A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



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The planned electricity shortages begin and duped Australians say “thanks”

Once upon a time Australians were rich enough to afford electricity on demand

Now obedient Australian’s are impressed with getting tiny refund for having voluntary mini-kinda-blackout.

Presumably, people are either desperate or already so trained in paying unnecessarily exorbitant electricity bills that they are grateful just to get a tiny fraction of their electricity payments back as an incentive for switching off when it suits those managing our inadequate infrastructure.

Demand response is a sales term for a voluntarily “doing without”. The ABC describes it as a wonderful new market force held back by selfish corporate greed (wouldn’t you know it?). The ABC doesn’t mention that electricity used to cost much less before we artificially forced renewables onto the grid and drove out the cheap reliable baseload generators or make the remaining ones less efficient and more expensive. But who remembers 1995?  Were ABC researchers even born then?

It’s like 50 years of history doesn’t exist:

Electricity prices in Australia

Another graph the ABC won’t show on TV

Behind-the-scenes battle over future of Australia’s energy market

It’s called demand response – it allows customers to save thousands of dollars by switching their appliances to lower electricity use at peak times.

These payments are funded by taxpayers:

LIZ HOBDAY: But Bethany James and Michael Basson are trying to save power and money by taking part in a big experiment that’s part-funded by Australia’s clean energy agency.

Cheers to the Big Experiment. We’re paying for electricity twice, through the meter and through our taxes. We pay when we use it and pay when we don’t use it too.

It’s called demand response.

They’re trying to cut their energy use at times when electricity demand is high – not just reducing their bills, but even getting paid.

MICHAEL BASSON: We’re been offered a $10 discount, or $10 credit on the account, for each time we’ve met our goal.

BETHANY JAMES: I think it’s quite doable, and I think that it’s good for the environment, helps out the grid.

I think it’s a really positive thing to do.

 Obedient serfs rejoice!

How tiny is “tiny”? This small:

LIZ HOBDAY: Last year [Oxford cold storage's] electricity bills went up by almost $4 million.

But reducing their power use for short periods with demand response has taken about 10 per cent off those bills.

GABOR HILTON: I think it’s fantastic. It helps to stabilise the grid and it also helps the bottom line.

So demand response is portrayed as a smart development, not as what it is — a desperate band-aid measure to compensate for a grid that’s struggling to keep up with a demand that is lower than it was ten years ago. Failing.

Lies by omission

DAN CASS, THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE: Few people realise, we pay a lot for electricity during the heatwaves of summer.

Generally, wholesale energy is about $100 a megawatt hour. During summer it, goes up to $14,500 a megawatt hour, and we all pay for that.

Dan Cass doesn’t say that for years  wholesale electricity were only $30 a megawatt hour. And it’s obvious why, renewables indirectly make electricity MORE expensive, wind generation makes gas power $30/MWh pricier,  and solar power at $70 per megawatt hour is still twice the price of brown coal.

And having more spinning reserve meant fewer electricity spikes. More renewables means higher prices, both as an average quarterly cost, and in the spikes.

Bottom line

There’s nothing wrong with efficiency improvements in a free market. But this is an inflated fixed fake market, and there are better cheaper options. This is not about a productivity gain.  Demand response wouldn’t have worked in 1995 because electricity was so cheap people wouldn’t have bothered.

Demand response (voluntary planned lack of electricity) is better than real unplanned blackouts, but it’s a sign of the decline, not a big step forward. It also adds a layer of complexity, reporting, and bureaucratic stranglehold on a market getting further from free market efficiency every day.

As an aside I see that this inadequate, one sided and poorly researched page expires 2,738 years from today.

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Midweek Unthreaded

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ManBearPriestMonks are the new climate experts: they declare faith in IPCC instead of God

Religious leaders dump coal, declare “no faith”

There goes my world. Who knew they had faith in coal?

So forget science, climate change is a moral problem. Is climate sensitivity 1 degree or 3? Ask a priest.

A group called Australians Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) has badgered 150 soft targets in the religious world to sign a grandiose letter making coal into the new Lucifer.

The Guardian

In an open letter headed “no faith in coal”, the leaders say the climate crisis is a profoundly moral problem and Australia’s response will be crucial in addressing it.

Signatories to the letter include bishops, rabbis, theologians, the grand mufti of Australia and the heads of the Uniting Church, the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils, Muslims Australia and the National Council of Churches.

Remember the alarmist maxim: ask a plumber to do the plumbing, a heart expert to do the surgery and when you want to predict the climate, ask an Imam.

Or failing that — ask a school student — which is what the religious leaders have done. Let’s quote their letter:

As you know, thousands of school students have been protesting in our streets about this emergency. They have three demands. We are writing to urge you to agree to them:

  1. Stopping the proposed Adani coal mine
  2. Committing to no new coal or gas projects in Australia
  3. Moving to 100% renewable energy by the year 2030.

Let’s ask innumerate teenage girls to set national energy policy. What could possibly go wrong?

It’s not like they are easily fooled slaves to fashion who make great cheerleaders.

