular reactors is likely to be a game-changer. Pew Research has found growing majority support for nuclear power among Americans. According to the World Nuclear Association both India and China “have well-considered policies to increase dramatically their use of nuclear power.”

It was and is inevitable. If you believe in the climate hoax (and those that matter say that they do) then nuclear power is the only viable option. Low density, unreliable, intermittent wind and solar power won’t do. Only nuclear can supply dispatchable (non-emitting) power. The world will move in that direction. Personally, I think that is profligate when, as with Australia, you have cheap black and brown coal, but that is by the way. Nuclear is going to be the world’s chosen path. All else means owning up to the climate hoax. That ain’t going to happen. Too much vested interest and precious reputations are at stake.

Meanwhile back in La-La Land, in Chris Bowen’s territory, a search of the whole Intergenerational Report reveals just one mention of nuclear. Here it is.

Renewable energy is already the cheapest form of new energy in Australia, with onshore wind and solar photovoltaic technologies having a lower cost of electricity, after accounting for integration costs, compared to gas, coal or nuclear electricity generation.

Having determined to abandon coal, the foundation of Australia’s competitive advantage in generating electricity, the brilliant idea is to embrace a form of energy which the world is effectively on the brink of leaving behind. To think, as per the Intergenerational Report, that this “could lead to exports of energy-intensive green metals, and electricity through undersea cables and hydrogen,” is ultra delusional. Which country is going to buy Australian electricity made from wind and sun, delivered through an undersea cable? Chris Bowen’s territory, did I say? This is Monty Python territory.

Within the Intergenerational Report is a time bomb. It has Australia resolutely setting out on a road to ruin. Real per capita incomes are forecast to be 50 per cent higher by 2062-63. But how likely is that if we insist on using the wind and sun to power the nation? Unlikely. Think of Argentina. Between 1975 and 1990, real per capita income fell by more than 20 percent. There are no guarantees.

9 thoughts on “Page after Page of Fanciful Futuristic Bumf

  • ianl says:

    >”With more abundant wind, sun and open spaces …”< [part quote from the article, attributed to our great and good]

    More abundant than where, exactly ? There are deserts of similar sizes on all continents. Windy zones are a function, amongst other factors, of the Bernoulli effect seen in fluid motion – Aus is not some special case of mis-applied physics. Sunshine is most evenly distributed on a year round 24 hour cycle along the tropical zone, which the three great oceans claim the largest share of.

    Grid-scale batteries cost several hundred million to supply a minumum power to small population segments for about an hour. Bumf indeed.

    Finkel is now being quoted through the scientifically illiterate SMH as insisting that the UAE's nuclear power programme took 15 years – while neglecting to mention that most of that time was consumed by exactly the sort of "debate" that has taken Aus 50 years to have so far. Although Finkel is well credentialled, there is a very strong taint of slipperiness about him. He reminds me irresistibly of Fauci. Bumf again.

    And CO2 is not a pollutant. Yet we now live with the reasonably likely probability that a "climate emergency" will soon be declared because the atmospheric concentration of CO2 is moderately low. Such a declaration will entail some variation(s) of lockdown.

  • Libertarian says:

    Fission by 2100, fusion by 2300, antimatter by 2600.

    When the next 100k yr glacial period has kicked in by 2800, we’ll need to dig up and burn our coal to feed the greenhouses to grow our food and stop CO2 dropping below 150ppm.

    Assuming Emperor Xi doesn’t incinerate us all in the next decade.

  • Daffy says:

    When I was young I learnt Karate (people like to say ‘studied’ but as I didn’t go down the religious path of Karate, not me). One of the tips for competitions (which is the main point of Karate: its like ballet with blows), was to get expert in one or two techniques that suited. For example, get really good using the Mei geri kick, or the Empi elbow strike. Thus Peter is on the money (or in the dojo) from that point of view.
    Governments have one practical job: lift productivity. Ideally this is by (a) getting out of the way, and (b) stop others getting in the way. Neither of which the current governments seem to have any interest in. But, all else flows from success here.

  • Alice Thermopolis says:

    Thank you Peter.
    The climate hoax is indeed “ultra delusional”. How can any rational person accept that a group of Green bureaucrats (UN) and governments somehow can “control” the climate of an entire planet? Humankind cannot even “control” its population growth, which has grown at least tenfold since 1800, nor its economic growth. Yes, we are truly in Monty Python “dead parrot” territory and we are the said parrot.


    “Renewable energy is already the cheapest form of new energy in Australia, with onshore wind and solar photovoltaic technologies having a lower cost of electricity, after accounting for integration costs, compared to gas, coal or nuclear electricity generation.”
    This statement is blatant, scientifically unaccountable bunkum and proves that the Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen is full of bumpf. Australia’s own Kamala Harris yet!.

  • Ian MacKenzie says:

    Spending, taxing and regulation are in Labor’s DNA. It won’t change. Every year that passes demonstrates that the Hawke-Keating reforms were an aberration, and one that “Albo” vigorously opposed. Productivity is set to decline to 1970s levels, and our economy with it.
    Chris Bowen is the ALP’s useful idiot. Point him in a political direction that will inevitably lead to disaster and he can be relied on to persist in the face of all logic. As with “asylum-seeker” deaths at sea, so with Australia’s energy supply.
    The problem with nuclear (apart from Chris Bowen – see above) is the hysteria surrounding it. In this case see the reaction in China and Korea to treated water releases from Fukushima. Water which is already well within safe parameters is being diluted in the largest body of water on earth, but still hysteria reigns. Ignorance should never be underestimated.

    • STD says:

      And Ian I would add to that:any connotation with nuclear will create pandemonium for the ALP and The Greens as the core of the manifesto is the abolition of the nuclear family and they’re not real keen on the nuclear fusion that involves human gametes ‘either’,except of course in feeding the Abortion production line that is a feeder for the pre born baby abattoirs. Can’t have children growing up believing in the friendly sustenance of the family, and that includes the spin off- the Church- the belief of truth. NIL QUANTUM DIET ONLY.

  • James McKenzie says:

    Presumptuous: Australia is not only blessed with mineral wealth: what matters is the cost-effective dilution of it.

  • pmprociv says:

    Five-Year Plans, anyone? We all saw how that ended up.

    So, we dig up lithium ore, and send it offshore to be made into batteries; we dig up iron ore, and send it offshore to be made into steel products; we dig up silica, and send it offshore to be made into PV cells; we dig up bauxite, and send it offshore to be made into aluminium products, including wind turbines; we dig up coal (and gas), and send it offshore to produce all the energy needed for all those other processes. Meanwhile, we import all those products, and shut down power and industry at home. Maybe a lucky country, but not a very sensible one.

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