Low-carbon electricity future: the big picture

The latest renewables v nuclear sandpit thread has racked up 300 comments and counting. Rather than attempting to arbitrate, I’m going to assume that both sides are right in their most pessimistic estimates of the other technology. That is, I’m going to look at the implications of assuming that a low-carbon electricity generation (mainly carbon-free with some gas) will imply average costs of $200/MWh.

What does that mean at the household level. Average generation costs are currently around $50/MWh, so there’s an increase of $150/MWh or 15c/kWh.

UpdateI didn’t think I needed to spell it out, but obviously I do. Debate on the merits of specific technologies, such as nuclear v renewables belongs in the sandpit. End update

That’s about 75 per cent on current prices of about 20c/kWh (most of which are accounted for by transmission and retail margins). Assuming it takes 20 years to phase out existing power generation, the implied increase is about 3 per cent per year, much less than the rate of increase we’ve seen recently to cover higher costs of transmission and distribution.

We can extend this to look at electric cars. A litre of petrol yields about 10kWh of power, so, on the pessimistic assumptions set out above, replacing coal-fired electricity with high cost renewable would add the equivalent of $1.50 a litre, roughly doubling the current price. Over 20 years, the implied rate of increase is 3.5 per cent.

Finally, let’s look at replacing Australia’s total emissions (about 600 Mt of CO2 equivalent) with high-cost renewables. At an additional cost of $150/tonne, that would cost 90 billion a year, or 7.5 per cent of national income. But the actual cost of going all-renewable would be far lower, since at such high prices, there would be huge incentives for improved energy efficiency and for substitution away from energy-intensive goods and services. A more plausible cost, even on pessimistic estimates about renewables would be 5 per cent of national income or about 2 years of economic growth.

To sum up, there is very little point in lengthy hypothetical arguments about which low-carbon technology is best. Even in the worst case described above, the cost of decarbonising the economy is small in relation to the costs of uncontrolled climate change.

If we can introduce a carbon price to the economy, and allow it to rise gradually over time, we will soon find out which technologies are the most cost-effective. That’s what we should be focusing on.

90 thoughts on “Low-carbon electricity future: the big picture

  1. A litre of petrol yields about 10kWh of power

    That should be 10kWh of energy, not power.

  2. Agree i must be done. Not too sure I’d back the cost calculations. Eg, you cannot translate directly from energy content of petrol to electric cars. Petrol engines are around 40% efficient. Power stations are more efficient, but there are losses in transmission and further losses in electric traction. Plus the extensions of the grid to handle vastly more electricity, and provide greater coverage = or, more sensibly, to refurbish railways for long-distance transport (which means more intermodal etc). Point is that the existing systems are interlocked, and adapting them is not going to be cheap.

  3. I’d absolutely endorse a serious price on CO2. I regard $100t as a benchmark to pitch for 2015.

    I also think all technologies should be on the table, and let the most feasible combination bear the load.

  4. Peter T, I agree with these qualifications, but I think the basic approach works OK in the absence of large differences in efficiency.

  5. Plus new transmission connections to remote energy generation, and greater line loss over these new transmission lines. And substantial network upgrades to deal with electric cars, including peaks from everyone plugging in at 6pm as they get home from work, etc.

    Which is nit picking. Your point still stands well. An extra 3%(ish) increase when (in NSW) we just got a 22% increase this June, won’t be noticed much more. Except by those households already struggling. Which is why it’s so important that the low-income compensations in the CPRS be bought forward into whatever comes out of the new committee.

  6. A lot of effort has been put into freeing up Australia’s electricity markets, so I think that for the most part we should just put a price on carbon and let her rip. People can invest in whatever generating capacity they think will earn them the most money and invest in efficiency that they think will save them money. From whatever the price on carbon starts at, it should be steadily increased until it is equal to the cost of removing it from the atmosphere. My guess is that it will be possible to remove a ton of CO2 from the atmosphere for considerably less than $100, as it is often possible to buy some types of cattle feed that are almost half carbon for $50 a ton or less. (A ton of CO2 has about 273 kg of carbon in it.)

    Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that agriculture be used to remove the entire CO2 emissions of current fossil fuel use. That would be a big job. But carbon capture (of whatever sort) could place a upper limit on the price of carbon that hopefully will only be moderately high.