The sound of breaking commandments:

I count five:

  1. Thou shalt have no other Gods (since when was the IPCC sacred?)
  2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain (don’t use God for Renewable industry advertising)
  3. Honour thy father and mother (not the teenage false saints)
  4. Thou shalt not bear false witness  (praise not the scientists who hide declines)
  5. Thou shalt not steal.  (see the Australian Renewable Energy Target — solar panels.)

The BishopRabbi economist says automation is bad for jobs

Solar power apparently makes more jobs:

The Adani mine in Central and North Queensland is an excellent example. People there need new, reliable jobs. Yet serious investment in solar would yield far more jobs than the Adani mine would, as it is less automated. And rejecting new coal will also help to protect jobs that depend on the Great Barrier Reef. There are currently 60,000 people whose livelihood depends on the Reef.

Let’s get rid of washing machines too and then women can be full time housewives again. That’ll create lots of jobs.

Solar power makes jobs in the same way that freight by horse and buggy does: a small high-maintenance unit can’t be used in an efficient way with economies of scales. Those economies being what makes trucks cheaper.

So the nice but weak religious leaders have handed their moral power to children and activists. There’s no reason they shouldn’t speak up on climate change, but if they care about their flock, they might want to research the positions they advocate. That means reading the arguments for and against. Instead they blindly follow a group that treats the IPCC as a God — the ARRCC describes its policy as pretty much everything the IPCC ever said.

Thou shalt not question foreign committees

After donating their brains to the IPCC the ARRCC rationalizes why any outcome at all proves they are right:

How the climate is changing

While the numbers above may seem small, their impact is much greater than just a global warming of temperatures by 1-2 degrees. This is firstly because this amount is just an average – the changes in temperature is unevenly distributed across the globe Some places around the world will experience much greater increases than this and some places will actually experience a DECREASE in temperatures.

This phenomenon of cooling and warming at the same time is partly explained by the effect that warming has on ocean temperatures and currents. As the air and land temperatures warm, so too does the average ocean temperature. The increased air and ocean temperatures causes accelerated melting of the ice in the arctic and Antarctic, resulting in an increase of cold water flowing into the oceans. The colder waters interact with the warmer waters to change the patterns of ocean currents, which sees some of this colder water flowing to places that in past have experienced warm ocean currents. As ocean temperatures mediate coastal land temperatures, the colder waters will cause colder temperatures.

So, religious geniuses, tell us what outcome would prove the theory wrong? If temperatures stayed exactly the same?

 And what does God/Budda/Mohammed say about scientists who are hiding data, declines, history, adjustments and methods?

Changing air and water temperatures also affects the weather. As ocean currents change this affects the air currents that flow above the oceans, changing cloud formation and wind patterns. The overall effect of these changing air currents is that most places around the world will actually experience much less frequent rain fall. However when rain does occur, it will happen with much greater intensity. This leads to a pattern of both droughts and floods. It also means that sometimes actual rainfall seasons will change, with dry weather during traditional wet seasons, and very wet weather during traditional dry seasons. The main effect though is to make the rainfall very unpredictable based on past experiences. Changing rainfall patterns also have an effect on traditional water catchment areas and existing river systems, which can affect previously reliable sources of fresh water.

Let’s all pay homage to the pagan rites of climate superstition: Droughts, heatwaves, random noise is “proof” of anything you like. They’re not worse than ones we had 1,000 years ago. Floods are not worse either.

A third effect of changing water temperatures and currents is an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as tropical storms.

Except tropical storms are not occurring more frequently, and the worst storms were hundreds of years ago.

ManbearMonkPriest says skeptics are wrong because of a flawed keyword study of pal reviewed abstracts in a biased-funding safe space for b-grade thinkers. That and because name-calling “denier” sounds so scientific.

Sceptical arguments

The above impacts are not just predictions but things that are being observed right now around the world. However there is still a significant and often vocal body of people who are either sceptical of climate change science or outright deniers.

The prominent people amongst this group are rarely climatologists or even scientists at all – they are generally social scientists such as economists, politicians, people connected with big business or social commentators.

Prominent? Tell that to Professor Richard Lindzen.

While there are a few scientists among this group of people, research by Cook et al in 2013 (“Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature”) found that 97% of published climatologists believe in the existence of human-induced climate change. That is, 97% of all scientists whose field of expertise is climate, and who have gone through the process of having their research peer-reviewed by other qualified scientists and published in a scholarly journal believe that climate change is happening and that it is directly linked to human activity. There have now been several pieces of research showing that sceptical scientists and think tanks indirectly receive substantial funding from fossil fuel industries.

Yes, and some unnamed research about unnamed people and unlisted sums claims they are paid hacks. These 150 gullible patsies will believe anything. They give religion a bad name.

Unfortunately the science of climate change is most often misrepresented in the media as a ‘debate’ between roughly even numbers of believers and sceptics, giving the impression that the scientific jury is still out. If the portrayal were more accurate, the picture would reflect an almost total consensus on the science, with only the tiniest minority of dissenters.

