Doomed Planet

A Fool and Our Money Are Soon Parted

Recall Solyndra, eagerly pushed by President Obama at the time? One of many subsidised green schemes which bit the dust, this one taking US$570 million of taxpayers’ money with it. I couldn’t help thinking of it when Chris Bowen was announcing his new “Solar SunShot” program, which, reportedly, will oversee production subsidies and grants to increase Australia’s role in the global solar manufacturing supply chain. Gotta get in on that global supply chain.

Bowen’s aim is to boost the manufacture of solar panels in Australia. And he’s gifted his endeavour $1 billion of our money to get the ball rolling. In any event, it won’t be enough because China can produce panels much more cheaply than ever they can be produced here. Just to make sure that is the case Bowen will want our panels to be made using “the cheapest form of energy” which, unfortunately, turns out to be the dearest form of energy; namely, renewable energy. To boot, his ministerial colleague Tony Burke, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, is reducing flexibility in the labour market at the behest of his union mates. Not a happy prospect for any kind of manufacturing in Australia, never mind one that has no natural advantages.

Bowen’s announcement, with the Prime Minister and Damien Nicks, CEO of AGL, in tow, was made in the Hunter Valley. Coal country NSW where, to quote from Renew Economy, “AGL Energy has teamed up with local solar innovator SunDrive to explore the joint development of…solar manufacturing…” Apparently, this is just part of the activities AGL envisages on the sites where Liddell coal-fired power station once stood, churning out affordable and reliable power, and where Bayswater still stands, though scheduled for closure in the early 2030s.

Since the announcement of closure dates for Liddell and Bayswater, AGL has also been working with relevant business, government and educational institutions to identify new investment prospects … Extensive planning and consultation is progressing for redevelopment of the Liddell and Bayswater site into the Hunter Energy Hub … Construction is underway for a 500 MW/2GWh grid scale battery on the Liddell site, and a number of MOUs have been signed with potential project partners.

Said Mr Nicks: “Our vision for the Hunter Energy Hub is to create a low carbon integrated energy hub – designed with circular economy principles – that brings together industries that can make a positive contribution to the energy transition,”

I studied economics but am not sure what “circular economic principles” are. Must have missed that lecture. Do know that at full capacity Liddell generated 2 gigawatts of power each and every hour. It didn’t just store such power for a mere hour, a la backup big batteries, before panting for a refill. So what do we have so far in the Energy Hub? A subsidised solar-panel pipedream sitting aside a subsidised lithium-ion bauble.

And why is all of this and so, so much more insanity happening? Well, that is no great mystery. That’s what happens inside an asylum and that’s where we are. Best to watch again Greta berating world leaders, if you have any residual doubts that reason has long since departed the world stage.

It’s best also, if you belong to the remnant rump of the rational, to keep in mind that this all stems from a tenuous theory for which there is no convincing evidence that man-made CO2 is bringing the earth to imminent ruin. I’ve just watched Climate – The Movie. It’s worth a watch. The debunkers will be out in force, like RMIT-ABC fact checkers on steroids.

Take just one assertion in the movie. CO2 concentrations have been far higher than now in the distant past. A figure of up to 7000 parts per million was mentioned compared with about 420 ppm now. Is that right or nearly right or even half right? If it is, why didn’t global boiling stop evolution in its tracks; make the earth a fiery ball? Will the debunkers address that conundrum? Doubt it.

One non-scientific thing that comes out of the movie is that the game is lost. The sheer volume of reputations and dollars staked on global boiling means that no reversal of course is remotely possible. The big men (and women) are all in. Woe betide you if you don’t take the fall. If you let pride [or reason] mess with your mind, as Pulp Fiction‘s Marsellus Wallace tells Butch, in a different kind of movie altogether.

26 thoughts on “A Fool and Our Money Are Soon Parted

  • SB says:

    I’ve just watched Climate – The Movie. It’s worth a watch.
    Yes, everyone should put aside some time to watch it.

