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Monday Message Board (on Tuesday)

April 27th, 2010

It’s time, for a Monday Message Board, delayed by the long weekend. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language.

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  1. Ikonoclast
    April 27th, 2010 at 15:21 | #1

    The insulation batts fiasco contains a number of important lessons.

    1. Rudd’s government seems short of good ideas re climate policy.
    2. Rudd’s govt and the current politicised public service are poor at implementation of policy.
    3. A narrow market segment should not be swamped with easy subsidy money.
    4. Poorly regulated private enterprise cannot be trusted said easy money.

    In short, nobody comes out looking any good with this one.

    The batts subsidy was never a good idea. I predicted from the outset that this initiative would end in problems. I’m not sure if I predicted it on this blog so you will have to take me on trust. In fact, the prediction was not hard to make. This was an easy and enormous government subsidy rushed in to distort the market for a single product and its installation. This would would ring alarm bells for most students of economics, public administration and human behaviour. The resulting debacle was predictable. Incidentally, a well known insulation manufacturer built and commissioned a new batts plant in Brendale industrial estate shortly before this policy was publicly announced. Coincidence?

    I wonder if anyone has checked whether there has been any appreciable power saving (hence CO2 emission saving) attributable to this initiative?

    Is the Rudd government really so short of ideas that the foolish batts initiative, the failed carbon trading legislation, continued massive subsidies to fossil fuels and laughable help for renewables are the best they can do?

  2. Freelander
    April 27th, 2010 at 16:04 | #2

    What nonsense.

    The purpose of the roll out was to stimulate the economy. That it satisfied climate policy objective is secondary.

    The policy could have been implemented better but, the problem can also be laid fairly at the door of the lack of regulation through out Australia that allow shonks to florish. AS for the current politicised public service, they are the way that Howard made them, very politicised and very dodgy. Unfortunately Rudd has been softly, softly, and not thrown all these liberal hacks, like Gordon Gresch out. Remember he was one of those highly politicised hacks implementing government policy, and we found out just how politicised he was. Point three yes, anyone who isn’t a market worshiper knows that ramping up a sector like that is going to have problems. Unfortunately the public service is full of market worshipers. Yes we will have to take you and Nostradamus on trust and I am sure our trust in you is almost as great as our trust in Nostradamus.

    Unless, you are into magical thinking which you do appear to be, the idea that it would not have reduced the need for power is quite reasonable to assume. Even if it didn’t, obviously people would be warmer in their homes in winter and cooler in summer, as that is what insulation is all about.

    Ikonoclast, Shouldn’t it be Iclownatlast. If it was, at least you have reached your objective.

  3. Chris Warren
    April 27th, 2010 at 17:49 | #3


    I wouldn’t blame the Rudd government so much for this one.

    Garrett was the problem. He ruined the Nuclear Disarmament Party, so naturally he will damage the ALP. Its his ego which runs riot in arena after arena. If he joins the Greens, he will create similar problems.

  4. Salient Green
    April 27th, 2010 at 18:59 | #4

    Bloody hell freelander, what’s got up your nose about our Ikonoclast? As far as I can see, you have said nothing much different to what he said except he makes more sense. He’s one of us mate. You’re firing on your own troops.

    Chris Warren. Julia Gillard, one of the most senior and skilled ministers, headed the education side of the stimulous did she not? Look at the mess that has turned into and just lucky that there was not the same opportunity/traps for fatal accidents as the insulation scheme. I’m not refuting your judgement of Garrett but it still goes back to the Rudd Government’s frantic, desperate attempts to look good on the economy.

  5. Alice
    April 27th, 2010 at 19:27 | #5

    I always thought it was a “batty” idea from the start – but lets face it…how does a government with a long history of underinvestment in infrastructure suddenly up the ante when it needs to? Are the skills still there? ie public engineers, public construction teams or have they been so pared down under the influence of neo-liberalism, the skills have been lost? Recall that once upon a time with a smaller population and a smaller tax base, our public schools were probably fully funded and constructed from the public purse with public employees from labourer to building manager.

    Now of course, when all government construction is mostly “tendered out” to the oh so efficient private sector…I could suggest the private sector has demonstrated unremarkable efficiency in rorting public tender processes and avoiding any semblance of safety standards – nothing was inspected on the job of these bat installations and nothing was inspected after it would appear. Further, untrained labour was used.

    The government asked for it. They swallowed neoliberalism and pursued privatisation (and private sector tendering) right up to the highest levels.

  6. Tony G
    April 27th, 2010 at 19:38 | #6



  7. April 27th, 2010 at 19:43 | #7

    I would agree with your 1 to 4. Any idiot should see that if you put a huge amount of money in front of most people they may well act unethically if the customer is willingly blind. In this case the customer (the Feds) were willingly blind.
    Expecting anything else is a triumph of hope over experience.

  8. Freelander
    April 27th, 2010 at 19:50 | #8

    @Andrew Reynolds

    Yes you are quite right. You can’t expect the market to do the right thing without strong regulation. And of course customers, those who hired the people to put batts in their attics, can’t be trusted to choose reliable installers, that is why, again, you need strong regulation to keep the shonks out.

    As you say, expecting much from the market (without good regulation) is a ‘triumph of hope over experience’. And here I was thinking you never say anything sensible! How wrong I am.

  9. Alice
    April 27th, 2010 at 19:51 | #9

    Freelander – exactly. There are none so blind….

  10. April 27th, 2010 at 19:55 | #10

    @Tony G

    I agree. Oddly, for the opposite reason you are celebrating. This was a giant polluter porkbarrell that would have radically set back the struggle putting an adequate price on CO2 pollution.

  11. April 27th, 2010 at 20:03 | #11

    You are so predictable. Fran has been trying to make the point that somehow the government buying most of a hugely inflated output at a higher price than the prevailing market price while being willingly blind as to quality etc. is a normal market interaction. I find this idea odd at best.
    The market was, to an extent at least, unregulated prior to this misbegotten idea and it worked well. People had their homes insulated and no-one died. Purchasers got value for money.
    The government tipped a huge amount of money into the market and suddenly it did not work. Both of those are hardly surprising.

  12. Freelander
    April 27th, 2010 at 20:24 | #12

    @Andrew Reynolds

    Yet you fail to predict me. And now you show your banality by coping talk of predictability. I spoke to soon in interpreting what you had said as being sensible. Yet more market worship and the unregulated market had worked fine prior blah blah blah nonsense. Aren’t you getting sick of singing from that old hymn sheet? If you are not, why not try your hand on Australia’s got talent, or better still, Hey, Hey its Saturday. We are getting a bit sick of listening to your sorry refrain.

  13. Donald Oats
    April 27th, 2010 at 20:50 | #13

    @Tony G
    Thought you’d be happy!

  14. Tristan Ewins
    April 27th, 2010 at 21:03 | #14

    Just linking to this article one last time while ANZAC Day is fresh in our memories:

    ANZAC Day is the day on which Australians remember those fallen in war. In this article at Left Focus Tristan Ewins considers the real meaning and relevance of that day.


