Warming Alarmists Lose Yet Another Debate

In celebration of World Environment Day, the Queensland Division of the Property Council of Australia convened a breakfast meeting last Friday morning (June 3rd) to debate the topic “Australia needs a carbon tax”.

Leading speaker for the motion was Mr. Matthew Bell (Climate Change & Sustainability Services, Ernst & Young), supported by Ms. Kellie Caught (Acting Head of Climate Change, WWF Australia) and Mr. Kirby Anderson (Policy Leader, Energy Infrastructure, General Electric).

Speaking against the motion were Mr. Michael Matusik (Director, Matusik Property Insights), supported by Mr. John Humphreys (Director, Human Capital Project, University of Queensland) and Professor Bob Carter (James Cook University and Institute of Public Affairs).

The audience of about 150 persons were treated to some pointed exchanges, with the team speaking for the motion concentrating rather more on the science, and their opponents almost exclusively on the economics and cost:benefit analysis of the introduction of a carbon tax.

One compelling argument was the observation that to introduce a carbon tax of $25/tonne of carbon dioxide would cost around $100 billion by 2020, for a notional benefit of 0.0002O C (two ten thousandths of a degree) of warming averted.

The opponents of the tax were awarded a clear win, on rendered applause, by debate Chairman Mr Mark Ludlow (Australian Financial Review).

52 Responses to Warming Alarmists Lose Yet Another Debate

  1. el gordo June 6, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    Does the ABC know about this?

    $25/tonne CO2 ‘would cost around $100 billion by 2020, for a notional benefit of 0.0002O C (two ten thousandths of a degree) of warming averted.’

    Does Ross know or care?

  2. bazza June 6, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    Debates and benefit cost analysis are constrained by rules. The main one being there is a comparison with some alternative. So what was it?

  3. Neville June 6, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    Of course there would be no warming averted as per the example in the real world because our tiny co2 reduction would be replaced and exceeded almost straight away by the increases from China, India etc.

    In that 9 year period they would exceed our reductions by a huge margin and therefore if you believe the science of AGW there must be higher temps by 2020 even if we reduced our emissions by much higher percentages.

  4. spangled drongo June 6, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    “a comparison with some alternative. So what was it?”

    Seeing as the topic was Australia needs a CT, I would have thought the alternative was obvious.

    That it is so blindingly obvious that a CT is all cost in every conceivable way and no benefit in ANY conceivable way, [unless you think being a fee-paying hypocrite is a benefit] the debate would be a lay-down misere for the negative side.

  5. debbie June 6, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    Good point Spangled,
    It is rather obvious via the debate topic.
    Bleedingly obvious!
    However, if we’re discussing alternative strategies to encourage new energy resources then that is another matter altogether.
    Maybe that was what Bazza meant?
    That however was not the topic of the debate.
    I am with the negative on this one. Neville’s reasons are the same as mine. There is no way that taxing Australians for CO2 emissions will have any effect whatsoever on rising global CO2 emissions. We will be absolutely negated by developing nations like China and India.
    The only Australian body that will benefit from this carbon (O2) tax is the Federal Government and the research facilities and the bureaucracies that the Federal Government will control because they will control the money.
    Australians and Australian Industries will not benefit.
    It is also highly unlikely that the Australian Climate or the Australian environment will gain any positive benefits either. (except perhaps for some noisy environmental lobby groups who manage to access federal government grants)
    Australia does NOT need a carbon tax!

  6. Malcolm Hill June 6, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Bazza says:

    ” Debates and benefit cost analysis are constrained by rules. The main one being there is a comparison with some alternative. So what was it?”

    Under normal circumstances the base case is the “Do Nothing” option and all feasible alternatives are compared with it.

    In the case of Carbon Taxes and NBN they have made up new rules and well established professional standards are out the window, because they wouldnt give the answer they need politically.

    Meanhwhile the $200bn that the Govt has had to borrow, eg,

    “….The total Government debt could end up around $200 billion. The current 10 year Government bond rate is 4.67 per cent.

    Therefore the repayments on $200 billion over 20 years, come to more than one and a quarter billion dollars – every month – for 20 years. It works out we, as taxpayers, will be repaying $15.4 billion in interest and principal every year.

    That is $733 per year, every year, for every man woman and child. The total interest bill over the 20 years is – get this – $108 billion.

    Remember, this is a Government, that just 18 months ago, had no debt! In fact it had enough money to create the Future Fund, to pay the future liabilities of public servants’ superannuation…. and it had enough to stick $20 billion into the Building Australia Fund last year.”

    So when they commit us to do things that increases our debt we are paying for it big time..but when they do it without subjecting it to well understood protocols and then have to borrow to cover the debts you know that we are being run by nincompoops and numerically incompetent …but then whats new.

  7. cohenite June 6, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    Just following on from SD’s excellent point and bazza, whose only point is on the top of his head; Lomborg did a global comparison between the do nothing and various do something scenarios for ‘solving’ AGW in his book, Cool It; Figure 11 on page 41 of Cool It shows that doing nothing would have BENEFITS of $2trillion and costs of $1trillion, while going flat out in the manner Garnaut, sundry bankers, spivs, government nitwits and green lunatics want would have COSTS of $84trillion and benefits of $11trillion.

