Financial Markets

ACF threatens Tennis Australia with Corporations Act

It was only a matter of time. The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has regurgitated a report it wrote on the increasing risks of heat stress on cricketers during Boxing Day tests by applying it the Australian Open tennis.

It chose the same partial voice to undertake the study.  The Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub (MCCCRH) openly states that it “conducts social research and leads impact focused projects to build media and policy infrastructure that adequately addresses climate change in Australia.”

Not balance. Just agenda based.

The main points were as follows:

“The MCCCRH finds”:

“Australian tennis is already experiencing the impact of climate change, with smoke from bushfires and extreme heat driven by climate change increasing health risks for players and the likelihood of match disruptions.

Haven’t we worked out that dreadful bush management is a root cause, not climate change? That despite 57 inquiries into bushfires since 1939 we still haven’t learnt how to maintain our bush land despite aborigines being successful custodians for 1,000s of years before climate change was even a thing? Incompetence seems to be the issue, not climate.

“Tennis authorities should consider a series of actions to protect players, such as extending the length of the tournament — to allow games to be cancelled in the hottest part of the day if it’s too hot on court — or moving the event to November or March.”

Has the ACF considered some players are fitter than others? Shouldn’t the players determine such things with TA, not a bunch of alarmists with an axe to grind?

“Climate change threats may soon represent ‘material financial issues’ for Tennis Australia and its directors, who could face liability under the Corporations Act for failing to adequately address and report these risks.

Do we really need to have the ACF resort to threats via the Corporations Act to shame Cricket Australia and Tennis Australia (TA) with unsettled science? Does it realize that corporations reporting on climate change has fallen to 14% from 22% over the last decade? 1000s of Aussie directors are already well aware of their risks without having the ACF throw the rule book in their face. So they disagree with you.

Will the ACF insure the risk of lost revenue if its alarmism they predict fails to eventuate? If the ACF is so confident in its prophecies it should have no qualms backing such a notion. Put its science where its mouth is.

On page 16, TA got a slap on the wrist for having ANZ as a sponsor because it supports the fossil fuel industry at $7.70 for every $1 it does on renewables. Could that be because of the relative risk profile, ACF? Does ANZ dictate to TA what it must do with the tournament other than contractually honour advertising exposure? Does TA have any rights to tell ANZ how it, a bank, deploys shareholder capital? No.

Although we do note the ACF commended TA for joining the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework and urges it to raise its voice for strong, meaningful climate action from our government.

The ACF should demand that TA restrict the Australian Open to players who walk, cycle or sail to the tournament. As the UN sports body states,

“Sport is not just a victim of climate change; it is also a contributor, through greenhouse gas emissions.

What better way to mitigate the dangers and show the very actions that will stop the climate emergency dead in its tracks by making the tennis players ditch fossil fuel derived transport of any sort to any future events and give up their carbon rackets and naphtha based synthetic clothing.

In closing, FNF Media hopes for the sake of consistency, that the ACF will guarantee it will publish a report on professional skiing competitions where skiers may have to brave record cold temperatures to compete? If such an event comes to pass, we can guarantee it would never see the light of day. After all we just had the coldest maximum summer temperature in history at Thredbo late last year.

By the way, here is the Melbourne forecast for the tournament and the peak temp hit in 1939.

Central banks are climate change experts now. If only they possessed such skill in their core competency

Are these people for real? Does the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) truly believe that world’s central banks will become “climate rescuers of last resort”? Do we really want our central banks to be more proactive in pushing governments toward a greener economy by suggesting a carbon tax as “first-best solution“? The problem with central bankers is that every problem looks like a nail when they only have a hammer in the toolkit.

First, on what level do central banks have a clue about climate change? If they had even the foggiest notion about the science they would never have embarked on a set of reckless monetary policy measures that created the very conditions for excessive debt, mal-investment and over-consumption which they now seek to punish us for via the adoption of a carbon tax.

We should not forget the almost $300 trillion of global debt now racked up thanks to abnormally low interest rates. It is politically expedient to run budget deficits too because central banks are only too happy to keep (near) ZIRP or NIRP which makes servicing ballooning deficits appear almost perpetually affordable with short term focused politicians. It is but a figment of their imagination.