  15. Ben
    April 27th, 2010 at 21:03 | #15

    @Salient Green

    We have to wait for judgment on Gillard. In Garretts case I understand from newspaper reports, and 4 corners, that warnings went up the line. Also Garrett refused to be interviewed by 4 corners.

    Gillard’s problem is sourced in fraud from corrupt capitalists that are difficult to avoid even with proper practices.

    Garrett could not even be bothered about proper practices.

    Garrett doesn’t even belong in the ALP, he was dragged in by Latham, like a political lost puppy or a travelling gypsy.

  16. Ben
    April 27th, 2010 at 21:10 | #16

    Who the hell is “Ben”?

    How come my post comes up as “Ben”?

  17. Donald Oats
    April 27th, 2010 at 21:26 | #17

    The Four Corners program on the Insulation program didn’t spend much time examining the business side of the equation beyond the superficial questioning of one subcontractor. Why did so many small businesses and some not so small ones have people work in potentially dangerous electrical environments, without first providing adequate training (and on the job training is one way of doing this), and too often without the slightest knowledge of how electricity “works”? Why were they using insulation with metal foil backing *and* using metal staples, and why were people operating in an eletrically live environment in any case?
    Instead, blame is sheeted home mainly to the government for the actual fatalities and house fires, rather than to businesses who failed their new employees working on the frontline, so to speak?. What are the statistics concerning injuries and fatalities in the insulation installing business, before *and* after the introduction of the government program? While the government must take responsibility, along with the public service departments, for the policy implementation itself, that in no way absolves businesses from the obligations of providing a safe work environment for its staff. In the case of the insulation installers the safety factors include appropriate work attire, enforced safety protocols – such as isolation, current detection, portable alarmed thermometers, at least one experienced and trained staff member on site – it isn’t rocket science.
    The problem is that businesses will strip these things unless regulation and enforcement are there to prevent such behaviour. The short term nature of the scheme only heightened the business imperative to get in on the act much quicker than was wise from a public safety perspective, but that is what profit maximisation is all about in a finite duration market.

    Finally, it was interesting to see how some insulation installers sliced the batts into two “new” skinny batts, presumably to further increase profit now, at the expense of the consumer’s expected power savings. There will be some disappointed householders in winter when they discover that they own a roof full of skinny batts.

  18. April 27th, 2010 at 21:39 | #18

    …and of course no actual content. Yawn.

  19. April 27th, 2010 at 21:42 | #19

    Sorry – that one was at Freelander.

  20. Freelander
    April 27th, 2010 at 21:46 | #20

    @Andrew Reynolds

    Now that we’ve all had our regular piss take at your expense. And you have been given your customary and regular paddling. Why don’t you be a good naughty little boy and go away, and lose some of your imaginary clients’ imaginary money in your imaginary risk management business? That way, we can imagine that you are doing the world some good. Imagine, mind you; not believe.

  21. April 27th, 2010 at 21:53 | #21

    I have corrected you once on my current occupation. I see no need to do so again.

  22. Freelander
    April 27th, 2010 at 21:57 | #22

    Sorry I forgot. Schoolboy? Or is it unemployed?

  23. Jarrah
    April 27th, 2010 at 22:18 | #23

    Salient Green: “it still goes back to the Rudd Government’s frantic, desperate attempts to look good on the economy.”

    Got it in one. It explains a great deal.

    Freelander: “customers … can’t be trusted”

    Hear that, people? Freelander knows best, everyone else are chumps. Consumers can’t manager their own affairs, they need someone to tell them what to do.

    More seriously, the problems of asymmetric information are genuine, but there’s no reason to think they are insurmountable (or compensatable) over the medium- to long-term. That people trusted the shonks is a cultural artifact of decades of relying on authority to ensure probity and safety. A different set of expectations would have greatly ameliorated the consequences of the insulation boondoggle.

  24. Ikonoclast
    April 27th, 2010 at 22:19 | #24

    Well, there’s certainly a fair bit of heat in this debate. Lucky we are all insulated! For those like Freelander who don’t know me, I am left of centre in a social democratic way. This is the very reason that I am so disappointed with Kevin Rudd. (Though I predicted my own disappointment from the start.) Rudd has not done enough (anything?) on climate change. Now he’s wimped on the ETS.

    Mind you, the ETS was the wrong way to go. A simpler and more practical path was to;

    1. Progressively withdraw the billions in fossil fuel subsidies. In fact, once the global financial crisis was over, progressive withdrawal of fossil fuel subsidies could have been used instead of rate rises to damp the economy over the next up cycle.

    2. Implement a carbon tax and roll fuel excise into it. This would be simple adminstratively as the carbon content of fuels is grade 9 chemistry.

    3. Implement a carbon tariff on goods which do not have a carbon tariff (or ETS equivalent) built into their price in the country of origin.

  25. Freelander
    April 27th, 2010 at 22:38 | #25


    Obviously, some customers can’t be trusted, or they wouldn’t have hired shonks to poke around in their attics and burn their houses down. It isn’t necessary for all customers to be fools, and in fact, even if all were extremely smart, like you, it just may be less costly for the government through regulation to reduce the need to go through extensive checks to ensure that the person you are hiring is not your Arthur Daly, she’ll be right type shonk. I expect that you consider it worthwhile that not every clown can set themselves up as a medical doctor, give themselves some fake credentials and start operating. Or maybe you are of the free market school who believes that if someone manufactures defective parachutes or defective lifeboats, they are less likely to get repeat business from anyone who was unfortunate enough to use their product (because of their demised state)? And that this lessoning of business will result in them leaving the industry? But wait, if their customers are dead then surely the reduction in repeat business from them would be suffered by all businesses? That would mean the magical ‘market signal’ would be scrambled. Just like the poor parachute user.

  26. Michael
    April 27th, 2010 at 22:44 | #26

    Donald Oats :
    Finally, it was interesting to see how some insulation installers sliced the batts into two “new” skinny batts, presumably to further increase profit now, at the expense of the consumer’s expected power savings. There will be some disappointed householders in winter when they discover that they own a roof full of skinny batts.

    Many good points. I wonder how many people installing insulation really know what they are doing. I have witnessed first hand builders incorrectly installing insulation when constructing new houses and leaving gaps because they can’t be bothered doing it properly.

    This is insulation fiasco is so depressing. It has demonstrated what a hollowed-out economy the minerals boom and a decade of poor economic management have created. The sad reality is that few people in Australia are able to do anything really productive in this 3rd world economy and why there were so many people available to make such a hash of what should have been a social good. Still the government should have simplified it. No foil and no installations in houses with downlights. What an indictment of the incompetent Australian building industry and stupid home owners that so many houses in this “developed” country needed insulation anyway.

  27. gregh
    April 27th, 2010 at 22:54 | #27

    Jarrah :
    A different set of expectations would have greatly ameliorated the consequences of the insulation boondoggle.

