Climate clippings 26

Renewables need consistent policy

From Climate Spectator:

Andrew Garrad, the founder of Garrad Hassan, the world’s largest renewable energy consultancy, has an interesting way of describing Australia’s stop-start renewable energy policy. It goes something like this, in binary code, where nought represents a step backwards, and one represents an advance: 100101100101011010010. The point he’s making is that, more than anything, renewables need consistent policy. And in Australia, and elsewhere in the world, that has been clearly lacking.

The rest of the article is worth reading. Greg Hunt shows what it would be like to have a climate change minister who is interested in climate change.

The Koreans show how to pick winners:

he suspects the future may be dominated by the Korean companies who have become household names in electrical appliances. The likes of Samsung and Hyundai are investing huge sums into clean-tech. “They are going to do things, very fast and well.”

Hunt picks algae as a winner “echoing predictions that it could emerge as a $20 billion industry.”

Algae in the outback

Speaking of which, a project is being set up to farm algae in saltwater ponds in the Pilbara.

it has decided to focus – at least initially – on the high yielding omega-3 market. Potential customers include pharmaceutical and food groups seeking a natural, sustainable and cost-effective alternative to fish oil and fermented products.

Once that profitability is established, however, and the company builds scale, it will focus more on the biofuels and biomass markets. Caspari says the company is already in talks with local mining companies, looking for a substitute to expensive diesel, as well as airlines. It is also looking to sell algae as a protein-rich feedstock, most likely to aquaculture, and as protein-rich powder products for the food and beverage industry.

Why the Pilbara?

Karratha has been chosen as a location because – apart from the state funding – it has plenty of land, sun, and seawater; not to mention emissions to use as a feedstock. And algae needs plenty of each. And it’s flat. And it is warm.

Karratha is also home to a large fertiliser plant and other heavy-emitting industries, so Aurora sees no problems in finding a feedstock for its operations.

Biodiesel from municipal sewage

Experimentally in the US biodiesel is being produced from municipal sewage waste water.

After six days, the algae can be harvested. The team plans to use a mechanical pressing method to extract the oil, leaving behind biomass that could be composted, fed into an anaerobic digester to make methane, or sold as a feedstock to make ethanol.

The process is highly productive, yielding between 66,000 and 94,000 litres per hectare.

Methane from gas mining

In the US it has been found that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of shale rock seams to produce natural gas also releases significant quantities of methane.

the footprint for shale gas is at least 20 percent greater than that for coal, and perhaps twice as great.

Read this RealClimate post for some of the subtleties surrounding the study. Most obviously the fugitive emissions in mining coal were not taken into account.

This study may not translate to coal seam gas production in Australia, but it is a concern that should be monitored. In the Surat Basin fracking will only be used on 14% of wells.

Climate Change Already Reducing Crop Yields

That’s what a new study has found with respect to maize and wheat. Schlenker and colleagues

estimate that global maize production is as much as 3.8 percent lower than it would have been without climate change, and wheat production is 5.5 percent lower.

Additional warmth increases yield, but:

Once temperatures rise above a certain point, which varies for each crop, “yields fall off a cliff,” he said.

Please note that the US food bowl was not affected as temperatures actually fell slightly during the period (1980-2008).

See also Time Magazine.

The limits to growth

Is the global economy a Ponzi Scheme? Joe Romm at Climate Progress tends to think so.

Now the suggestion is that we are facing a paradigm shift in commodity prices, not just oil. The message is that if we want economic growth in the longer term it can’t depend on the increased production and consumption of physical commodities. And we’d best start changing our lifestyle now.

So what has this to do with climate change?

Economic growth has always involved a greater use of commodities and an increase in GHG emissions. In reshaping the economy towards low carbon we’ll have to be equally concerned about sustainability. Not easy.

A climate treaty is possible

That’s what the UN envoy says, targetting directly the negativism of the US representative Todd Stern.

“What is not doable is not to address climate change and not to do it in a timely fashion and at the level which it merits and with the urgency it needs to be done,” Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change told reporters in New York.

“We certainly understand that different countries are at different political moments, but on the whole what is not doable is to evade the responsibility of addressing climate change as a collection of countries, as a community of nations,” Figueres said.

UN IPCC report on renewable energy

The IPCC has produced a 900-page new renewable energy “Bible”, no less.

Dr. Stephan Singer, Director for Global Energy Policy for WWF International is critical of the Summary for Policy Makers which was over-diluted to achieve word by word consensus, he reckons. Here are some of the key findings:

– technically, renewable energy could easily supply all of the world’s energy needs (and much more) by 2050.

– politically, up to 77 percent of global electricity demand could be satisfied by power from renewable energy sources by 2050.

– costs of renewable energy are projected to decrease significantly in coming years and significant deployment is projected.

– governments need to pursue the more aggressive policies and growth path in order to keep greenhouse gas concentrations below 450 parts per million, a critical necessity according to climatologists.

Many of you will know I’m not keen on hanging around at 450ppm for any length of time, or at all. It’s the midpoint where James Hansen says we get an ice-free world. It also risks some really nasty tipping points, like frying tropical jungles and methane release from permafrost.

Here’s the IPCC blurb and the here’s the said Summary for policy makers.

The WWF’s The Energy Report 2011 missed the cut.

242 thoughts on “Climate clippings 26”

  1. Brian,

    The phrase “picking winners” is typically used ironically, in the sense that I can go to my local racecourse and “pick winners” as successfully as government can “pick winners” through industry policy.

    If you are using the phrase without irony, I suggest you wait a few years to allow your claims to be tested.

  2. The fugitive methane gas emissions detailed in the Howarth study (Real Climate) are very worrying. The great rush in Australia for CSG with all those leaky well heads sure puts a dampener on the gas alternative to coal for me.

  3. I and U I was using the term “picking winners” without irony and also without making a judgement, being aware that it is something that South Korean governments have done over the years.

  4. Some of Greg Hunt’s points seem well made, but why doesn’t Tony Abbott ever talk about these things? And if Abbott is not interested, would Hunt’s ideas ever be taken up? We also need to be wary of picking winners after watching what a mess the Howard government made of the Manildra debacle to get everyone using more methanol.

  5. Wolfram Schlenker @ Climate Change Already Reducing Crop Yields


    National Science Foundation, Economics Program, “Food Price Spikes in a Warming World: Estimating Risks and Evaluating Policy Responses,” 2010-2013 (US$ 700,682). Department of Energy Grant DE-FG02-08ER64640, “Statistical Methods in Integrated
    Assessment Models of Climate Change – Applications to Agriculture and Energy
    Systems,” 2008-2011 (US$ 351,433).

    US$ 1,052,115 from 2008-2013.
    Is that US$ 175,352.50 pa?
    Nice. I’d like to see his plazma TV

  6. jumpnmcar, why do you suppose all those funds went into Schlenker’s personal bank account?

  7. NSW Govt. to reduce the feed-in tariff for solar PV from 60 cents to 40 cents per kWh.

  8. @ Bilb

    a Bilb

    WHat are your education levels?
    What field of work are you in?

    Are you in primary school?

    “So far you have not demonstrated any significant ability to absorb what is being said, so what terminology to use is a concern, as well as the length of the words.”

    Don’t be so pratonizing. If you cannot answer the questions I asked about your post then just say so.

    Answer them as technically as you like. I will understand what you are saying.
    Possible disagreement does not equal not understanding.

  9. Are you wallowing in envy there, Jumpncar? If you feel a need to feel inferior you don’t have to go half way around the world, your GP makes at least twice that of the average entrpreneurial scientist, and there is half a dozen of those in every suburb. And that is before you fume at those rich dentists.

    What is your point?

  10. Anyway, enough of that.

    I’m planing a cabin (retirement), off grid, all PV 12 volt + LNG.
    Can anyone point me toward a sit that has, past and future (predicted) LNG retail prices in Australia.

  11. jumpnmcar, do you really honestly believe that money goes into the scientists’ personal accounts?


  12. Yes Jumpncar I did, I reacted then read some more, then had to leave the office. Now I’ve got to read the whole thing. But the China Forestry thing was entirely predictable. In fact it was predicted here at least 4 years ago. No-one should be surprised. Now what else were you trying to say.

    I have a floating cabin in mind and to that end am building a 10 metre ferro boat for my daughters, knowing full well that I am going to have to maintain it, something that I am looking forward to.

    Depending on what you plan to use the gas for, consider installing a poo gas system.

  13. sg
    Does David Lobel look like a scientist to you?
    Ive googled and googled, but i mustn’t be able to google as well as you can google.
    Thanks anyway.

  14. @15, you don’t need a site to know that LNG prices will rise faster than most other resources. I am keenly looking forward to a house which has all heating and cooling, including refigeration, run from concentrated solar thermal. The technology is mature but putting it together into a holistic system has yet to be done.

  15. Bilb
    A floating cabin in Hinchinbrook channel is a dream of mine but the taipan( beautiful wife) is a “land lubber.
    I’m hoping to find a system that diverts the urine (easy) and use the rest for the garden(not so easy).
    I’m googling when time allows.
    Im interested in the excess energy, after batteries are full, stored in compressed air.
    As a side benefit , compressing air produces heat( not a priority) and the decompression of air produces cooling, a welcome outcome.

  16. Bad luck little of the carbon tax will go to renewables development.
    This could explain why the support for such a tax is so low.
    No wonder many believe the government is not serious about attempting to control the climate. Maybe the Government don’t believe in fairy tales either!!

  17. The problem with the Karatha is in these statements

    ” Caspari says the company is not building its business case around any carbon credits that it may be able to generate. “We think we are economically viable without them. We didn’t want to base the business on something that could change. It’s a strong incentive, but the economics don’t rely on it.”

    Nor is he getting carried away by the promise of algae as a cure-all for the anticipated fuel crisis – but he knows it should have a key role to play. “You need a feedstock to create fuel, so we are using waste Co2″

    For starters algal oil is not eligible for carbon credits unless the oil or lignin produced is going to be buried. Secondly the oil production requires a huge amount of CO2 which unfortunatley is in very small concetration in the air, so a huge amount of air must be circulated to obtain sufficient CO2. That is why the proposal talks of using waste CO2.

    Therein is the algal dilemma. In the natural world oil is produced over very large areas and the CO2 is absorbed from the atmosphere with wind and wave action. In our concentrated farming approach the CO2 collection becomes a cost which reduces the efficiency of the process.

    There are solutions but they are as yet untried.

  18. That is the negative argument. Here is the positive argument from Jonathan Trent of NASA’s AMEs Institute in a presentation at the TED

    and here is some more about it

    I would prefer to see the Karatha investors putting their money into the floating solution rather than a land based one. The thing to notice is that the Omega system uses the waste CO2 (aparently a large amount is released) from the sewerage pre treatment to fuel the algae.

    Having said that you will notice that the Karatha investors talk of producing Omega oils for human and animal consumption initially. This is a very commercial proposition, however then to say that the system will onflow to oil for fuel, is a bit of a stretch as the $ returns on fuel are about a tenth of those for Omega3 for food.

    More later.

  19. jumpnmycar @ 9

    That grant money won’t be paying his salary – a fair chunk will go to whatever institution he works for (before he even gets to spending it on his research), and the rest will employ post-docs/PhD students/pay for research/computing time etc. None of these things are cheap. If he uses a lab, then part of the grant (possibly $80-100k/a) will be spent on lab materials/lab tech salaries etc.

    Additionally, if he’s not the only person on the grant (highly likely) then you’re talking about splitting it two or more ways between different institutions/researchers etc. Starts to look like not quite so much money eh?

  20. Jess, it’s pretty obvious that anyone who thinks all you scienticians are getting fabulously wealthy off your grant money has no idea how the grant system, or scientific research, works.

  21. How can people watch Hansen putting forward the reality of our situation and not be challenged? Do we really only care about this weeks pay check and Friday night shopping?

    And thanks, Jess, for spelling out the grant investment money picture. That is my instinctive expectation but I did not know how to word it for science grants, so I took the other tack.

    We are talking with a potential investor at the moment about the prospect of putting 2 million dollars into developing our GenIIPV system, and that sounds like a lot of money, but when you start to work through what you have to achieve with a funding package it is very tight all of the way with absolutely no leeway for luxuries.

  22. @Bilb

    “The carbon price will affect prices only modestly”

    That is a very subjective term. WHat sort of figures or percentages are you talking about and how did you get to these figures.
    Actually interested to know.