How easy it is to sound the alarm on climate change to mask the policy blunders of the last two decades. It would be nice if we could believe they possessed expertise in their mandated role before embarking into a field they have no sound base to work from. It is a dangerous distraction.

It is worth citing a few examples of the record of central banks around the world since GFC.

In 2018, the US Fed stopped reporting changes in the balance sheet. It did this to prevent spooking the markets over tapering. It reminds FNF Media of the day Bernanke’s Fed announced it would no longer report M3 money supply a year before the financial markets headed into the GFC. Why is there a need for a lack of transparency if it wishes to instill market confidence via its policy settings?

Has the Fed reflected on the fact that over half of listed corporates have a credit rating of BBB or below? Ford Motor Co’s credit rating was downgraded by Moody’s to junk. $84bn worth of debt now no longer investment grade. It will be the first of many Fortune 500s to fall foul to this reality. In 2008, there was around $800bn of BBB status credit. That number exceeds $3.186 trillion today. Brought to you courtesy of low interest rates.

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) is now responsible for 60% of all ETF market ownership. Latest reports confirm the Bank of Japan (BoJ) has now become a top 10 shareholder in almost 50% of listed stocks. In a sense, we have a trend which threatens to turn Japan’s largest businesses into quasi-state-owned enterprises (SoE) by the back door. The BoJ now owns $250bn of listed Japanese equities. It is the top shareholder in household Japanese brands such as Omron, Nidec and Fanuc. At current investment rates, the BoJ is set to own $400bn worth of the market by 2020-end.

The BoJ’s manipulation of the JGB market caused several of the major Japanese banks to hand back their trading licenses because they served no purpose anymore given the central bank’s manipulation.

The ECB has dropped the ball in Europe. Jonathan Rochford of Narrowroad Capital wrote,

Many European banks have failed to use the last decade to materially de-risk. The most obvious outworking of this is that European banks continue to receive taxpayer funded bailouts, with Germany’s NordLB and Italy’s Banca Popolare di Bari both receiving lifelines this monthOne final issue that lurks particularly amongst European banks is their gaming of capital ratios. European banks have become masters of finding assets that require little risk capital but can generate a decent margin. Government debt from Italy is one example, with pressure now being put on the ECB to allow for unlimited purchases of Greek government debt. This would substantially increase the already significant “doom loop” risk. This risk arises from the potential for a default on government debt to bankrupt the banks, and the converse situation where failing banks look for a taxpayer bailout and bankrupt the country.

The list goes on and on. Central banks are in no position to lecture the rest of us on anything given their command of their core competence remains so flawed.

Global money velocity has been declining for two decades. Every dollar printed creates an ever shrinking fraction of GDP impact. Yet all we did was double down on all the failed measures that led us into the GFC

What we do know is that the BIS has sought the advice of literature professors to come up with the phrase that climate change presented a “colossal and potentially irreversible risk of staggering complexity.”

Really?

It is easy for the BIS to shout that a “green swan” event could send us into the financial abyss. However the reality is that dreadful stewardship of monetary conditions has set us up for a huge fall. Not a bushfire, storm or flood. Perhaps we might view a green swan event as wishful thinking by central banks because it would allow them to absolve themselves of all responsibility in getting us into this mess in the first place. They want to see themselves as saviors, not culprits.

Rochford sums up central banks brilliantly with this comment,

When it comes to central banks, I would prefer to believe it is a combination of groupthink, an unwillingness to take career risk by speaking the truth and a willingness to either ignore or disregard counter evidence that has resulted in the detrimental decisions since the financial crisis. However, the increasing amount of evidence, often produced by central banks themselves, points to central banks being more culpable than gullible.

So given this condition why on earth are we paying any attention to their prescriptions on saving the planet? When they quit the excuses and fess up that the last two decades of monetary policy has failed to fix the excesses built in the system then we might lend an ear. Until then they join the list of government agencies who don’t want to be caught out not being in line with the settled politics. Truly sick.

Surely there must be some mistake?!

Has the World Economic Forum (WEF) taken leave of its senses? Not even we think President Trump is a “world-class speaker” despite his capacity to draw huge crowds and make us all sit up and listen. There is a touch of irony to see Trump included by the WEF in this category. Poor old Al Gore will speak but presumably dud predictions has put him on the B-list.