  8. bazza June 6, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    debbie, the alternative is just the usual, the what if, the counterfactual which given the Opposition has the same 2020 target is a good place to start.

    and malcolm, 5% interest on 200 billion is 10 billion which is about 1 percent of a weekly wage for 20 million which is about what some people spill. There are bigger issues than debt about.

  9. Malcolm Hill June 6, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    But over 20 years ???

  10. TonyfromOz June 6, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    What I find difficult to believe is that people are falling for this CO2 Tax without seeing that while raising vast amounts of money, they are in effect doing absolutely nothing to lower those emissions.

    I know I concentrate on the electrical power generation side of things, but that’s where 35 to 40% of those emissions are coming from.

    Garnaut says that the amount of money raised will be ‘around’ $11 Billion, and that of itself puzzles me, because his report he tells us is so detailed, and yet he has not come up with an exact figure with details of exactly how much is coming from each of the sources they will be raising it from.

    Then in the same breath, he tells us that the vast bulk of it will be given back to lower socio economic households to cover the increase in costs they will obviously be subjected to, not only in increased electricity costs, but from every other source where that Tax will be imposed, they also passing on those costs.

    If they are giving the vast bulk of it back, then where is the incentive for those people to consume less electricity thus saving on their bills.

    If trade exposed industries will also be compensated, then where is the incentive for them to cut back.

    He also says that there are provisions in place for loans to electrical power generating authorities if this new CO2 tax sends them to the wall, as now the generating facilities they own will be worthless as an asset. So he has loans in place to make sure there is ‘energy security’ as he refers to it as. I mean, if those power generators go broke and have to close the plant down, isn’t that the desired result, no more CO2 emissions.
    However, Garnaut has loans in place to forestall this, which defeats its own purpose, not lessening emissions but continuing them, probably so that they can still pay the tax by continuing to operate, and be aware that a large plant like Bayswater will be subjected to an increased bottom line of $600 Million from this CO2 Tax, and if Bayswater goes to the wall, there goes a large slab of their money raised from this tax.

    Then, he says that they will be diverting around $1 Billion a year from the Tax for renewable Power. That $1 Billion will buy two thirds of one large scale renewable plant which will supply not even 2 % of the power that Bayswater does. They could divert all the money raised to renewables and still not have enough to replace all those coal fired plants in the time they quote.

    It seems obvious to me that the plan is to get it in place as revenue neutral at the start to make it palatable, and then to gradually withdraw all compensation packages over the next few years until the introduction of the real money earner the ETS.

    If I can see it,, and also make an attempt to explain it, why is it so difficult for some others who support it to see it.

    All this does is confirm my belief that this has nothing whatsoever to do with the environment. It’s just about the money, because nothing in this package does anything to reduce those emissions.

    I’m willing to go out on a limb here, even though it’s a useless call, as no one will ever know I said it way back in 2011. Not one of those large scale coal fired power plants will be closed by 2020, because of the introduction of this Tax.

    Again, sorry to take so much space.


  11. Neville June 7, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    Tony I respect your point of view but why couldn’t the brown coal stations in Victoria be replaced by Gas fired P/stations by 2020?

    If not all then perhaps Hazelwood? It won’t change the climate of course, buit then again nothing we do can change the climate in the slightest.

    In FACT our reductions of that massive 1.3% by 5% will be swamped by China and India increases at increasingly faster rates as time goes by, for decades to come.

  12. ianl8888 June 7, 2011 at 8:51 am #


    ” … but why couldn’t the brown coal stations in Victoria be replaced by Gas fired P/stations by 2020?”

    With whose money ? This question needs a serious answer, not one Garnaut just makes up as he goes along

    The LaTrobe stations/mines are captive to each other, as I’ve noted several times before. This means that the stations cannot burn some other fuel (they are simply not designed for it) and brown coal is so wet that traditional black coal stations cannot use it

    In short, no retrofitting, only a complete demolition/rebuild. Hazelwood has agreed to this, if the Fed Govt offers sufficient compensation.

    Completely replacing the LaTrobe stations with gas is horrendously expensive – these stations are on the cusp of exceeding their loan covenants now. No one will loan them the further capital needed to demolish and rebuild to completely different specifications … perhaps another large surcharge on higher incomes to supply the money, do you think ?

    And, as previously noted and ignored:

    CH4 + 2O2 —-> CO2 + 2H2O + energy

    Burning gas (CH4) is certainly less greenhouse-expensive than brown coal (higher specific energy as it contains no ash and an order of magnitude less water content), but it still produces one molecule of CO2 and 2 molecules of H2O for each molecule of CH4. Both these by-products are greenhouse-intensive according to current theory, with water having 3x the greenhouse effect that carbon dioxide has

    The Greenies had their Climategate/Copenhagen moments, but rational voices had their Fukushima tragedy (tragic on all levels). There are no useful answers here

  13. kuhnkat June 7, 2011 at 10:39 am #


    Politicos will tell us any story they can think of that they think will get us to go along with their acquisition of more control. Once they have the control they can modify exactly who gets what at their leisure.

    Can we call it lying if they KNOW they will be changing the cash flow later, but, start close to what they suggested??

  14. TonyfromOz June 7, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    This is something that the wider community has no comprehension of, and no amount of explanation from me will ever change that perception.
    Power plants, understandably do not just appear in short time, so I’ll attempt to paint a scenario.

    Let’s look at the 3 big brown coal plants in Victoria, in that area, Hazlewood, Loy Yang, and Yallourn W.
    Combined, that’s a total power generation of 5300MW.

