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50 years of Davoz. The Global Shapers will be the rope the Multistakeholders use to hang the rest of us with

Davos is upon us. That event where the world’s elite congregate via private jet and helicopter transport to tell the rest of us to reconsider our use of a second hand SUV to take the kids to soccer practice for the sake of the planet.

This event marks 50 years. What started as a good idea is now nothing more than a networking event for crony capitalists looking to exploit gutless governments into backing their schemes and ridiculing those that don’t sign up for multi-million dollar memberships.

We should applaud the World Economic Forum (WEF) for helping perpetuate the culture of systemically brainwashing our youth.

In the 2020 Global Risks report, we get the following table which highlights adults (‘Multistakeholders’) and the youth (‘Global Shapers’). Who knew that environmental issues took the Top 5 positions among the kids? Privacy be damned. Adults were more concerned with politics and trade wars. Hint hint President Trump.

The long term outlook produced even more drama. The adults seem to have appeased the kids on climate but their private jet powered life styles at the very least mention global governance failure and the risk of asset bubbles popping.

The youth on the other hand ramped up the global warming rhetoric to 11. The Top 6 concerns are climate and #8 turns out to be about climate refugees. That’s the result of a Marxist education, one that NZ is only too proud to boast about. Forget rational debate to engage kids on how to see two sides of an argument. They will be admonished for speaking out against the orthodoxy. Or doxxed on social media. Or both. Is it any wonder we have a mental health crisis?

Although it is worth mentioning that the deteriorating global economic fundamentals highlighted in the same report risk handing the kids their ideal utopia by way of a deep recession thanks to excessive global debt levels and low interest rates. It is unlikely these self-entitled ‘Global Shapers’ have ever contemplated, much less lived through such an outcome with all of their earth ending hysteria. Best tell them that if they pursue their dream of 100% renewables and zero carbon emissions they can bask in the shared misery of having let their teachers blindly mislead them by never challenging them on anything. Experience is a hard teacher. They’ll get the test first and the lesson afterwards. But such reality will be too late and take decades to fix.

Perhaps these ‘Global Shapers’ would do well to study the reasons why inequality and social upheaval will continue to grow if the world pursues the barking mad drive to decarbonise the world. The report even makes a point to talk of the disruption in France by the yellow vests. It noted,

In France, for example, the persistence of the “gilets jaunes” movement had caused businesses more than US$11.4 billion in losses by December 2019 and complicated the government’s plans for economic revival.

The yellow vests are protesting over regulation and climate related taxes.

Under the chapter of ’10 years left’, we got the following passage which is full of untruths as to beggar belief.

Governments, markets and, in an increasing number of societies, voters are awakening to the urgent realities of climate change—it is striking harder and more rapidly than many expected. The last five years are on track to be the warmest on record. Climate-related natural disasters such as hurricanes, droughts and wildfires are becoming more intense and more frequent, reportedly now averaging a disaster a week. Polar ice is melting more quickly than anticipated, with drastic implications for sea levels and coastal populations. Severe weather is worsening: the last year witnessed unprecedented wildfires and devasting storms across the globe, sea ice loss in the Arctic and record-breaking heatwaves in Europe.”

Yet how was it that Queenslanders voted to keep the incumbent government in power because of its support for a coal mine? Why is China committing to 300-500 new coal-fired power plants?

How is it that the UN has reported categorically that it has ‘low confidence’ on any shift in the behaviour of natural disasters? In the UNIPCC’s March 2018 report on weather extremes with respect to anthropogenic induced global warming) it says,

“…There is low confidence in observed trends in small-scale phenomena such as tornadoes and hail because of data inhomogeneities and inadequacies in monitoring systemsin some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America and northwestern Australia. There is limited to medium evidence available to assess climate-driven observed changes in the magnitude and frequency of floodslow confidence for the attribution of any detectable changes in tropical cyclone activity to anthropogenic influences..low confidence in projections of changes in extreme winds.. low confidence in projections of changes in monsoonslow confidence in wave height projections…overall low confidence because of inconsistent projections of drought changes…low confidencein projected future changes in dust storms…low confidence in projections of an anthropogenic effect on phenomena such as shallow landslides.”