A brief study of the upcoming live sessions published by the WEF reveals it isn’t hard to work out what an utter waste of aviation fuel the summit will be. Woke causes feature broadly. See the following list of live streams available;

The 26th Annual Crystal Award Ceremony

Join us in honouring exceptional Cultural Leaders who are improving the state of the world through their outstanding contributions to inclusive and sustainable change.

Redesigning Democracy in the Digital Age

From data dignity to quadratic voting, join economist and best-selling author Glen Weyl for an exploration of radical solutions to societal decision-making in the wake of unprecedented technological change.

The Fight for Artistic Freedom

Join Wanuri Kahiu on her journey from filmmaker to unintentional leader for freedom of expression in Kenya after her film.

On Music and the Human Spirit

On the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, conductor Marin Alsop shares lessons on how music can help cultivate joy in the darkest of times.

The Reality of Racial Bias

From politics to the public sector and from housing to education, racial bias perpetuates a crushing structural disadvantage for people around the globe. Join Phillip Atiba Goff as he illustrates how data and evidence-based approaches can be used to turn racial bias into a solvable problem.

The Role of Faith for a Cohesive and Sustainable World

Eighty-four per cent of the global population identifies with a religious group. With eroding social cohesion and near climate breakdown, how can the power of faith foster a cohesive and sustainable world?

Musical Moments: Yo-Yo Ma plays Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, 2008 Crystal Awardee and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Board of Trustees, performs Bach’s Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 to inspire a conversation about how culture helps us to seek truth, build trust and act in service of one another.

Free to Be (LGBTI)

Fifty years after the Stonewall riots in New York and the birth of the gay liberation movement, LGBTI youth still face rejection and discrimination, resulting in high mental illness and suicide rates among LGBTI youth. How can schools and families contribute to safe and inclusive environments for all?

Seeing the Other

Join photojournalist Rena Effendi to learn about her mission to give a voice to the voiceless through her collection of portraits and places celebrating the strength of the human spirit. Rena Effendi is a Fellow of the New Narratives Lab, a mentorship programme dedicated to fostering a new and diverse generation of cultural leaders.

An Insight, An Idea with Jin Xing

A conversation with choreographer and 2020 Crystal Awardee Jin Xing on her journey from male army colonel to one of China’s most influential female TV personalities.

The Power of Youth

From the 2018 March for Our Lives fighting for gun control in the US to the Global Climate Strike in 2019, young people are mobilizing and increasingly influencing today’s most pressing political and environmental issues. How can these movements transform their will for change into action?

The Beauty of Inclusion

Join Thando Hopa, the first woman with albinism to appear on the cover of Vogue, on her journey to unearth the missing stories needed to achieve equality for all persons. Thando Hopa is a Fellow of the New Narratives Lab, a mentorship programme dedicated to fostering a new and diverse generation of Cultural Leaders.

A Conversation with will.i.am

Join a conversation with musician will.i.am and young activist Naomi Wadler on the fight to end gun violence, and how they are influencing policy change and inspiring the next generation.

Augmented Voices

Join vocalist and researcher Harry Yeff, also known as Reeps100, who reveals our true range of communication and the hidden potential of the human voice.

How to Turn Protest into Progress

Anti-government protests fuelled by anger about inequality, corruption and political repression are paralysing cities and nations. How can movements transition from protest to political change more effectively? This session was developed in partnership with Tortoise Media.

Power of Narratives

Powerful narratives, consisting of shared causal and principled beliefs, are the prerequisite for human collaboration, yet also lead nations to war and move markets. How might societies co-create powerful narratives for a cohesive and sustainable world?

Being Out and Equal

While openness about being LGBTI at work increases well-being and productivity, more than half of the community avoids being open about their sexual orientation and gender identity in professional settings for fear of negative consequences. What are best practices to create open and inclusive workplaces for all? Access the Platform for Shaping the Future of the New Economy and Society on TopLink.

Although we shouldn’t be too critical of WEF. Economics does find its way into the subject matter.

Behind close doors, we note that Greta Thunberg will speak on a panel discussing “Averting a Climate Apocalypse“, Al Gore will speak on “What’s at stake: The Arctic” and Christina Figueres will speak on “Swapping subsidies for Green Incentives.” Precious little open-mindedness to be expected in those sessions.