    To replace that amount of power with Natural gas fired plants, and here, a typically large one of these is around 500 to 550MW, you are looking at around 10 of them.

    That typical 500MW plant has a ‘power ready’ cost of around $850 Million, so right there you are looking at $8.5 Billion, and that’s just for the power plants.

    On top of that is the added infrastructure. They could be built close to those existing Coal fired plants to enable (some) ease of adding them to the existing grid structure for delivery of power to Victoria, but that would not be easily feasible.

    On top of that will be added the construction of vast pipelines to bring the Methane Natural Gas to those plants.

    The design of coal fired power plants on large scale is that they are best suited to be run constantly to provide that 24/7/365 basis. Their design on this scale means that they have a 50 year life span, which can then be extended out to 60, and even 75 years.

    Natural Gas fired plant design is best suited for delivery of Peaking power, those plants best suited to run up fast and supply power for that demand, typically 6 to 8 hours a day.
    Running Natural Gas fired plants on that 24 hour basis, while seemingly feasible, considerably shortens the life of the plant, although new technology, mainly from China these days could alleviate this somewhat. Run constantly, on that 24/7/365 basis, their life span might only be 20 years at best.

    However, and this part here is the single most important part of this whole scenario.

    For those ten new Natural gas fired plants to replace the 3 coal fired plants, and to do achieve that in the required time frame of 2020, then planning needs to be on the table RIGHT NOW, TODAY.

    That’s 10 power plants, not one new one, but 10 of them.

    It will take that remaining 9 years for everything to be sorted out, the planning, the administration, the studies (EIS etc) the approvals, the financing arrangements, the legislation, the gearing up for construction, the whole task, and then the construction can begin.

    So, the problem is not just replacing the plants, nor finding the requisite $8.5 Billion, but the time involved in getting this whole scheme to a point where it actually IS delivering power.

    As this scenario is for Natural Gas fired plants, be fully aware that the same time frame also applies for renewable power plants, only for that Multiply that $8.5 Billion by a factor of ten to fifteen, (conservatively) and not one of those renewable plants will be able to supply 24/7/365 Power.

    Again I apologise for taking so much space, but can you see how something like this cannot be reduced to a simple ‘one liner’.


  15. spangled drongo June 7, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    This tells it plain:

    Warming 101 primer
    Posted on June 6, 2011 by Anthony Watts
    Submitted by D.B. Stealey

    This article went viral when it was first published. Well worth reading:

    “Our planet has been slowly warming since last emerging from the “Little Ice Age” of the 17th century, often associated with the Maunder Minimum.

    Before that came the “Medieval Warm Period”, in which temperatures were about the same as they are today. Both of these climate phenomena are known to have occurred in the Northern Hemisphere, but several hundred years prior to the present, the majority of the Southern Hemisphere was primarily populated by indigenous peoples, where science and scientific observation was limited to non-existent.

    Thus we can not say that these periods were necessarily “global”. However, “Global Warming” in recent historical times has been an undisputable fact, and no one can reasonably deny that. But we’re hearing far too often that the “science” is “settled”, and that it is mankind’s contribution to the natural CO2 in the atmosphere has been the principal cause of an increasing “Greenhouse Effect”, which is the root “cause” of global warming.

    We’re also hearing that “all the world’s scientists now agree on this settled science”, and it is now time to quickly and most radically alter our culture, and prevent a looming global catastrophe. And last, but not least, we’re seeing a sort of mass hysteria sweeping our culture which is really quite disturbing. Historians ponder how the entire nation of Germany could possibly have goose-stepped into place in such a short time, and we have similar unrest. Have we become a nation of overnight loonies?

  16. ianl8888 June 7, 2011 at 11:24 am #


    “This is something that the wider community has no comprehension of, and no amount of explanation from me will ever change that perception”

    Agreed – the general populace is absolutely and resolutely clueless here

    My comments in the post above were made here following the LaTrobe by-election in 2008 (almost 3 years ago) that Rudderless comprehensively lost due to this very issue. I had even included the extent of the power generation in MWhrs that is actually involved, as you have

    Yet still the same question is asked again and again. As previously noted, most people are absolutely determined to remain ignorant. This why the MSM will NOT publish this information: they correctly perceive that people are not interested, there is no market for it

  17. TonyfromOz June 7, 2011 at 11:42 am #


    The MSM and the (average person in the street) ‘believers’ in what has now become a religious faith, (believing that Science and accepting it on faith without having an understanding, just because someone says it is so) can believe whatever they wish to believe.

    Until they are aware of the engineering ramifications, then the Science remains (literally) academic.

    The point is, just as that average person lacks that understanding in that Science, they have even less understanding of those engineering ramifications, and no one is bothering to explain what they are.


  18. TonyfromOz June 7, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    Incidentally, where I mentioned above about nailing my flag to the mast that none of those large scale coal fired plants will close by 2020, I can base that on what is happening in the U.S.

    They have scaled up hugely on the construction of Renewable power plants mainly Wind Power, as you might imagine with such a large Country with a huge economy.

    Currently, they have 41,000 MW of Nameplate Capacity in Wind Power alone, the equivalent of 21 Large scale coal fired power plants. (averaging 2000MW)

    However, in the three years this has happened, not one large scale coal fired plant (1500MW+) has closed down because of this ramping up in Renewables.