  7. In the Uk they have just decided to build eight nuclear power plants, on the basis that renewables can’t carry the baseload.

    Quiggin’s big picture is just an illusion.

  8. I’ve argue for many years for a carbon tax. However my view has change somewhat. Recognising the urgency for change as we are now pinched between climate change on the one hand and oil depletion with the economic upheaval that that will bring on the other hand, I propose the following.

    The most economically smooth path to zero CO2 is via a 4cent per unit retail price levy for electricity with the electricity industry exempt from a carbon tax, and a carbon tax designed specifically to address the remainding 50% of CO2 emissions. The funds obtained from the electricty levy placed into an infrastructure fund would then be available for competitive tender by interested and capable bodies for the building of renewable infrastructure intended specifically to retire fossil fuelled infrastructure on a worst first basis. This method will allow private industry perform optimally providing certainty along with flexibility and at a competitive price. Furthermore the infrastucture would be completed mortgage free allowing better electricity price stability. By this method the social aspect of electricity pricing (assistance for the economically challenged) is addressed, with more extreme needs being met by other agencies. The infrastructure fund would obtain around 10.4 billion dollars per year.

    The carbon tax would then be able to be tuned to achieve the best result with the minimum disruption for the many other areas in our economy where CO2 is released. Attempting to use one instrument for all CO2 emissions risks creating unnecessary hardship for emitters in the broader industrial and agriculture sectors as electricity generation requires a different level of deterent to other activities.

  9. @el gordo
    England can fit in Australia’s backpocket, landmass-wise. Population-wise, England is more than double that of Australia, and has a hazier atmosphere and different climatic conditions to the land down under.
    Irrelevant to the discussion. Nice try but no banana.

  10. The poor Brits, but that is what happens if you allow both the population and debt to balloon out of control.

    If Australia continues to overload the population, then Australia too will exceed the limits of its land, water and renewable energy capacity.

    Once you have exceeded these natural limits, you have to live in concrete boxes hong Kong like, high up in the air, and prey that the nuclear waste that leaked from Sellafield does not breeze in through your window.

    So it is up to public policy to get a handle on these issues by ensuring that our industrial development is sustainable and leaves the environment in the same condition for the next generation.

  11. el gordo:

    > In the Uk they have just decided to build eight nuclear power plants, on the basis that renewables can’t carry the baseload.

    The government has *announced* they are going to build 8 new nukes provided they are built without subsidies. There is a huge gulf between announcing nukes and completing them. Maggie announced 10 new nukes in 1979 – one of them was eventually built.

    Also, these new reactors would simply replace existing ones due to go offline.

    Your claim regarding renewables being unable to “carry the baseload” is unsubstantiated speculation at best and nonsense according to several credible analyses. As Donald just said, nice try – no banana.

  12. @el gordo

    In the UK the government has approved eight sites for NPPs. Whether they are built or not remains to be seen. They have abandoned the Severn barrage.

    It is possible that the UK will just build more gas.

  13. Actually, why is it that retail electricity prices are rising so rapidly at the moment, given that investment in high cost renewables is insignificant? John says because of a higher cost of distribution, but why is that?

    Also, I’m not sure where John gets his $150/tonne figure from. It seems a little high, even for a pessimistic figure. Does anyone know how much CO2 is released to make an average MWh of coal fired electricity in Australia at the moment (say averaging the contributions of brown coal and black)?

    @Chris Warren
    Totally agree with this last comment, low population numbers make renewables much more feasible. I don’t want to derail another thread with this, but we should remember that the population question is one half of nearly every environmental problem.

  14. For carbon pricing to work the govt will have to tell certain groups to suck it in, the cost that is. Before the ink is dry on any proposal there will be a conga line of interest groups pleading special treatment. With the farm lobby for example I’d tell them they are off limits for at least a decade ie no need to measure/guess cow farts or soil carbon. Keep it simple and revenue neutral. However the govt seems unable to either keep it simple or tell the rent seekers to get lost.

  15. Professor Quiggin,

    it seems to me you are making an ‘all else being equal’ assumption regarding GDP and the Balance of Payments and unemployment and the income distribution. But different technologies may have very different implications for these macro-variables such that it is conceivable that under technology xyz many people may not be able to afford q units of essential ‘energy’ while under technologies ryz these same people may be able to afford q+1 units of energy even if the monetary price of one unit of ryz produced ‘energy’ is greater than that of xyz.