Where is the evidence of 10s of millions of climate refugees fleeing rising sea levels an coastal populations?

Virginie K. E. Duvat of the Institut du Littoral et de l’Environnement, University of la Rochelle-CNRS, La Rochelle sponsored by the French National Research Agency; French Ministry of Environment, Energy and Oceans (MEEM) wrote.

Analysis “using tide gauges and satellites showed 30 Pacific and Indian Ocean atolls including 709 islands, revealed that no atoll lost land area and that 88.6% of islands were either stable or increased in area, while only 11.4% contracted.

This confirms a 2010 study by Webb & Kench which revealed,

that 86% of islands remained stable (43%) or increased in area (43%) over the timeframe of analysis. Largest decadal rates of increase in island area range between 0.1 to 5.6 ha. Only 14% of study islands exhibited a net reduction in island area. Despite small net changes in area, islands exhibited larger gross changes.

There is even reference to properties sold in Florida and the risk they become uninsurable. Then why is the Florida house price index at record highs?

What about record breaking cold waves in Europe and Canada? Unprecedented wildfires and storms? Not according to the data.

Unprecedented media sensationalism more like it.

One comment made in the report was the fact that 14x more women die than men during natural disasters. Is this proof there are only two biological genders or are the studies on non-binary deaths during disasters incomplete? This may have to be a separate break out session.

The report also issues this stark warning.

Aside from a number of vanguard first-mover champions, most companies, too, appear ill-equipped to address climate risk.

Ill-equipped or paying lip service?

Take Josh Bayliss, CEO of Virgin Group. He said,

“It’s definitely true that right now every one of us should think hard about whether or not we need to take a flight.”

Why doesn’t he close down the airlines in the portfolio? Instead of waiting for his customers to grow a conscience and do the right thing why not force their choice? The obvious answer is that it’s hypocritical.

Yet even our own ASIC feels the need to force the minds of corporates to deal with climate change. Forget the data that shows reporting on the subject has collapsed since 2011 from an already low level because the free market mechanism reveals that pricing to offset such fears simply don’t exist in any meaningful way. The regulator’s wish to enforce reporting only proves it needs to construct a narrative to ward off a problem that doesn’t rate much of mention other than virtue signaling.

Perhaps this urgency to get regulators to pressure corporate leaders showed up with this snippet in the WEF report,

In the World Economic Forum’s survey of business leaders, none of the top 10 risks globally are environmental, suggesting a critical blind spot…industry partners of the World Economic Forum ranked environmental risks higher than business leaders surveyed more broadly…Overall, lack of consistent awareness-raising among business leaders may create first-mover advantages for some, but it also potentially demonstrates the much more concerning overarching risk: that many businesses may not be planning for the physical and financial risks that climate change may have on their activities and across their value chains.

So in plain English that says that the majority of corporates that don’t pay into the WEF’s Davos slush fund are evil and if we can get the governments of the world to force change, its members will be the first beneficiaries of any new climate legislation.

Yes, Global Shapers are merely the rope that the Multistakeholders will use to lynch the rest of us with.

The link between laundry and high speed rail

Having lived in Japan for two decades, it was so easy to take things such as this dry-cleaning message for granted. The way it was put in a plastic zip-lock bag with the item stuck to the docket. Complete attention to detail.

I didn’t realise how much I missed this part of the culture. Yet it transcends across every facet of life.

Take the bullet train. JR Central, the owner of the main Tokaido Line reported the following in its latest annual report.

In over 50 years there have been zero accidents. The railway has spent JPY3.5 trillion with a “t” ($35bn) in safety and maintenance alone. Safety and reliability are paramount to growing ridership.