    Isn’t that a fairly banal observaton though as there are an infinite number of sets of expectations that would have ameliorated the consequences…

    re asymmetric information – Symmetric information transfer is unlikely with the sorts of variation we know exists in the population.

  28. Jarrah
    April 27th, 2010 at 23:08 | #28

    “it just may be less costly”

    That is a valid argument, one I myself have used to justify government action/regulation. Transaction costs are certainly something to be considered. Of course, what we have here is a case of the government’s own actions (suddenly pumping huge amounts into an industry) working against existing – and, arguably, any conceivably probable – regulations. In addition, the CBA re transaction costs simply wasn’t made!

    “if someone manufactures defective parachutes or defective lifeboats, they are less likely to get repeat business from anyone who was unfortunate enough to use their product”

    Hang on. At least when I lampoon a strawman of your arguments, I go on to address the realistic version. Anyone buying parachutes and lifeboats is going to go to a lot of trouble to make sure they aren’t buying duds, FFS.

    For the record, I do think that in a world where there is less regulation – and, importantly, that people are aware of the fact and adjust their behaviour accordingly – that we can get better outcomes, even with medical services and emergency supplies.

    Your are caught in the perennial mindset of anti-market advocates – only considering first-order effects. It’s a shallow way of approaching the problem.

    Think of it this way – YOU can think of these problems, therefore OTHER people can too, and take steps to protect themselves. I envision this would involve widespread non-governmental certification (like we already have with ISO, FLO-CERT, WHQL, just to mention a few), and reputation-protecting behaviour from firms. Companies that didn’t or couldn’t achieve such certification would have to rely on word-of-mouth, and/or charge less (which is a signal in itself). People who wanted to balance the risk with the lower cost could do so. To anticipate the obvious objection, such differentiation already occurs, it would just become more spread out.

    In essence, what I (and marketphiles generally) propose is to benefit from the currently-lost Harberger triangles, and thus minimise social waste, making a better world overall.

  29. Jarrah
    April 27th, 2010 at 23:10 | #29

    “Isn’t that a fairly banal observaton”

    Well, yes, because it’s obvious once I’ve said it, but people are taking the current set of expectations as a given, so it’s fair to point out the overlooked banality.

  30. Freelander
    April 28th, 2010 at 00:44 | #30

    My straw man is made of better straw than your straw man!

  31. Freelander
    April 28th, 2010 at 00:58 | #31

    Also, if you knew anything about Standards Australia, then you would know that their standards aren’t worth anything. They really should be done for misrepresentation except they don’t misrepresent. Rather than being standards as in something implicitly good, if you talk to them you would find that they are quite happy to certify any standard you wish, as one of their standards, no matter how appallingly bad it is. Hence, it is no problem having a Standards Australia standard that is appallingly bad. The same goes for the International Standards. The ISO 9000 series, for example, are complete nonsense. They started off as a British Standard, that was developed simply as a device to exclude foreigners from competing for tenders, that is, it was developed as a non-price tariff barrier. The idea was that people would put a requirement that a firm had to have the British Standard (that later became an ISO standard) as a tender requirement. As these were issued in Britain and thus were not so easy to get if you had a foreign firm it was an excellent ruse. These standards were and still are a complete joke as they don’t really mean anything at all. They are simply not worth having except that you can put a sticker here and there saying you have it and foolish people might think it means something. A bit like an internet PhD.

    Any time I see an organisation has wasted money to get one of these, I know the organisation is likely to be all froth and bubble and no content. Just goes to show the failure of the private sector once more. And the gullibility of people who take various faux awards seriously. The dodgy brothers haven’t been round to your place installing insulation, by any chance?

  32. Freelander
    April 28th, 2010 at 01:12 | #32


    Here is a quote from a successful businessman instructing his staff on how to handle customers “Rip ’em off and rip ’em off big; they may not have come back anyway.”

    Some of the reputational arguments are a wee bit magical. Like muggers wouldn’t mug people because they wouldn’t come back to be mugged some more (hence, their mugging business would fail). But wait, what do they do? They simply mug someone else. And, as they say, a mug is born ever minute. That makes plenty of mugs for the entrepreneurial mugger. And mugs can be serially mugged by multiple muggers, thereby providing streams of revenue for the entrepreneurial mugging class. After a while, the mug takes mugging as quite exceptable service; they don’t know any better.

    I think you must have been reading to much of that Ayn Rand nonsense.

  33. Freelander
    April 28th, 2010 at 01:31 | #33

    The problem with word of mouth and reputation based on others experience and testing is that it is public good, suffers from free riders, is undersupplied and unreliable, because there are a variety of ways in which a firm can help its reputation without a commensurate improvement in its performance.

    Where do you think the source of journalist freebies comes from. Don’t you know that a large software company might put a lot of journalists in its pocket to hype its product? Not required so much if they have great products but it is certainly the best strategy for a company that does not.

    I am not anti-market at all. But I am a realist, and like to base my views soundly on the plentiful evidence available. Not some nonsense spouting from some of these dreamers, some of who like Ayn Rand, hardly ever set foot out of their houses and outside their carefully vetted little entourage and therefore had minimal engagement with the real world.

  34. Ken
    April 28th, 2010 at 10:31 | #34

    Aren’t the qualifications for installers of insulation under state regulation? I really think the States are being let off the hook here for their failures to ensure safe work practices and fair trade (quality of goods and services).

  35. April 28th, 2010 at 10:52 | #35

    How are the States meant to effectively regulate a business that goes from having 250 companies to 10,000 in a few months?
    Seriously – how?

  36. April 28th, 2010 at 12:37 | #36


    I fully agree. Simpler and better.

    Maybe that should be the new cry to Rudd? Forget about the ETS, give us something that works!

  37. April 28th, 2010 at 12:37 | #37

    Freelander, first of all, I think Ayn Rand was a few sandwiches short of a picnic, and I avoided reading any more than a couple of her essays – I certainly never subjected myself to more than a few pages of her turgid ‘fiction’.

    Secondly, you seem to have missed the point. I don’t care what you think about private certifiers, I was just pointing out that government is not the sole arbiter of quality right now, and there’s no reason to think they should have a primary role at all. That is, there are no theoretical reasons why it should.

    Incidentally, this is from Wikipedia: “Certification to an ISO 9001 standard does not guarantee any quality of end products and services; rather, it certifies that formalized business processes are being applied.” So I guess you don’t know so much about them as you thought. (Emphasis mine)

    Thirdly, your mugging example is poorly thought out. It assumes no-one ever mentions being mugged to other people! In the real world (that you claim to base your arguments on, ironically), there are known no-go areas at night (for example) because of the greater risk of mugging. How does this fit with your theory that reputational effects are “magical”?

    PS, I can match your unattributed businessman’s quote with another’s – “Don’t be evil.” But competing anecdata won’t tell us anything. Far better to rely on the “plentiful evidence available” and logic. So far you have oscillated between strawmen arguments and reasons why human systems aren’t perfect (to which I say… well, duh!)