    “It affects production costs that are a marginal component of most products, and it is a marginal increase”

    WHich components exactly?

    “So what we are facing is a marginal increase to marginal costs blown out of all proportion by the marginal intellect of Tony Abbott and Co. And you seem to have take the story hook line and sinker.”

    What proportion has it been blown out to?

    You can answer these questions with as much detail as you like. Try university graduate level for starters.

    Just the answers and not insults about primary school education limits.

  23. Very quickly, OntheBus. Electricity is a small component of most products. In my business where I run 5 CNC machines it only amounts to 1% of my turnover. Most of my product is sold with a 100% markup so to the end buyer it amounts to 0.5%. At present the production cost for our electricity is routinely stated to be 5 cents per unit. The carbon tax might increse that to 7 cents per unit, an increase of 2 cents. With the 50 percent increases that electricity distributors have extracted over the last 3 years they cannot add profit to the production cost increase so it will pass through at cost which will mean a 10% increase in the cost of electricity as a result of the final application of the carbon tax. So for my product this would mean an increase of .1% to the retail price of my products.

    There are many businesses with a higher electricity cost component, but it is still a marginal cost of the final retailed product. This carbon price will be applied to oil as well, but when you do the costings properly ie in an Abbott free environment the impact is entirely marginal, even when accrued across the full spectrum of peoples purchases.

    You may well ask “then why do this at all”? That is the real debate, for which there are very solid answers which most people are not ready to hear.

  24. Carbon penalty forces Qantas airfare hike


    as we speak

    , FOLKS!!!

  25. Further to my comment at 26: I had a quick google for the grant number provided by jumpnmycar, and there are at least two other PIs on that grant, making three PIs at three different institutions (i.e. there’s Wolfram Schlenker of Columbia University, David Lobell of Stanford University and Michael Roberts of U. North Carolina).

    If you work it out per researcher, it comes out to a little over $100k per PI per year.

    Considering these guys are at some of the biggest universities in the States, that’s not really a lot of money, especially if you remember that this gets spread out through the university, the schools and other researchers. If that’s what’s being ‘paid’ to the top researchers at the top universities, can you image what Joe Academic at a small Australian University is getting?

    Certainly not enough to hold my silence, if I was ‘in on the conspiracy’.

  26. @ Bilb

    “So for my product this would mean an increase of .1% to the retail price of my products”

    Ok so a 0.1% increase in your goods due to using electricity.

    Will there be an increase in raw materials you use such an as well as electricty to your manufacturing business?

    Do you use plastics? Oils? other fuels? What packaging doyou use? Petro-chemical packaging? Synthetic materials. Do you use any metal in your manufacturing?

    How are your goods transported? Will the carbon tax on fuel add to your final goods pricing?

    Will councils ask for a rate-rise to cover their increased running costs from carbon pricing?

    Will water companies be asking for an increase in price to cover their increased costs? The de-salination plant sucks electricity.

    In summary , yourpost is saying that when a carbon price is brought in, your total manufacturing and distribution costs will rise by 0.1% only?

  27. @33 Jess

    “Certainly not enough to hold my silence, if I was ‘in on the conspiracy’.”

    Do you think the money people like Tim Flannery and Al Gore are making would be enough to hold their silence?

  28. BilB @ 31,
    Considering only the cost of the elctricity is misleading.
    It’s the feed materials that will have the major carbon cost component. For example if its steel the amoumt of carbon required to product 1 tonne of steel is well in excess of 500kg.

  29. Quite so, which would mean an increase of $45 per tonne of steel taking it to $2045 per tonne retail. Again, JohnM, a marginal cost of a marginal component of a product before distribution margins are applied.

    There is another aspect to this never referred to, and that is in the method by which various purchases are paid. When you are talking about the impact of a carbon tax on cement, for instance, you are generally talking about infrastructure the funding for which is paid out over many years, ie the daily impact is extremely small. So the $45 per tonne of steel added to the price of a Holden Ute would add maybe $100 to the $31 thousand which would then be paid over the 5 year lease period…plus interest. ie virtually zero impact.

  30. BilB @ 36,
    Not quite correct. You can’t take the carbon in the steel production and equate it to a car.
    The free energy required to make a car is about 37,000kWh or about 6 tonne of black coal.
    Then you also can’t assume that the car industry will just absorb the increased costs and not pass any on.

  31. Again, John Michelmore, 6 tonne times 3 for CO2 times 30 dollars per tonne of CO2 is $540 plus the $32 thousand. Still a marginal cost divided 5 plus interest or $130 per year additional cost for the average tradey, if your figure is actually correct and if the car companies pass on the full cost.

    I’m having trouble imagining what you are trying to prove here. What is it????

  32. BilB,
    The point is we make our industries less and less competitive in Australia.
    We have high labour costs, excessive regulation, and the potential to further add to our costs with a carbon tax. If other producer countries don’t follow suit, we further crucify our already struggling manufacturing.

  33. So then, JohnMichelmore, you are arguing that we should do nothing at all about Climate Change and Peak Oil because any cost at all is too great for industry to bare at any time.

    I have to say that this suggests that you know nothing at all about industry, the history of manufacturing in this country, or for that matter have any perception of the full spectrum of changes under way at present. You have one little idea and you are waving its flag so furiously that you are unable to hear or see what is really going on around you.

    That might sound a little harsh, but allow me to demonstrate.

    In order of severity I ask you to list what you imagine to be the threats to our international competitiveness (there is no fully correct answer to this but I am asking to see how far your understanding goes) :

  34. List of threats to Australia’s international (and domestic) competitiveness:

    #1. Manufacturers who place a 100% markup on their product.

  35. @OnTheBus

    It doesn’t matter what Tim Flannery and Al Gore are making – why would your average joe climate scientist keep quiet if they weren’t being paid the same as the big wigs? The trouble with a global conspiracy is that it’s expensive to maintain.

    Even if Al Gore or Tim Flannery are making a packet campaigning for global warming, that doesn’t invalidate the scientific results of thousands of climate scientists who, as we established above, certainly don’t get paid enough to be a part of some conspiracy.

  36. Oh you are so naive, GrigoryM.

    I don’t place a 100% markup on my products, my distributors do. And they are being very conservative.

    When you go to Woolworths the average minimum markup will be around 500% on the manufactured price of the goods. 1000% is very common on Chinese and Indian manufactured goods.

    Quite some years ago when I manufactured a plastic product my only competitor’s product had a manufactured and packaged cost from China of 17 cents, and this product was on the shelf with a price of $3.50 . The highest I saw that product marked to was $7.80 in Bunnings.

    Now that is not our International competitiveness, but it is our internal competitive situation. What it should tell you is that cheap goods from China do not translate into more affordable goods to the consumer. Sometimes that is the case, but generally not. What it means is that retailers make huge profits selling goods that they buy directly from China and other countries selling them at prices that they calculate to be the functional “value” to the customer.

    Now please take note (OntheBus, Jumpnmcar, John Michelmore, GrigoryM) of what has been said here and remember it because I do not want to hear that crappy argument come up again and again.

  37. @ Bilb

    Are you saying that when a carbon price is brought in, your total manufacturing and distribution costs will rise by 0.1% only?

  38. @ Bilb

    You say:
    ““The carbon price will affect prices only modestly”

    I ask what this marginal cost will be.

    You say: 0.1%

    The Gillard price on carbon will only raise the cost of living by 0.1%

    Why is the govt not telling everyone this figure?

    You Say:
    ““It affects production costs that are a marginal component of most products, and it is a marginal increase””

    I ask what components?

    Your answer is electricity.

    Why is the govt not telling everyone thatthe carbon tax will only be on electricity and nothing else so as to ease the fear?

    You say:
    ” marginal costs blown out of all proportion by the marginal intellect of Tony Abbott and Co. And you seem to have take the story hook line and sinker.””

    I ask what this blown out amount is?

    Your answer…….. well no answer.

    So it is good to know the cost of living will only increase by 0.1%, according to Bilb.

  39. BilB,
    Thankyou for just explaining why our manufacturing , agriculture and many other idustries are under extreme threat.

    Every cent that is added to the bottom line of the local manufacturer makes it more likely that the retailers will source overseas and maintain their margins (or increase them) to the detriment of Australian manufacturers and producers. Whether this cent is added by a carbon tax, an ETS or increased labour and/or regulation then in turn it threatens our manufacturing. If you think Australia can do without manufacturing in the longer term thats OK, but I don’t.

    Included in these threatened “industries” are the paper industry, the steel industry, the car industry to name a few.

    Also I didn’t say we should do nothing to address climate change, I believe the climate is changing. I don’t believe we can control it, however we need to address the massive finite resource consumption we have. The proposed carbon tax will do nothing to address either the climate change or resource consumption.

  40. Pretty much, yes, though I cannot speak for the distribution costs as that is done by another business. But as my price is the basis of their costs for that product range the only pressure that they will face is for electricity and petrol, and as both of these have risen by 30% during the last 3 years and their selling price has only risen because they have changed their marketing structure I cannot see the product changing in price as a result of any carbon tax. As for my production, no doubt there will be price fluctuations in some things but then there always are. We counter that periodically by reviewing our supplier options. But for the last 10 years I have manufactured a product that everyone is familiar with (throughout Australia, New Zealand and the UK) and for that full period the key raw components in that product have not changed in price to me despite raw stainless steel varying by at least 50%.

    The things that drive prices are nothing like what you imagine, from what I see of your (collective) arguments.

  41. John Michelmore,

    Answer the question. What do you see as the threats to Australian industry and manufacture in order severity of risk. If you cannot do this simple thing then you have no credibility.

  42. International competitiveness is a function of many things and these change with time:-
    1) Exchange rates
    2) Interest rates related to 1) above
    3) Manufacturing costs
    4) Government regulation

    However if Toyota Camry can be manufactured in Thialand without a carbon tax compared to Australia who might bring in a tax, don’t you think Toyota will try and maintain the lowest cost of production?

    Isn’t this exactly what you are doing sourcing stainless steel from different overseas suppliers. Stainless steel isn’t produced in Australia anymore is it?

  43. 1 yes
    2 only in as far as it relates to 1 while it (2) remains moderate
    3 No, in that this varies only by the smallest margin, unless 4 impliments a major policy shift such as changing the compulsory superannuation from 9% to 12%.
    Ahead of 2 is the international trading environment for both purchasing and selling.
    There are many types of manufacturing which are not exposed to international conditions but of the one that is, consumer products, the biggest threat by far is a very indirect one.

    Until recently China maintained an export incentive of 13% of invoice value for companies who achieved export sales. What this meant was that where companies had the oportunity they had an additional 13% bargaining power to entice Western buyers. How this played was where buyers for large corporations showed interest there was a pot of money to offer the buyer him/herself personally to buy that companies products. The end result of this is that buyers had little interest in buying Australian products as there was no personal return for them outside of the company salary. The secondary influence was that having wasted precious resources conceiving developing patenting tooling producing products then being denied retail representation Australian companies stopped developing products for the Australian consumer retail market. Only the largest of companies are able to survive this onslaught and even then there are casualties. Sanitarium Cereal products except for a few for instance werethrown out of Woolworths some years ago in favour of Kellogs. Go have a look for yourself. Woolworths sell Kellogs and Arnotts, and now more housebrand product, without much else in those product fields. Now these are locally produced products so you have to wonder why massive drop in product choice. Maybe Woolworths have a major shareholding in Kellogs, I don’t know, but there has to be a reason. This is massively damaging to Australian manufacturing and has absolutely nothing to do with carbon taxes. But having smashed up local industry and particularly making it all but impossible for young businesses to get a start the real casualty is small business innovation employment and manufacturing. China has won the battle to dominate our consumer product markets. The 13% is now being withdrawn but its influence remains as long as the culture remains. Coles sacked a number of their buyers for these practices a few years ago, but it is my guess that the practice is well intrenched. And the government knows about this and does nothing. Some years ago I inquired of the Attourney General’s office if it was legal for me to offer inducements to corporate buyers to take my product. The answer from them was yes. I asked my local MP, then the government whip (now a nobody, how quickly they fade) and he said “oh absolutely not”. Denial that there was any such practice. I spelt it out to him, nothing was done.

    My point is that the real dangers to manufacturing have absolutely nothing to do with marginal taxes. “every cent counts”?? Twoddle.