The media IS misleading. Skeptics outnumber and outrank believers. They won real Nobel Prizes, NASA awards, they walked on the moon they are MIT Professors of Meteorology. Half of meteorologists — fergoodnesssake — are skeptics, and survey after survey shows that two-thirds of geoscientists and engineers are skeptics.

There is no consensus among scientists, there never was, and it wouldn’t prove anything even if there was.

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Oregon: Police seek 11 Republican Senators — in hiding to stop vote on 80% carbon reduction

State troopers have been called in to get Oregon’s Republican senators back to vote on a climate change bill, but all 11 senators are in secret locations apparently interstate. No vote can take place on anything without at least one of those senators being in the chamber to vote.

Oregon Standoff, Eleven Senators in hiding.

Oregon’s Republican state senators go into hiding over climate change vote amid militia threat


Eleven Republicans refused to show up to work on Thursday and went into hiding in protest of HB2020, a bill that establishes a carbon cap, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Industries that emit carbon dioxide — power plants, manufacturers, etc. — would have to buy an “allowance” for each metric ton emitted, thereby reducing the incentive to produce carbon dioxide in the first place.

The goal of the bill is to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 versus 1990 numbers.

It’s a question of democracy: On the one hand, if Oregonians voted for this draconian cut, they ought get it. On the other, the Republicans are incensed and want a democratic solution — a state wide ballot. The legislation is such a disaster for a large proportion of Oregon’s voters that Republicans feel this is their only option. It’s a version of a filibuster.

So let’s give the people a real debate and a real vote and end the stand off now. What are the democrats afraid of?

Democracy on the rocks:

Why a group of US state senators are being hunted by police


Democratic Governor Kate Brown then authorised state police to try to locate them.

…petrol and diesel prices are expected to go up. Republicans say these changes will disproportionally affect rural Oregonians, like farm workers and loggers. They argue the plan should be referred to a state-wide ballot so “every Oregonian has a voice”.
Democrats hold 18 of the 30 seats in the state senate, but 20 senators have to be present for a vote to take place.

This is the second time they have recently walked out – winning concessions on gun and vaccination laws after another incident last month.

Other boycotts have also been known to happen elsewhere, including by Wisconsin Democrats in 2011.

The senators are being ordered to pay $500 (£390) each for every day they are absent. An online fundraiser to pay their fines has so far raised almost $38,000 (£30,000) as of Sunday.

Democrats once did a similar thing staging a five day walkout on “redistricting”.
The twitter feed where the action is: @Oregon_GOP.  That twitter account is heavy on sarcasm, calling photos of children and peaceful protesters “heavily armed militia”. Lots of people don’t understand satire, including AOC, who felt the need to yell back “These are people protesting peacefully – hence their POSTERS & not FIREARMS”.
Where were our conservative MP’s? Voting for more.

h/t Ibbogram, Pat, David B.

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Spot the gender-race flagwaving in climate junkets

UNFCCC logoThe Climate Change River of Gravy is so wide and so fast it pulls other Big-Gov religions into the flow. Kind of like a Bernoulli Effect of Bureaucracy. The vacuum of common sense sucks. Or fast flowing nonsense attracts more nonsense.

Anthropologists of the future will study UNFCCC meetings

Here, two deep state clan members fly to a joint junket in Bonn. The climate sect does a feminist-indigenous handshake as a test of social rank. Will Australia pass?

Gender issues top Bonn climate summit

Graham Lloyd, The Australian

Australian officials attending ­climate change talks in Germany are being grilled on how the country is tackling global warming by addressing gender and ­indigenous issues.

The Canadian is proving their value to the other dependents of Big-Gov (though not to Canadian taxpayers):

In written questions to Aust­ralia about its climate change ­response, Canada has asked whether indigenous or traditional knowledge was taken into consideration in developing domestic policies or implementing measures to address climate change.

This gives the Australian a free pass to brag about similar pointless flag waving to an imaginary God that preferentially burns down the houses of single indigenous mothers. Should the Australian fail the test, the Canadian will get to brag at home about how much more advanced they are, and they’ll also know not to sit next to the Australian in the bar, or invite them to after dinner drinks. The Canadian can’t really lose — unless the voters find out:

 “An indigenous carbon ­industry is growing from indig­enous Australians’ participation in the Emissions Reduction Fund and is providing a range of non-carbon benefits, such as an independent revenue stream and increasing indigenous employment,’’ the government said.

The Australian passes, putting all the right keywords into an otherwise meaningless sentence. No one mentions that increasing the cost of energy will reduce indigenous employment, nor that indigenous people in remote housing are more likely to die if they can’t afford heating and air conditioners. Actual concern about indigenous people would be a negative. It’s Big-Gov flag waving that matters.

The second test is the anti-old-white-men score:

In part 2 of the handshake the Australian junketee is tested on gender flag-waving:

Australia was also asked for more detail “about the measures Australia implemented at the domestic level of mainstream gender considerations into its ­climate change policies”.