    As long as there was talk about a (series of) cap(s) on greenhouse gas emissions to prevent human induced average global warming I could follow. Moreover, the problem of finding a mechanism to implement the cap(s) is interesting – at least to me. But now there is talk about ‘climate change’, ‘decarbonising the economy’, GDP, and households. I am as lost as what I was when there was talk about ‘the level playing field’, ‘moving forward’ and having micro-economic reform based on macro-economic objectives during the era known as economic rationalism.

    Climate change refers to both, natural and human induced changes. Is this obfuscation necessary? Greenhouse gas emissions aren’t only due to electricity generation. I don’t know the problem to which ‘decarbonising the economy’ is the solution but I am absolutely sure that nothing can be deduced from some estimated impact of an administered price on GDP for individual households given the empirical data on income, wealth and debt distributions.

    To the best of my knowledge, mechanism design requires a bottom up approach (ie agent model) and not an outcome down approach as in macro-economics.

  16. @Hermit

    For mine, the simplest first step would be to simply abolish the tax deductibility of dirty energy. A dirty energy benchmark would be set up (e.g the CO2 intensity of a bog standard anthracite coal plant; and perhaps a gCO2/km for liquid fuels based on petrodiesel or petrol) and you’d be able to deduct based on the improvement you managed to achieve over dirty energy. Beat it by 10% and it’s 10% deductible. Stay B-A-U and pay for energy out of your after tax budget. Obviuously diesel fuel rebates would go, as would LPG rebates conversion etc..

    In addition a separate $23 per ton would apply to all combustible carbon-based products. These two measures would take effective business input cost of common fuels well over the $50 mark (and perhaps in the case of some liquid fuels well over the $150). This would be incremented each year.

    You’d then reimburse the public out of the claw back and taxes so that those on or below average income got about 80% of the reimbursement pool in cash or services.

    As the bulk of agricultural emissions are derived ultimately from fossil inputs eg the fertiliser, pesticides, fuel for farm equipment, transport of stock etc the emissions are already charged at an earlier stage. You don’t have to measure “cow farts” (cow breath actually as flatus has about 5% of the CO2e of what comes from the rumen).

    Once this system is beded down we can then introduce a solid cap and trade system as an alternative to paying the tax and forfeiting deductibility, with businesses deciding what suited them best. The cap could then conform to where we are on Co2 intensity. This would effectively divide business who would not have a clear target to aim at.

  17. John Quiggin,

    This is so wrong, on many counts, it is unbelievable.

    Let’s just deal with one. You say:

    “Finally, let’s look at replacing Australia’s total emissions (about 600 Mt of CO2 equivalent) with high-cost renewables. At an additional cost of $150/tonne, that would cost 90 billion a year, or 7.5 per cent of national income. But the actual cost of going all-renewable would be far lower, since at such high prices, there would be huge incentives for improved energy efficiency and for substitution away from energy-intensive goods and services. A more plausible cost, even on pessimistic estimates about renewables would be 5 per cent of national income or about 2 years of economic growth.”

    But renewables cannot do the job at virtually any price!!. Don’t you understand that? The technologies do not exist and are unlikely to ever exist. We’ve been hearing from the renewables advocates the same story “but its just around the corner” for 30 years. Nothing is changing. Not only is the cost of the generators huge, we don’t have cost effective energy storage so intermittent renewables cannot work.

    You say: “To sum up, there is very little point in lengthy hypothetical arguments about which low-carbon technology is best. ”

    There is very little point in lengthy hypothetical arguments about whether, in the far off future, energy storage on the scale required might become viable or that the prices of wind and solar power may come down so they can provide reliabl power at a competitive price.

    Non-hydro renewables cannot provide our electricity supply, or even 10% of it. And they don’t avoid much if any CO2 emissions because of the increased emissions due to the reduced efficiency of the back up fossil fuel generators.

    Don’t you get any of this?

  18. Sam, in the US in 1999 coal plants produced 0.950 kilograms of CO2 per kilowatt-hour, or 950 kilograms per megawatt-hour. The US produces slightly more brown coal than Australia.

    At the same time in the US gas produced about 0.608 kilograms of CO2 per kilowatt-hour.