    A carbon tax is a side show and will have no significant impact on Australian competitiveness. It will be little more than noise in the presence of all of the real clear and present dangers to our manufacturing enterprises.

  44. Again, OntheBus, you are using your twisted logic to create your own kind of reality. Try getting off that bus an looking around. You will see that things appear very differently when they are not whizzing by at speed.

    0.1% is what it means for my class of business and turnover. And mine is fairly typical of a huge percentage of small business. ie a huge percentage of employment.

    Why electricity well electricity and fossil fuels represent 50% of our CO2 emissions with electricity being the largest part of that.

    “I ask what this blown out amount is?”

    Refer to Tony Abbott’s fantasy world for comparison.

    If you have failed to notice or comment on the 30% (soon to be 50%) increase in the price of electricity, and there is no carbon tax in place yet, then you will certainly not be able to notice any effect from a carbon tax.

    I hold little hope that you three will take in and understand any of the above, but I have now explained it from my experience and perspective and you guys will no doubt draw your own conclusions based on what little knowledge you have. So I am done with this subject now.

  45. BilB,
    I thought the question was about international competitiveness.
    Manufacturing cost differences between countries has a major impact on competitiveness.

  46. @53 Good work, BilB. Be aware that your interlocutor has form in thread-domination, and has admitted in previous threads to being motivated not by sincere interest, but just an itch to come here and engage in some lefty-baiting with deliberately obtuse, belligerent or nonsensical questions — with the sole aim of goading an intemperate response so he can have a laugh with his mates on Catallaxy.

    In other words, OTB is, by hir own admission, rather less than a good-faith seeker of truth, and somewhat more akin to an ‘agent provocateur’.

    Proceed accordingly.

  47. Competitiveness is a variable, JohnMichelmore. Manufacturing costs are constantly in flux. Human imagination is the most powerful variable of all, and competitiveness is its subject. For those who do not have the ability to innovate it is understandable for them to believe that obstacles are insurmountable, and they will see the challenge of addressing Global Warming being a bridge too far, electing to attempt to preserve that which they understand to the end.

    GetofftheBus, look around, talk to people, see how problems are resolved, and you too will see that a carbon tax is a ripple in the road to a better world, not an insurmountable obstacle.

  48. Yes I talk to people. Most think the Carbon Tax is a waste of time and has little to do with climate change. I think they are quite correct. Was it in excess of 80% whom were against it in a recent survey?
    You continue to make assumptions about those you believe don’t want change for the better, it’s unfortunate you do this.
    Still it’s far easier to claim that someone who believes there is a better way is a troll, heretic and a non believer.

  49. I hope, when the legislation is announced , that it gives the ACCC the necessary powers and resources to stop profiteering from this.
    I envision price rises, across the board, and the explanation will be ” The price rise is due to the carbon tax ”
    At least in the short term ,it could be a boon for Coles and Woolies.
    I don’t see anyone being able to stop this.

  50. The thing is, JohnMichelmore, that as

    “someone who believes there is a better way ”

    you never have anything to say. You don’t have a solution ………other than to do nothing, because that will save you money, or more likely preserve the hope of your getting some money some day.

    If you claim to have a better way then lay it out….here, along with your proof.

  51. @Mercurious

    “In other words, OTB is, by hir own admission, rather less than a good-faith seeker of truth, and somewhat more akin to an ‘agent provocateur’.

    HMM you will notice that I had been participating in this LP forum for over a week and was quite curious as to the amount of personal abuse thrown my way.

    It was after this observation that I commented on Cat forum. Not before.

    The timeline is
    1) participate in LP threads.
    2) notice coninual and childish insults from other members.
    3) comment on the insults in another forum to see if anyone else had been treated the same.

    Turns out many know of the abuse levelled at “non-conformists” in this forum.

  52. @ Bilb

    “GetofftheBus, look around, talk to people, see how problems are resolved, and you too will see that a carbon tax is a ripple in the road to a better world, not an insurmountable obstacle.”

    Others, such as Fran , argue thatthe carbon price will increase prices so much as to lead to behavioural changes in peoples consumption habits.

    On one hand we have people saying the cost increases will barely be noticable, and on the other hand, we have people arguing that the price increases will be big enough to change buying habits.

    Who is correct?

  53. Goodness BilB,
    You really do make assumptions about other people while changing your mind on a regular basis.

    In relation to international competitivenes and manufacturing costs you’ve said:-
    “3 No, in that this varies only by the smallest margin, unless 4 impliments a major policy shift such as changing the compulsory superannuation from 9% to 12%.”
    Then you said;-
    “Manufacturing costs are constantly in flux.”

    So a 2 or 3% change in super is a major policy shift, and a 2% change in the price of a car is insignificant. What I would suggest to you is that you are blinkered in your responses, and it relates exactly to your personal business model. You don’t really care about the employees in the aluminium, steel and car industries do you?

    The better way for Australia is to reach an International concensus and agreement on the best action, not to be one of the first lemmings jumping off the cliff .

  54. Is that it?

    “The better way for Australia is to reach an International concensus and agreement on the best action, not to be one of the first lemmings jumping off the cliff ”

    Is that all you’ve got?????

  55. …”not to be one of the first lemmings jumping off the cliff ”

    Er, lemmings don’t jump off cliffs. Try another metaphor.

  56. Hal9000, responding to John Michelmore, said:

    Er, lemmings don’t jump off cliffs. Try another metaphor.

    It’s not at all surprising that the ignorance of the apologists for pollution-as-usual isn’t limited to the science of climate change. The sort of people who buy uncritically into urban legends are ideal as patsies for the polluters. That this one was Disney-based just adds to the aptness of the delusion.

  57. Is that it BilB?
    No response to the comment about 2 to 3%insignificant change to compulsory super levy on your business, as compared to the massive change resulting from a carbon tax on the steel, aluminium and car industries.
    Whether lemmings jump off cliffs is not really relevant, the point is that crucifying segments of Australias industry should only be done when all countries agree that their similar industries should be taxed on the same footing. Its simple, one in all in; why do you want to complicate it with a carbon tax that will achieve nothing?

  58. John Michelmore tried:

    the point is that crucifying segments of Australias industry should only be done when all countries agree that their similar industries should be taxed on the same footing.

    {my emphasis}

    Petitio principii — nobody suggests crucifixion either individually or collectively and in any event, no tax is proposed. You need to make a better attempt to pretend you simply seek reasonable policy because resort to such language is a dead give away.

  59. Please quantify this massive change, JohnMichelmore. What is this massive change to Steel, Alumiunium, and the Car Industry. I recall having a look at those items upthread and there is no massive change. The Aluminium Industry can get all of its energy from solar sources, and the other industries the change amounted to pocket money. And if you recall I spelt out how fluctuations of 50% in steel prices have had no effect on my business. What practical experience have you got?

    Then please spell out how you are going to prevent destructive climate change. Show us your great wisdom.

  60. Fran,
    Whatever Australia does; unless all carbon consuming countries adopt the same principles at the same time, some industries in some countries will be working under a different set of rules that will influence their decisions about whether they operate or not in that country.
    Whether you call it a tax or a carbon price is not really relevant. If it goes into consolidated revenue and gets lost as many levies and taxes do, and without reinvestment into “green” solutions, it’s a waste of time and money.

  61. JohnMichelmore,

    Different countries already do work under different rules and tax systems. Europe has had carbon pricing for a decade at least. And obviously you have completely missed the part where the Carbon Pricing system under consideration does reinvest in green solutions.

    So what is to be your next false claim.

    I’m still trying to assess what you abilities are. Your attention span is highschool though so far all of your arguments are primary school. So for a kid you are doing well to be sharing in these discussions, but please spend a little more time in the library.

  62. BilB,
    You still don’t get it. You have said that a 2% change in the price of a car is insignificant for a carbon “tax” impact. This probably equates to a 3% production cost change
    Then you turn around and say a 2% change in the superannuation guarantee, which is what, say 2% change in your total wage bill is major policy shift. What makes 2 or 3% in one case major, and insignificant in the other.
    Your viewpoint is all based around your business, with little consideration of others.
    The 50% change in stainless steel prices was a worldwide change,
    I would have been surprised if it had affected your business.
    A carbon “tax” applied in Australia and not applied in Thialand will affect car production or component manufacture in Australia.

  63. BilB,
    I love it when you get flustered and resort to personal attacks.

  64. The steel and aluminium industries will most likely be partially compensated but they both waste a lot of energy with current technology. There is a new aluminium smelting process available soon which will greatly reduce emissions and power consumption. Our car and many other manufacturing industries need to be protected against non-carbontaxed imports with some kind of tariff.

  65. Thats unusual, On The Bus made a comment I received by email, but the comment isn’t here??

  66. No JohnMichelmore, You don’t get it. The difference between a superannuation increase and a material price increase is that you can design around a material price and/or adapt by changing energy sources to renewable origin. There is nothing you can do about an increase in the wages bill if you need the staffing level.

    And if you ask Fran, adapting and changing is exactly what the Carbon Price is intended to achieve.

    Alright you missed that oh so obvious fact, so now we are able to define you a little more. It is obvious that you are not academic (academics try to create a reputation for their career), you are not business as you clearly know nothing about business and again business people like to talk about their exploits. The fact that you are so careful to reveal nothing about yourself suggests that you have something to hide, so I’m leaning towards your being a high school student perhaps 11th grade, or you are a prison librarian.

  67. BilB,
    I love it when you get flustered and resort to personal attacks.

    Just where are the iron and steel producers that can use renewable energy sources. Please show me the designs and actual significant operating plants. Without these case histories your statement
    ” The difference between a superannuation increase and a material price increase is that you can design around a material price and/or adapt by changing energy sources to renewable origin.”
    just falls in a heap

    If On The Bus’s last comment were visible you would see how the arguments that; the impacts of a carbon tax are minimal, and the carbon price will bring about change, are not compatible.

  68. It is a bit disturbing JohnM that you have taken to sending yourself emails, now, hmmm. I suppose that you have to go for lockdown soon so talk to you tomorrow.

  69. JM said “Just where are the iron and steel producers that can use renewable energy sources”
    This illustrates BilB’s point about High school year 11 nicely. Energy is energy, electron flows along wires whether it is from a steam turbine at a coal fired plant or a Solar Thermal plant. You don’t need to change your smelting facility for renewable power.
    You DO need to change your smelter to a more efficient design to save money and a carbon price will nudge the reluctant to invest in more energy efficient plant.

  70. I shall play nice with the others TigTog, I apologise. We all know something about each other here, and that adds something to the experience. I was trying to help JohnM let go a little, but he seems to be completely insular.

  71. @ Bilb

    “The fact that you are so careful to reveal nothing about yourself suggests that you have something to hide, so I’m leaning towards your being a high school student perhaps 11th grade, or you are a prison librarian.”

    Just another proof of the personal insults used in this forum that get a tick of approval from the mods.

  72. Do either BilB or SG know how iron (and then steel) is made from iron ore currently.

    I’m not aware of a commercial operating design that can do without a reducing agent like coke or carbon (or reducing gas). Does anyone know of one? It appears SG and BilB know but won’t let on. Please let us all in on the process.

    I suppose OneSteel Whyalla could plant trees to replace the coal supply. Its an awful lot of trees per day. How many trees are required to produce in excess of1500 tonne of pure carbon per day. Is it practicle and what are the additional energy requirements and practicalities in using such high ash carbon feed to produce iron. In the Port Kembla case this requirement is in excess of 6,000 tonne of pure carbon per day.

    As carbon and energy is a major cost to steel producers they have been driving reduced fuel requirements for years.

  73. Ah Bilb, grudgingly said.

    Deferential, glad to be of use,
    Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
    Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
    At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
    Almost, at times, the Fool.

  74. OnTheBus #82,

    Just another proof of the personal insults used in this forum that get a tick of approval from the mods.

    Actually, he was reproved at #80.

  75. I see you’re still up, JohnM.

    Pig Iron was originally made using wood as a heat source and reducing agent. With todays technology it would take about 3.6 cubic metres of hardwood to produce one tonne of pig iron. So it would take around plantation of 26 kilometers square to feed your Whyalla steel making facility. Port Kembla was about to transition to oil to fuel its blast furnaces just before the oil shock in the 70’s, so the process can be operated with fuels other than coking coal. Not that anyone is proposing that at this stage. But..your assertion is false.

    Steel making is an electrical process along with the use of oxygen both requirements can be supplied from renewable sources.