Naturally, old white farmers are never front-line victims of changing weather patterns. Their shorter lifespan compared to career feminists is irrelevant, as is their mental health, or suicide due to climate driven financial stress. Caring about men earns no points in clan junket status:

The federal government said “national momentum towards equal opportunity means that Australia’s climate policies ­operate in a context which both considers and implements ­responses to gender inequity”.

If climate hurts men more than women, affecting mining, farming, construction and forestry more than the predominantly indoor work that women choose, the paid junketee’s will still be talking about  how women need to be paid more for taking less risk.

And when the frosts increase the big-gov clan will just book warmer hotels.

h/t Pat

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Weekend Unthreaded

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Peter Ridd: The Great Barrier Reef has about the same amount of coral as in 1985

The IPA team interview Peter Ridd. He explains that what’s happening on the Great Barrier Reef with coral bleaching is a normal cycle. He tells his story of being censured at James Cook university, but admits the state of free speech at universities in Australia is non-existent — even after his win. They discuss how we might reform science with audits (universities are almost a lost cause). We’ll probably never know how many scientists think similar thoughts to Peter Ridd. We know that they’ll need a $250,000 legal fund if they say so.

UPDATE: Importantly — Ridd says that the admin are still utterly convinced they are right. They have no remorse, no recognition of why they were wrong. Does this mean admin staff now decide what science is, not Profs? Apparently so. They hold the purse strings, not the Profs. Power follows the money. Indeed, JCU has no commitment to free speech; they’ve now removed the clause that ensured Ridd won. In their minds, their mistake was not in being draconian, but being careless with legal clauses. The Deep State tightens its stranglehold on science.

Peter Ridd: Of all the ecosystems in the world, the reef is one that’s best at adapting to climate change.

My jotted notes:

6:00 mins: Bleaching statistics

  • In 2016, 8% of the reef died, but regeneration is rapid — it can recover in a year.
  • The general rule for corals is the hotter the better. If you want to see the worst corals, go and see Sydney Harbour. There are even corals in Scotland. If it was warmer, there would be more corals. Temperatures for coral go right up to 38C in the red sea and corals are happy with that.

11:00 mins: The story of him starting to speak out in the media

17:00 mins:  The replication crisis in modern science

  • The problem is that there are no consequences when scientists are wrong. There is a drive to publish, and the more the better, but as much as half the research may be wrong, and there are no consequences for that.
  • If you can’t replicated it, it’s not science, but the ARC (Australian Research Council) has a policy of only supporting new work, and thus won’t fund a replication study. Ridd tried to get funding to replicate other work, but the ARC wouldn’t do it.
  • At its core it’s about quality assurance. If you don’t have a process you can rely on, even if you turn out to be right, you don’t have something worth having, you can’t rely on it if you can’t trust the process.

    Keep reading  →

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Surprise: 17,000 lost wallets show humans are nice people (mostly)

Humans are a gregarious species. Most people do the right thing, and it’s this altruism, or self-identification as a “good person” that the climate industry preys on.

In a new study, researchers pretended to be tourists dropping 17,000 wallets they’d “found” into banks, offices, theatres and such, then tracking which ones got returned. To most people’s astonishment (lay person and expert) not only were a lot of wallets returned but the ones with the most money ($94) in them were returned more often.

What nobody seems to have remarked on is that these wallets were just plastic pouches. Which makes it all the more amazing that in so many nations a mere $13 in a plastic envelope might prompt half the population (or more) to send an email. How many people couldn’t be bothered, not because they are dishonest, but they figure, with petrol and parking, it’s not worth the owners time to come collect this? Indeed, people even sent off an email to return the “wallets” which didn’t have money to begin with.

Ed Cara at Gizmodo inadvertently summed up the zeitgeist of Western self hate, saying that this new study shows ” …maybe we’re not as awful a species as we think we are. Or to rephrase, maybe we’re not as awful as the politically correct want us to think we are?

Kennedy said: Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country, but who says that anymore? It would be a brave politicians who put in a plea for a sacrifice for “the team”. Yet, people clearly like the idea of helping others.

The World of Wallet Returns

It’s really amazing how many almost worthless wallets were reported to their owners. Given that both wallets in the graph below were worth $0 and $13, it’s also possible that this test was not measuring honesty, so much as conscientiousness and organisation. Some of the lower scoring countries may have more participants living in a state of chaos. Some wallets will just have been forgotten and lost.

The amount of money in the wallet was adjusted to purchasing power parity for each country.

Research into honesty, Graph. Wallets returned.

Dark blue dots are the return rates of wallets with $0. The lighter blue had $13. | Click to enlarge.


The $94 dollar test wallet was only left in three countries. In all three, people made more effort to return the more valuable wallet. If the wallets had been real ones (instead of just plastic disposable ones) the returns rates would presumably be higher still, especially for the “no money” test.

Graph, Poland, UK, US, big money, honesty.

Fig. 2Reporting rates as a function of monetary stakes.Share of wallets reported in the No-Money (US $0) Money (US $13.45), and Big-Money (US $94.15) conditions.