  38. Tony G
    April 28th, 2010 at 13:26 | #38

    Don and Fran,

    Terry Mcrann seems to sum up the ETS well here;

    “One crazy idea gone, one to go”


    He makes this interesting observation at the end;

    “Oh, the ‘Gougher’? Until now the Whitlam government has been the gold standard for incompetence in Australia. We finally have a prime minister that has managed to out-Gough Gough.”

  39. Freelander
    April 28th, 2010 at 14:29 | #39


    Doesn’t matter what I think about private certifiers but if you assert that they are adequate to task, the fact that the evidence is profoundly that they are not, is something that does matters. Matters, at least to those who are fact, rather than fantasy based. If you don’t want to be fact based, then you can believe anything is true and you apparently do. “Don’t be evil” are not the words of a business man or men as it so happens as there are two of them. They are the words of two people who happened to re-invent, for the umpteenth time, a ranking method which they applied to the internet and got amazing results. As they are not really professional business people, and they do enjoy a massive advantage over their rivals, and they are good people, they do run their business in a very unbusiness like manner, and that business is doing well for them and their staff and for us. Yes, facts matter. The world is an even more amazing place, sans your own fantasy and magic, than you seem to think, because it is far more amazing than anything that comes out of your imagination.

  40. Freelander
    April 28th, 2010 at 14:33 | #40

    As for mugging… Yes. There are no go areas. People are still mugged there. And they are also regularly mugged outside of the no go areas.

    How does that fit in with my facts (not theory) and what I have said?


    Thanks for pointing those additional points out. So kind. Yes. Much of the great claims about reputation are magical.

    Duh! Indeed.

  41. Michael
    April 28th, 2010 at 14:36 | #41

    @Tony G
    Yep that Mcrann sure summed up all the bogan talking points for the lower half. Glad you were reading it.

  42. Freelander
    April 28th, 2010 at 14:59 | #42

    On the topic of talking points for bogans, one thing about the lower half (of the evolutionary chain) representative, Tony Abbott, comes to mind.

    I have often thought that the reason Tony Abbott likes boxing is simply that he enjoys wearing boxing gloves. As a knuckle dragger, wearing boxing gloves protects his knuckles from harm.

  43. Tony G
    April 28th, 2010 at 15:13 | #43


    Next you will be telling me that Jones (CRU), NOAA and NASA are not colluding with their proxy temperature reconstructs to maintain their funding and that AGW is not a fraud.

  44. Michael
    April 28th, 2010 at 15:19 | #44

    @Tony G
    no Tony they are all colluding to pull the wool over your eyes except masterminds like you and Mcrann are too smart for that. Damn.

  45. April 28th, 2010 at 15:30 | #45

    “if you assert that they are adequate to task, the fact that the evidence is profoundly that they are not,”

    I’m sorry, you still don’t get it. Pointing out the flaws in one existing certifier says nothing about the concept of private certifiers in general. Also, it presumes that government certification is superior, and what does your “plentiful evidence” say about that? Exactly.

    So far I have proposed that private certifiers could act to provide certainty about various standards, as they do to a reasonable extent anyway, without relying on government oversight, and you have presented precisely zero valid objections.

    Your arguments about reputation protection have much more force – vis the substitutability of spin for information, lawsuits for genuine reasons, etc – but they are not cut-and-dried. There are multiple complications, ie the informational restrictions on government, regulatory capture, one-solution-fits-all problems, etc. A complex topic, one I’m not qualified to talk about in more than a superficial way… nor yourself, I suspect.

    As an aside, your evidence-free speculation regarding my reading habits, command of the facts and paucity of imagination are starting to look like breaches of this blog’s comments policy, so I’d ask that you would please consider this in future responses.

    “Yes. There are no go areas.”

    So you admit that reputational effects exist and have… well, an effect. (Sorry, no time to make that a graceful sentence). Therefore, your comment re their magical quality can only be false.

    Are they perfect? Obviously not. Even in the area of mugging, where there is only a government regulator! See my first paragraph for the delicious irony.

  46. Freelander
    April 28th, 2010 at 15:44 | #46


    “So I guess you don’t know so much about them as you thought.” You quote about ISO 9001 is perfectly consistent with what I said, and was something I knew anyway. The ISO 9000 series is totally worthless. The formal process can be, for example, that every time you say a sentence you dance around your desk. Therefore, it is a certification of nothing at all, or at least, nothing necessarily worthwhile. Which means it is really worthless. You just make it up. They certify it and then you get to put on the stickers. If you are impressed by that as a standard then I must say I am not.

    AS for don’t get it I get it perfectly. Magic thinking. The old Government bad, unfettered market good mantra. Not a likely way to get to Nirvana. Instead try, Om…

  47. April 28th, 2010 at 15:46 | #47

    Freelander appears to regularly breach this site’s comments policy – the several purely ad hom comments above provide ample evidence of that. Not, of course, that I am in a position to judge that as it is not my site.
    Don’t let it worry you – it just shows how weak his arguments are that he seems to have to resort purely to abuse.

  48. Freelander
    April 28th, 2010 at 15:47 | #48

    @Tony G

    He wouldn’t say that, he knows it can be dangerous to wake someone up while they are sleep walking.

  49. Freelander
    April 28th, 2010 at 15:51 | #49

    @Andrew Reynolds

    Oh and the naughty little boy is not a regular spewer of invective. Give me a break. At least I am entertaining, rather than as some others, committed to engaging in a banalathon. As you note “Not, of course, that I am in a position to judge that as it is not my site.” As for how weak, I think we are fully aware that most of what is talked about on this blog go right over your head.

    I am still intrigued about your current occupation?

  50. Freelander
    April 28th, 2010 at 16:07 | #50


    As for “are starting to look like breaches of this blog’s comments policy, so I’d ask that you would please consider this in future responses”… If I were super sensitive like some, I could start claiming the same about “Hear that, people? Freelander knows best, everyone else are chumps.” “you still don’t get it.” “your evidence-free speculation” “example is poorly thought out” etc. but as I am not super sensitive, don’t mind robust discussion, so who cares? Now, understanding what a sensitive soul you are, I may treat you with tender gloves….

    Or maybe I should try to assist you to overcome your impediment with some shock therapy. It is my natural tendency to always rush to the assistance of the less fortunate…

  51. Ernestine Gross
    April 28th, 2010 at 16:29 | #51

    Michael, you asked:

    “I’m interested in getting a solar hot water heater. Did you find any useful objective information source when choosing a system? Did you do any cost analysis comparing the systems with instant gas heating? I have also looked at solar air heaters, but it’s difficult to know how effective they are going to be when most of the information available on their performance is provided by people selling the systems.”

    I had no difficulties in getting useful information on technical questions. However I ran into difficulties at the supply and installation stage because I discovered that there were 3 ‘independent business units’ (ie accounting units) which, technically are interdependent. It is amazing how layers of managers can make simple processes complex. Anyway the ‘business unit’ which gave its established brand name to the solar hot water system, came good after some emails and phone calls.