    You see, JohnM, it just took a little bit of research along with some thought and the seemingly impossible, making steel renewably, is in fact possible.

  76. @Bilb

    “Steel making is an electrical process along with the use of oxygen both requirements can be supplied from renewable sources. ”

    What are the renewable sources running the steel plants?

  77. JM, you asked about iron and steel producers that can use renewable energy sources, now you are shifting the goal posts to not using coal based reducing agents. This is the dishonesty in your debating.

    But since you have brought up the topic, first and foremost, much better efforts need to be made to recycle steel and use less energy in it’s production. Secondly, there are new, more efficient processes which combine coal or a carbon source with iron ore into pellets which are fired directly.

    A price on carbon will drive these efforts much faster.

  78. Do your own research, OntheBus. Read what has been written, it is all there.

    SG, that is interesting (peletized iron making process). I saw a reference to that but did not read it, now I will have to go back to that. And you are right, without the carbon pricing pressure significant change will not take place.

  79. I’m sorry SG, the energy source in iron and steel making is predominantly carbon based, it always has been, and always will be.
    Iron production from iron ore requires a reducing agent .

  80. Should be,’ which are fired to produce steel directly from iron ore’.

  81. @ Bilob
    “Do your own research, OntheBus. Read what has been written, it is all there.”

    You said that the electrical requirements for our steel plants comes from renewable sources.
    I cannot find which renewable source is supplying such large quantities of electricity.

    Could you just tell us as you know the answer?

  82. Goodness BilB where are you getting your data from?
    The carbon production of a forest is between 0.5 and 2.0 tonnes per year per hectare.
    Hence if you could grow a forest near Whyalla (which would be difficult) and assummed you could harvest 1.0 tonne per hectare per year the calculation becomes at minimum 1500 tonnes carbon X 365 days = 547,500 hectares or 5475 km square.
    Also unfortunately the gas permeability of a blast furnace is provided by the coke when the burden melts, it can’t be replaced by oil. Only a small part of the coke can be replaced by oil. When the oil prices went up the oil was replaced with pulverised coal carried by nitrogen gas.
    Whatever you fantacise as a solution needs to be able to be applied practically.

  83. For BilB direct reduction process

    JM, the energy source for iron and steel production need NOT “always be” carbon based as solar thermal or PV or wind generated electrons will melt steel as well as coal generated ones.

    The ‘Reduction’ source for iron and steel production will always be carbon based. The difference is clear.

    OTB, from your own quote “Steel making is an electrical process along with the use of oxygen both requirements “CAN” be supplied from renewable sources. ”
    I have highlighted BilB’s ‘can’. You lack some critical reading skills.

  84. Read ALL of the words OntheBus

    “Steel making is an electrical process along with the use of oxygen both requirements can be supplied from renewable sources.”

    Note the word “can” in there.

    The fact is that GenIIPV can supply that energy.

    John Michelmore,

    ” the energy source in iron and steel making is predominantly carbon based”

    The energy source for making is electrical which at most steel works is derived from electricity generated from burning the gas released from the coking process. Of course if that process is in fact a charcoaling process the steel making will be entirely renewable. And backup power may well come from Whyalla’s soon to be built CSP plant.

    But steel making everywhere else that energy come from the grid which can be any of a number of renewable sources including hydro.

    You guys know nothing about any of this, and can’t even be bothered researching you pathetic arguments.

  85. SG,
    The reference you have attached uses gas as the reductant which contains both hydrogen and carbon.
    You need a reducing agent to produce iron, it cannot be done without a reducing agent, currently the reducing agents are primarily carbon based.
    You are getting confused with steel production that uses iron and electric arc furnaces to produce steel. A carbon source is not necessary in steel production from iron.

  86. Thanks, SG. This whole ridiculous argument here was worth it just to get that Kobelco link. That is really interesting and may well be an essential global warming adaption technology with pocket relocatable iron and steel mills providing industrial agility in a rapidly changing world. Worth watching closely. It is also offers a value added opportunity for Australia to use to offset the cost of carbon pricing.

  87. Bilb,
    The energy sources for making steel from iron ore are predominatly carbon based from black coal. I’m not going to say it again.
    Approx 600 kg of coal is required per tonne of iron.
    Its great that you believe that someone from the steel industry knows nothing about it.

  88. “But steel making everywhere else that energy come from the grid which can be any of a number of renewable sources including hydro.

    It could also be nuclear.

    However, we both know that neither is a reality in this country as the greens hate nuclear and hate dams for hydro-power.

    Your use of the word “can” is a nice fantasy .

  89. NO….John Michelmore. Iron making uses carbon. Steel making uses electricity and Oxygen. I’m not going to say it again.

    In GrigoryM’s link there the first part which details the use of carbo to generate carbon onoxide is the iron making part of the process which yields pig iron and slag. The pig iron is then transfered to the steel making furnace. Where the pig iron is delivered molten to the steel making furnace the process may no t need the use of electricity as the heat to maintain the process comes from the combustion of the carbon in the iron which continues until the carbon is reduced to less than 1% at which point the iron becomes steel. Where steel making is performed away from the presence of a blast furnace, the iron making part of the system, then the heat to melt the iron/steel is provided electric arc from carbon electrodes. This is a 2 stage process.

    Now go back, read the information properly, and then apologise.

  90. Grigory,

    You will be pleased to know that using John Michelmore’s figures

    “Approx 600 kg of coal is required per tonne of iron”

    the increase in the price of rolled steel plate is 2% ie .6 tons carbon time 3.1 to CO2 times $30 per tonne CO2 is 56/2800 which is 2% approx rounded up. And the really good thing that we have learnt here si that the entire steel making industry can become carbon neutral by moving to a renewable source of carbon, which entirely feasible.

    Two percent is nowhere near enough to affect Australia’s competitveness. And thanks to you guys the truth of Tony Abbott’s lies have come out. So what Coalition fiction would you like to debunk next?

  91. Good find Brian.

    Well how wrong was I. All of that speculation could have been put aside with one little link.

  92. Fran @ 102: Hilarious. A self-Muller-isation.

    Unfortunately for Watts et al, denying reality and obtaining self-consistent data are mutually exclusive propositions.

  93. BilB @106

    You will be pleased to know that using John Michelmore’s figures…

    Nope, means nothing to me.

    You folks just kept dancing at opposite ends of the room, so I found the Steelmaking links and posted them. Nothing else to it.

    So what Coalition fiction would you like to debunk next?

    What you (or John Michelmore or OnTheBus) would like to do next is entirely up to you. But, if this comment is meant to infer something about me, then it is entirely wrong.

    Bon apres midi.

  94. Grigory,
    It is pointless trying to communicate with BilB.
    At the beginning we worked out that the impact of a carbon price was about two percent, and at 106 Bilb has recalculated it at 2% and concluded the steel industry can become carbon neutral. My goodness!!
    Thanks for digging uo the steelmaking info, well worth the effort for the other readers who might have learnt something about steelmaking. We currently can’t make iron (the precusor to steel) from iron ore without using carbon (coal, coke , gas (or 5500 sq km of trees theoretically in Whyalla’s case))

  95. You have a reading problem JohnM. There are 2 seperate conclusions there. The most important of which is that the carbon price applied to steel would be in the order of 2% based on your assumption of carbon consumption per tonne of steel produced which when rolled to plate is 2800 per tonne according to google.

    It is an easy calculation. So what is your problem now? Does that not suit your inflated argument.

    Do you know how to do calculations? If so then how does that calcualtion come out from your perspective?

  96. Trees required for Whyalla? 650 square kilometres (26 kilonmetres square) with a tree growth rate of 35 cubic metres per year per hectare. Your calculation is out by a factor or 8.

  97. Yay, another climate clippings thread trainwreck! Two for two here!

    Could we please think about taking the argument up a level? Do OnTheBus and others want to debate:
    * does anthropogenic climate change exist? Is it a risk to Australia’s prosperity?
    * Does Australia have a historic responsibility for part of the problem? Should Australia be part of the solution?
    * Will this come with adjustment costs (whatever the final benefit or cost)?
    * Is there an alternative? is ‘do nothing’ on the table for you guys?

    So where are you actually at, are you climate deniers, are you simply angry at the ETS, or where are you at? I’m finding it hard, you seem quite evasive whenever challenged on this point.

    One thing you really don’t seem to get at all is that the LP mods and regular posters aren’t in fact generally ahppy with this government or it’s approach to fixing climate change. There is vigorous debate here, people argue for taxes, for regulatory solutions, for trading schemes, for and against nuclear power, for and against photovoltaics, etc etc.

    We’re not here in any sense to try and ‘defend’ Gillard’s scheme – many of us think it’s a dog.

    Two things you will see us close ranks over however are:
    * human caused climate change is real and a real risk to our way of life.
    * Australia has multiple compelling reasons to act to mitigate that risk.

    If you want to debate whether anthropogenic climate change is real and a real risk, you’ll get short shrift. Nobody has to be polite to these sorts of delusions any more. If you don’t think Australia should be comparatively disadvantaged in any particular way, well there’s an argument to be had, that I think should be convincing. Not least of all, it’s Australian law.

    If you think the ETS is a dog, well welcome to the debate…

  98. BilB, it’s not a fruitful debate, but there’s no chance in hell you’d get 35 m<sup)3/ha p.a. at Whyalla. I do know a bit about trees.

    But stop debating them at this level, really.

  99. Yep, it’s not supported in the comments field. The tags that will work in comments are severely limited by design, otherwise you be breaking teh blog.

  100. wilful @ 117, John Michelmore is an avowed climate sceptic who ran for election for the Climate Sceptics Party. Happens he didn’t do too well.

    OnthyeBus, is also a climate sceptic as far as I can see. Jumpy is I think a simpler soul who wants to learn, but is also inclined to scepticism at times.

    There is a question as to whether scepticism blends into denialism. Usually I think it does.

    I’m not at all hapy with the thread. The question is what to do about it.

  101. Hey wilful — don’t bother with OTB, he’s already admitted on the last thread he’s an ‘agent provocateur’, interested only in stirring up shit for the sake of having a laugh with Catallaxy mates. A waste of pixels talking to him.

    And Michelmore, exactly how much legislative impact do you expect to have on behalf of the Climate Skeptics’ Party by debating here, in this Purple House of Representatives?

    You and TerjeP (Liberal Democrats candidate) spend a lot of time on these threads here. I would invite you to reflect that your time spent debating here, and respective votes garnered at elections, appear to have an inverse correlation…

  102. Exactly Wilful. If deniers will not stand in front of a CO2 laser to demonstrate their assertion that CO2 cannot interact with infrared radiation then fuck them. They consider themselves to be smarter than the members of BOM, CSIRO, Aust Academy of Science, Aus Meteorological and Oceanographic Society or US equivs, NAS, AAAS, AMS, NASA, NOAA or UK’s Royal Society, Royal Met Society, UKMet or any other national scientific bodies for matter. (Do check out those websites BTW, some great material there). All of these scientists are stupid and only they, Bolt and some other freaks are in the know.

    Admittedly, I have had on occasion some people (two) who were genuine. They said something stupid on a forum, basically rehash some denier point they’ve heard and I’ve linked up those organisations and asked them to check their assertions against those organisations. These two realised then that they did pick up rot and changed their minds when looking at trustworthy sources. Like me, they were not scientists and we have to trust authoritative sources – fortunately when every authoritative source is in sync then that makes it easy (except for conspiracy types.

    But those that continue to think they’ve outsmarted every scientific body, we’ll they’re all cranks. Not worth pissing on. (unless they will stand in front of a CO2 laser, then I’d respect their short lived opinion 🙂 )

  103. @ Brian.

    “Jumpy is I think a simpler soul who wants to learn, but is also inclined to scepticism at times.”

    You think scepticism is a bad thing in science?

  104. @ Mercurius

    ” don’t bother with OTB, he’s already admitted on the last thread he’s an ‘agent provocateur’, interested only in stirring up shit for the sake of having a laugh with Catallaxy mates.”

    It was actually your hostile and insulting personal attacks that led me to comment on such behaviour in another forum.

  105. I’m sorry, Brian, I tried to make a meaningful discussion but this overflowed from the last thread. I think that I will withdraw for a while as I have a trade show in Melbourne next week and we have not even started to prepare for it. But I read on with interest. Don’t give up, The information is the key, the discussion is bonus. We should be getting some summer Arctic ice figures soon.