Lots can be said about the value of a high trust society. It’s not just nice to live in, and safer, but it’s so much more efficient.

Sadly, lots can’t be said here in Australia about why some nations might rate higher or lower on this list. Culture matters, but section 18C means that we can’t offend people even if we want to help them live a less corrupt and depressing existence.

This was a fairly exhaustive study. The researchers changed the names, currency and languages in every country to try to make the wallet appear to belong to a local. They also tried to control for the use of security cameras, onlookers, and penalties. They cross correlated the data in so many ways. In the supplementary file they compared and controlled for email use, GDP, soil fertility, temperature, hotel ranking, geography, years of democracy, family ties, pathogens, and even rainfall. (Read the supplement file). Despite all these variables, mostly, the response was explained by people just being nice.

The researchers commented that a big motivator is that people don’t want to feel like they are stealing. This is called “theft aversion”. Imagine how good people are going to feel here in Australia when they find out their neighbours have been forced to pay for half their solar panels?

The wallets without “big” money or a key were pretty worthless

Wallet and contents. Pictured.

I wouldn’t really call this a wallet myself.

Climate, geography and weather

The most trustworthy groups lived closer to the poles, in colder climates and with more weather variability. I expect that preindustrial people competing against the weather have to cooperate more with strangers to survive.

Peoples with more pathogens in their recent history were also less likely to reach out to strangers to return the wallet. There’s a certain sense to that if you live in a world with cholera, typhoid and dysentery.

Experts mostly didn’t predict this

Clare Feisler Washington Post

The fact that people were more likely to return wallets that included money (especially a lot of money) surprised the researchers. It also surprised the 300 top academic economists they surveyed, who predicted people would be more likely to keep the wallets with money.

In 38 of the 40 countries studied, wallets with money were returned more often than wallets without money, which supports the idea that people are not purely selfish. Moreover, wallets with more money ($94.15) were more likely to be returned than wallets with less money ($13.45). The effect not only contradicts rational economic thinking, it is rather surprising. Both laypeople and expert economists predicted the exact opposite pattern of results in surveys reported by the authors.

Brianna, Abbott, Wall St Journal

The findings add to a growing body of research exploring, mainly in Western countries, how people balance their sense of honesty and self-interest. Most of these people who were studied proved willing to be dishonest to get ahead, so long as their self-interested pursuits didn’t leave them feeling like a cheater or damage their moral self-image.

Researchers also physically collected 172 wallets from the Czech Republic and Switzerland and found more than 98% of the money still inside.

They didn’t collect the wallets in most countries so they couldn’t tell if the money was still inside. But they selected Switzerland and the Czech Republic to test that, and found 98% or 99% returned the cash with the wallet.

Ed Cara, Gizmodo

The team also tried to rule out as many other possible explanations as they could. The list of factors that seemingly didn’t influence people’s willingness to return the wallet included the presence of a security camera or other bystanders where the wallet was returned, whether the country’s laws punished people for holding onto lost property, the age of the recipient who took the lost wallet and whether they were likely a local resident, and the identity of the research assistant who turned the wallet in

Still, the authors warned, these are only correlations. But if our propensity to return a lost wallet really does indicate just how altruistic and moral we can be to strangers, then maybe we’re not as awful a species as we think we are. At the very least, we might be underestimating our collective willingness to do the right thing.

What do you know: we are good people, and political correctness is wrong, again.

Keep reading  →

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Birds start fire at solar plant, cost $8m, stops 84% of plant generating for weeks

Expensive birds

California, Ranch solar Plant. Photo

California Valley Solar Ranch Photo Credit: Sarah Swenty/USFWS

Oops. On June 5th, an event described as “an avian incident” started a fire at the California Valley Solar Ranch plant in California. The 250MW plant was reduced to 40MW of generation. It’s expected to be back up and running on July 1. By then the incident will have cost the company $8m.

‘Avian Incident’ Knocks Out 84% of Massive California Solar Farm

by Millicent Dent, Blomberg

An “avian incident” sparked a fire at one of California’s biggest solar farms, affecting 1,200 acres and knocking out 84% of the California Valley Solar Ranch’s generating capacity.

Impressive company spin:

“ incidents such as these give us continued confidence in our risk prevention and mitigation plans.””

It’s not clear if this was one bird, or a flock.

The plant covers 2000 acres (8km2) was built in 2013 at an estimated cost of $1.6b using a $1.2b loan from taxpayers through the DoE. It makes about 550 GWh a year at times that may or may not suit Californians. No doubt readers here will help out comparing the output of an equivalent coal plant built at a similar cost. Imagine if a flock of birds (or just one) put a coal plant out of action for nearly a month?

It’s just another reminder that complexity costs. More infrastructure spread over more area means more potential points of failure. On the plus side, the bird incident obviously didn’t affect generation for half the time this month. (Nighttime).

h/t Pat.