    Cost analysis of solar hot water and instant gas heaters is hypothetical for all those who are not connected to gas. As I am connected, I did investigate instant gas as an alternative. I decided against it because the layout of the house made a connection relatively expensive, the technically suitable place for the gas heater wasn’t visually pleasing and I expect gas prices to go up in the future (don’t know for sure by how much). I should say that my house is suitable for solar (north facing and 27 degree roof). So it depends on the individual circumstances and this makes it all the more interesting.

    At the time I looked at heat pumps – relatively cheap but too noisy.

    I spoke with an academic from a reseach unit albeit on a broader topic. I wanted to know whether there is a system that pumps solar hot water through pipes in the house for heating purposes, ie use solar hot water in a European type central heating system. I need only about +5 degrees C in my house in winter. The very friendly academic told me they have developed such as system but it is not mass produced as yet and therefore the individual installation would be very expensive; he provided cost estimates to convince me of the latter.

    I may have answered your last question by now. In my experience, the information acquisition problem is not more complex then buying other household goods or services.

  52. Ian Wilson
    April 28th, 2010 at 16:49 | #52

    @Tony G

    That McCrann man seems like he could use several drinks. That was one of the silliest things I’ve read in a major newspaper. I don’t know what his problem was but it seemed to have something to do with not liking Mr Rudd and Gough Whitlam.

    Really he could just have said that and stopped because he didn’t give any useful information.

  53. Alice
    April 28th, 2010 at 19:41 | #53

    Freelander – if any ever noticed – Jarrah is at teh foerefront of calling on “breach of comments policy” as a defence against ideas he doesnt like and his sampling method is also biased.

  54. Alice
    April 28th, 2010 at 19:47 | #54

    I have also noticed the use of the word “strawman”and “strawman argument” seems to belong to particular view. Has anyone else noticed?. Im astonished by the number of “free market type – pro user pays people – libertarians etc” that use this word?

    Hmmmm – its a bit of jargon terminology isnt it? But is it also a marker for the rather more rightward inclined…

  55. gregh
    April 28th, 2010 at 19:55 | #55

    ‘ad hominem’ is the most misused

  56. Michael
    April 28th, 2010 at 21:53 | #56

    @Ernestine Gross
    Thanks for your reply. I will have to dig harder to find some relevant performance data for my area. I have been searching around for energy efficient solutions that can be retrofitted to an old weatherboard. When I tried to get pricing information on ground source heat pumps it was difficult to get a straight answer on costs. I concluded that it’s just too early for some of these systems in Australia and the premium on the installation of “exotic” products restricts them to serious early adopters at the moment. A lot of these systems should theoretically be affordable and competitive if put into new houses en masse assuming a price on carbon.

    I found this article interesting – “The failure of solar water heating”

    In the 1950s, two countries led the world in the development of technology for heating water from the sun: Israel and Australia. Both countries were developing a simple thermosiphon solar water heater, a system that had been pioneered in California and Florida in the 1920s. Given the plentiful sunshine in both countries it seemed a ‘no-brainer’ that this technology would be quickly developed and implemented.

    Fast-forward 50 years: in Israel there is hardly a building that doesn’t have a solar water heater; in Australia less than 5% of houses have one.

    One last question about your solar hot water system – did you factor in a payback period? How long does the manufacturer expect the system to last for?

  57. April 28th, 2010 at 22:07 | #57


    How should the concept of strawman arguments be applied Alice?

    Anyone can contrive them you know.

  58. Freelander
    April 28th, 2010 at 23:25 | #58


    Yes. You are quite right about the ‘strawman’ ‘strawman argument’ use by libertarians. Like most of their comments, very mechanical and drawn from their very limited repertoire of responses.

    It must be remembered that they are very simple organisms and rather unevolved, hence, you can not expect a full range of complex human-like responses. They are also rather sensitive to what they perceive as adverse stimuli. But you would have observed this, frequently.

    They are interesting specimens and worthy of study, even if they are somewhat grotesque to look at, and can be dangerously infectious.

  59. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    April 28th, 2010 at 23:33 | #59


  60. Donald Oats
    April 29th, 2010 at 10:43 | #60

    Voters still want some action to deal with AGW. Just speculating – if the ETS is actually off the table, will the electorate push for levies and the like, instead of an ETS? If so, how will businesses respond to imports being rated and levied (on CO2e emissions against a benchmark, for example), as opposed to an ETS and its more indirect effects?

    I’m dazed and confused, to coin a phrase.

  61. Ian Wilson
    April 29th, 2010 at 11:18 | #61

    @Donald Oats

    Assuming for the sake of argument that putting a price on emissions is off the table then it seems to me that the only alternative is regulation.

    1. We lift the ban on nuclear power here.
    2. We abolish MRETs and RECs
    3. The government should draw up a timeline of emissions reductions in all of the key areas — GHGs, airborne irritants, fluxes of radioactive materials like thorium and uranium etc and require that these be cut year on year with 5-year interim targets until they reach the level of nuclear power. Ditto with morbidity figures. Failure comes with punitive and escalating fines, forfeiture of assets for repeat offenders and even jail.

    We apply this not merely to energy but to all heavy and light manufacturing, transport, agriculture, mining and forestry. We require all miners to make adequate provision to protect the environment from contamination or pemrament destruction and require provision be made to retrun the sites to something no worse than the pre-mining condition or to a condition that reflects the local pre-contact environment.

    Any good landing on the docks has to be able to show that its inputs meet the same tests or pay a tariff, which money will be set aside and used in the source country to fund clean development that meets the timeline.

    No taxes or carbon trading, but heavy handed regulation. We tell them they asked for this and now they have it. Direct action.

  62. Michael
    April 29th, 2010 at 13:00 | #62

    @Ian Wilson
    The CCP would be able to institute this kind of policy no worries. Maybe they will and maybe they will make good progress with it. Do you really think that this would fly any easier than the ETS? I personally can’t see anything beyond minimal fiddling and slow incremental improvements driven by technology until there is either a compelling disaster that can capitalised on to drive through legislation before the public gets distracted again or the other alternative is waiting for a generational change – hopefully there will be time for this.

  63. pablo
    April 29th, 2010 at 13:08 | #63

    Donald oats @ 10. A straw in the wind perhaps but have just listened to NSW Sustainability and Climate Change Minister, Frank Sartor (ABC Country hour) raise the possibility of eastern seabord states (all ALP governments) revive their own ETS proposal, first suggested by Bob Carr back in 2005.
    The ABC interviewer didn’t connect but it was obvious that the ambitious Frank was keen to get the message out there and I doubt that he would raise the prospect without having first canvassed his counterparts in Vic, SA and Queensland.

  64. Ian Wilson
    April 29th, 2010 at 13:10 | #64



    I don’t know what the CCP is. I think it would be more saleable than an ETS because Abbott has already spoken of direct action. If Rudd could say “I’m just doing what people expect — acting on emissions and reducing pollution today without new taxes, Abbott would be in a tight spot.