    Assuming similar figures for Australia (and I can’t think of any particular reasons why they’d be very different), a $40 a ton price on CO2 would increase the cost of a kilowatt-hour of electricity from coal by about 3.8 cents and would increase the cost of electricity from gas by about 2.43 cents.

  19. Here we have an extreme Left economist arguing that Australia should impose policies that on his highly optimistic calculations would cost only 5% of national income and 2 years of growth.

    It is no wonder that people are scared stiff of what the Left stand for.

    He says: “A more plausible cost, even on pessimistic estimates about renewables would be 5 per cent of national income or about 2 years of economic growth.”

    But they are not pessimistic estimates. They are ridiculouly optimistic estimates.

  20. @Peter Lang

    Non-hydro renewables cannot provide our electricity supply, or even 10% of it. And they don’t avoid much if any CO2 emissions because of the increased emissions due to the reduced efficiency of the back up fossil fuel generators.

    Geothermal might well supply a fair tranche of dispatchable energy. A modest and non-scaleable proportion might be sourced from waste biomass. The broader point stands of course.

  21. Peter Lang, right now wind power produces about 20% of South Australia’s electricity. Energy storage is not used or required. Kilowatt-hours of electricity produced by wind replace kilowatt-hours produced by gas on an almost one to one basis. Wind power only has a minor effect on the efficiency of the state’s fossil fuel generators because the increase in variability at current levels of penetration is not large compared to normal variation in demand. I believe the subsidy for wind power is currently about 4 cents a kilowatt-hour.

  22. @Peter Lang

    Peter, PrQ is not an “extreme left economist”. His approach falls well within the Keynesian mainstream.

    Whether his estimates of the investment cost of renewables conversion to the Australian economy is optimistic or entirely sound isn’t related to his overall paradigm in any significant way.

  23. Fran Barlow.

    No.

    Geothermal will be another small bit player as will biomass.

    Geothermal is another very diffuse energy source (like wind, solar, wave, etc) , hard to extract, and huge technical problems I will not bore you with.

    It takes many decades to bring new technologies that have high capital costs and long plant lives to become mature technologies.

    Stop dreaming. None of this is viable. It is a wish of the blind.

  24. I resisted the idea of nuclear power for the longest time. I wanted to believe Mark Diesendorf, as I had all these anti-nuclear issues. I thought it was too costly, too unsafe, the waste was too dangerous, and uranium too rare (peak uranium). I also thought baseload renewables were ‘just around the corner’.

    I was wrong on all counts. Silly legislative hurdles and one-off build costs have made American nuclear too expensive, but other countries are mass producing them under saner, more efficient legislative guidelines. Too expensive? How expensive is a car? Are we talking Rolls Royce or Hydundai?

    Too unsafe? Hello? How many people die falling off wind turbines? How many average Aussies have even bothered to read about the new advances in passive safety? I certainly hadn’t… I had just assumed most modern reactors were little Chernobyl’s waiting to blow. D’oh! That’s like comparing the Wright brothers plane to modern jumbo jets whose wing span is wider than the Wright brother’s first flight!

    Peak uranium? Not bleeding likely! Not with breeder reactors just around the corner. Don’t sneer: we know the physics works! This is NOT like ‘baseload renewables are just around the corner’. We have 300 reactor years accumulated experience with breeders. They are just working on bringing the deployment costs down. The world could build out a whole smorgasbord range of cheaper Gen2 or Gen3 reactors this generation while we perfected the breeders, which would then BURN THE WASTE! Breeders will burn the waste. The tiny amount that’s left over after breeding it will be safe in 300 years. Stick it in the reactor basement… I don’t care… it will be safe soon enough. Waste is not an issue.

    Note: I’d LOVE baseload renewables, I really would. But I’m just not convinced the technology is on the drawing boards, let alone ready to deploy at massive scales right now. With peak oil looming, we need a massive hit of clean, RELIABLE electricity. Now. Not in 20 or 30 years when ‘they think’ they’ll have baseload power.

    I can’t see renewables offering reliable baseload power unless battery technology drops 1000 fold in price and increases 1000 fold in capacity. We’d need batteries so powerful they could store excess summer solar for long cold winters. ANY argument that tries to move the goalposts from wind to solar as ‘the backup’ for baseload power is assuming massive overbuild. “When the wind isn’t blowing the sun is shining.” Oh yeah? These people don’t watch the weather maps of Australia very much do they? “When the wind isn’t blowing the sun is shining SOMEWHERE.” Oh yeah? So if NSW has an overcast, quiet week, we’re going to rely on Queensland’s solar are we? Just how much capacity overbuild are you all asking for?