    I know it’s my own Post (again, so sorry about that) but this explains it better.



  19. cementafriend June 7, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    Tony & Ian have it right with conversion of fuels. I have knowledge of a power station converted from coal (black) to natural gas. A natural gas flame gives less radiant heat than a coal flame. So straight conversion of the boiler gives 20-25% less steam. It is necessary to spend capital on heat recovery but there are diminishing returns which depend on the cost of the fuel. In the case of my experience, capital was spent to get the capacity up to 90-95%. This ran for about 6 years than the station was closed because cheaper power was available from the grid.
    In the case of the Victorian brown coal power stations it would be more economical to build a new gas fired power station with the proviso that legislation was not altered to make it uneconomical within the normal capital assessment time (20-25 years). Should the carbon dioxide tax be higher than $40/tonne it would be more economical (and less economically risky) to build a nuclear power station (which would have a minimum life of 50 years).

  20. Neville June 7, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    Thanks for that Tony and Ian, I knew it wouldn’t be easy to replace even Hazelwood, but I’m sure I understand it a little better now.

    BTW the Greens and Labor floated plans to close Hazelwood by 2014 during the last Vic election. Always seemed so much BS to me at the time.

    I just wish every Aussie understood the maths of our coal mined every year and where it goes and is used, plus how the developing world will emit 20 times the co2 of the developed world for the forseable future.

    Of course if they did understand the co2 tax would be an even more hopeless lost cause.

  21. TonyfromOz June 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm #


    With respect to Gas fired power plants, perhaps a further option might be Cogeneration or even Trigeneration.

    This is Natural gas fired power taken out further for greater efficiency.

    The gas is burned to drive the turbine, and waste heat generates smaller amounts of steam to dive a smaller turbine/generator complex, effectively increasing the total Power output of the one plant.

    Trigeneration then uses the waste steam from the second process to drive a heat exchange unit to provide heating in Winter and cooling in Summer.

    Now while Cogeneration could be used on larger scale, Trigeneration could be used on a smaller scale, perhaps for individual high rise buildings, be they living apartments or work areas in large cities, and it’s actually something that can be retrofitted.

    When I originally started contributing to the Blog I Post at, I started what I thought would be a small series on the ramifications of adherence to the mantra of lowering those CO2 emissions. That series morphed into more than 50 separate Posts, and in it, I canvassed what options there might be for replacing those coal fired plants if we had to go down that path.

    Again, this looks like I’m drumming up visits to the site where I contribute, but again, a lot of these Posts are years old, so it’s not like I have a need for further visits, just that the information is already there.

    For Cogeneration information, visit this link:


    For Cogeneration and Trigeneration on the individual building scale visit these links:




  22. spangled drongo June 7, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    Scylla and Charybdis for the IPCC:


  23. spangled drongo June 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    Nothing from Dr Roy yet this month. Not surprising after those tornadoes in his backyard but here’s some HADCRUT.

    Still raining in Innisfail:


  24. cementafriend June 7, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    Tony, of course cogeneration makes sense where possible. Paper plants have been doing that for a long, long time (more than 80 years- high pressure steam for turbines, low pressure steam exhaust for process use). In cold countries electricity generation together with district heating makes sense. In Germany they even incinerate waste (a no-no here) and produce electricity and district heat. It is all a matter of economics -capital, costs of fuel, other operating costs and price of elctricity & heating.
    Combined cycle power generation (gas turbines with waste heat boilers for steam turbine) are more efficient upto 65% but are in higher capital and maintenance costs. Origin are building a combined cycle plant (I think in Vic.) but also have a single pass (gas turbines only) power plant in Qld for base and peak power.
    Much of Australia’s manufacturing is moving overseas and a carbon tax will only increase that. On the otherhand in some Asian contries (Indonesia for example) you will see some sophisicated cogeneration plants (using coal, oil or natural gas which ever is the cheapest) for paper, food processing and minerals processing

  25. Farmer Doug 2 June 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    Hear some middle eastern places use their waste heat to drive desalination. In Aust we let the desalinated water billow out the top of cooling towers.

  26. gavin June 7, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    Tony, cementa; co gen and paper/ pulp mills are old technologies and are associated with a lot of emissions. It also requires a lot of fancy engineering to get acceptable energy efficiencies throughout the larger complex. I should mention steam jet and de Laval technologies for starters. Without fully understanding these details, we won’t get far with comparisons of sources or machines, turbines included.

    In my day we had all the fuels above and hydro electricity to play with but one particular government was inclined to sell power to industry below cost by cross subsidizing their patient public customers till they hurt and left the region. Back in the factories there were constant upgrades. I must have seen at least a dozen different paper making machines come back on stream after engineering improvements

    Hey; who recalls that desperate post war price war from gov utility competition?

    “Much of Australia’s manufacturing is moving overseas and a carbon tax will only increase that. On the otherhand in some Asian contries (Indonesia for example) you will see some sophisicated cogeneration plants (using coal, oil or natural gas which ever is the cheapest) for paper, food processing and minerals processing”

    1) you have to prove our generating costs including a carbon tax was the cause of major manufacturing moving off shore.

    2) “paper, food processing and minerals processing” has already gone. I did have work in all three

  27. TonyfromOz June 8, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    Gee Gavin!
    You say:

    co gen … old technology … lot of emissions.

    So, might you compare emissions with other methods of electrical power production for me. I’m really curious now.