    Once Rudd started talking about the pollutiion he would reduce and put up some pretty graphs with falling radiation, mercury, lead, and improvements in air quality …

    The people who are against doing something about climate change have always pretended they were interested in real pollution so they’d have nothing to say. Forcing business to clean up its act is something most people support.

  65. Chris Warren
    April 29th, 2010 at 13:21 | #65

    @Ian Wilson

    Yes Ian, you have solved it – Convert the climate problem into a nuclear waste problem.

    But, problem is, the citizens of future generations may not be too happy with this, as nuclear waste storage requirements compound (ie pile-up) in area used, infrastructure resources, administration and overheads, and maintenance costs including equipment replacement.

    Your descendants will end up with unimaginable risk.

  66. Michael
    April 29th, 2010 at 14:15 | #66

    @Ian Wilson
    CCP – Chinese Communist Party.

    I like the idea of targeting pollution. A good start would be to create some high profile indicators to compete with GDP that tracked the state of pollution and the degradation of ecological services. I’m pessimistic about it happening in the near future though.

  67. Chris Warren
    April 29th, 2010 at 14:55 | #67

    So did we invade Iraq to remove Saddam, so that we would get this?

    |Saddam replaced|

    What expenditure was this worth?

    Looks like someone got their wires crossed.

  68. April 29th, 2010 at 14:59 | #68

    The amount of waste produced is is the grams per year per person category – very small compared to the total amount of space that would be needed for any viable solar solution.
    Additionally, the Swedes have what looks like a viable solution that has been endorsed by willing local residents.
    Perhaps you should do some research and then your views may be a little bit better informed.

  69. Chris Warren
    April 29th, 2010 at 15:45 | #69

    @Andrew Reynolds

    Sorry Andrew, we have been through this before.

    The storage required is currently around the size of a football field, the equipment and containment, is not a gram per person, the scenario is not based on current nuclear capacity nor population nor current energy use, and the consideration is the compounding growth factor over 100 or more years for long-lived waste.

    So enjoy your research.

  70. Fran Barlow
    April 29th, 2010 at 15:46 | #70

    Chris tried:

    But, problem is, the citizens of future generations may not be too happy with this, as nuclear waste storage requirements compound (ie pile-up) in area used, infrastructure resources, administration and overheads, and maintenance costs including equipment replacement.

    This is really a visibility question isn’t it?

    1 MwHe of coal combustion = 950 to 1,250 kg CO2eq
    1MwHe of gas combustion = 440 to 780 kg CO2eq
    1 MwHe nuclear in an LWR = 3 to 24 kg CO2eq / MWh

    That doesn’t count of course because CO2 is invisible and doesn’t “pile up” for future generations does it?

    Neither do the other toxics from gas and coal (including radioactive toxics). They are stored in the soil, the air, the water, in building materials and in living tissue, so nobody need bother about the storage problem. All those mines and all that coal transport? No problem. Those huge gas pipes? No problem. The premature deaths each year from coal-related preventable diseases? No problem.

    No legacy there at all.

    But let there be a few tonnes of radioactive waste some place in a secure facility away from human contact and that is a legacy problem, apparently.

    You may say that there are other means than coal or gas, but so far nobody has shown that is so — at least, not at a cost that any society is willing to pay to reduce fossil fuel usage to insignificance. In the last paper I quoted by Trieb he was costing for 25 years of CSP life. So every 25 years, you get a new load of steel, concrete and other materiel to deal with. But that’s obviously not a legacy, is it?

  71. April 29th, 2010 at 16:00 | #71

    Pop quiz. What is the population density of Sweden? What is the population density of Australia?
    If the answer to the first is higher than the second, why do you suppose the Swedes can locate a suitable place to store their waste and we cannot?
    If you can include in that discussion the differences in geological stability of of Australia as against the geological stability of Sweden you will get extra marks.
    You will, of course, still be wrong.
    Just out of interest, Chris, and assuming you are in Australia – have you ever been out of whichever capital city you may live in? Do you know how much space we have here?

  72. Chris Warren
    April 29th, 2010 at 16:04 | #72

    @Fran Barlow

    How does this remove the unhappiness of future generations having to maintain previous stocks of nuclear waste, pile up more from their own, and live with the thought of passing on worse conditions for their descendants?

    How do you get “a few tonnes”?

    Just because Australia is nuclear free, does not mean we can ignore the carbon problem?

    You cannot solve one by worsening the other.

    Of course we have to stop CO2 piling up, and this applies whether it is visible or invisible (whatever this means).

    So I cannot see your main point.

  73. Chris Warren
    April 29th, 2010 at 16:14 | #73

    @Andrew Reynolds

    All Australia is currently subject to earth tremors of varying magnitude.

    In short – as continental plates move, storage scenarios over 100 years become jeopardised by the likelihood of higher range tremors given multiplying storage sites.

    Therefore nuclear waste storage dumps cannot be included in moral public policy.

    This is all based on the longevity of nuclear waste and the damage radiation can do even at background levels.

  74. Fran Barlow
    April 29th, 2010 at 16:40 | #74

    @Chris Warren

    How does this remove the unhappiness of future generations having to maintain previous stocks of nuclear waste, pile up more from their own, and live with the thought of passing on worse conditions for their descendants?

    Every generation passes on a legacy to succeeding ones. Some of it will be positive and some negative. My grandparents generation passed on the legacy of the holocaust and WW2, but also built the Snowy scheme, which was both a positive thing for energy and devastating for the Snowy River. They built suburbia which seemed like a good idea at the time but turned out to be a bad idea with hindsight (though some still think it a good idea) but they also raised the generation who gave us modern computing and mobile technology.

    We can choose to hand future generations a small amount of nuclear waste in well secured containment vessels and a well established path to virtually limitless clean energy or a large amount of impossible to contain toxic pollutants scattered in every biome on the face of the planet, resource depletion and a looming ecosystem catastrophe.

    Which legacy do you suppose is preferable?

  75. Chris Warren
    April 29th, 2010 at 16:45 | #75

    You have to smile at our nuclear pundits who say

    The amount of waste produced is is the grams per year per person category

    But don’t give the actual figure even though it is so easily available. See

    | 40 gms per capita |

    So multiply this by 25 million people, and you get a megatonne.

    So how much radiation doe this megatonne produce and for how long?

    I presume Andrew Reynolds knows, but why didn’t he tell us?

    Here it is |1 megatonne waste radiation by years |

    The plutonium 239 is very interesting as 1.27% of unranium input comes out as PU239.

    IN a hundred years Australia could end up with a skyscraper full of radiation, particularly if uranium contracts specify that Australia has to store waste from other countries.

    Who dreamt up this nightmare?

  76. Freelander
    April 29th, 2010 at 16:59 | #76

    @Andrew Reynolds

    There are differences between Australia and Sweden. They have more snow. They also speak a different language. And less of their land is sacred. More of their land is scared due to nuclear reactors being located on it. And nuclear waste being stored on it. As for the grams per year per person. You can eat your grams; we choose not to eat or even produce them.