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Finally “world first” study on nine houses shows wind towers make pulsing noise for 3.5 km

Wind Turbine pic near farms. Generic. Gonz - DDl

Generic wind turbine near farm. Photo: @gonz_ddl

Finally, a study looks at data on nine houses within ten kilometers of an old (probably small) wind turbine. What’s amazing about this research is not the result but that this study is so tiny, yet it’s still a “world first”.

There are already probably around 400,000 wind turbines installed around the world.* So you might think that there would have been scores of studies involving hundreds of people and followed up for a year or two. They would have looked at the effect of wind turbines upwind, downwind, side wind, in low wind, high wind, and at different times of day. They’d check for altered sleep patterns, lack of deep sleep, REM sleep, cognitive performance, blood pressure, cortisol levels, and school marks. Dream on. It’s like everything with climate change — who needs data?

Renewables are a $300 billion annual global industry. This work was done with a $1.4 million National Health and Medical Research Council grant. Where is the precautionary principle when we need it?

Can wind turbines disturb sleep? Research finds pulsing audible in homes up to 3.5km away

Nicole Hasham, Sydney Morning Herald

…the first results from ongoing Flinders University research into turbine noise and sleep found that low-frequency pulsing from a South Australian wind farm was audible about 16 per cent of the time inside homes up to 3.5 kilometres from a turbine, including 22 per cent of the time at night. The noise was audible 24 per cent of the time outside the homes. Recordings detected what complainants commonly describe as a pulsating, thumping or rumbling sound. The noise is technically known as amplitude modulation, and relates to a change in noise level that occurs approximately once per second as the turbine blade rotates. Field data was recorded at nine homes within 8.8 kilometres of the wind farm. Microphones were placed inside and outside homes and recorded almost 18,000 10-minute samples between 2012 and 2015. The data was recently analysed and the results published online last month in the Journal of Sound and Vibration.

In 2016 the research team was awarded a $1.4 million National Health and Medical Research Council grant for a separate wind farm noise study including lab tests and sleep measurement

If the world put just 0.5% of the annual “renewables investment” into researching the health effects that would be $15m a year.

There have been almost no studies into the health impact of wind farms. Remember the one in 2014 in Australia which was also a world first, and involved an eight week study on six people in three houses. It was a tiny study too — why we haven’t done this one hundred times bigger? Are we afraid of what the results might show?

2014: Turbines may well blow ill wind

Graham Lloyd, The Australian

PEOPLE living near wind farms face a greater risk of suffering health complaints caused by the low-frequency noise generated by turbines, a groundbreaking study has found.

The study by acoustics expert Steven Cooper is the first in the world in which a wind turbine ­operator had fully co-operated and turned wind turbines off completely during the testing.

As part of the study, residents living between 650m and 1.6km of the wind turbines were asked to ­diarise what they were experiencing, including headaches, pressure in the head, ears or chest, ringing in the ears, heart racing or a sensation of heaviness.

The effect that impacts the most on residents is not noise or vibration, but the sensation of infrasound. The threshold of sensations at  four to five hertz was felt at 50 db and above.

Survey participant Sonja Crisp, 75, said the first time she experience discomfort from the wind turbines, “it was like a thump in the middle of the chest.

It’s not about hearing the windfarms, it’s about the biological effects

People report nausea, dizziness, headaches or insomnia and other problems. Sometimes these occur at localized spots in a house, it depends on the shape of the house, the “hills” and the wind direction.

The decibel scale is not designed for inaudible infrasound. In 2014 the study showed that very low levels (in dB) of infrasound were detectable and recorded in the diaries of people in the houses who did not know whether the wind turbines were operating. One person with a hearing impairment was 100% accurate at detecting whether the turbine was running. The key points then:

  • There is a direct correlation with the external dB(A) level and the power output of the wind farm.
  • Where the dB(A)LF exceeds 20 dB there is a corresponding identification of noise in the diary observations.
  • At none of the houses has the dB(G) been above 85 and therefore if that level has taken as the hearing threshold of infrasound then there is no audible infrasound in any of the houses.
  • The use of 1/3 octave band information to compare infrasound generated by turbines and the infrasound in the natural environment does not contain the required information to identify any difference. When supplemented by narrow band analysis of the infrasound region the results clearly show that the natural environment of infrasound has no such periodic patterns.
There is more on those findings by Steve Cooper on the Waubra Foundation site.
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Trump winds back anti coal legislation, while New York ramps it up

Remember when we were told coal was dying?

Donald Trump is changing the rules which will keep older cheap coal plants running.

Trump ditches sole climate rule that aimed to reduce coal plant pollution

US Flag, Flying.Emily Holden, The Guardian

Donald Trump’s administration is finalizing plans to roll back the US government’s only direct efforts to curb coal-fired power plant pollution that is heating the planet.

Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency will replace an Obama-era climate change rule with a regulation that experts warn could help some of America’s oldest and dirtiest coal plants to keep running.

 His agencies have slashed programs designed to limit carbon dioxide from power plants, cars, and trucks, and encouraged oil drilling and coal mining.