Other topics will include the following;

After Brexit: Renewing Europe’s Growth

As the European Central Bank maintains interest rates at record lows, the economic forecast for the region remains weaker than desired. What will a new Commission and the eventual withdrawal of the United Kingdom mean for the European economy?

Shaping the Global Growth Agenda

In 2019, global debt levels soared to a record $250 trillion, alongside a “race to the bottom” for interest rates. What level of debt, inflation and interest rates are healthy for economies to grow?

Stakeholder Capitalism: Creating Common Standards for Social Excellence

From supply chain labour standards to operating in conflict-affected regions, navigating the social responsibilities of a company is a complex endeavour. What difficult decisions are chief executives facing in the pivot towards a broader social purpose?

In the face of all the dire predictions of climate doom to be reported by the media, we can be rest assured the assembled globalists will be telling our government officials that we minions stand the best chance of survival – economic, environmental and otherwise – if we submit to their superior intelligence.

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.

Turnbull proves to us that he still can’t see what everyone else does

Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has written an opinion piece in The Guardian and proved beyond all doubt the reasons why he no longer holds the privileged post and how blind the Liberal Party faction that supported him managed to bury their judgment.

Turnbull’s first few paragraphs flush this out. He opined,

Have we now reached the point where at last our response to global warming will be driven by engineering and economics rather than ideology and idiocy?

Ideology? Surely you jest, sir? Do climate skeptics push 17yo pig-tailed truants to peddle their warming religion? Did 31,000 climate skeptics,who question the governance behind the science, fly into COP25 to tell the rest us all how to behave?

Idiocy? One just needs to examine the utter hypocrisy of the climate protestors who can often be seen gorging on fast food made by evil corporations that reinvented single use packaging. Easier still, just follow Hollywood stars who think they can offset their enormous carbon footprints via regular use of private jets, stretched limos and lavish dozen room mansions by eating vegan and sacrificing fashion choice to one tuxedo for a season of gala dinners.

Let us start with the optics before the content.

Turnbull will go down in history as one of the only conservative party politicians to avoid conservative media outlets like the plague. If he looked in the mirror, how far off the Liberal reservation must he have been to have to limit himself to the left-leaning mainstream media even when he was PM?

To choose the climate alarmist Guardian as his platform speaks volumes. Where else would he find an audience that would would be so soft and stroke his ego?

The content of his op ed wasted little time heaping lashings of self-praise on his own record at the top, which frankly is not much to write home about.

We need to plan this carefully – we have to keep energy affordable and reliable as we make the transition. My government’s policy for a national energy guarantee (Neg) integrated emissions reduction and reliability, and would have enabled us to continue to make the switch to renewables without compromising the reliability of the electricity network…if ever there was a crisis not to waste, it is this one. Morrison has the chance now to reinstate the Neg with higher targets. Both he and Josh Frydenberg were among its strongest supporters when I was PM. They abandoned it in the lead-up to an election, to pacify the right wing of the Coalition that sabotaged it in the first place.”

Mr Turnbull, we are a bit curious. How was it Morrison managed to win the election by backing coal in the lead up? Pacifying the right wing or realizing that the real base of the party would never have backed you in 2019 still favour economic wellbeing to virtue signalling? The answer is obvious.

The thought of all these new green jobs. We think you ought to check the ABS for the latest statistics on those wonderful employment opportunities that just don’t exist in green jobs. Turnbull wrote,

The children in Muswellbrook and Singleton will not have to breathe in coal dust and sulphur dioxide from the mines and power stations, and their parents will have jobs in industries that thrive with cheap, green power…We can demonstrate that abundant zero emission energy will create thousands of new jobs that will vastly exceed those lost as coal burning comes to an end.

Annual direct FTE employment in renewable energy activities in Australia was estimated at 17,740 jobs in 2017-18 according to the ABS, a number below that of 2011-12.

Mining, according to the latest ABS stats, employs around 220,000. Electricity, gas and water approximately 131,000.

If we examine Turnbull’s “priority this decade should be our own green new deal in which we generate, as soon as possible, all of our electricity from zero emission sources. If we do, Australia will become a leader in the fight against global warming. And we can do it...” comment one assumes that we don’t have any coal fired generation.