  77. Fran Barlow
    April 29th, 2010 at 17:09 | #77

    @Chris Warren

    So multiply this by 25 million people, and you get a megatonne

    I see … a megatonne you say? It sounds a like a lot. It sounds like a descrition of (gasp) a bomb! Well done Mr Dogwhistle.

    So we are talking about a cube with sides of 10 metres? That’s what troubles you is it?

    BTW, before you quote even this figure Chris … could you cite the source so that we can examine the modelling?

    Putting that to one side though, using figures from Professor David Mackay, Professor Barry Brooks notes:

    The Australian population of 21 million currently consumes about 250,000 GWh of electricity per year. That works out to be 12 MWh per person, or 33 kWh per day. (This is similar to the figure David Mackay worked out for the British). A 1 GWe IFR (integral fast reactor nuclear power plant), running at 90% capacity factor, would produce 7,884 GWh of electricity per year. This would, therefore, be enough to satisfy the current electricity needs of 657,000 Australians. Or, to put it another way, one Aussie would require 1.5 grams of uranium per year. If they lived to be 85 years old and consumed electricity at that rate throughout their life, they’d require 130 g of uranium.


    Australia’s total energy consumption is about 5,500 petajoules per year (1 PJ = 278 GWh). This includes electricity, non-electrical residential and commercial energy, transport fuels, mining, manufacturing and construction. What if this entire energy consumption had to be met by electricity? It would require the production of 1,530,000 GWh per year, or 6 times Australia’s current electricity generation. Referring back to the figure above, this would require 9 g of uranium per person per year, or ~0.8 kg of uranium for an 85 to 90 year lifespan.

    Nuclear energy is about 6 orders of magnitude more energy intensive than coal or gas so we can calculate how much waste the same quantity of coal would produce. Unlike radioactive hazmat, CO2 lasts for 50,000 years. Mercury and lead will also be with us for at least that long.

    Based on the above calculation, for every one megatonne of nuclear hazmnat we are getting at least 1 million tonnes of fossil fuel waste and much of it freely dispersed.

    You are the one tilting at nightmares.

  78. Fran Barlow
    April 29th, 2010 at 17:14 | #78


    If you live in the fooprint of a coal plant, you get to eat, breathe and drink from sources with elevated radiation and plenty else you ought not to. If you’ve built your house on granite, or have a granite benchtop or fly in aircraft, again you get elevated radiation.

  79. April 29th, 2010 at 17:17 | #79

    I note the failure to answer the questions – or even to attempt them. They were probably a bit hard for you. Perhaps I can help with one of them:
    On geological stability – the Yilgarn Craton has an average age of 2.8 billion years, with some of it going back over 4 billion. It has long proved to be some of the most stable rocks on the planet.
    One hundred years – or even 1,000 – is just a pitiful amount of time.
    Perhaps you should go an join James Ussher if you are worried about a mere 100 years.
    Our host here occasionally rails against those on the “Right” that are science deniers. You provide excellent evidence that not all of the deniers are on the “Right”.

  80. Chris Warren
    April 29th, 2010 at 17:24 | #80

    You also have to smile at nuclear pundits who say:

    We can choose to hand future generations a small amount of nuclear waste in well secured containment vessels

    without telling us what this “small amount” is.

    Of course they know, but prefer not to say.

    Anyway – the waste per capita assuming US current consumption is a rod of waste per capita per year around 2cms high.

    If a billion people get their energy from nukes, then this extends 20 thousand kilometers, and the amount in 10 years is best measured in light-seconds.

    So how do you contain 20 thousand kilometers if you are adding 20 thousand kilometers each year?

    Maybe Australia should not accept waste from overseas plants.

  81. April 29th, 2010 at 17:30 | #81

    If you choose to store your waste in rods I am glad that you do not live next to me. I presume you have this interesting rubbish bin outside your house in which you store your waste rods.
    One question – how do you get the council to take away your rods of waste? I presume it does not fit in their trucks.

  82. Chris Warren
    April 29th, 2010 at 17:42 | #82

    @Fran Barlow

    It looks like you have not studied science. A megatonne of waste is not a cube with 10 metres sides.

    Why say:

    could you cite the source so that we can examine the modelling?

    when the source was already cited.

    What’s wrong with the 40 grams per capita (it actually is just over 39 cms, if you look at the citation, but I rounded it up).

    Surely you don’t need a citation showing that Australia’s population will be at or above 25 million by the time Australian nuclear plants are producing waste. So I rounded this down to 25. So what?

    How on earth do you get 1 megatonne of waste = a cube with 10 metres sides !!!!!

  83. BilB
    April 29th, 2010 at 17:49 | #83

    Its happening over here too. Its Nuclear Proliferation!!!!!AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    I thought that the world was trying to get rid of this stuff.

    Hey Fran, guess how much fuel waste is created by using Solar Energy for the entire world’s needs?

    A. Absolutely none.

    Now that IS impressive.

    Did you fear about the new technique that US Nuclear energy producers have for disposing of their wastes?

    They have underground broken pipes and just let it rip.


    Clever huh.

    I guess they figure that the site will be horribly contaminated when it is finished with anyway so…what the heck…open that valve! And when caught out, there is that wonderful American corporate fixall….Deny Deny Deny followed by…I don’t recal!

    We’ve just gotta have us some of that action here! What is the point of having a piece of pristine continental real estate if you don’t plan to contaminate it to hell!

  84. Chris Warren
    April 29th, 2010 at 17:57 | #84

    Love these pro-nukers ……

    Here is there basis for storing nuclear waste in Australia:

    On geological stability – the Yilgarn Craton has an average age of 2.8 billion years, with some of it going back over 4 billion. It has long proved to be some of the most stable rocks on the planet.

    Guess where Australia has just been hit by a magnitude 5.0 earthquake?

    Wait for it ….

    Yilgarn Craton !!!! See |Economic geography |

    So Australia’s so called “long proved most stable rocks” zone is an earthquake area.

    Well done Andrew.

  85. BilB
    April 29th, 2010 at 18:11 | #85

    I hate to rain on your parade there, Chris, but I think that the 40 gram calculation comes to 1000 tonnes not 1 million tonnes (I think) per year. And if the waste is mostly uranium which has a specific gravity of 19.05 then the waste is going to occupy 1/19th the weight equivalent volume of water. However, Uranium waste does not decay in a uniform manner. It actually increases its neutron emissions some time into its decay profile. So you can’t just whack the stuff in a box and forget it. You’ve got to put it in drums and spread it out somewhat. The waste also includes lots of other stuff like contaminated fluids, clothing, metals, etc. More volume and more problems.

    Fran’s zero waste fantasy is based on fast breeder reactors, and it was the thrilling prospect of how they can go wrong was what caused the entire nuclear program to grind to a halt back in the seventies. This new radioactive tritium leak thing shows that they were right to pull back.

    Whatever the waste figure is, it is way too much and we do not need it. At All. Full Stop.

