A bit longer than 250 million years is when we had the Great Dying, the Permian–Triassic extinction event, when up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species became extinct. A mere 65 million years ago saw the extinction of the dinosaurs and the dawn of the Cainozoic Era. From a screenshot of this YouTube, this is how the continents were placed around the globe:
1. China has arrived
The biggest story of the week was probably the Chinese Communist party congress. Leader Xi Jinping is looking to stay for at least another 10 years and putting his “socialist thought” into the party constitution, places him alongside Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping in the pantheon of revolutionary leaders. But Richard McGregor says the real star is the party itself, and the West should wake up: Continue reading Saturday salon 28/10
There is no doubt that electricity in Australia has become expensive. Here is a graph on the National Electricity Market (NEM) states, other than Tasmania, against European countries:
It’s from a Carbon + Energy Markets report cited by the ACCC Retail Electricity Pricing: Preliminary Report, September 2017 comparing May 2017 Australian prices with 2015 European prices. The ACCC also note that:
There are currently no national surveys conducted in Australia that inform price reporting around what customers are actually paying.
Which is disconcerting. The one above was based on the weighted median offer of the three largest Australian retailers. Continue reading Electricity bills – Queensland acts because it can
According to Giles Parkinson at RenewEconomy, energy minister Josh Frydenberg has written to the Energy Security Board (ESB) to make sure they stay focussed on the task at hand. He has asked them “to restrict its modelling to only one specified short term target, and then assume emissions would “flatline” after that.”
- The intention of the order is clear: If the ESB were to factor in a long term target that matched the over-riding goal of the Paris climate treaty (keeping global warming well below 2°C), it would no doubt produce a document for the rapid decarbonisation of Australia’s grid.
Obviously we can’t have any of that nonsense to distract us! Continue reading NEG will probably win
Bruce Mountain in an opinion piece in the AFR (pay-walled) said the NEG was “shambolic” policy which “snatches defeat from the jaws of victory”. Bloomberg New Energy Finance, according to Laura Tingle (also pay-walled) says “the concept is innovative and elegant, and could well prove ingenious”. Continue reading Turnbull’s New Energy Guarantee – ‘shambolic policy’ or ‘innovative and elegant’?
1. Child art from those who became great
A few months back Artsy posted a piece What Do the Childhood Works of Famous Artists Look Like? It had works by Dürer, Klee, Dalí and Picasso, but my favourite was the painting by Edward Hopper, Little Boy Looking at the Sea:
The image was drawn on the back of Edward Hopper’s third grade report card dated October 23, 1891, when Hopper was nine years old. Continue reading Saturday salon 21/10
For over a month now I’ve been trying to do two posts – one on climate as an existential threat, and another on whether 1.5ºC is at all still possible. I keep being diverted.
Malcolm Turnbull has been dithering for months over whether the government would accept the Finkel review recommendation for a Clean Energy Target. For some time now, it has been clear that the climate contrarians in his own party, and the Nationals starting with Barnaby Joyce, would not accept anything that is negative about coal. In the end they asked the brand new Security Energy Commission for advice, in terms that were severely constrained. They got their advice, faithful to the brief in an eight-page letter, and announced a “breakthrough” in the form of a National Energy Guarantee to deliver affordable, reliable electricity with industry and stakeholder consultations to follow, plus the necessary modelling to be undertaken only after the states have agreed. Therein lies the problem. Continue reading Turnbull does energy policy on the back of an envelope
One morning recently, 10 October I think, local ABC radio host Steve Austin called up Queensland energy minister Mark Bailey to ask him about an announcement the Queensland government had made. Something about, on a voluntary basis, turning down your aircon so it runs at 26C and being paid for the power saved.
Bailey obviously had a story to tell, but wasn’t given a chance to tell it. Austin is not a boofhead, but he sometimes does a good imitation of one. In this case Bailey was bullied and harassed, “Just answer my question!”, which was whether the purpose of the scheme was to save people money, or to keep the lights on, I think there was a third option which I’ve forgotten. In any case the answer “All of the above” was not permitted, and we never found out what the scheme was about.
With Bailey dispatched, Austin gave LNP spokesman Scott Emerson the opportunity of a free rant, presumably in the name of ‘balance’ with no right of reply for Bailey. Later in the morning Austin told us he had trouble getting people to come on the show! What a surprise! Continue reading Queensland powers up for a warm summer
There was a disturbing interview with Stan Grant in the last edition of The Link on ABC TV. Trump and other major powers have a deal with Iran has called the deal with Iran where trade sanctions have been lifted in exchange for Iran stopping its nukes program. Trump has called the deal an “embarrassment” and “the worst deal ever negotiated” and has threatened to nix it.
And now he has. Not completely, but he’s on the way by ‘de-certifying’ it. Continue reading Trump walking away from Iran nuclear deal
1. Jacaranda time!
Any way the jacarandas are out in Brisbane now, so the place is turning purple. This photo is near the lake in the grounds of the University of Queensland:
Not well at all, according to the scientists. Actually it is a travesty of language to call Abbott’s position “science”. In this piece I’ll highlight the kind of thinking that unfortunately cannot be dismissed as an Abbott aberration, but has the Turnbull government in it’s thrall. Let’s start with David Rowe’s amazing cartoon from the AFR:
This David Rowe cartoon comes from the days when Tony Abbott actually led the country. Originally he had been a weathervane on climate change. However, as Katherine Murphy points out, he had done enough positive work on climate change as a leader, for example by signing us up the Paris agreement and retaining the RET, to disqualify himself from speaking to a group of climate denialists in London. She thinks is latest frolic is sad and cynical – just Abbott being disruptive as usual. Continue reading Tony Abbott finds his true voice on climate