Does Turnbull honestly believe the same amount of power generation could occur if “the degraded landscape of old mines could be covered with solar panels”? And at lower cost?

This is the trend of Australian energy price inflation and manufacturing jobs over the last two decades. Notice anything? A correlation of about 90%. Energy prices go up, manufacturing comes down. We have shed 250,000 manufacturing jobs in the last two decades. 

Germany gives us a wonderful case study on how a renewables based energy system has backfired spectacularly.

In 2007, Germany forecasted that 2020 residential electricity prices would be approximately 16 Eurocents with the shift to renewables away from nuclear. Today they trade at c.31 Eurocents. Der Spiegel, a normally left-leaning journal wrote in a two-part series. 

Part 1 – Germany Failure on the Road to a Renewable Future

“But the sweeping idea has become bogged down in the details of German reality. The so-called Energiewende, the shift away from nuclear in favour of renewables, the greatest political project undertaken here since Germany’s reunification, is facing failure. In the eight years since Fukushima, none of Germany’s leaders in Berlin have fully thrown themselves into the project, not least the chancellor. Lawmakers have introduced laws, decrees and guidelines, but there is nobody to coordinate the Energiewende, much less speed it up. And all of them are terrified of resistance from the voters, whenever a wind turbine needs to be erected or a new high-voltage transmission line needs to be laid out.”

Germany’s Federal Court of Auditors is even more forthright about the failures. The shift to renewables, the federal auditors say, has cost at least 160 billion euros in the last five years. Meanwhile, the expenditures “are in extreme disproportion to the results, Federal Court of Auditors President Kay Scheller said last fall, although his assessment went largely unheard in the political arena. Scheller is even concerned that voters could soon lose all faith in the government because of this massive failure.

There is also such an irony when these mad green schemes encounter scourge from animal rights groups. Former Green’s leader Bob Brown knows the feeling,

“The bird of prey [red kite], with its elegantly forked tail, enjoys strict protection in Germany…Red kites are migratory, returning from the south in the spring, but they don’t return reliably every year. The mayor would have been happy if the bird had shown up quickly so its flight patterns could be analyzed and plans for the wind park adjusted accordingly. It would have been expensive, but at least construction of the project could finally get underway.

But if the bird doesn’t return, the project must be suspended. Spies has to wait a minimum of five years to see if the creature has plans for the nest after all. Which means the wind park could finally be built in 2024, fully 12 years after the project got underway.”

Part 2 – German Failure on the Road to a Renewable Future

An additional factor exacerbating the renewables crisis is the fact that two decades after the enactment of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), 20-year guaranteed feed-in tariffs will begin expiring next year for the first wind, solar and biomass facilities. Some of those who installed solar panels back then — often farmers and homeowners — are still receiving 50 cents for every kilowatt-hour they feed into the grid. Today, larger facilities receive just 5 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The state has redistributed gigantic sums of money, with the EEG directing more than 25 billion euros each year to the operators of renewable energy facilities. But without the subsidies, operating wind turbines and solar parks will hardly be worth it anymore. As is so often the case with such subsidies: They trigger an artificial boom that burns fast and leaves nothing but scorched earth in their wake.

That doesn’t include the 360,000 German households in energy poverty. That is those people who can’t afford their electricity bills and have power to their homes cut off. Australia already has 42,000 in energy poverty,

Our electricity prices are among the highest in the world but Mr Turnbull believes he has the solution by getting rid of reliable coal-fired baseload in favour of solar panels, wind farms and battery storage, all heavily reliant on the very fossil fuels he wants to be terminated.

Yet Mr Turnbull believes that we can ditch coal because it is going out of fashion.

But above all we have to face this fact; coal is on the way out. It is, as we are seeing today, a matter of life and death. Whether we like it or not, demand for our export coal is going to decline and expire.

The world must, and I believe will, stop burning coal if we are to avoid the worst consequences of global warming. And the sooner the better. The good news is that thanks to technology we can have abundant energy which is both green and cheap.

Is it on the way out? Is that why China has 300-500 new coal-fired power plants in the works with a further 17 coal mines to be opened? Is that why India is keen to build out Adani? Even Germany is backtracking on coal fired power plant closures because it knows its grid can’t cope without it.