  106. You think scepticism is a bad thing in science?

    Of course not. That’s exactly the kind of facile comeback that gives me the irrits.

    OK OTB, Merc, guns back in holsters, please. What I’m interested in is positive suggestions as to how to improve the threads.

  107. By the way, the Hungry Beast pure awesome rap clip that Roger Jones starred in and linked to in the last thread got picked up by Crikey today.

    Reaction from the dennialists? Unhappy, and sad.


  108. BilB, be assured that your contributions are welcome and valued, but getting drawn in is easy, but then ennervating rather than invigorating as discussion should be.

  109. wilful,

    I thought it was TEH LEFT who were supposed to be humourless. I know I am and it saves a lot of money on squirty buttonhole flowers.

  110. Depends on your expectations and how you see it, I guess, DI(nr). The last shall be first, in certain circumstances.

  111. @wilful, yeah, jeepers, what terrible language from those pinko, dastardly, unconscious, trivial, inane, inert, negligible, deceitful, pointless, lubricous, drugged, diminutive, misleading, insulting, ill-defined, useless, Machiavellian, antiquated, impervious, unperceiving, fatuous, execrable, insipid, hardened, laughable, corrupt, detatched, opprobious, trifling, disdainful, haughty, absurd, unresponsive, acrimonious, offensive, impudent, nonsensical, out-cold, impassive, insincere, down-on-the-knucklebone, grizly, sly, sickening, shifty, unappreciative, superficial, foolish, hypocritical, mercenary, frivolous, disgraceful, petty, asinine, disingenuous, shocking, guileful, irrelevant, scathing, foul, prosaic, dispassionate, immaterial, craven, impertinent, conniving, delusive, lunatic, insensate, ridiculous, nugatory, underhanded, passionless, rude, impolite, worthless, derisive, slight, monstrous, recreant, destitute, feeble, droll, dilly, unnecessary, villainous, savorless, shameful, unavailing, sinister, inept, incomprehensible, shady, stupid, immoral, illogical, discourteous, loathing, parsimonious, money-grubbing, disrelish, irrational, insignificant, presumptuous, insensitive, peewee, antediluvian, invidious, facetious, scandalous, overbearing, epigrammatic, senseless, farcical, paltry, praetorian, disrespectful, indistinct, pompous, intrepid, lesser, brazen, futile, oblivious, minor, insolent, debauched, taunting, indifferent, arrogant, hateful, lily-livered, ludicrous, flimsy, Lilliputian, ghastly, apathetic, vapid, surfeit, imperceptible, trenchant, detestable , purposless, unessential, meaningless, nonchalant, faint-hearted, scornful, vain, disreputable, cunning, vulgar, sanctimonious, obsolete, obscure, mordant, unimportant, impotent, ineffectual, idiotic, incognizant, sterile, contemptuous, pusillanimous, hideous climate scientists.

    Oh wait…

  112. What I’m interested in is positive suggestions as to how to improve the threads.

    Positive suggestions:
    – If you have nothing constructive to contribute, read, listen and keep your questions to yourself.
    – Nobody is entitled to waste people’s time with persistent tendentious questioning without first demonstrating an understanding of responses already provided.
    – If people wipe their muddy boots all over the welcome mat, it gets whipped out from under them.
    – Extrapolating from the contents of these discussions to irrelevant hobby-horse topics (eg. What is it with Teh Left and…? Al Gore is fat!)
    – Ignorance is not a crime, but neither it is an excuse for poor behaviour.
    Willful ignorance is another matter…
    – Nobody is entitled to make the thread “all about me”. We’ve all been stuck in those first-year university tutorials where someone has to turn every minor point the lecturer made into a long working-over of their personal issues and beliefs. And we all sat there, suffering in silence, willing the tutor to just kick that time-wasting SOB down the corridor…

  113. Positive suggestion.
    If a question arises that you can’t answer, don’t answer.
    Or say ” I don’t know”

  114. Brian,
    Some more positive suggestions for you:-
    -If you can’t contribute without personal attacks, don’t bother.
    -If you are contributing under a name other than your own, don’t expect another to detail their life history for the sake of working out their age, education and work history.

  115. John Michelmore, please don’t confuse being called on bullshit with personal attacks. They’re actually quite different. (Ad hominem != “They’ve pointed out I’m a fool.”)

    I don’t think you’ve suffered any actual personal attacks. Of course, I reckon I’m entitled to take the piss …

  116. We’ve all been stuck in those first-year university tutorials where someone has to turn every minor point the lecturer made into a long working-over of their personal issues and beliefs.

    Fortunately, Mercurius, that almost never happens in the Mathematics department.

    This may not be the time to make this observation BTW, but it’s really hard to type with a demanding cat on your lap.

  117. DI(nr),
    Naturally, I take all your comments as taking the piss.
    This doesn’t apply to BilB, I made a point of note writing BS in this post.
    How was the straw house building, watch out for wolves!!

  118. This may not be the time to make this observation BTW, but it’s really hard to type with a demanding cat on your lap.

    You are right, it is not the time to make the observation. The correct time to make that observation is when China, India, Europe and the USA have all agreed to make the same observation, and all their governments and captains of industry have agreed to impose demanding cats on their laps by 2050.

    Especially when you are stroking said cat, and laughing maniacally at the evil genius of your scheme to “destroy Australia’s competitiveness” and have us all living in caves dressed in loincloths 😉

    PS – When the cat starts walking all over your keyboard, it’s time to feed it.

  119. You forgot my demand for one million dollars, Mercurius.

    As to cats and keyboards, this morning, Mr Snuggles was on my lap. Bruce spotted this, decided she wanted some of the action, and jumped up onto my keyboard (thus making the current window do something rather odd). Once she was Shoulder Cat, she slid down onto my forearm and gently put one paw on Mr Snuggles’ head. I think she was trying to push him off.

  120. please don’t confuse being called on bullshit with personal attacks. They’re actually quite different. (Ad hominem != “They’ve pointed out I’m a fool.”)

    Yup. Probably a lot of confusion about how to behave swings on people’s understanding of a “personal attack”.

    There’s a lot of issues at play in people’s personal conduct here, and threading the needle is difficult:
    – In most quarters, we admire plain-speaking. We prefer that people call a spade a spade, instead of “digging instrumentation”. OTOH, calling a spade a “f#$^#$ shovel” isn’t always helpful, either. Yet our normative view of plain-speaking implies that when someone is being a boor, a bully, thread-jacking, derailing or engaging in otherwise disruptive behaviours (eg. persistent tendentious questioning without engaging with answers), they ought to be called on it. And no, it’s not a “personal attack” to describe somebody’s behaviour as unacceptable.
    – Modern manners can be so confusing. I missed the exact moment it happened, but sometime during the last 10 years, it somehow became a worse social offence to call somebody a foolish, racist, sexist, boorish, buffoonish, tiresome troll, than to actually be one.
    – The injunction to rein in this kind of “personal attack that isn’t” actually supports the privilege of the hegemonic social group — which collectively demands that “I can behave as badly as I like, I can engage in whatever reactionary and obstructive and disruptive behaviour I like, and if you point out my bad behaviour I will call the Waaaahmbulance and declare your arguments null and void.” It’s a classic weasel way to continue engaging in egregious conduct.

  121. I doubt even DI(nr) wants to destroy Autralia’s competitiveness, or live in a lion cloth (although the straw house will be warm I suspect without carbon based heating)
    However there are others, whom don’t really have any idea about what their doing and their impact on the Australian economy. Some of these already have cats and only year 11 schooling.

  122. Dedicated to those left waiting, with apologies to S.B. for not sticking to the French Original.

    [stage lights]
    John M: [struggles to remove his log in and fails] Nothing to be done.
    Mercurius: I’m beginning to come round to that opinion. All my life I’ve tried to put it from me, saying Mercurius, be reasonable, you haven’t yet tried everything. And I resumed the struggle.
    [to John M]
    Mercurius: So there you are again.
    John M: Am I?
    Mercurius: I’m glad to see you back. I thought you were gone forever.
    John M: Me too.
    Mercurius: Together again at last! We’ll have to celebrate this. But how? Get up till I embrace you.
    John M: Not now, not now.
    Mercurius: May one inquire where His Highness spent the night?
    John M: In a blog.
    Mercurius: A blog! Where?
    John M: Over there.
    Mercurius: And they didn’t beat you?
    John M: Beat me? Certainly they beat me.
    Mercurius: The same lot as usual?
    John M: The same? I don’t know.
    Mercurius: When I think of it all these years but for me… where would you be? You’d be nothing more than a little heap of bones at the present minute, no doubt about it.
    John M: And what of it?
    Mercurius: It’s too much for one man.
    DI (NR): We’re all born mad. Some remain so.
    OTB: Don’t go yet.
    BilB: I’m going.
    OTB: What do you do when you fall far from help?
    BilB: We wait till we can get up. Then we go on. On!
    OTB: Before you go tell him to sing.
    BilB: Who?
    OTB: Toy Abbott.
    BilB: To sing?
    OTB: Yes. Or to think. Or to recite.
    BilB: But he is dumb.
    OTB: Dumb!
    BilB: Dumb. He can’t even groan.
    OTB: Dumb! Since when?
    BilB: Have you not done tormenting me with your accursed time! It’s abominable! When! When! One day, is that not enough for you, one day he went dumb, one day I went blind, one day we’ll go deaf, one day we were born, one day we shall die, the same day, the same second, is that not enough for you? They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more.
    Mercurius: Dodo?
    John M: Yes.
    Mercurius: I can’t go on like this.
    John M: That’s what you think.
    Mercurius: If we parted? It might be better for us.
    John M: We’ll hang ourselves tomorrow. Unless unconditional and eternal economic growth comes.
    Mercurius: And if it comes?
    John M: We’ll be saved.
    Mercurius: Well? Shall we go?
    John M: Yes, let’s go.
    [they do not move]
    Disclaimer: Any characters and theme in this play are entirely fictional and do not represent any real person or situation.

  123. Wilful, I don’t take any credit for this Nobel Prize winning exchange and admit (sheepishly) of having been a character in the occasional Théâtre de l’Absurde here.

    Meanwhile, back to the real world, Natural Gas may not be the savior as anticipated according to The Oil Drum. (how do you embed links again, post new layout?)

  124. Embedding links is same old same old html – [a href=””] your text here [/a] using chevrons not square brackets.

  125. Cheers wilful, that command line is far too long for my poor cognitively challenged brain to remember, thus I used to do a cut and paste number of the instructions featured in the previous layout.

    Been sitting on a link for days now wondering where to put it since Fukushima has gone off the radar on LP. Fascinating how a major disaster focuses political will.

    IIRC, the Hamaoka plant, is far more exposed to earth quake damage than Fukushima plant, as well as, prevailing winds would expose Tokyo. Hence its suspension and reliance on power-saving efforts in the private sector and among the public. Quite ‘visionary’ Naoto san’s pledge for efforts to create a more energy-efficient society in Japan. Although understandable in the circumstances.

    Also, very exemplary of him to give up his salary as prime minister until the crisis has ended.

  126. Aviation from Biofuel Thomas Maschmeyer speaks with Robyn Williams on the Science Show about significant improvements in conversion of lignocellusic biomass from waste streams into bioethanol suitable for aviation.


    Robyn Williams: So really, Thomas, have you had a look at some of the figures of this, what you could actually provide for a nation like Australia, for a city like Sydney, if you were to scale up what you’re doing to a level that really is something that might be working in 2020, 2030?

    Thomas Maschmeyer: Biomass is of course a reasonably scarce resource, and when people go around spreading that we can replace all of the fossil oil with bio crude oil or biomass, that just doesn’t work. In terms of where do biofuels probably sit best, I think it’s in the aviation industry. If we were to change all of the aviation fuel into renewable fuels based on our process, based on lignocellulosics, we would need about 10% of the world’s current agricultural production. That’s a large number, but I can imagine that to be a possible addition via maybe macro algae, going offshore into salt water, not competing with current land use, not competing with fresh water, and also by bundling all my current waste streams.

  127. Gosh! Getting the font attributes for that last post right was utterly counter-intuitive! Thanks for the preview function because it allowed me to play with the tags to see how to get it right.

    Apparently, since the default font attribute in blockquotes is italic, when in blockquoted text you need to write the italics tag (here [em] where bracket = chevron i.e. ) to toggle the italics off, then write it to close (here [/em] where bracket = chevron i.e. ) to toggle them back on again.