    That practice of selling electricity to industry at a cheaper rate is not something that your one particular unnamed government did.
    Electricity is sold to Industry at the cheapest rate, then to Commerce at the next cheapest rate, and to the Residential sector at the highest rate.

    This is not isolated, as it is the case across the whole Planet, wherever electricity is sold.

    Yes, you as households pay the highest rate for electricity. Always have, always will. In fact when State Government’s raise the rate, that largest percentage rise is always to the residential sector.

    You may think that the difference is only a couple of cents, but that adds up across the whole spectrum of the total take from electricity charges, which are Res 38%, Com 37% and Ind 24%.

    But mainly Gav, don’t forget to explain to me the ‘lots’ of emissions from Co gen, and gee, would not the technology have been improved over the years.

    Oh Gav!
    By the way, Cogeneration and trigeneration currently have been proved as the second most efficient forms of electrical power production per fuel used of all methods of power production, the most efficient being Nuclear electrical Power generation.

    But Gav, I defer you to you on this. You know best.

    Don’t forget those emissions now!


  28. cohenite June 8, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    TonyOz, do you give public talks on the issue of relative power sources and the costs of electricity?

  29. TonyfromOz June 8, 2011 at 10:30 am #


    Who would listen?

    The ‘perception’ is that it is singularly boring, and is just so complex that you couldn’t even begin to explain even the basics in a short public talk, and even if you could, the further perception is that anyone explaining that reasoning is obviously ‘politically motivated only’.

    People don’t believe it when you lay out the facts in front of them, incontrovertible facts.

    I’ve found that my best resource is the now more than 800 separate Posts on all the related and relevant subjects at the site I contribute to, and when anyone asks a question, I have that information readily at hand, and that’s why I link into my own Posts there.

    Those who have no concept will say ‘ just turn off the plants’

    As destructive as it would be, I say exactly the same thing, in the form of ‘hyperbowl’. (not that it’ll ever happen)

    Why I say that is that within days of turning off the plants, this whole debate would be finished. The very end.

    Governments know that.

    The average people don’t.

    You couldn’t begin to explain it in a short public talk.

    Again, I know it’s poor form to link into my own Posts, but have a read of this one about Ross Garnaut’s recommendations.



  30. hunter June 8, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    The AGW believers lose most times there is an open and free discussion of the issue with an audience not composed of believers.

  31. ianl8888 June 8, 2011 at 11:35 am #


    I have found most of your posts contain sensible points, but on this issue, please tell me what you don’t understand, or believe, in the following re-quote:

    “Yet still the same question is asked again and again. As previously noted, most people are absolutely determined to remain ignorant. This why the MSM will NOT publish this information: they correctly perceive that people are not interested, there is no market for it”

    [Populist editors and journalists are ignorant of it too, but again correctly perceive that publishing this information will further reduce support for currently proposed legislation. Consequently, they describe it as “negative” – the most heinous crime in the PC lexicon]

    Both Tony and I know this is true from long, hard experience. City people (who comprise the huge bulk of Greens voters) do not comprehend that city populations can neither feed nor energise themselves; nor do they wish to know this. Hard Greenies simply do not care

    Which is why I concluded long ago that the general populace actually deserve what is happening. That everyone will be detrimentally affected is just a consequence of democracy as she is practised in Aus

  32. TonyfromOz June 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    I agree to a point.
    My ‘take’ on the MSM not reporting it is because, as I have tried to get across, it is complex. They are trained as journalists, and understanding what their Editor requires, they report things that the Editor thinks the populace will want to read.

    Hence, that reporter, trained only in journalism, has no real technical training, and if he writes a technical piece, (a) he’s out of his depth, and (b) if it doesn’t come across, he looks pretty stupid … as a journalist. So, he stays with what is safe.

    So, for me, I contribute where I do Post.

    (Be very careful how you read this next part, because this is not meant to think less of the people here who do read this at this site.)

    However what I have found is this.

    Before I started contributing where I do more than three years ago now, the only option I had to attempt to explain things was in the Comments area of those Online sites that took comments at those times, and there was not very many of them. The ABC was one of the first to open up Forums, and commenting at articles.

    When I would comment there, I was shredded by other commenters in the main, because they had no idea of the technical nature I was coming from, and not understanding it, it then became easier to ‘not believe it’, and what was not in my favour was the huge nature of the statistics and the data involved, and because they were so huge, it was difficult to comprehend, hence the impression that I was ‘making it up’ to accentuate my own ‘political’ viewpoint, hence I was shredded.

    I started to contribute Posts where I do, and over the years now, I have visited (literally) thousands of sites, and what I wanted was not opinion, but information, and from that, with my background, it then became my task to attempt to explain it in a way that people actually could understand.

    So, let’s then compare, from my point of view, sites from what is perceived as being ‘the left’, and sites that do not follow that left point of view in general.

    People at sites of the left, and here I use the ABC, only because they are populist, and those of that persuasion tend to gravitate there because it’s easier to read ‘stuff’ that you agree with, if you can see that.

    I can say the things I do at that ABC site and get not one good comment in reply.

    So, around 2 years back, I just stopped contributing there, mainly out of frustration that people neither knew nor understood what I was saying, and just did not want to understand it.

    I found three or four sites here in Australia that are dissimilar from the ABC site, and there’s a lot more. I just concentrate on three or four of them because that’s all I have the hours in the day for.