  • Andrew Campbell says:

    I am not a student of Thomas Carlyle’s ‘dismal science’ but having lived off grid for ten years, we know what electricity has cost us early adopters. First the infrastructure of about $70,000 (includes solar panels, control system, replacement batteries and some of the control system after 10 years; interest at 5%) and running costs of $600 per year (diesel for the cloudy days) and it all works to at about $1025 a quarter. This provides for only two abstemious adults. And then someone in the family has to be constantly aware of the weather, the charging state of the system, diesel in the tank and so on, especially in cloudy weather. And then the computer controlled system is beyond our nearest able solar electrician … And not least someone has to to train family members (!) not to turn the dishwasher on, and the clothes washer, and do the ironing at night …. If we are anything like the future for Australia, then expect to pay double or more for your electricity and expect considerable more family tension.


      Informative and sobering. I recommend that our Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen relocate to a remote off grid property with his chauffer-driven EV for a ‘cold-turkey’ cure for his Baron Munchausen syndrome where he wants Australians to join him in becoming world energy super-power enthusiasts.

      • lbloveday says:

        I liked Tim Blair in The Daily Telegraph. 1 April 2024:
        I’m not saying the Energy and Climate Change Minister resembles an introduced species, but if you saw a bunch of Chris Bowens in the yard you’d fair dinkum put out baits.

      • Garry Donnelly says:

        We said StJohn., We see the CEO’s of large organisations sleep rough on the street so they can appreciate what the homeless endure so why shouldn’t Chris Bowen see and experience first hand how ridiculous his ideology is. Maybe Quadrant should be emailed to him regularly so he can engage his brain and see the other side of the coin.

  • Andrew Campbell says:

    What a great idea! And Mr. Bowen will have to get up to speed with some of the physics of charging cycles (bulk, adsorption, float, equalise) and know what an inverter and regulator and charger does; and become familiar with the solar computer software; and get his hands dirty servicing the generator at least annually (or pay a mechanic $300) and be ready to pay $200 an hour to the local solar guy for travel and adjustments … and what happens if (like yesterday) I drove 230 ks and today I want to do the same? I’d have to start that nasty fossil fuel generator overnight to charge the EV batteries for today …

  • Alistair says:

    “Take just one assertion in the movie. CO2 concentrations have been far higher than now in the distant past. A figure of up to 7000 parts per million was mentioned compared with about 420 ppm now. Is that right or nearly right or even half right? ”

    7,000 ppm? The geological record suggests that 3.5 billion years ago, during the Archaean, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 was around 670,000 ppm – thats 67% (remember that in the early atmosphere oxygen levels were zero – we needed to evolve carbon-based life before free oxygen was possible) And yet the Archaean geological record contains no shortage of alluvial sediments (think Witwatersrand alluvial gold) no shortage of stromatolites, and pillow lavas – all sound evidence of abundant surface (liquid) water. 670,000n ppm couldn’t get the water boiling – in fact it was just the right kind of cosy temperature and the right kind of concentration of atmospheric to make carbon available to allow carbon-based life forms to develop. In fact – 400ppm of atmospheric CO2 is rather too close to the death zone for carbon-based life forms to feel really comfortable, but I dont suppose our professional biologist class is prepared to admit that.

    • ianl says:

      Yes. Most activists (including the few geologists I’ve met on the activist side) refuse to believe this, or rather refuse to publicly accept it. I’ve given them valid links to the myriad of peered, published papers detailing the CO2 concentrations over geologic time but the answer is always: “Irrelevant, too long ago, things are different now …” yadder yadder.

      So I’ve developed a different angle of attack on essentially the same issue. When the oft-heard cry bellows forth: “This is the hottest, coldest, driest, wettest day/night since 1982, or 1867, or … whenever !”, I simply ask for the atmospheric CO2 concentration at that time. That works even for the “since records began” kludge, since the activist hypothesis is the increasing atmospheric CO2 is responsible for the wettest/driest/coldest/hottest narrative, so earlier disaster points cannot have a lesser CO2 concentration than now.

      • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

        My wife, a Russian trained geophysical engineer, and her colleagues have a different view to the folk you are quoting but then again most of her colleagues opine that we are headed for another Maunder Minimum. The hilarity in this household knows no bounds when we are informed by “our” ABC that people in the Longreach area are shocked and horrified by Glencore’s proposal to pump C02 back underground for they opine that CO2 will pollute the water in the Great Artesian Basin completely forgetting that all aerated drinks are made fizzy by the dreaded CO2.