  128. Fran: most markup langauges (e.g. LaTeX, HTML, Markdown etc) behave in this way – the emphasis tags toggle the italicisation so that your emphasised text is emphasised no matter what the context (i.e. italic when the context is non-italic, and non-italic when the context is italic).

    I imagine that because the blockquote environment includes italic tags, the em tags undo that italicisation.

  129. Thanks Jess — it all makes sense now. Afterwards it occurred to me that a similar thing occurs over at Crikey Their blockquote mark-up is called by enclosed brackets and text style is set to italic. If you try to italicise with a tag in the blockquote, you get plain text.

  130. Ootz @ 152, like you I don’t try to remember the formula for linking. I have it in a Word file which I keep open and copy it from there.

    If you want spell check here BTW and are using Firefox, go to Firefox Home and download an English dictionary as an add-on.

  131. Interesting article from Greg Jericho (aka Grogs Gamut) debunking the idea that a carbon price will devastate CO2 intensive industry

    Mining for Perspective

    The article tracks shareprices of the most CO2-intensive comapniues since the in principle announcement of February 24 2011.

  132. jumpnmcar @ 159, the article tells us that the La Nina has ended, the dry season is here in northern Australia and is likely to stay for a while. What’s to complain about that?

    It also says concerning the black Friday fires:

    At least 100 people died in Melbourne during the extreme heatwave – a 45 per cent jump in deaths – and more died in other parts of Victoria, SA and northern Tasmania.

    Professor Nicholls said Melbourne temperatures exceeded 43C for three days, an event never seen in 150 years.

    Are you saying that’s wrong? If so please quote your source.

  133. Watts’ self-debunking is the biggest news in the politics of climate change since “climategate.” Watts has co-authored an article that shows that the surface temperature record that the IPCC has been relying upon has been right all along, and that Watts’ own surface stations project, perhaps the biggest plank in the AGW denialist movement, is without foundation. Watts’ followers of course won’t mention it. Why would they? It would undermine their very raison d’etre.

    This is something that we should shove in their faces every time they raise their ugly heads.

    I think this news is so important that it deserves its own thread.

  134. On the current CO2 price kerfuffel …

    It seems to me that the effective price of CO2e emissions {i.e the explicit price, adjusted by exemptions, plus any regulatory burden and complementary measures to mitigate, sequester} must at a minimum, be close to the price in the EU. If the initial explicit price is low (e.g $20tCO2 being bandied about) then this means that

    a) compensation must be targeted verry narrowly at low (rather than middle income) households — perhaps substantially ignoring out everyone above 50-60% of AFTWE. Much of that would probably need to be delivered in means-tested non-discretionary services rather than cash, so politically, this would be a harder sell.
    b) There would need to be almost no exemptions from the sweep of the pricing regime — fuel, forestry, agriculture, cement — everyone would absolutely have to be in right away.
    c) there should be no industry compensation at all for so called EITEs and BTAs should at most reflect fugitive CO2 market advantages.
    d) Regulatory and direct investment measures would need to be significant and ubiquitous. One could not rely on the funds for all of this. The measures would be revenue negative.
    e) the year on year increment would need to be steeper, so that those making long term investment decisions would end up looking at the same effective cost of Co2 emssions over the life of the investment.

    In practice the package would be harder to sell, and there’d probably be less abatement per dollar of effective price, but the government should make clear that this is a consequence of the attempt to start with a lower explicit CO2 price and note the LNPs preference for a zero explicit price, with all that entails.

  135. I should have added that a robust approach to removal of fossil HC subsidies would need to be taken as well.

    Interestingly — I heard Uhlmann do combat with Bob Brown this morning on behalf of the filth merchant lobby and mining thugs on their ABC. Sadly for Uhlmann, Brown managed to say a few things in the interview, cutting down the time available to Uhlmann to prosecute the cause. The horde of wailing banshees will be disappointed. Perhaps next time Uhlmann can play it safe and interview himself, perhaps with just a hand puppet symbolising Brown and a silly voice. Maybe it could run on ABC23 as well then.

    their ABC — any idea as long as it’s endorsed by Murdoch

  136. Thanks Brian @152, done so.

    silkworm, the self-contradiction of Watts was to be expected, one can only push shit uphill for so long, until something breaks and you are covered in it. There are many more candidates for such occurrence to come! The reality is that these people are only the token brain-farts for the Organ of the Market to plant into ordinary Jack and Jill psyche to FEAR change in order to continue BAU of enslavement to self-destruction through the fetish of economic growth and mindless consumption. When the crap stops flowing from the commercialised/corporate (mass)media I’ll open a good bottle. Besides that, AGW is only one of Homo sapiens major self-afflicted existential problem.

    My hope lies in Human resilience, ingenuity and will. However, these two characters tend to come to the fore most, when the problem is experienced rather than perceived. So unfortunately we are a long way from a tidal change in getting universal agreement and commitment to counter the AGW challenge as well as finding a sustainable way of living on this planet and honouring our life on it.

  137. @ FRAN

    Why do we need to compensate people?

    The effect of the carbon tax will only increase costs by 0.1% typically for the majority of business out there.

    It will barely be noticable, so why compensate people?

  138. Fran @ 168, I think you heard a replay of the Uhlmann interview with Bob Brown on the 7.30 Report last night. It went like this:

    Uhlmann fires off questions speaking too rapidly for this old brain to catch what he was saying.

    half a sentence into Brown’s reply Uhlmann would interrupt and every 5 seconds thereafter. Brown would keep talking until he drew breath and then the whole thing was repeated.

    To me it was mostly a babble of sound. It was a complete joke. The ABC has to do something about it.

    I wondered how the whole fiasco could be transcribed. Must check it out tonight.

  139. OTB @ 170, surely it can’t be too difficult to work out that consumers drawing electricity from the grid will pay somewhat more than 0.1% more, which was the electricity component in BilB’s manufacturing operation.

    Abbott has told you about a million times. He might exaggerate and talk out of his arse, but he’s not entirely wrong on that one.

    OTOH, as Fran says, and the Govt has said a million times, many households will be compensated, even overcompensated.

  140. Question for Bilb,

    How much more will your product cost to the consumer, the end buyer.

    You have quoted only a 0.1% increase in electricity in your manufacturing costs. What about other factors influenced by a carbon price?

    So what will be the total percentage increase in the cost of your product to the end user?

  141. Naomi Oreskes was also on Conversations with Richard Fidler today. OTB and Michelmore could have a listen if they aren’t afraid of their world views being ground zero for a truth bomb.

  142. Brian @ 10:53,

    OntheBus has a point. As the Carbon Price is applied to the production cost, the much touted really cheap coal electricity at 5 cents per Kwh, does anyone have a qualified figure per $20 carbon price per tonne that the 5 cents increases by? (no doubt this has all been done before but here it is again). That is the first thing. Now as the electricity distributors are enjoying some where between 25% and 50% (soon) price increases over the last 3 years, it will be a greedy distributor who applies profit to any further increase in production costs as a result of the carbon pricing. It is my belief that the electricity industry has already been taking funds intended to be passed on to the government for the CPRS which was supposed to be refunded if the CPRS failed, which it did, and therefore it can be argued that there should be no further increase as a result of the “tax”.

    According to this calculation

    “The thermal energy content of coal is 6,150 kWh/ton. Although coal fired power generators are very efficient, they are still limited by the laws of thermodynamics. Only about 40 percent of the thermal energy in coal is converted to electricity. So the electricity generated per ton of coal is 0.4 x 6,150 kWh or 2,460 kWh/ton.”

    for $20 per tonne of CO2 released 2000cents divided by 2460 times times 3.1 for Carbon to CO2 (adding the weight of the oxygen) to be 2.5 cents increase.

    So for a family using 10,000 units per year this will amount to an increase $250 per year. Now where a family income is $40,000 this increas amounts to .06% of the gross family income.

    So……work on from there.

    Also try to explain what the hell all of the Coalition garbage is based on!

    Of course there will be some compounding of the impact. What I am trying to point out is that for most businesses the direct impact of the carbon tax, at least as far as electricity is concerned, will simply be absorbed and no compounding effect of prices will occur.

    That is what I was pointing out. A .1% increase in costs against turnover is not sufficient to cause me to change the pricing of my products on its own.

  143. Wily @ 173
    It just seams to be cherry picking to make i point.
    In the same article
    “”Chairman Rajendra Pachauri said climate change would see the world face more such extreme events, including cyclones, floods, droughts, heatwaves and fire”””
    So I made a list of extreme events in Australia and went looking, as any normal person(?) with a grade 12 education an a laptop would do.
    What did i find?
    Longest heatwave; Marble Bar 1923,160 days
    Highest temp; Cloncury 53.1 1889
    Lowest temp; Charlots Pass -23.4 1994
    Longest drought; 1958-68
    Severe cyclone; either Monica 2006 or Mahina 1899
    Wettest Year; 1950

    I’m putting the work in mate,(very limited time available) but how are people going to except that the climate events are getting more extreme?
    I’ll look at frequency when i have more time.

  144. BilB,
    The costs that are missing from your calculations are as follows;
    a) the electricity transmition losses, around 13%.
    b) the mark up on the increased cost by the Distributor.
    c) the mark up on the increased costs by the Retailer.
    d) the indirect impacts of a carbon price on the business.

  145. John Michelmore,

    Transmission losses if applied would take that to .7%.

    You did not read what was said regarding margins and their relevence to the rest of your thought bubbles. bc and d are already being paid in advance. If you go back through the published history of the CPRS you will see that this is plainly evident.

  146. Jumpy,
    I get very concerned about these “off the cuff” comments in relation to whether (or weather) event frequency and severity and damage costs are related to climate change.
    If you go the Roger Pielke Jr he has a number of analyses which show no change.
    As Chairman Rajendra Pachauri also said at the same time;-
    “On that there is very little doubt; the scientific evidence is very, very strong. But what happens in Queensland or what happens in Russia or for that matter the floods in the Mississippi River right now, whether there is a link between those and climate change is very difficult to establish. So I don’t think anyone can make a categorical statement on that.”
    So we all get confused about the real situation, and or we cherry pick what we want.
    To be honest I think the umpire is still deciding on the impact of climate change on severe weather events and I think Chairman Rajendra Pachauri is saying just that . Besides its the weather not the climate.

  147. So, basically a non event as far as increased costs to a typical family are concerned. Add in compensation, and even over compensation and there is no incentive for anyone to change their consumer habits.

    There will still be people replacing their big-screen tv’s every 1000 days or so because the prices have not gone up by any noticable amount.

    I thought an argument for the ETS was for price increases to force people into changing their consumer habits?

    Bilb just killed that as a reason.

  148. “”””To be honest I think the umpire is still deciding on the impact of climate change on severe weather events and I think Chairman Rajendra Pachauri is saying just that .”””

    No. He said,

    “”””Climate change would see the world face more such extreme events, including cyclones, floods, droughts, heatwaves and fire”””

  149. UK to cut emissions 50% by 2025. Here’s to their coming economic boom off the back of renewables – the one that shows our naysayers what a bunch of D-grade economic dunces they’ve always been.

    Rule Britannia!

  150. Bilb,
    Yes I read your comments in relation to recent price increase. However in SA where electricity prices have moved up 25 to 30% in recent times, we were told this has nothing to do with carbon and was the result of upgrading infrastructure and transmission equipment.
    I suspect in reality the distributors and retailers will multiply the production cost increase, because here the massess already believe that the recnt increases were the result of upgrades and nothing to do with carbon.

  151. “. Here’s to their coming economic boom off the back of renewables ”

    I am wondering which renewables are up for grabs.

    Hot rock energy?
    Hydro energy?
    Wind energy?
    Solar Panel energy?

    These are the ones i know of but surely there are more as the above don’t seem to be working too well.

    What have I missed?

    Of course why not go nuclear? Clean, efficient and safe.

  152. @179 your scope is too narrow. You’re forgetting to look for the number of highs and lows in more than one location. eg…how many ‘record highs’ have been set at all the weather stations around Australia, and how many ‘record lows’ have been set at all the weather stations around Australia, over the same period?

    What you will find is, as we get closer to the present day, the record highs outnumber the record lows, in ever-increasing proportion. Climate is global, it’s not what happened at Cloncurry in 1889.

    Sorry, but a Grade 12 education and a laptop ain’t gonna be sufficient to overturn AGW. If only it were so, we could all breathe a bit easier.