    (Here’s that ‘be careful how you read this’ moment.)

    The people at those three or four sites where I now add comments as I do have the same knowledge or understanding of what I am attempting to say as those at that ABC site do.

    However, what I have found is that the people at these three or four sites actually want to try and understand what it is I am trying to say, so they are positive (well, except for a couple of you anyway) and ask further questions, rather than ‘flame’ me like what happened at the ABC site.

    Can you see the point here?

    All of these readers are coming from the same knowledge base.
    Some want to understand and some don’t, no matter how reasoned I attempt to make it sound.

    There’s the problem that Journalists in the MSM face.

    They are coming from the same knowledge base as the readers when it comes to subjects like this.

    If they can’t understand it, then the ‘perception’ is that their readers also will not understand it.

    That’s why blog sites like this one here, (and thanks Jennifer for even allowing me a platform like this) and those others are so vital in all this, because more and more people are actually wanting to understand the complexities in all this.

    That’s why I keep saying that you can believe all the Science you want to believe, but until you are aware of what happens in areas other than the Science, and what that means for every day life, then that Science just becomes a convenient excuse.

    Again, I have ‘rabbitted on’ at great length, but the more people ‘out there’ who do increase their knowledge base on matters like this, then the better the chances are that people will make ‘informed’ decisions.


  33. cohenite June 8, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    Ian and TonyOz; of course I agree! But I am not so pessimisstic!

    Another point, and please take this in the spirit of encouragement not criticism; by drawing back and being content with saying the msm, generally, and certainly our abc, are vain, venal, supercilious and are the msm the people deserve is, I think, and with all great respect, playing the inverse arrogant card to that which the AGW alarmists play.

    The alarmists think they know better and are indeed better than the hoi polloi; the alarmists, generally, are vainglorious people who assert moral superiority; saving the world, identifying victims and presenting themselves as the saviours and protectors is the bread and butter psychology/pathology of this type. It doesn’t matter whether they are useless like the blanchetts/actors/media/politicians and your typical composite lefties or have some utilitarian skill like some of the scientists, these people think they are better and must have an issue to prove that point.

    The average punter doesn’t have the time or the inclination to involve themselves in such egotistical vindication; they are going about their business. They are slow to react and will be initially misled by authority and the media who are prepared to subvert and invent the truth for material/ideological/egotistical gain. BUT, when you have the punter’s attention they can recognise crap very quickly.

    The key to getting the punter’s attention is the hip pocket nerve and revealing that they are being conned.

    You can’t dismiss the punter by saying they won’t listen; they will if if you present the message in those 2 contexts.

    TonyOz, your knowledge goes to heart of the punters’ interest; renewable doesn’t work and will cost the Earth and they won’t be able to afford the electricity, it there was any to buy.

    That is the point to hammer.

    I take your point about the abc; the commentators are vile and stupid no matter how well qualified. I can speak from vast experience having had 8 articles published at the Drum in the last year!

    But try the other msm; I ring up talkback with snippets of AGW stupidity or write articles which even condescending fairfax publishes from time to time. I find that by turning their moral superiority back on them that I can get some traction after a while. It takes time but remember they are essentially idiots. Think gavin and luke.

  34. ianl8888 June 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm #


    I understand that OK (and have known it for a long time) – you may have noticed my point that IF the MSM were to publish such information, this will further reduce support for currently proposed legislation, although not by much. But it will certainly add to confusion and the MSM are not about to let that happen now, when they believe they are finally close to a win. I have no illusions at all about where most of the MSM sympathies lay; even The Australian won’t publish this information, except in tiny bits and pieces, and there are one or two editors there that I have some respect for (I’ve personally met them)

    I have worked in the energy supply industry for well over 30 years now. It’s not just the scale and statistics that people wish to avoid – thinking in 3 dimensions (let alone 5, ie. added time and money) is just too hard for them, so as you say, they prefer NOT to understand. Perhaps unlike you, I am still prevented by various confidentiality agreements from publically laying out some critical facts, so I’m quite glad you are able to do this without reprisal … even if we both agree that it is almost futile

    As a short example, punitive and completely pernicious NSW legislation was enacted following a tragedy in 1996 – I had to wait until 2006 for the aftermath to clear through the various courts before carefully publicising the deliberate injustices. This was finally rectified recently, but only due to the change of NSW Govt. Fifteen years, and even now most people still refuse to try and understand the details

    Hence my view that the general populace deserves the situation we currently have – most refuse to make the effort to grasp what is real

    H.L.Mencken: “In order to control the populace, politicians continually scare them with imaginary hobgoblins”. Yes, indeed … and it’s quite easy to do

  35. gavin June 8, 2011 at 10:31 pm #

    Tony; time for a couple of comments before bed, overdue after a long day pushing ideas on live meat export ban further.

    I was frustrated by secret industry power price deals and was quite curious about boiler de cokeing routines done overnight. This was before emission monitoring and about the same time as the SECV built Newport.

    I was looking at a few powerhouse sites then that had only basic instruments. None were canditates for electricity generation based on their crude and dirty environments. A few more in hospitals but much better maintained were also on the small side.

    Distrubted steam generation such as this round any major city failed to attract development for electricity generation. A major issue being phase sync with outher sources and yes, things have sure changed. Me the expert in two or three term controllers, 3-15 psi loops etc would not get a job today.