  86. BilB
    April 29th, 2010 at 18:29 | #86

    Fran thanks for the Professor David Mackay connection. I had lost track of it but now have a link back to it. And I,ve just been back to the catagory 6 on solar, and OMLGG, the guy is all over the place with his calculations. I was horrified the first time I looked but this time went a little further and it gets worse.


    for anybody who wants to mark the professors work. I give him a B for presentation but an F for accuracy. What do you think. Can you see the flaws in his work.

  87. Chris Warren
    April 29th, 2010 at 18:46 | #87


    Yes, please check the calculations. 1000 tonnes is probably right. I should have said kilotonnes, not mega.

    However I never introduced anything to do with weight – I ONLY queried Frans effort in this regard. She tried to suggest there was only “a few tonnes” and introduced a cube with 10 metre sides – not me.

    The source I cited only supports a pellet of 2cm height, but I have not said what the cross section area is, as I don’t know the net density of nuke waste. 19.05 could be right.

    You have picked Fran’s error – the density of waste is not the same as water, and she confused a cube with a weight by using measurements that only relate to pure water.

    I do not support Fran’s use, and it indicates the funny logic and skills levels of our nuke pundits.

    Storing overseas waste in Australia is an unmitigated disaster, and the quantities just mount up into huge proportions.

  88. Ernestine Gross
    April 29th, 2010 at 19:50 | #88

    ” They have underground broken pipes and just let it rip.


    Clever huh.

    I guess they figure that the site will be horribly contaminated when it is finished with anyway so…what the heck..”


    Pro-nuker’s logic: “This is really a visibility question isn’t it?”

  89. Alice
    April 29th, 2010 at 20:38 | #89

    @Ernestine Gross
    No Ernestine…..you have it all wrong …the pro nuker’s (mostly singular) arguments need to be “unpacked” and then “mapped” first and then drop in the owrd “utility” or “individual preferences” or “rational”…and hey presto.. the unpacked, fully mapped out transparent version arrives to confuse us all!

  90. Alice
    April 29th, 2010 at 20:43 | #90

    @Ernestine Gross
    Ernestine…when people are just a conduit for advanced “commercially oriented” delusionism (read advertising) and anti science (advertising again)….it seems too cruel too point out the fallacies in their arguments. They might be needing to pay the mortgage.

  91. Freelander
    April 30th, 2010 at 03:31 | #91

    In an attempt to at least give lip service to gender equality, and to show that the public furore over claimed paedophiliac little boy love tendencies within their clergy has been somewhat overblown, the next scandal anticipated to rock the Roman Catholic church concerns priests raping nuns. http://www.salon.com/news/catholicism/index.html?story=/news/feature/2010/04/23/next_catholic_priest_abuse_scandal

  92. sHx
    April 30th, 2010 at 03:47 | #92

    Holy cow! Kevin Rudd and the Labor government have abandoned the ‘greatest moral challenge of our time’ and joined the ranks of ‘delusionists’ and ‘vorticists’ with regard to climate change, but the best the people in this neck of the woods can do is to debate how many angels can dance on a Kw of wind generated electricity.

    Having been subjected to ridicule in the past on the issue of ETS, I think I am entitled to say this empathically. To nanks, Salient Green, Ernestine Gross, jarrah, Donald Oats, Freelander, et al, and their intellectual big brother, Comrade John Quiggin: I TOLD YOU SO!

    January 28th, 2010 at 08:20 | #14
    Reply | Quote

    With the credibility of climate science crumbling and the AGW scare losing momentum, there will be neither a CPRS nor a Carbon Tax in the foreseeable future. Most Green commenters, including John Quiggin, underestimate the impact of Climategate on the credibility of climate modelings. Calling the doubters “delusionists” won’t win you any more fans either as there is currently a clear shift towards global warming skepticism.

    Unless and until fresh and more reliable data and science show continuing global warming, and point at CO2 as the cause, there will not be any further serious action on the part of the government (Labor or Liberal) to curb burning of fossil fuels.


    I told you so three months ago, but you wouldn’t listen. You were too busy arguing the opposite, because you were caught in a vortex of propaganda of your own making and you were delusional about electoral support for ETS.

    What is also worthy of note is the way John Quiggin is trying to bury the ETS issue. Not a single word of criticism directed at Kevin Rudd. ETS has been stymied? No worries. We’ll discuss what Europe can do for us just in time to save us from climate apocalypse. It wasn’t the John Quiggin of wisdom and foresight who wrote the dozens of blogposts in which he named the opponents of the ETS ‘delusionists’ and ‘vorticists’. It was some alien impostor. The real John Quiggin is an expert commentator in Australian politics.

  93. Freelander
    April 30th, 2010 at 04:01 | #93

    Nothing you have posted above makes you any less a denier or delusionist. All you are showing is that you have an ability to have multiple delusions. Now you think you made a prediction about something at an earlier time that has now come true and entitles you to say, told you so. Simply another delusion. Go fill your lungs with CO2.

  94. April 30th, 2010 at 04:05 | #94

    You really don’t know anything about it, do you? A magnitude 5 on the edge of the craton has no effect within the craton.
    Do you have any idea at all of this country or do you not even live in Australia?

  95. Freelander
    April 30th, 2010 at 04:13 | #95

    Is Australia the only place to have cratons? No. Not clear how a claim of an alleged lack of knowledge about cratons leads to the deduction that one does not live in Australia… Does Australia have any cretins? Yes.

  96. sHx
    April 30th, 2010 at 05:06 | #96


    Insolent in defeat. Go fill your soul with some grace.

  97. Freelander
    April 30th, 2010 at 05:50 | #97

    Insolent. Well, if you think you are. Peace be upon you. I thought you liked CO2? Let it be NO2 then.

  98. Freelander
    April 30th, 2010 at 05:54 | #98

    Sorry meant N2O, of course.

  99. Freelander
    April 30th, 2010 at 07:54 | #99

    Abbott’s latest thought boob-el. An expanded Productivity Commission!

    That’s the last thing Australia need’s. And how are they going to comment on appropriate population targets and what criteria are they going to use? Those in charge in the place believe the target should be whatever happens in the deregulated magical market. And, as is widely know in the public service, the place has no real capacity for serious research, and certainly not for serious modelling. They do manage to churn out nonsense using Dixon’s CGE models, but other than that, and that is more the level of work of a sausage factory, and they do have the skills that a few individuals have, but those are sidelined individuals that no one inside seems to take any notice of, they don’t have the sort of research management amongst there very fat and bloated SES for serious model building of the kind required. The operation of the place is ruled by serial ad-hoc ery. The research they like always starts with the conclusion, and the conclusion the like to start with more often that not is the wrong conclusion.

    Let’s face it. The mangement don’t have a clue about anything, let alone, mangement, and certainly not about research management. Instead of getting rid of those with climate change expertise, if Abbott really wanted to suggest a way of the government saving money why not get rid of everyone in that place? That would be long overdue.

  100. gregh
    April 30th, 2010 at 07:59 | #100

    @Freelander I know little of the productivity commission – are there any useful links to in depth critiques

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