  153. Lefty E

    “UK to cut emissions 50% by 2025”

    The way its economy is going at present, everything will be cut by 50% by 2025.

  154. John Michelmore @ 182, I don’t regard Roger Pielke Jr as a reliable source. He’s possibly cherry picking.

    jumpnmcar, Merc @ 188 is right, you are looking at things too narrowly. We broke a lot of records for rainfall for individual places last summer. He’s right in that with temperature the record highs are happening at an ever greater proportion to record lows.

    When Pachauri talks about “extreme events” he is most likely talking about the top 10%, rather than just records. Here the pattern is also clear in recent years.

    I’d prefer more nuance than a single line statement. Unfortunately I don’t have a good link to cover the topic, but have bookmarked an interview with Kevin Trenberth on extreme deluges and climate change, and this section of the IPCC report. Unfortunately Ch 2 seems to concentrate mostly on the US where temperature change in recent decades has not been as marked as in many other places.

  155. OTB @ 183, increased prices are not intended to ‘force’ consumers to do anything.

    The carbon price will be applied to the 1000 biggest CO2 producers. There is an incentive for them to keep their prices down by producing less CO2.

    I gather the compensation will be done on the averages. So there is an incentive for consumers to consume less if prices go up, but also to purchase from competitors with lower prices.

    For significant sectors of goods and services there won’t be any or only minimal price changes.

  156. OTB @ 187, you have missed a few, but we’ll wait for an article to appear rather than scurry around finding stuff for you. Plenty of wind in the UK.

  157. Hi Brian and others chatting about climatic variability,

    The trouble with analysing any correlation between extreme weather events and climate change is that our records are just too short. Extreme events, by their very nature, only occur once or twice a decade normally, and we simply don’t have enough data to make statements about them with confidence.

    The other problem is that climate models seem to suggest that the variability (at least in terms of precipitation) in the US is atypical of the globe as a whole. I have a colleague who has just submitted a paper to Science looking at the variability of weather events for the globe as a whole (sorry I don’t have links to his paper yet, but he’s the same guy who did the predicted precipitation atlas for Australia last year). When you look at the global picture, the variability in weather events in the US is predicted to increase but this is not the case globally. So be very careful about trends which are extrapolated from the US (or any local area) to the global case, because they’re possibly wrong.

    The issue here is that there is a global energy bound on how much evaporation can take place in the atmosphere as a whole. Most adsorbed long-wave radiation (via carbon) is re-radiated, and of the amount that is left over, most energy simply goes into the oceans – without really increasing the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere (although that has been increasing too – Tamino had a post on this recently I think). This is only at the moment though. Once the ocean surface temps get to around 32 deg (which is about the SST in the Pacific warm pool at the moment IIRC) then ocean-surface evaporation will increase significantly, and that’s when you’ll start to see some real pick-up in the energy of weather systems on the globe. Hopefully we don’t get that far.

  158. OnTheBus: At the risk of inflaming Fran, we can’t go nuclear – it’s too late. We have no decent nuclear engineers in the country, and no means of training them except by sending them to the US or the UK. Can’t build a plant without expertise unfortunately.

    The other question is whether you can justify an entire nuclear industry (mining/refining etc) on the basis of one or two plants. I am happy to be corrected but I thought that the numbers didn’t stack up in favour of a small scheme – we’d have to have about 5 plants to make it worthwhile.

  159. Jess, that’s a balanced statement @ 196. Upthread John Michelmore said the jury is still out, and that’s probably fair enough too, but My understanding is that during the last decade in many categories there have been what appear to be distinct emerging trends. 2010 was somewhat off the dial, I don’t recall the actual numbers.

    There are a number of things going on – more heat and hence more energy in the system, an increased carrying capacity of water vapour in the atmosphere, the expansion of the tropics and an associated movement in circulation systems towards the poles, a change in the behaviour of the northern jet stream, changes due to more water and less ice in the Arctic and possibly changes in the way the northern systems interact with each other.

    That’s probably not complete, but it is totally unsurprising that we would get changes in the overall pattern of extreme events. But as you say, the kind of records you need to distinguish observed events from natural variations don’t rally go back far enough.

    Pachauri said:

    “What we can say very clearly is the aggregate impact of climate change on all these events, which are taking place at much higher frequency and intensity all over the world.

    “On that there is very little doubt; the scientific evidence is very, very strong. But what happens in Queensland or what happens in Russia or for that matter the floods in the Mississippi River right now, whether there is a link between those and climate change is very difficult to establish. So I don’t think anyone can make a categorical statement on that.”

    So on attribution to AGW it’s more certain on the general pattern and less certain as you narrow to regional observations and individual events.

  160. In relation to a renewable energy “boom”.
    The countries that are doing well, produce the wind turbines and solar panels etc.
    If England, or Australia are to participate in this “boom” then we need ground up manufacturing of these items, we just don’t have it, and won’t get it the way the ETS, carbon tax or CPRS will be introduced.

  161. Brian: The interesting thing is that the global behaviour appears to be a zero sum game for the moment. So when looking at global trends, the extreme precipitation events in Q’land are offset by other extreme dry events elsewhere. Insofar as this energy bound is a link, what we can say is that climate change is linked to these changes in local variability by moving systems from one part of the globe to another.

    Not good if you’re a farmer in a normally wet area which is drying up, that’s for sure, or someone with a multi-million dollar investment property on the BrisVegas waterfront.

    The thing that these sorts of studies suggest to me is that we need to be very careful & skeptical of claims of increasing or decreasing global variability, despite the extreme changes in local variability. The two should not be confused.

    The same goes for denialist studies which claim to show no change in global variability – this is exactly what we should expect, but not because the climate isn’t warming up.

    Although the ocean is buffering changes in bulk energy in the atmosphere to a large extent for now, this’ll only be the case until the evaporation from the sea surface picks up as SSTs increase. Although that’ll take a fair bit of warming, we appear to be well on the way now. I’ll try to get a preprint for you guys or a PDF once it comes out.

  162. Following on from I&U’s comment: NZ is already investing heavily in tidal energy (both in terms of feasibility studies in Cook Strait, through to actually putting in turbines at the mouth of the Kaipara Harbour). At this rate Australia will have to import expertise and equipment from them.

  163. Jess @ 201, a couple of things. An example of the zero sum effect came last northern winter, when there was extremely cold weather in the mid-latitudes matches by unusual ‘warmth’ further north. I say ‘warmth’ because when they were getting temperatures 20C above average in Northern Canada and Alaska it was still very cold in human perceptions.

    But as a result you have two batches of extreme events.

    Secondly, one of the ways that warmth comes out of the ocean is through a greater incidence of rain, as against snow, especially around the Arctic. This leads to lower albedo on the ice and actual melting as a feedback.

  164. John Michelmore,

    Stick to milking cows. You clearly know very little about manufacturing, despite your 15 years at a steel works. Certainly not enough to have any meaningful opinion about what Australian Industry can achieve.

    If the above is an unfair disparagement then please put forward your engineering and manufacturing credentials. A basic chemistry degree does not stack up, but perhaps there is more.

  165. Further to I&U @ 198, there are quite a few local schemes in Britain and Germany where local sources such as biomass are used to generate power and the resulting heat saved and used to heat buildings.

  166. Jess@9:10,

    The key indicators to my way of thinking are the increase in ocean temperatures, the increase in atmospheric CO2 and moisture content, melting ice, increasing methane release from tundra, and (from what I can see) a yet to be quantified increase in the atmospheric air mass turnover.

    With out all of that happening then we could all forget about any of this and carry on as we choose, apart from the issue of fossil fuel depletion, but these physical changes are occuring.

  167. “We have no decent nuclear engineers in the country, and no means of training them except by sending them to the US or the UK. Can’t build a plant without expertise unfortunately.”

    Thats right how could I forget.
    We do not allow any skilled migrants into this country nor allow people to come here to work.
    So asking experts to come to Australia is out of the question.

    “The other question is whether you can justify an entire nuclear industry (mining/refining etc) on the basis of one or two plants.”

    I thought Australia has a well established mining sector for uranium already. We are just selling it all to other countries to have clean nuclear power.

  168. @ Bilb

    “If the above is an unfair disparagement then please put forward your engineering and manufacturing credentials. A basic chemistry degree does not stack up, but perhaps there is more.”

    I am wondering if you could tell us what are your academic qualifications?
    What is your level of education?
    What is your job and average annual income?
    What scientific credentials do you have and where from?


  169. Here is the tag team at work again.

    It is really annoying when people with a political profile make sweeping dismissive statements about what Australians cannot achieve. Particularly when thay are so completely wrong.

    This is a Wizard Power project intended for Wyalla. Still on track from what I can see.

    So a. Australia can manufacture these projects, and b. they are getting under way.

  170. Scusimi, Signor Brian, per essere fuori dall’argomento.

    Hey OTB, can I ask you two questions?
    -What earned you that place in the penalty box and the pervasively low aura over at Whirlpool?
    -Have you noticed your avatar colour going from Deep Aqua @100 to Lime Green@125?

    BTW my credentials – retired Safari Guide.

  171. “Have you noticed your avatar colour going from Deep Aqua @100 to Lime Green@125?”

    mmmm nice colour , very purty 😀

    What other colours can we have? how about yummy yellow?

  172. Actually BilB, not being a mod, and being generally on your side, I reckon you went over the top there at #204.

  173. @OnTheBus

    So asking experts to come to Australia is out of the question.

    Well, the question isn’t really whether we can get these people in, but how much it will cost.

    I thought Australia has a well established mining sector for uranium already. We are just selling it all to other countries to have clean nuclear power.

    Sure, but pulling the ore out of the ground is easy. Refining the uranium is the costly & difficult part. If you’re going to set up a refinery, then you’d better have enough work for it to do. Uranium lasts a long time in a reactor (IIRC the nuclear subs being decommissioned by the US are still running on their original fist-sized piece of uranium put in when they were first commissioned). So it takes a lot of energy to create the refined uranium, but once the reactor is going it’s a long time between drinks if you’ve only got one or two plants. My understanding (which may be wrong – Robert Merkel prob knows more about this then me) is that the Treasury reports into putting in nuclear in Australia (I think they were going to do it at Jervis Bay for a while there) said that this was the biggest bottleneck. You can’t justify a refinery on the one or two plants Australia would need.

    Maybe we could piggyback on someone elses refinery process but if it was that easy then we would have done it already right?

  174. Possibly you are right Wilful.

    ABC’s Viginia Trioli was this morning put on the back foot when interviewing someone on the UK’s new position on CO2 emissions, she was expressing amazement that the new 50% target was introduced with virtually no public “debate” [like what is happening here is a debate] whereas here there is a total dogfight over a near pointless 5% target, and where she has been reporting on the Carbon Pricing from an obvious negative stand point with the tone being in anticipation of the failure of the pricing regime.

    So to suddenly be talking to someone in a country where the population says that thes emision reduction measures are all OK and that even tougher targets are good, came as a real confidence shaking wake up call for her. And that is the trouble for us here. This negative bullshoot campaign has gained real momentum.

    To the extent that Bob Brown has now come out all guns blazing against the news organisations that are bankrolling this drive, particularly News Limited with special mention for The Age. About bloody time.

    There is a whole new culture developing in Australia that it is OK to make bare faced lies,ie water is dry and if you go swimming at Bondi you will come out covered in dust, to support some political position…and you can expect to get away with it. The technique is to lead with a lie that cannot be refuted with out reference, then attack every response with more obfuscation and lies. It is very effective….and I have absolutely no time for it any more.

    Murdoch, or at least some of his leutenants were at the Koch Brothers ranch party before the last US election at which it was said that the strategy to elevate the “tea party” there to an election winable position. And this saw the spending of a record 4 billion dollars on that election. Brown is virtually accusing Murdoch of attempting to bring those tactics to this country with the likes of Andrew Bolt as the sharp edge.

    And this morning Trioli came face to face with this European and US divide.

  175. OTB,
    Thanks for your support @ 208.
    I don’t really understand what BilB’s poblem is. Still if BilB wants to attack from behind the anonymity of a blog identity, that BilB’s choice. Some of us are happy to have our real identity and views known, others like to hide while attacking others, and take little or no responsibility for what they say.
    I’ll be amazed if BilB actually answers your questions!!

    PS I didn’t realise me and you were a tag team, it’s news to me.