The train runs 368 services a day servicing 466,000 passengers. It had an average delay of 0.7 minutes per train service. For the environmentalists, the Tokaido Line emits 1/12th the CO2 per passenger of a commercial aircraft. So there is a green lining too.

When attending the Australia vs NZ cricket on a hot day earlier in the month, “The Light Rail Service has stopped working. Buses will operate in their place” popped up on the big screen. The entire 30,000 crowd burst out into spontaneous laughter. How much bigger joke could this project get? How can it take 50 minutes to get to Randwick from Circular Quay?

In short, a French designed train built in India couldn’t operate because the temperature expanded the track causing it to become jammed. If being delayed for over one year wasn’t embarrassing enough, who knew Australia had hot days from time to time?

Our Sydney Metro has also been plagued by setbacks. Same situation. French designed trains made in India. Breaking down in tunnels and so forth. Driverless they may be but rudderless too.

Yet the Japanese are about to take the bullet train to a new level. The MAGLEV will allow passengers to get to Nagoya from Tokyo (300km) in 40 minutes! Imagine a trip to Canberra in that time? Tokyo to Osaka (500km) will only take 67 minutes.

If we think that Australia has grown its population by 2.2m (+10%) since 2013, our airports won’t be able to handle the extra expansion. At the moment, there are 54,500 flights annually between Sydney and Melbourne. On a daily basis around 27,000 people make this pilgrimage.

By comparison, the Tokaido Line runs around 78,000 passenger per day bettwen Tokyo and Nagoya. 145,000 between Tokyo and Osaka.

High speed rail is a no brainer for Australia. As a former ANU student some 30 years ago, I often made the journey from Sydney to Canberra. The distance between Liverpool and Campbelltown is around 20km. 30 years ago they were separated. Now housing has expanded from either direction along the Hume Highway such that the two towns are more or less connected by numerous new suburbs. The population is putting pressure on new housing.

Many public servants who work in the nation’s capitol, Canberra, now live in Goulburn, a country town some 45 minutes out. Shuttle buses now run between the two towns such has been the trend.

If the population keeps expanding at a 10% clip every 6 years, the infrastructure just won’t keep up. If Australia isn’t thinking about high speed rail for much longer, it will be too late. To think such rail infrastructure will take 20 years to execute.

The record tells us that the Japanese are the best partners to develop the HSR in Australia. Surely we have had enough bad experiences with the French to date to want to have them run another project. Trains or submarines. The Chinese have hardly ingratiated themselves by canceling visas of our politicians. They don’t have the safety record of the Japanese, either.

The Japanese build things to last. Is it any wonder the Japanese ensure the sleepers have higher volcanic ash content to ensure their long-life? Not in China. Hence why one of China’s high speed trains derailed in 2011 because of a cracked sleeper with lower ash content. Even worse the authorities ended up just digging a hole and pushing the crashed rolling stock in and burying it.

The Taiwanese have probably made the most sensible recent HSR investment. Ridership has grown from 15.5 million in 2007 to around 67.4 million today. Punctuality is also 99.8%. Sound familiar? It should do.

The Japanese-led Taiwan Shinkansen Consortium won the contract by a combination of soft loans and flexible structures. The Taiwanese government also introduced flexible depreciation, refinanced the debt terms and bought a majority of the publicly listed railway. It has now made capital gains on its investment! They bought Japanese rolling stock made by Kawasaki Heavy Industries which has been bulletproof.

So it is high time the Australian and state governments started to think about getting their act together on HSR. Japanese technology is the only sensible option. It is competitive, reliable and if you have had any friends attended the Rugby World Cup last year, they’ll all tell you how amazing the bullet train was.

Oh and the airlines should love the high speed rail as it will free up slots to use on better routes. Even better they could be partners to running the rail operating system.

Nobility in Iran’s Honesty? Not so fast.