He closed with,

But the lies of the deniers have to be rejected. This is a time for truth telling, not obfuscation and gaslighting. Climate change is real…our response must be real too – a resilient, competitive, net zero emission economy – as we work to make our nation, and our planet, safe for our children and grandchildren.

He even suggests a world where we’re all driving EVs. While we aren’t sure whether Mr Turnbull owns a Tesla himself, he should know that the energy that goes to make the batteries is equivalent to the car doing 150,000km of CO2-e emissions before it leaves the showroom floor. Don’t forget the stress on the grid to charge all these cars. Who needs the reality of EV infrastructure rollouts across the Nullarbor which are powered by diesel gen sets? Mr Turnbull, any ideas? Run a cable from Snowy 2.0?

It is sad to see a former leader still feel he has a voice on a subject matter his party rejected based on economics. We already spend a fortune on green energy. We are pulling our weight as a Top 3 per capita nation on energy spend. In real terms we spent 2x more than France in 2019. We can only hope PM Morrison doesn’t fold from the poor media advice during the bushfires and see Turnbull’s endorsement as a sign to do the exact opposite.

This is why governments should shut up

FNF Media has always held that the brains that brought ABS, airbags, lane departure warning and so on do not require lectures from politicians about which technology must be adopted.

Did any of the above technologies arrive from the will of a government department? No. So when we heard that governments around the world were trying to ban fossil fuel cars we were disappointed.

All governments needed to do was say that we want zero emissions by 2040 and you have total technological freedom as to how to hit those targets. Necessity is the mother of invention.

F1 has this mindset firmly in its sights. It realizes that the noise is part of the thrill. Listen to Formula-E and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped into a Dyson vacuum cleaner showroom with all the models switched on at once.

According to Motorsport Magazine,

Formula 1 is looking to introduce two-stroke engines that run on eco-fuel by the middle of the decade, as it develops plans to become carbon neutral.

The proposal is said to make the sport greener than electric racing series, such as Formula E, while still using internal combustion engines — with improved sound.

Current F1 hybrid engines will be replaced by a new specification of power unit from 2025 or 2026. It will play a significant role in Formula 1’s project to become carbon neutral in 2030.

The new engines are likely to remain hybrids but powered by synthetic fuel, made by combining hydrogen with carbon captured from the air, using surplus green energy.

As well as the cars, this e-fuel could power the planes that carry the cars and equipment to races, making a big dent in the sport’s carbon footprint.

Research presented at the conference showed that electric racing cars could be responsible for twice the level of carbon emissions as hybrid racing cars, because of the amount produced when building the batteries.”

Just proves that humans have the power to ignite passion into solutions. We don’t need politicians, many who have shorter expiry dates than UHT milk, to push policy prescriptions without the slightest understanding of the very industry they seek to regulate.

BoM could tell you but they’d have to kill you (or charge a fortune)

Following on from yesterday’s report on the Bureau of Meteorology’s (BoM) fuzzy reporting standards which ignored satellite data, Jo Nova once again reports on the status of the ‘undisclosed’ methodology that we aren’t privy to.

On the face of it, if the BoM is to be regarded as the hall monitor for our government to set policy prescriptions against, shouldn’t the taxpayer and our lawmakers be entitled to 100% transparency of how BoM derives its predictions? And no, it shouldn’t be a question of we mere peons not being of sufficient intellect to be able to interpret it.

There should be standards that can face proper scrutiny and are comparable to other global meteorological bodies. If BoM’s methodology is superior, why isn’t it sharing it with the world and beating its chest to make us revere it even more? Isn’t that how we save the planet by promoting our own as the best in class that others should follow?

The following should boil your blood.

“The BOM Technical Advisory Forum report is out. Finally there is the black and white admission that the BOM “adjusted” dataset cannot be replicated independently, has not been replicated by any other group, and even more so, that the BOM will not provide enough information for anyone who wants to try.

As we have said all along, the all new ACORN wonder-data was not created with the scientific method. Adjustments to Australian temperature data were done with a black box mystery technique that only the sacred guild at the BOM are allowed to know. Far from being published and peer reviewed, the methods are secret, and rely on — in their own words — a “supervised process” of “expert judgment” and “operator intervention”. In other words, a BOM employee makes their best guess, ruling in or out the “optimal” choices, making assumptions that are not documented anywhere.