    Renewables are so unreliable we’d basically be burning gas as backup. “Oh, but that would only be 5% of the time!” Yeah right. Again, watch the evening weather, and ask yourself if today was a good day for renewable energy. Do this EVERY night, not just when it suits you. Include those days where most of Queensland, NSW, and Victoria are all under a could bank. Include those massive cloud banks that stretch across the continent. Don’t rule them out! That’s dishonest. You’re only lying to yourself.

    I’d be amazed if in the quest for renewable energy we didn’t *overbuild* renewable capacity about 5 times, only to find we were burning gas about 50% of the time anyway, after all that effort!

    So I’m forced to accept nuclear. There is no alternative if we want to survive peak oil and climate change. I’m also very keen on New Urbanism and ecocities that require drastically less energy to operate in the first place, but even if EVERYONE AGREED ON THIS RADICAL NEW CITY PLAN (and they don’t), it would still take a generation to build out.

    Back to nuclear, the real environmentalist’s most realistic first choice. Until something better comes along. (Such as nuclear fusion).

  25. I didn’t think I needed to spell it out, but obviously I do. Debate on the merits of specific technologies belongs in the sandpit. Anything further along these lines will be deleted.

    El Gordo and Peter Lang: please comment only in the sandpit. Anything else from you will be deleted.

  26. @Ronald Brak

    No, Ronald, wind doesn’t produce 20% of SA’s power or anything like it. Nameplate capacity is misleading because as Miskelly & Quirk (2009) show, the 90% availability point for SA windfarms is 6%. So wind might produce 1-1.2% of total SA load.

  27. A very simple approach would be to carbon tax coal at the mine mouth and gas at the well head. If a tonne of black coal generates 2.4 tonnes of CO2 (in a standard power station) then levy each tonne of coal with 2.4 X $23 = $55 carbon tax. Using Ronald Brak’s figures make the levy on gas 65% of this or $36 per tonne. Note the carbon levy should also go on coal and gas exports as a first step to international harmonisation. The billions in revenue go prorata to income tax cuts and pension increases.

    This is how the government should respond to pleading for exemptions and giveaways. ‘Pensioners won’t be able to heat their homes.’ Govt: ‘Not if they only heat one room’.‘Our company has planted lots of native trees so we deserve a carbon credit.’ Govt: ‘The trees will look lovely but we didn’t legislate for credits’.

    It could be simple if they really wanted it to be. If they make another hash of it then perhaps they’re not really serious or just incompetent.

  28. Fran, you might want to read Miskelly & Quirk again. I do not think it means what you think it means. If you want to you can ask me questions in the sandpit.

  29. @Peter Lang

    promises promises.

    in the 50’s nuclear energy was going to be so plentiful there would be no need it to be metered.

    we are still waiting.

    in the meantime problem piled apon what-the-hell problem.

    cost piled apon yer-gotta-be-kidding cost.

    the road to renewable energy has been blocked by misinformation and scare tactics since the 70’s.

    those old 4% panels people put up at that time are still putting out power albeit at at lesser rate. not bad after all that time.
    top of that,over the lifespan of each unit the cost of installation and manufacture would have been met.

    it would be good to have an Australia wide study result the see by how much.

    the idea of all promise and no delivery is well and truly out of date.

    the field has had explosive growth from wave to sun to wind to hot rock.

    take a look around.

    if you are interested in investment opportunities do your research,corporate money and sovereign funds are not in it for the warm and fuzzy feelings.

    every unit installed and running(however intermittantly) is paying for itself.

  30. @jquiggin

    But of course. “the merits of specific technologies” are obviously completely irrelevant to energy economics. Riiight.

    Could you at least give a pointer as to where the “average costs of $200/MWh” estimate comes from?

  31. sorry about the abysmal grammar.

    no need for it to be metered.

    on top of that.

    study result to see by how much.

    blush.

  32. “dirty energy” is another one of these unnecessarily obfuscating phrases. “Clean energy” is another one. What about ‘stained energy’ – silly isn’t it?

  33. @may

    may :

    “corporate money and sovereign funds are not in it for the warm and fuzzy feelings.”