It is one thing to admit a mistake. However the mainstream media is borderline complimenting Iran for its honesty, The Iranians initially denied shooting down the Ukrainian passenger jet by suggesting it had mentioned technical troubles with the tower. Then Iran tried to defend the use of bulldozers at the crash site and wasn’t looking to release the black boxes. Now the Revolutionary Guard admitted it to using a surface-to-air (SAM) missile to shoot it down by mistake.

However we are talking about the elite battle hardened fighting force of the Iranians. Not some bunch of cadets with the keys to toys they haven’t have sufficient training on. Let’s run through the logic of what we know.

First, no aircraft safety investigation body would ever dream of bulldozing a forensics site if they wished to find the root cause. Plane crashes are crimes scenes even when there is no foul play. Was it fatigue, engine failure, mid-air collision? Did the plane pancake? How far is the distance between nose and tail as well as wingtips? Did it disintegrate mid air? Black boxes tell only so much. Initially the Iranians weren’t looking to release them but now are allowing the French BEA to analyze the data.

Flight PS752 took off a bit after 6am. It would have been dawn. Flight 752’s strobe lights would have been visible at just under 8000ft provided there was no cloud cover. The speed during the climb would have been around 275kts. Cruise missiles don’t have strobe lights.

Audibly a 40 meter long Boeing 737-800 commercial jet has an engine speed during climb of c.5,000rpm (fan speed). It has a distinctive thrum. A 5.6 meter Tomahawk cruise missile turbofan shreiks at 36,000rpm. They aren’t built for durability. So a military spec missile engine spinning 7x faster than a CFM-56 turbofan sounds completely different. That alone would be an instant sign to a trained military of what the threat was.

US Tomahawk cruise missiles fly at sub 200ft. That is under two hundred feet. They are terrain hugging weapons. They travel at 550mph. Were the Tomahawk flying past a missile battery it would be simple to pick up visually.

The Iranians use state of the art Russian surface-to-air missiles (SAM). Russia makes the best SAM systems worldwide. Not only in accuracy terms but in detection terms. Tor or S-300 systems would be able to determine altitude, speed and size with a reasonable degree of accuracy.

SAM’s are designed to explode before the target, showering it with high velocity shrapnel like a shotgun to ensure the speeding target is essentially shredded. It does not detonate on contact. The SAM systems are designed to slow down as it approaches the target to inflict the maximum damage.

We do not need to mention that the loss of 176 lives is a tragedy. However the blame is squarely at the feet of the Revolutionary Guard. It is uncanny how the mainstream media is painting the admission by the Iranians as some sort of noble gesture. Does Trump killing such a senior target make for a viable excuse to shoot down a passenger jet?

If Trump hadn’t had Solameini assassinated then this tragedy wouldn’t have occurred is the mainstream media logic. How quickly the mainstream media forget that Obama conducted 542 drone strikes without the approval of Congress which killed nearly 3,800 people including 324 civilians. Is it fair to pin the Malaysian MH17 Boeing 777 shot down over Ukraine at his feet? Of course not.

How long should Trump have ignored oil tankers being attacked by Iran in the Gulf in May 2019? Should he have forgotten the US drone shot down by Iran in June 2019? The attack on a Saudi state run oil company in September 2019? The attacks in US military bases in Iraq in December 2019? Storming the US Embassy in Iraq in the same month? The death of a US contractor? At what point did the US allow Iran to continue without retaliation?

It is not to say the assassination of a ruthless terrorist was the most optimal outcome from a geopolitical stability perspective but the constant Iranian provocation was bound to result in a counter punch at some stage.

Now there is admission of guilt, this isn’t a sign of a noble gesture. It is a stuff up of epic proportions. There is no doubt that Iran would have been in maximum vigilance mode after Solemeini’s death. Aerial surveillance would have been on high alert. The most experienced crews would have manned the SAM sites. There can be no doubt it was a deliberate strike. Fighter jets wouldn’t have been flying at subsonic speeds over Iraq if they were intent on bombing targets. A passenger jet sounds different to a cruise missile.