Democrat states are expected to challenge the rule in courts, but Trump’s team argues that it doesn’t have the legal authority to regulate climate. Who does? God, maybe. If Trump wins that court case a whole lot of climate gravy may evaporate.

Trump will kill as many 80,000 people

One minute we’re talking about a pollutant that isn’t. Next thing, it’s a totally different pollutant that has nothing to do with CO2:

Coal plant air pollution – from tiny particles that enter the lungs – cause breathing problems and early deaths. According to an earlier estimate from EPA, the new rule could lead to 1,400 more deaths each year.

One academic analysis estimates that over a decade the repeal could lead to 36,000 deaths, and that other Trump environment rollbacks could lead to a total to 80,000 deaths.

If that health problem is real, there must be other better ways to solve it than by changing the global weather.

How many lives will be saved because electricity will be cheaper?  Researchers estimate airconditioners save 20,000 lives in USA each year. The heaters in winter could save twenty times more.

Trump is handing back control of energy to the states — so some of them can wreck it themselves. 

God bless America. When one state screws up, others will outcompete them.

New York just had to lead the climate fashion stakes:

New York to Enact One of the Most Aggressive Climate Bills in the U.S.

The bill would require New York to get 70 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and by 2050, the state would have to cut emissions by at least 85 percent below 1990 levels.

In an interview with WCNY, Governor Cuomo called the bill “the most aggressive climate-change program in the United States of America, period.” If it succeeds, it will be the fifth such law enacted in the last year; the others include measures in California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Washington.

Huffpost: New York is doing a Green New Deal

Now lawmakers are expected to pass the bill, known by its acronym CCPA, in a vote Wednesday, when the three-day aging period between when legislators in Albany complete a deal and hold a formal vote ends. Once passed, the legislation would make New York the sixth state to adopt a 100% clean electricity target after Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Nevada and Washington. Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., set similar targets.

The new rules would make some industries non-existent:  h/t Ronald K

Darren Suarez, the director of government affairs at the Business Council of New York State, an advocacy group, had previously called the original bill’s zero-emissions goal “foolishness.” Under the original bill, some companies, including plastics production, semiconductor production and steel mills, would be more likely to shut their doors or move states, potentially affecting 40,000 jobs, Mr. Suarez said. Currently, the technology doesn’t exist to make such products without emitting greenhouse gasses, he said. According to New York State’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory, industrial processes emissions account for 7% of all emissions statewide.

Good luck NewYork.

h/t Pat

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Midweek Unthreaded

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Winning: Malcolm Roberts gets reelected to the Senate, Labor suffers record loss

Congratulations to Malcolm! It’s great news. Six more years for the die-hard skeptic in the senate.

I know Malcolm has some big plans.

MAlcolm Roberts, election campaign.One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts will rejoin the Senate, almost two years after he fell victim to the dual citizenship saga and was kicked out of parliament.

This time they can’t run the fake news line that “he only got 77 votes”.

Meanwhile: Worst result in 70 years: meet Nita Green, Labor’s sole new Qld senator

Labor has recorded its worst Senate result since 1949 in the battleground state of Queensland, securing just one seat after One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts and the Greens’ Larissa Waters managed to win the fourth and sixth spots.

Meanwhile prophetic words on Q&A on Monday night:

DAVID KAROLY: There are certainly some people in the governments that understand the science. There are also a range of different people, including, I guess, Malcolm Roberts, who had very different opinions when he came on Q&A and had discussions with Brian…

 TON Y JONES: But he’s not in the government.

 DAVID KAROLY :  He is not.




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Adaniphobia: Ministers cry, Anti coal protesters glue themselves to a crosswalk

Master Plan: Let’s fight extinction …by gluing ourselves to a road.

Lo! Australia voted, and the large Adani coal mine magically emerged from eight years of red tape. But the anguish has just begun. Rebels are gluing themselves to main roads to stop traffic in Brisbane. The Environment Minister admits she shed tears and just yesterday was caught using the word “devastated“. On Friday, there’s a national day of “action” (or inaction perhaps, on crosswalks).

This is only going to get worse. Its the logical end in a country with no conversation. It makes sense if you think the world is going to end. In a mature community they’d hear other voices. In Australia, they hear The ABC.

So what does it take to get in the national media these days? Two people lie down…

Climate change protesters glue themselves to Brisbane’s busiest street

Protestor glued to road

Rage away. The passers by are not enthused.

Two climate change activists have shut down one of Brisbane’s busiest streets this morning after they glued themselves to a zebra crossing.

by Natalie Wolfe

Brisbane commuters are furious …

Ebony, glue girl, speaks:

“I’m not fighting, I’m speaking up for Mother Earth. We have to stop all of this bulls**t that’s hurting. We can all feel it. We cannot lie anymore, we have to tell the truth,” she said via social media…

Sergio similarly glued himself onto the road to fight extinction…

 Count them:

Three other Extinction Rebellion protesters stood nearby and held a banner that read “Business as usual = Death”.

 Five people = a protest.