    I also found dodgy CO2 measurements everywhere. Some things looked up though when we got O2 gear on flues here and there.

    Back to fuels, with wood, brown coal brickettes, ox heads, hides or tar your combustion efficiency hence emissions depends on how your clever firebox engineering stands up in long operation. But there is nothing like using nice clean de waxed natural gas for a stable front end even with changing loads. However who wants to bother with a pair of turbines for just a commercial laundry out the back of some shopping block?

    So Tony, co gen to me is more like what we can each do at home with several types of pannels stuck on the roof, one for me and one for you. No emissions to be seen day or night but what a hopeless waste of other resources including a gov policy making machine behind the scene.

    Imo industrial sized solar could supliment a local gas fired power station for the ACT and bring our costs down in the short term. If it were to be placed in Fyshwick maybe we could make paper too but I doubt it because most of our pine forests went in recent bushfires

  36. el gordo June 9, 2011 at 7:09 am #

    Carbon dioxide threats go cold.


    A distraction, but not a clever one and the people are up to speed with these shonky scientists.

  37. TonyfromOz June 9, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    in your last para, you mention rooftop solar:

    “… one for me and one for you…”

    I’m afraid I have to disagree with you there when you mention rooftop solar for me, Tony, and cohenite, I guess this is what you mean by appealing to people’s hip pocket.

    The average household consumes 30KWH of power a day, so to cover that, you’re going to need a 6KW system, (Minimum) or around 25 to 30 panels, wire them into your house and also to your metering so that any excess can be fed back to the grid.

    A system like that will cost around $40,000, but don’t let that worry you as you in the end, you will only end up paying $8,000 of your own money.

    This is where I have the problem.

    Straight up, there’s an $8,000 subsidy at the fitment stage. That subsidy means that every other taxpayer is paying for your rooftop solar system.

    Then there is the feed in tariff, which is around three times what you pay for electricity you use FROM the grid. This means that of the remaining 32K, you will only end up paying around one third of that.

    Again, this is subsidised by every other consumer of electricity from the grid in the form of higher prices they pay to pay that extra feed in tariff to you and others, and they pay this in the form of higher prices for the electricity they consume FROM the grid.

    However, all this is only REVENUE NEUTRAL, as you are still a net consumer of power FROM the grid, because two thirds of the electrical power you consume at that residential level is consumed after Sunset, and all power you consume during that time is FROM the grid.

    So, over time, with the feed in tariff, what that does is effectively lower the pay back time for the up front cost.

    This will take in the vicinity of 25 years, and some say it could be less, if you completely alter your household lifestyle so you consume less during the Peak Power period, (5PM to 10PM).

    That 25 years is around the total lifespan of this rooftop solar system, which throws up further problems.

    Forget it if you are renting.
    It locks you into living at that house for that 25 years, because you can’t move this from house to house.
    Then you need to get up on the roof once a week, and polish the panels, not just hose them down, but polish them pristine as airborne dust settling on the panels degrades power generation by up to a third.

    So, it’s only Revenue neutral, and everyone else pays for that in the form of higher electricity charges.

    You may think that you are generating that 30KWH each day, hence your total power consumption, but the grid is not your personal battery storage device, returning to you what you generated during the day, because you are getting money for that. You are still a consumer of electrical power that has to be generated somewhere for you to consume.

    That’s why I don’t like rooftop solar, not because I’m an environmental vandal, but because I’m relying on other people to pay for it.

    It’s false economy, and for environmentalists to think they are doing the right thing by the environment, they are in fact ‘using’ their own fellow man.

    As to an Industrial solar plant in Fyshwick, if there are plans on the table right now, then there’s a big chance you could see power from that withing 6/7 years from now, otherwise you will still be consuming power from the current means.

    Think about, you can see I’m right.


  38. cohenite June 9, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    TonyOz; of course you are right; the moral argument for solar panels and the feed in tarrif is a delegated moral obligation with the smug home-owners with the panel abrogating the moral benefit and the community bearing the cost; and that cost is an obscenely large cost; in NSW O’Farrell has estimated the cost of maintaining the 60c feed in tarrif rate at about 1.5 billion.

    3 things about that cost; the whole justification for the solar panels is AGW yet it is demonstrably the case that no emissions will be reduced by the scheme because the traditional energy sources have to be maintained since the panels are so limited in power supply. This is rotten hypocrisy because in plain terms the community is subsidising the panel owners’ electricity bills and by doing so drastically increasing the cost of that electricity with none of the mooted AGW benefits occuring.

    Secondly, that 1.5 billion going to the panel hypocrites means there is less money for valid social infrastructure; hospitals, schools and wages and the like.

    3rdly, because the panel scheme is the tip of the ice-berg in terms of subsidies to renewables, as the traditional energy sources become increasingly stretched without any revamping of them they will inevitably fail in part or whole and that will mean electricity black-outs.

  39. TonyfromOz June 9, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    And people scoff at me when I mention that not one large scale coal fired plant will be closed by 2020.
    All that will have happened is that the Government will be getting billions of dollars from the imposition of a price on those CO2 emissions.
    It’s in their interests for them to remain open and in full operation, because they know that even if one of them close, the resultant backlash will be so furious, it’ll make these current ‘Say Yes public gatherings look like CWA meetings.

    And as to that ‘Say Yes’ campaign, I didn’t know we actually had a choice!!!