Back in 1988, the USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air flight 655 over the Strait of Hormuz, misidentifying it as an enemy fighter jet. The Soviets shot down KAL 007 in 1983 for supposedly straying into USSR airspace. An Israeli flight out of Kenya narrowly escaped being shot down by a shoulder mounted SAM in 2002.

Did Greta’s flight shaming work on Germans or was it something else?

More pesky facts. Flight shaming is the latest and greatest form of climate activism. Our 16yo Time Person of The Year 2019, Greta Thunberg, has said Germans have taken to rail with a sharp drop off in air travel.

She said on her FB page,

Last month domestic air travel in Sweden was down 11%. In Germany it was down 12%. The climate- and environmental crisis can of course only be solved by a system change. But these numbers surely do help with bringing that change a little closer…

Bloomberg noted,

The number of people flying between German cities fell 12% in November from a year earlier, according to the ADV industry group, marking a fourth straight monthly drop and mirroring a pattern emerging in Sweden.

A shame Bloomberg failed to mention that Germany’s largest airline Lufthansa grounded 1,300 flights in November in order to weather internal turbulence caused by thousands its flight attendants who went on strike. That might have an impact on travel! 180,000 passengers were forced to travel by other means.

Deutsche Bank Research also noted,

Passenger numbers at German airports recently fell…the decline is largely due to economic reasons, such as the cyclical slowdown and lower supply due to airline bankruptcies.

Unfortunately, the rest of Europe keeps flying. ACI Europe which tracks aircraft movements shows that travel across Europe had increased 2.1% in the latest figures. Specifically, Milan’s Malpensa Airport experienced 31.2% growth in October, Krakow +30.2%, Seville +14.8%, Bordeaux +14.2%, Vienna +10.2% and Brussels +6.4%.

Once again, the media has so little regard for context. Sing a narrative even if it is not proven by the data. Yet another example of why there is little need to listen to teenagers who pontificate as experts, even if spoon fed by adults with an agenda.

If Mitsubishi studied pigs and aviation closer

In 2007, CM suggested that the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) was doomed to failure at the concept stage.

All the tea leaves were there to be read. A simple study of the widely available Boeing & Airbus 20-yr commercial market forecasts at the time revealed how the regional jet market was set to shrink 40% in favour of larger jets.

Yet the Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp (MAC) pushed on ahead regardless hoping for a 20% share of a collapsing market. What would possess a company to target a dying segment with a product that wasn’t a game changer? A plane that promised to use composites to reduce weight yet was forced back to conventional alloys and to resize because customers had no demand for the original design.

With 90% of the regional market occupied by Bombardier and Embraer, airlines get great efficiencies by sticking to the same brands during upgrade cycles – minimal marginal costs required to train ground staff and pilots. For airlines to pursue a brand new aircraft that offered little in terms of superior economics nor extensive after sales services, it was always going to be the Achilles’ heel for MAC.

Airlines would not only take on extra costs to train existing staff, but would run huge financial risks with leased MRJ’s (now called the Spacejet to rebrand the failure) if they needed to downsize fleets because there would be next to no other airlines to sell or release them to unlike Bombardier & Embraer. Pilots who chose to be certified to fly the Spacejet also risked limited career options if an airline collapsed.

So it is refreshing to read this great summary on Wolf Street of how terribly the aircraft program is (not) progressing in 2019.

It would make a great Harvard Business Review study on how not to crack into a market.

Qantas to sue Will.i.am?

Image result for will.i.am helicopter

CM rarely has a kind word for Qantas when it comes to service, but good on the airline for being prepared to defend a stewardess who Will.I.am decided to accuse of “racism” on Twitter. Of course, the full facts about what went on board to cause the fracas is yet to be released but sadly passengers need to realise when they are on the plane, the crew do have the law on their side. Apparently, the musician didn’t want to put his laptop in the overhead bin. Good luck winning that fight when instructed by the crew. It is a condition of flying.