    • cel47143 says:

      The whole concept of too much CO2 hanging around the atmosphere became more confusing when we received notice that there is a shortage of the bottled beer CO2 mix gas and so the price is going up because BOC have to import more of it. It is a must have for our on-tap beer drinkers.

      If only life could be simpler, and we didn’t have to worry about things happening more than a day’s donkey ride away.

  • nfw says:

    When I read the headline I immediately thought of the magic Very Fast Boat (submarine) project. The Very Fast Train project has been going for 40 years without a single train or track so I’m expecting the bloated Very Fast Boat Project to beat it. While the Great Scamdemic (thanks Morrison and Albanese) transferred billions of taxpayer dollars to Big Pharma, which no doubt returned some to politicians and public servants, that will pale into comparison of the Very fast Boat Project; after all if the medical-industrial complex can garner all that dosh over nothing, then nuclear subamrines should do much better.

    BTW to which danish high school drop-out do you refer? The only one I can think of from that part of the world is the Swede Cretin “Line them up against a wall” Dumberg. Is there another?

  • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

    OK, I saw a small demo of the effect of intermittent electricity supply some thirty and more years ago using a select group of men who all had IQ’s above the average. The demo was in Siberia not long after perestroika when things were fairly grim for everyone including we aviation personnel on contract to a consortium of oil companies. Sometimes there would be electricity, sometimes not due shortages of coal. The city heating where we lived also came from the power station via hot water pipes so heating was also non existent when the electricity was intermittent. I was the only one in our group who had grown up without electricity, the others were from the city and a constant supply of electricity at the flick of a switch. A power outage in a Siberian winter isn’t all that much fun but those blokes were lost souls, extremely cold lost souls. I lived in relative comfort with the help of a stove /heater device I acquired that allowed me to cook and heat the apartment and bathing water for it ran on Jet A-1, and I acquired the Ruski equivalent of a hurricane lamp and fresh water was from a spring in the mountains since a test on the local water when it was available held several hundred times the acceptable limit for Ecoli. Those poor city blokes were a sight to see for they mostly couldn’t fend for themselves so just think of what will happen when electricity becomes intermittent nation wide here. Apparently 11 billion tons of good are transported by shipping each year so think of the chaos when we go back to the days of pre industrial revolution sailing ships. There are going to be fun times ahead, rest assured of that and we might even actually see a properly “hung” Parliament.

  • Lawrie Ayres says:

    It seems that Canon-Brooks and Malcolm Turnbull have their snouts in this particular trough and no doubt AGL see dollar signs as well so it doesn’t take much imagination to understand why there are so few negative comments about the billion dollars. Since only about 10 million people actually pay tax that billion represents $100.00 each. Is that how you want your money spent? Giving a few very rich jerks some of your hard earned so as we can have the most expensive solar panels ever made.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Good piece Peter and some very good comments. Loved your little bit of alliteration ; I must remember that expression “remnant rump of the rational”, it should go great in some kind of humourous poem on the whole rotten business.
    Hopefully someone with real knowledge of economics, and just a smidgin of physics will get to take charge of our ship of state before, not after….. it founders.

  • Paul.Harrison says:

    Someday a useless waste of space dressed in her Savile Row double breasted suit, that nice bespoke piece in the understated grey linen, will burst forth onto the steps of our House (the big one, in Canberra) and tell us all of exactly how many KilowattHours we have wasted during the Age of Electricity. Of course, the figure will be plucked out of the miasma of the poisonous gasses drifting around inside the House of Representatives as of now, but my guess is that it will come in at around KwH 22 x 2 Googols. The figure will be so .large that we won’t have a problem, but when the bill lands on the Treasurer’s desk all that he can gain is to allow the people to build a fire under him and burn him at the stake, along with all the other traitorous mongrels infesting our daily lives. A pox on all their houses.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    Peter, long ago, ten winters or so past, when I read James Delingpole’s book outlining the extraordinary amounts of money worldwide being spent on combatting this obvious chimera of ‘global warming’ that was gripping the western world, it seemed almost like something too big to combat, but I still thought it worth a try. Now, years of climate panic and grifting later, like you I think the only way out of this madness is to go through it, to let economies and lives be ruined before the backlash against it gets serious and it can be brought to an end. I fear this will bring the West as we know it tumbling down first. Still, we need to keep up the critiques of the ‘science’, so that, as in the SF story ‘A Canticle for Liebowicz’ there is still a blueprint of how the world once was and thus a pointer towards how to restore it.

    • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

      Thanks Ms Beare, we have never been able to see these people of sheer genius actually build a model town or city solely run on the stuff they preach and show us how it is done, how they have achieved net zero, so your suggestion is a good one and we will plunge back into the pre industrial revolution days. The pity is that we older folk won’t be alive to tell them –I told you so–

  • nilsm says:

    Hi Peter,

    RE: Circular economic principles

    Thanks again for another good article.

    Circular economic principles are ideas which can go around in circles in either direction, clockwise or anticlockwise, and which can reverse direction suddenly without warning. Our heads have evolved to become essentially circular just for that very purpose of letting swirling ideas change directions.

    But there’s nothing circular in the re-usage of materials and inputs to manufacture solar panels. It’s the thinking that is circular, not the actual flow of carbon or materials.

  • Stephen Ireland says:

    One hopes that a group of engineers are not chosen to to take the blame, required to acquiesce to allegations of wrecking, and whose lives will be wasted from then on in a re-run of the Soviet Prompartiya Trials. After all the Supreme Leaders cannot be seen to be incompetent:
    ‘Then came 1927. And the rationality of the NEP [Lenin’s 1921 New Economic Policy] period went up in smoke. And it turned out that the entire NEP was merely a cynical deceit. Extravagantly unrealistic projections of a super- industrial forward leap had been announced; impossible plans and tasks had been assigned. In those conditions, what was there for the collective engineering intelligence to do – the engineering leadership of the State Planning Commission and the Supreme Council of the Economy? To submit to insanity? To stay on the sidelines? It would have cost them nothing. One can write any figures one pleases on a piece of paper. But “our comrades, our colleagues in actual production, will not be able to fulfill these assignments.” And that meant it was necessary to try to introduce some moderation into these plans, to bring them under the control of reason, to eliminate entirely the most outrageous assignments. To create, so to speak, their own State Planning Commission of engineers in order to correct the stupidities of the leaders. And the most amusing thing was that this was in their interests – the interests of the leaders – too. And in the interests of all industry and of all the people, since ruinous decisions could be avoided, and squandered, scattered millions could be picked up from the ground.’
    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn The Gulag Archipelago; Part One 1973 pp. 392-393
    And this wouldn’t be the only close parallel with the Soviet era until at least 1953, now discernible in the crippled West.

  • jackgym says:

    The only way this madness will stop is when, like a drug addict, we reach rock bottom.

    I remember as a boy sitting around our wood stove in winter to keep warm. The stove that Dad fed by walking the nearby train line with a sugar bag to pick up coal dropped from the coal trains. So when my grandchildren ask me what was it like when I was a boy, I’ll be able to show them first hand.

  • Ken McNamara says:

    That 7000 ppm of CO2 atmosphere in the past?

    It raised Earth’s average global temperature by about 6 degrees over 10000 years. (Permian Eocene Thermal Maximum)

    It caused one of the largest mass extinctions and 90% of life died.

    Might want to avoid repeating that…life might not survive another hit.

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      How on Earth did Ken McNamara get this one through this site’s editorial ‘approval’ (read censorship) process? Coal shills are everywhere on this ‘liberal’ site, and which is choc-a-bloc also with anti-AGW fundamentalists.

  • lbloveday says:

    A site I looked at, the UK’s Natural History Museum, claimed:
    “The PETM occurred around 55.8 million years ago. Global temperatures rose by 6°C, leading to an increase in atmospheric CO2 levels”
    I understand that to say that the temperature rise caused the CO2 increase, the opposite to what Bowen and a some others are claiming is happening now.

  • James McKenzie says:

    The King has approved the next GG which means the current GG cannot dismiss ‘our’ lunatics’ preference. Who advised the King? The corruption is pervasive, and the King has signed his own death warrant: in the fine tradition of ‘Charles’ in this case not his head but the marbles therein.

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