It’s a “trust us” approach. Would we let an ASX company audit their own books? Would you buy shares in such a company, or let it inform national policy on billion dollar schemes?

Here is the entire section on replication from page 9 and 10 (below). This is what any semi-skilled PR operative would write if they were trying to justify keeping their methods secret. My translations included.

Only BOM staff are smart enough to understand “scientifically complex”  thermometers (this is something that engineers, astrophysicists, aeronautics experts and physicists would not be able to do, is that what they are saying?):

The Forum considers that the algorithms and processes used for adjustment and homogenisation are scientifically complex and a reasonably high level of expertise is needed to attempt analysis of the ACORN-SAT data. For this reason the Forum had some queries about the ability to reproduce findings by both experts and members of the public.

Thinly veiled put-down coming:

It would be useful for the Bureau to provide advice about the necessary level of end-user expertise (notwithstanding a likely tendency for end-users to feel qualified to attempt such an analysis).

It might be more “useful” if the BOM staff provided their personal exam results in fluid dynamics, heat flow, mathematics and statistics. Or even just their resumes? We’ll find people who outscored them. OK?

Here’s the statement that no one has replicated the Australian temperature set:

The Forum felt that reproducing the Bureau’s ACORN-SAT daily analyses would be a very onerous task, and advice was supplied at the Forum meeting day that, while international groups have provided independent data homogenized at the monthly time-scale, no groups other than the Bureau are known to have attempted to produce or analyse an homogenized daily data set for Australia. One option would  the Bureau to work with local and international collaborators with the appropriate skill set to broadly assess the ACORN-SAT daily homogenisation methodologies.

Here is the statement that no one can replicate them because only the BOM knows how it was done (my bolding):

The Forum noted that the extent to which the development of the ACORN-SAT dataset from the raw data could be automated was likely to be limited, and that the process might better be described as a supervised process in which the roles of metadata and other information required some level of expertise and operator intervention. The Forum investigated the nature of the operator intervention required and the bases on which such decisions are made and concluded that very detailed instructions from the Bureau are likely to be necessary for an end-user who wishes to reproduce the ACORN-SAT findings. Some such details are provided in Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research (CAWCR) technical reports (e.g. use of 40 best correlated sites for adjustments, thresholds for adjustment, and so on); however, the Forum concluded that it is likely to remain the case that several choices within the adjustment process remain a matter of expert judgment and appropriate disciplinary knowledge.

The process can’t be “automated” — which means it can’t be described by a set of rules other people, or other computers could follow. It’s a bit of a red herring: skeptics have never demanded “automation”. We just want explanations. The crux of science is replication, not automation. If ad hoc judgements were part of the process, they need to be recorded and their impact on the numbers included in the processing from raw data to final product. Justifications can come afterwards; let’s first establish what happened.

These are weak and vague promises here for something that is not just a basic tenet of science, but should be obligatory for government funded work as well. (Bolding all mine):

The Forum recommends that the Bureau work towards providing robust code that supports a level of automation that allows sensitivity analyses to be reasonably undertaken by independent parties.

What “independent re-analysis”? There is no independent analysis of all of ACORN.

This goal could be pursued through a careful documentation of existing code and feedback from the independent re-analysis recommended in the preceding paragraph.

The Bureau would like to help but it costs too much, and skeptics will have to pay more for answers from these tax-funded workers:

While the Bureau expressed willingness to support end-users who wished to reproduce findings or conduct independent analyses using the ACORN-SAT data, subsequent follow-up on such intentions may have significant resource implications. It is thus recommended that the Bureau limits the amount of assistance it provides end-users and includes a statement on the ACORN-SAT website that while reasonable assistance may be provided by the Bureau, extensive assistance could not be provided without an appropriate at-cost charge. Such limitations are likely to also limit the ability of end-users to replicate ACORN-SAT findings, but the resource implications of offering open-ended support to end-users may be substantial.

The Bureau of Meteorology Budget was 344.2 million in 2014-15. The Australian climate is a national crisis, but the Bureau can’t employ one person to answer questions about its secret methods?

When will the BOM start to behave as though the climate is important? When will the Greens demand science be done properly for the sake of the environment?