    Are you sure about that, May? Ever heard of greenwash? Social licences to operate?

    In any case, they’re sure as hell in it for the subsidies.

  34. Climate change refers to both, natural and human induced changes. Is this obfuscation necessary?

    You’re a bit late to the party on this one, Ernestine – the term “climate change” has been in official use since 1992. I agree that the expression “anthropogenic global warming” is clearer, but I think everyone understands what the first term means, in the context.

  35. Anybody have any comments on Hansen’s fee and dividend approach – other than it would likely tread on some powerful toes?

  36. @Ronald Brak
    is that 20% of peak generation? or 20% of baseload?

    I think if you did some research you would find that it is the latter, as wind generation is neither constant or reliable.

    As with most of Australia, SA derives a Clear, Unassailable majority of its baseload energy for coal power, there is only one technology which is capable of delivering similar quantities of energy into the grid at low prices, and with minimal (read zero) carbon emissions, this thechnology has been aroud for at least 50 years, and barring a few mishaps, one where the technology was poorly designed and got seriously messed with, it has been so safe it is absolutely ridiculous.

    The technology is nuclear power generation. now before you all flame me so hard you melt antarctica, hear me out. There have been quite a few advancements over the years in the field of nuclear energy.

    In particular the Gen 5 IFR(Integral Fast Reactor), this wonderful piece of kit is 95% fuel efficient, for nuclear reactors, that means, it reacts 95% of the fissile mass in its fuel elements. mass for mass, it generates 190,000 more energy per kg of fuel than burning coal, and DOES IT CHEAPER, and safer than coal does. not only that, but for this baby to SCRAM, the laws of physics need to breakdown, and that ain’t gonna happen anytime soon( the only way to SCRAM a IFR that has been suggested, is to throw it into a black hole!)
    as well as that, it can “burn” a variety of fuel types, including spent reactor elements from gen 1,2,3 and 4 PWRs and BWRs (Pressurised Water Reactors and Boiling Water Reactors)
    all that remains, are isotopes that are referred to as ‘Fission By-products’ which are dangerous for at most, 300 years, and in such small quanties that the reactors life-time waste would barely fill an olympic swimming pool AFTER vitrification.

    well, that’s all i have to say,
    Cheers

  37. @may
    PV cells are essentially light-activated batteries,
    no PV cellin existence , has ever or will ever produce more energy than
    than it took to make it, most of which comes from coal fired powerstations in china.
    seriously, do your research

  38. @Tim Macknay

    Ernestine – the term “climate change” has been in official use since 1992. 1988

    Ernestine said:

    “dirty energy” is another one of these unnecessarily obfuscating phrases. “Clean energy” is another one. What about ‘stained energy’ – silly isn’t it?

    Perfectly plain, IMO. What do the terms obscure?

  39. Phil, about one fifth of the kilowatt-hours produced in South Australia are generated by wind.

  40. Phil, the cheapest Chinese PV is $1.40 a watt. Over 25 years in Australia it can generate about 50 kilowatt-hours or about $2.50 worth of Chinese wholesale coal fired electricity. So if no solar cell will ever produce more energy than it took to make, then Chinese companies must be selling them for at least a dollar less per watt than it cost to make them.

  41. @may
    May – you are so right – we really live in a little narrow backwater in Australia full of little narrow people who try to turn every policy decision into an “left right culture war divide”. Meanwhile other countries are just passing us by, investing in solar (years ago) and other energies, still investing in public infrastructure for the good of the nation (roads, transport, anti corruption etc), while we sell everyting in sight that once belonged to the people and slap our most corrupt on the wrist with a feather.
    One thing you can count on in Australia. We are immature. We are naive. We are stupid and think we must follow the newspeak of other nations but worse we take it to an extreme….and then we are so slow, almost backward in undoing bad policy when we realise we blew it.

    There is no policy manual overseas. Would someone please tell our politicians to wise up and make their own decisions and stop being the adoring fans of some overseas fad that overseas isnt even following.

    Never in such a short time has a country privatised so much, lost so much industry, alienated so many, caste so many into unemployment (like one fifth of all youth) – check the stats – we are at the front of the “market ethos prevails” race.

    We will be eating humble pie late again as usual – because we still have not grown up and we are still just plain dumb. There is no other explanation. Thick as a brick in leadership and politics.

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