  40. TonyfromOz June 9, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    Also, the amount of power generated from those rooftop solar panels that is returned to the grid is so pitifully low, that any Authority in control of grid power distribution is not even taking that into account when working out how many Plants he needs on line delivering power to satisfy total grid demand, and pity help the first grid controller that actually does that.

    So, in effect all the rooftop panels in the whole Country are not saving an ounce of CO2 being emitted from all those power plants, let alone making any sort of dent in the nigh on 300 million tons per annum, just from electrical power generation.

    The smug satisfaction of rooftop panel owners who are saying that they are actually DOING SOMETHING is similar to their arrogance in pointing the finger at the Chinese for constructing power plants at the rate of Australia’s total power every ten weeks when all plants are taken into consideration. They are smug in the satisfaction that they are doing something, and in the same breath, expecting one billion Chinese to do without what they already have.

    I know I ‘rabbit on’ at times, but sometimes I just get so furious.


  41. spangled drongo June 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    cohers and Tony,

    Very pertinent points. I wrote an article on solar panels, the polution created in their making and FITs for the local rag but being the greenies they are and great supporters of AGW, they wouldn’t print it although they print anything in support of AGW. I’ve since written another, less pointed article and am awaiting the outcome.

    Do you mind if I quote some of your lines?

  42. TonyfromOz June 9, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    use whatever you wish of my lines.
    However, good luck with that.
    You also might include this link I have Posted here a few times already, and believe me, I’m not drumming up visits to the site I contribute at, but this Post has further information and further links as well.



  43. gavin June 9, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    Tony; just passing but I have clicked on your monica today and noticed that piece Mercury myths and decided you are another part of the industry ganda clearing desk. Nobody here has been more exposed to Hg in various forms than me so I say lets close this whole lot down as we did with the live meat export.

    Now I can come back after some sunshine was only 4C yesterday then perhaps get right back to power in my slipstream as it remains a pet subject

  44. TonyfromOz June 9, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Seriously gavin,
    I’m on your side mate,
    Close down every CO2 emitting Electrical power plant in the Country, right now, full stop.

    There’s 92% of all electrical power being generated in Australia.

    See what happens then.

    Well, sorry, no one will see what happens outside of their own home, because the WHOLE Country would just stop dead, full stop.

    The result would be chaos on a scale unimaginable. The bovine waste product would really come into violent conflict with the rotating wind generating device.

    Had you read the Post in full, you would have come across the following:

    The latest government, university and independent studies reveal that all those power plants emit an estimated 41-48 tons of mercury per year. However, US forest fires emit at least 44 tons per year; cremation of human remains discharges 26 tpy; Chinese power plants eject 400 tpy; and volcanoes, subsea vents, geysers and other sources spew out 9,000-10,000 additional tons per year!

    Thus, US power plants account for less than 0.5% of all the mercury in the air Americans breathe. Even eliminating every milligram of this mercury will do nothing about the other 99.5% in America’s atmosphere….End quote.

    Clearing house for industry ganda …ho ho ho!

    Give another viewpoint indicating hidden truths, and all of a sudden its propaganda.

    Hey! Look in the mirror some time!


  45. cohenite June 9, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    TonyOz it is a waste of time for gav to look into the mirror; the living dead are invisible.

  46. el gordo June 9, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    There is a new book out doing a timely critique on Flannery’s The Weather Makers’.


  47. spangled drongo June 9, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

    “the living dead are invisible.”

    And completely insensitive to the way below average temperatures.

  48. TonyfromOz June 9, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    Hey Gav, mate,
    don’t say I’m not looking out for you!
    Be real careful now of those new Compact Fluorescent Light Globes.
    They’ve got Mercury in them.



  49. gavin June 9, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    Tony; do keep your wool on regarding all these feel good gov initiated programs, private solar schemes, home insulation, retro fitted gas on family cars cause we both know they all have to end sometime however I have to say the same about plans to hide all that CO2 from big power generators.

    Brown coal remains the most abundant fossil fuel in Victoria but it’s easily the worst of the fossils to convert to power after shales. It has to be dried then compressed into a “briquette” for transport as a fuel for general heating hence in normal combustion it requires a grate to allow air mixing on the mat. Larger furnaces had a moving chain grate to take fuel in and ash out of the chamber. This type of fire is very difficult to drive properly in terms of emission control.

    Hazelwood Power Station was designed to overcome many problems and in it’s day, state of the art. Anyone following this debate could see how Australian based R&D into power generation benefited from the state owned utilities era by following TIA through to its materials handling section. Big vision helped a lot of contractors too.


    On the issue of co-gen I say it should have occurred here with APM mills, particularly their major complex based in the Latrobe Valley at Maryvale and almost on top of those massive Victorian brown coal deposits. But lets leave it to others to discover any tied operations in the one house. A Google can also show where mercury in effluent gets thumbs down


  50. spangled drongo June 9, 2011 at 8:39 pm #


    What are you doing to keep warm down in the big C?

    Hope you’ve turned off all your warming machines [Max 9c at our place in sunny Qld today] and you’re warming your toes strictly on FIT-free and grid-free renewables like me.

  51. gavin June 10, 2011 at 5:36 am #

    SD; its nat gas by Brevis! Canberra is not a largely wood fueled city now.

  52. spangled drongo June 10, 2011 at 10:50 am #


    So when do you envisage being able to generate enough winter warmth through grid-free and FIT-free renewables?

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