One could almost be forgiven for thinking it was a pre-concert promotional stunt to stir up the media into a frenzy to sell more tickets. Thankfully Qantas flight attendants don’t wear MAGA hats, serve Subway sandwiches or carry bleach. Yet they do carry restraining kits. If Will.I.am truly did his homework he would have realised that Qantas is more woke than he is.

As successful as Will.I.am has been in his career, the triggered musician has had a history of not always living in the real world. Sadly when celebrities make millions they become so conditioned to having wind blown up their backside that when someone pushes back over the most trivial of things their outrage is amplified as if their life was at stake. Sometimes they don’t even get their own hypocrisy. Take this example.

Will.I.am attended a climate change debate in Oxford in his own helicopter – which is not dissimilar in size to Marine One – and said at the conference, “Climate change should be the thing that we are all worried and concerned about as humans on this planet, how we affect the planet, our consumption, and how we treat the place that we live in.”

Qantas’ 2050 zero-emissions nonsense

Woke? The only way Qantas can cut net CO2 emissions to zero by 2050 is to cease operations. In what world does CEO Alan Joyce AC think he is somehow ahead of the aerospace technology curve? In any event, it’s highly unlikely he’ll be CEO in 2050.

Joyce said the Qantas and Jetstar will cap net emissions at their current level from next year, cutting it gradually over the next 30 years. A big pronouncement but by sheer virtue of upgrading an ageing fleet (phasing out 747 Jumbos) the efficiency targets are a walk in the park, not some tremendous virtuous milestone. Burning less fuel is good for the airline’s bottom line. Lower fuel burn means fewer emissions.

The ultimate irony is that aircraft manufacturers are doing their utmost to “carbonize” the fuselage and wings in order to save weight (Boeing 787, 777X, A350, A330). Even the next generation engines are featuring extensive use of carbon derivatives because of the fuel efficiency benefits that are created by them. Put simply, even in 2050 carbon and fossil fuel derivatives will be major source materials for future planes. Maybe in Joyce’s mind, that won’t count.

Aerospace technology is utterly amazing. To think that a 650t Airbus A380 can take off, fly 12 hours and land in complete comfort. Or that one fan blade on a 777 jet engine can theoretically suspend a locomotive from it without snapping such is the tensile strength. Now we can fly 19 hours nonstop. 30 years ago, half that distance was achievable.

Bio-fuels exist. However, if the airports across the globe don’t provide bio-fuels then his zero emissions pledge is shot. According to the IEA, aviation biofuel (aka sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)) is forecast to be 20% of all aviation fuel by 2040, from 5% in 2025.

The IEA stated,

SAF are currently more expensive than jet fuel, and this cost premium is a key barrier to their wider use. Fuel cost is the single largest overhead expense for airlines, accounting for 22% of direct costs on average, and covering a significant cost premium to utilise aviation biofuels is challenging…Subsidising the consumption of SAF envisaged in the Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS) in 2025, around 5% of total aviation jet fuel demand, would require about $6.5 billion of subsidy (based on closing a cost premium of USD 0.35 litre between HEFA-SPK and fossil jet kerosene at USD 70/bbl oil prices).

For commercial aviation to be a success, cost is always a factor. Great advancements like the Concorde died because of sustainable economics, not because of the accident. The vaunted Boeing Sonic Cruiser died at the concept stage because airlines couldn’t accept the commercial economics afforded by those higher speeds. So we have been stuck at 900km/h for decades and for decades to come.

Yes, there have been talks of electrically-powered planes (several developmental prototypes exist) but the technology to make them fly 10,000km at 900km/h with 300+ passengers on board won’t be met by 2050. Airbus intends to

make the technology available to fly a 100-passenger aircraft based on electric and hybrid-electric technology within the 2030s timeframe.”

Don’t buy into the malarkey that 10% of Qantas passengers carbon offset their travel. If one does the math, less than 3% of miles are actually covered by such virtue signalling. Either way, more than 90% don’t care to pay for their carbon offsets.