  176. Just an update on the Wizard Power project mentioned by BilB at 209.
    Because of the conditions placed on the project funding by the federal government, there is a risk that the project will not go ahead. The first reflective disk frame is laying upside down near the Port Augusta/ Whyalla Rd and has been there for at least a year ( I saw it last week personally). Nothing happening at the moment. The pictures that are in the links in BilB’s 209 comment are not from Whyalla!!
    I hope that this project ( and the reflector) gets off the ground, fingers crossed.

  177. John Michelmore, have you got evidence of your claims @217?
    According to CSIRO, as per Feb 2011, the Whyalla project is in early construction phase and I have not come across any other information or news of problems with the project.

  178. BTW, the last thing we need on this thread is a discussion on whether to have nukes. Done to death. Really.

    Just sayin.

  179. UK to cut emissions 50% by 2025. Here’s to their coming economic boom off the back of renewables – the one that shows our naysayers what a bunch of D-grade economic dunces they’ve always been.

    Renewables AND nuclear. The Climate Change Committee’s “The Renewable Energy Review” makes for very interesting reading. In virtually all scenarios there is a large slice of new nuclear generation. Also, for the foreseeable future, nuclear and on-shore wind remain neck and neck for the lowest LCOE according to their projections. Other renewables remain more expensive right through 2040.

    In reality to get 50% emissions reduction by 2025, they will have no option but to build new nuclear and even then it’s going to be really tough to do. I think the CCC document makes this very clear.

  180. To follow-up, the problem is reportedly with the grant:

    Solar site stalemate Government conditions stall $230m Whyalla plant , The Advertiser, 1 January 2011

    A $230 MILLION solar project for Whyalla and its 200 expected jobs are at risk because of “unreasonable” grant conditions demanded by the Federal Government.

    The Solar Oasis project was to be Australia’s first base-load solar power plant, with 300 giant parabolic dishes feeding electricity into the national grid.

    The consortium building the plant, however, says grant conditions imposed by the Federal Government for its $60 million contribution make the project commercially unviable. The consortium has been locked in negotiations with the Government since it received the grant deed in October, six months later than expected. Consortium director Alex Brasier said he was hopeful the Government would reconsider two of the nine conditions which had stalled the project.

    “It has been a frustrating process,” he said. “Once they did issue the deed, they had some conditions added to the project which Solar Oasis finds non commercial.

    If they don’t change (the deed conditions), it makes it very hard for the project to move forward.” Mr Brasier said the Government had demanded the consortium build four parabolic dishes and lock in all private funding before it issued the grant.

    “To build four dishes first implies we have got to spend well in excess of $150 million just to tick a box, so their risks are mitigated, which defeats the purpose of them participating in the project,” he said.
    Mr Brasier said the original plans had them beginning site works in July 2010.

    He hoped the deed would be renegotiated so they could begin next March.

    Whyalla Mayor Jim Pollock said the council would continue to lobby for the project which will “put Whyalla on the renewable energy map.”
    He said he wanted the State Government to help lobby for the project.
    “The project would be good not only for our region but the state,” he said.

    Federal Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said finalisation of the funding deed was a matter between the Department and the consortium.
    “The Government is proposing to invest $60 million in this project. It is essential the grant recipient prove they can deliver the proposed project to ensure the prudent administration of taxpayer dollars,” he said.
    “The last thing I intend to do is hand out taxpayer money to projects that cannot meet taxpayers’ expectations on viability.”

  181. I knew that Whyalla Solar had been delayed earlier, which is why I added the rider in the comment. Stalled is not dead. The comment was that we can manufacture this hardware. Considering the absolutely poisonous attitude in the political sphere to everything to do with carbon release abatement it is amazing that any project can get as far the Whyalla Solar Oasis has. Barry Brooke is somehow connected to it and he spends his every waking hour canning everything that is not nuclear.

    PS OTB tag team. It was said upthread that you guys send emails amoungst yourselves, ie you cooperate on these things ….. tag team.

  182. This morning’s NHK japanese news had a comprehensive look at the situation at Fukushima and the consequences. The most interesting of the consequences is that Japan is very thoroughly addressing power shortages and learning to conserve energy. I’m guessing that this is going to be turned, in typical Japanese fashion, into a massive advantage. An advantage that will have positive consequences for all of us in time, as systems and products designed to conserve energy start to flow out of that country. The silver lining of that otherwise intensely black cloud.

  183. Quokka @220,

    The UK has 50 years’ experience in nuclear power (mainly in how not to do it).

    Australia has zero years.

  184. And it may be just as well if this new take on cold fusion

    fusing hydrogen with boron to produce 3He for an eroi of 30 (if I read that properly).

    Wouldn’t that be a bugger. Be the Johnny come lately who built the latest fission reactors just in time for them to be obsoleted by really workable cheap clean cold fusion energy generation.

  185. @ Brian

    “BTW, the last thing we need on this thread is a discussion on whether to have nukes. Done to death. Really.”

    Nice turn of phrase…

    What was the outcome of this dead debate?

  186. @ OOtz

    “According to CSIRO, as per Feb 2011, the Whyalla project is in early construction phase and I have not come across any other information or news of problems with the project.”

    reasons for delays and true cost blow-outs are kept very quiet by govt agencies.

    For example, the public was not informed for the true reason nor the true cost of the Sydney desal plant.

  187. @ Bilb

    “OTB tag team. It was said upthread that you guys send emails amoungst yourselves, ie you cooperate on these things ….. tag team.”

    I have never sent an email to anyone on any forum.

    Except to the mods on this forum. And then only twice.

    So you are 100% wrong on us sending emails to each other.

    But nice little conspiracy theory there :d

    Now Bilb how about answering the questions you like to ask of so many others here.

    We are wondering if you could tell us what are your academic qualifications?
    What is your level of education?
    What is your job and average annual income?
    What scientific credentials do you have and where from?

  188. OTB @ 227, you are so obviously new around here. On many occasions there has been a fight to a standstill, often over several hundred comments.

  189. Thanks, FMark, it is refreshing to read information that is well substantiated and without blatant personal bias, so much more convincing.

    Just wondering OTB@228, could you emulate FMarks standard of contribution to the debate and substantiate your claim on the true cost blow-outs? Don’t mind if you email JM nor anyone else, as I don’t really care where the information comes from as long it is credibly presented and substantiated.

    If you are not able to do such, we have to assume FMark’s comment on the project as being closer to the actual situation than your vague claim.

  190. OTB @ 229, BilB has been commenting on this site for a very long time. Whether he reciprocates, given the questions he has asked of others, is up to him. However, we’ve come to know him by his knowledgeable and perceptive comments.

    The question about how much he earns is impertinent and irrelevant to my way of thinking.

  191. I’ve done a new post on the Anthony Watts temperature stations kerfuffle.

    As a result the new Climate Clippings thread will be delayed at least to Saturday and possibly to Monday morning.

  192. I’ve put a post on my blog about an interesting lesson to be learned from the Japanese earthquake: that even very large reductions in energy use can be obtained from behaviour change without much impact on our way of life at all. In Tokyo we’re showing the lie of denialist claims that reducing our energy use will destroy our way of life.

  193. The picture showing the actual status of The Wizard power project in Whyalla is here

  194. Thanks for that John Michlemore, but look I must be having a slow day. Could you explain to me again, but succinctly so we are no wasting each others time, what your argument is and if the story in the article relates to it in anyway?

    If you don’t mind, I too would be interested on your point of view on Mark Canny’s, CEO Intercast and Forge, critique on cabon tax and particular his final comment in this interview. After all, he is from your neck of the woods and obviously you do know something about steelmaking.

    BTW I partly grew up on a dairy farm and do know how to muck out.

  195. Ootz,
    Thankyou for the link.
    I think everyone should listen to that link.
    What is being highlighted in both Brians article here and by the CEO’s interviewed is the need for consistancy in Government policy and time to adapt to change. With an unknown carbon price and the potential for a massive short term change is the business environment; I believe we can rightly expect the impacts to be just as large.
    I believe that the current political environment, and poor government, could have huge unsatisfactory impacts on the Australian economy in the next few years.
    I went through the change in the car industry tariffs when there was a slow change to the protection. Our company was producing under body deadener and seam sealers for all the car manufacturers in Australia. This tariff change was passed directly back to the car industry suppliers in the form of a 5% reduction in selling price per annum .
    In one instance the GMH underbody deadener was being sold at a loss, so that we could maintain the rest of our products sales to GMH. Even at that slow rate of change, the impacts on car maufacturing were substantial.
    The ability of “green” industry and power supplies to be created, developed and commissioned also requires years to come to fruition, eg the Whyalla Wizard power project, and the geothermal industry. To introduce a carbon tax at $20 per tonne or above overnight, isn’t going to create these alternatives in the short term.
    What will happen in the short term is more likely to be destructive, when Australia is competing on an international basis with countries still thinking about controlling the use of carbon.
    While I agree man is having an impact on the climate; and I disagree that we know how much benefit a “carbon price” will make to the climate. I still believe we have time to come up with a more suitable approach to this “pricing”; while accounting for and progressing the need for all countries to act unilaterally, thereby minimising the impact on Australia’s economy.

  196. Thank you John for your measured and detailed response. It makes it easier to understand what your point is and to engage in a productive debate. Afterall the gravity of the problem demands a mature approach if we genuinely want to find the best fit solution to it.

    Reading your summary three questions come to my mind. If you have convincing answers to these consider me on your side.

    1. On what basis are you questioning the effectiveness of ‘carbon pricing’ and what alternative would bring far better outcomes allround?

    2. Could you substantiate your assumtion that we have enough time to find and ‘ease in’ with a more appropriate measure.

    3. If simple me knew from the mid 90’s, that fundamental change in society and industry was lying ahead of us within a decade because of co2 emissions, how come the Australian Industry is not better prepared and would further delay make such change not just more ‘difficult’?

    As it is, these questions are clearly related to Brians new Climate Clipping Post, and it seems convention on LP is to continue debate on new threads. So I look forward to your contribution to a constructive debate over there.

  197. Ootz,
    In answer to your questions.
    “1. On what basis are you questioning the effectiveness of ‘carbon pricing’ and what alternative would bring far better outcomes allround?”
    By outcome, I have assummed you mean what impact will carbon pricing have on the world climate. The only answer is “undetectable change.” A carbon price that compensates “everyone” in the short term will have no impact at all, so why do it? Why not look for a better alternative? The belief that Australia will set a good example, and other counties will follow is misguided; the other counties are soveriegn countries and can make whatever decision they like.
    If in Australia we must control the excessive use of finite resources the simplest and most effective method of modifying behaviour is a simple tax, at the sale point; in this case based on carbon input. All of this tax is reinvested in more environmentally sustainable non-carbon based industries and to provide the equipment to low income earners to enable substitution of carbon based energy. No monetary compensation to anyone. No imported item can then not have the same tax.
    The idea that carbon should be tradeable commodity really only encourages cheating, manipulation and emotion; and another financial market with its inherent problems.

    “2. Could you substantiate your assumption that we have enough time to find and ‘ease in’ with a more appropriate measure?”

    As humans we see things on a short time frame and potentially miss the long cycle changes that can influence the worlds climate. I’m not saying humans have no effect. I however still believe we can’t quantify our impact exactly, in comparison to natural effects and long term cycles.
    Indicators that we have some time to “ease in” to change are:-
    a) Global Ocean Heat Content is basically stationary since the introduction of Argo here
    b) Climate sensitivity is lower than first thought here
    c) Artic temperature anomolies match Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillations here
    All these references and authors believe in human induced climate change, what is in question however is the severity of the human induced change. Naturally if we don’t know the severirty of the human induced change we also can’t quantify the climate improvement that will result in a carbon pricing/tax/trading scheme.

    “3. If simple me knew from the mid 90′s, that fundamental change in society and industry was lying ahead of us within a decade because of co2 emissions, how come the Australian Industry is not better prepared and would further delay make such change not just more ‘difficult’?

    The basic answer here is that much of the big industry takes decades to change, because their infrastructure has life spans of 40 to 60 years. An integrated steel works still has infrastructure built during the 1960’s and 70’s; power plants like Hazelwood were constructed around 1970.
    It is the cost of replacement, the political and economic environment that will govern rate of change. A further delay of one or two years is not a significant time span in relation to the infrastructure life that has been used to justify the original expenditure.
    Politically it would have helped if governments didn’t just steal the carbon resource of landowners to achieve Kyoto goals, and do little else to encourage change.

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