A Facebook event for the protest was created before this morning. It said the motive was to “give commuters a little shock”… The protest is not sitting well with Brisbane commuters, with one commenter on social media even calling for the pair to be jailed…

Serge did a science degree so he could glue himself:


Serge at the Extinction Rebellion Brisbane road blocks to take a stand against extinction: “I grew up in South East Queensland. I thought going to university and studying science could help save us. Turns out we have the science and it’s governments subduing that science…

If only someone had taught Serge what science was.

h/t Pat

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“Surprise” Climate change, 900ppm CO2, acidification is good news for squid

Squid, photo. MartinStr

Squid, “surprise” are going to do well with climate change. (If only it was going to happen).

In the new post-CO2 world, corn and soy may become weeds, but squid may take over the oceans:

Squid will survive and may even flourish under even the worst-case ocean acidification scenarios, according to a new study published this week.

Dr Blake Spady, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University (JCU), led the study. He said squid live on the edge of their environmental oxygen limitations due to their energy-taxing swimming technique. They were expected to fare badly with more carbon dioxide (CO2) in the water, which makes it more acidic.

No academic could have guessed that squid would have evolved ways to control their own blood pH:

“Their blood is highly sensitive to changes in acidity, so we expected that future ocean acidification would negatively affect their aerobic performance,” said Dr Spady.

Atmospheric CO2 concentrations have increased from 280 parts per million (ppm) before the industrial revolution to more than 400 ppm today. Scientists project atmospheric CO2 – and by extension CO2 in the oceans — may exceed 900 ppm by the end of this century unless current CO2 emissions are curtailed.

To researchers at safe-space-universities life is full of surprises:

But when the team tested two-toned pygmy squid and bigfin reef squid at JCU’s research aquarium, subjecting them to CO2 levels projected for the end of the century, they received a surprise.

“We found that these two species of tropical squid are unaffected in their aerobic performance and recovery after exhaustive exercise by the highest projected end-of-century CO2 levels,” said Dr Spady.

But unpaid bloggers who do a search with the words “squid evolution” find that while their ancestors knocked around since the Cambrian 500 million years ago, the ones today have had at least 60 million years of wild climate change to practice adapting. Though our knowledge is hampered somewhat by the tendency of boneless jelly-creatures to disintegrate. Even so, it turns out squid are hyper adaptable.

Throw out the genetics rule book! Squid edit their own RNA:

Octopus And Squid Evolution Is Officially Weirder Than We Could Have Ever Imagined

Signe Dean, Nature, March 2019

… it turns out that they and their cephalopod brethren evolve differently from nearly every other organism on the planet.

In a surprising twist, in April 2017 scientists discovered that octopuses, along with some squid and cuttlefish species, routinely edit their RNA (ribonucleic acid) sequences to adapt to their environment.

“The consensus among folks who study such things is Mother Nature gave RNA editing a try, found it wanting, and largely abandoned it,” Anna Vlasits reported for Wired.

But it looks like cephalopods didn’t get the memo. In 2015, researchers discovered that the common squid has edited more than 60 percent of RNA in its nervous system. Those edits essentially changed its brain physiology, presumably to adapt to various temperature conditions in the ocean.

Will we end up with an ocean full of squid?:

He said it may be an even greater boost for the squid as some of their predators and prey have been shown to lose performance under predicted climate change scenarios.

“We think that squid have a high capacity to adapt to environmental changes due to their short lifespans, fast growth rates, large populations, and high rate of population increase,” said Dr Spady.

The only thing researchers can say for sure after all those grants:

“The thing that is emerging with most certainty is that it’s going to be a very different world,” he said.

Jo’s prediction is everyone will just eat calamari. Especially sperm whales.

Sperm Whales

Check this out. Squid live everywhere from pole to pole, from shallow to deep. But look who’s coming to dinner according to the FAO Squid, Marine Resource Fact Sheet?

Estimates of global squid consumption by higher predators, especially sperm whales suggest that they consume a greater mass of squid than the total world catch of all marine species combined (Voss, 1973; Clarke, 1983).

If I read that correctly (and I’m dubious)– Sperm whales eat more squid than humans do of all fish, oysters, prawns, crabs and farmed fish, everything globally?

I had to check. Total human fisheries annual catch is 150 million tons. Sperm whales weigh up to 50 tons each and eat up to 900 kg a day.  So if there are 400,000 of them (and nobody really knows) that’s 360,000 tons of squid for dinner per day, or around 130 million tons a year. Oh! Touch and go. It may not be true today (though it might be if there are more Sperm whales) but it was true when those papers were published and annual human catches were only 50 million tons a year. wow.

Holy Calamari. Sperm whales are going to love climate change. So are squid.

Burn oil and save the whales.

Images: Squid, Martinspr, and Sperm Whale.


Blake L Spady, Tiffany J Nay, Jodie L Rummer, Philip L Munday, Sue-Ann Watson. Aerobic performance of two tropical cephalopod species unaltered by prolonged exposure to projected future carbon dioxide levelsConservation Physiology, 2019; 7 (1) DOI: 10.1093/conphys/coz024

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