In the name of God, go!

If I could have one big present for Xmas, it would be to wake up and discover that Keneally and Bligh had both proffered their resignations, and devoted their lives to undoing some of the damage they have done to the Labor movement.

146 thoughts on “In the name of God, go!

  1. Charlie, you’ve closed your mind by narrowing your focus, the progressive nature of a tax system is not limited the point of taxation, rather it included the use of revenue. Huge progressive choice opens up with how to use the revenue.

    Your claim of arm waving is full of arm waving. The risk profile of AGW is documented, and falls heavily on Africa, South Asia and South America, you should be assumptive your lack awareness of these studies is shared by rest of us.

    My carbon footprint was light this Christams, thanks for asking, but I prefer the burden not be born by only those with a conscience, leaving the greedy to wreak havoc.

  2. Correction:

    …the progressive nature of a tax system is not limited [to] the point of taxation, rather it include[s] the use of revenue. Huge progressive choice open up with how to use the revenue.

    And BTW, options for my low carbon choices improve as the economy shift to low carbon.

  3. jakerman: so you ate and drank nothing with any carbon in it, not even a chook, potato, Coke glass of red or a beer? But you still breathe out CO2! You are a menace, do eat drink and be merry because the more crops are grown to replace your consumption, the more of the CO2 up there is used to produce them.

    As for the 3rd world, there have never before been as many there as well off as of now thanks to their increased access to carboniferous energy and all time record carboniferous crop and livestock production. Check out the FAO stats – and get real as well as merry!

  4. Charlie I see you have once again raised the white flat on the ground of factual debate, and opted for agruing with strawmen.

    And most of the 3rd world nations in the regions I named need not cut their CO2 emissions like us, they are well below the per capita quota for 450 pmm. Your ill informed position sits quite aptly with your arrogant attitude.

  5. @paul walter
    Prof Quiggins and my despair and yours as well Paul walter. Why do I think Fran a tad too young and still experimenting with various outfits to try on, before she adopts the one that most suits her?
    This is why – I had an engaging conversation with a late twenty year old casual tutor at MQ who has done her honours, is considering her phd and is glad of the casual tutoring money. She said to me, in response to the mass stand downs and contract discontunances at MQ – “but why should I be worried? We all have the choice where we want to go dont we? I mean its freedom for us isnt it? Thats all Ive ever heard. I dont know anything about permanent contracts. No one my age gets them. Its always been this way”

    I realised she only saw the world as it has been since she was born. She doesnt know any better. She doesnt know what it is to spend your life teaching, gaining wisdom (the best teachers are older teachers), to have it discounted because you can be easily replaced by someone younger and prettier. Its not untill you get to the peak of your knowledge and your wisdom that you realise how decrepit the flexible labour force is. Far more decrepit than age and wisdom and experince because it has no respect for any of these things. It only respects the lowest wage.

    She will see what I see one day. At least when I was her age, I didnt see the labour force the way she sees it. I am grateful for that. I was spared the illusion (delusion?) of freedom and loyalty was once important to employers.

  6. But this young girl has been brainwashed by a false ideology of freedom and flexibility in the labour force that comes down to individual choice, and she is yet to discover, the labour force is far from as flexible as she thinks.
    Plus she gets little returns now – in her super, in her continuity, in her life savings, in her credit worhiness (but perhaps she is not old enough to conisder these matters yet).
    Just buying the line, because its all she has ever experienced., all she has ever heard.

    Sad.

  7. But I digress…Id much prefer sweing my hateful rantings towards those puppets of the right in Keneally and that odious Roozendahl….
    that…that…cretin, than slimy swamp creature.
    I had a friend tonight to dinner who is a senior public servant in the NSW State government, who admitted openly that “they couldnt nuild the harbour bridge again, now”.
    “They wouldnt know how”. “they dont have the expertise any more.”

    I know it. Some years ago, in 2002 or so, under a different leadershio, NSW Treasury was attempting to sell the last stocks of old yellow Sydney sandstone that had been held and kept and stored by the now defunct department of public works. The department of public works was once a mighty state enterprise, afforded at a time when our poulation was a lot lower tha now (yet now we cant afford it). It was responsible for roadbuilding, and public buildings constructions, not only in Sydney but across the State of NSW. I imagine it would once have employed thousands and thousands of people, from publuc architects, and public engineers, down to public carpenters, builders, tradesmen and clearks.

    The history of the department of public works is grand, and its employment records solid until it was degraded and lost to be run by a committee of three within the finance department with no budget at all, except that for incomings from the last of its Sydney sandstones stores (kept especially for the repairs to our traditional sandstome spublic buildings).

    The snadstone is gone. The public buildings are no longer being either constructed or maintained…the staff are all gone. Its a committee…and no…

    It certainly couldnt build the harbour bridge again. So have a good look every time you cross it. Look at the rust, the age and… wonder. The state government couldnt do it again.

    They dont know how any more and that is the truth of it.

  8. and we have these weasels in NSW Labor selling the last of what we owned as public enterprises, public constructions and public buildings, because they dont have the expertise to manage it.

    What we have is an anorexic spincentric incompetent overpaid shadow of what we once had from our governments..in jobs, in employment, in expertise, in their sense of public duty.

    We dont need the state governments in the form we have now, any more. We would be better off without them. They are a costly drain on all of us.

  9. I find it interesting that much of the debate about policies to meet some pretty significant challenges is conducted in terms of money, interest rates, subsidies etc. As if these were the real world, or at least as if the issue is to maintain the world as it is. Like the suggestion that we can move to electric cars and go on motoring – ignoring the simple thermodynamics that say this will cost at least twice as much energetically. The issues are water, housing, food in a much more constrained world – one in which we can still have as much as we can build or grow, but can build fewer houses and grow less food. Bit like arguing about what the size of the dance floor should be on the lifeboat.

    I guess this is economics. I wonder what use it will be in 30 years?

  10. Beautifully related anecdote, re tutor, Alice.
    A bit like battery chooks. They may or may not be happy- how would we know- but whether that’s the case is not the point. The satisfaction someone somewhere else gains, contingent on the feathered creatures remaing clamped within their confines, is the only thing that matters in this schema.
    The chickens?
    Who knows.
    Happy new year, friend.
    And the rest and particular Prof. Quiggin, a busy bloke who still makes time for the benefit not just of smart posters but mugs like me, in helping us make sense of our times.

  11. @Charlie

    Your previous comment “the massive rip off is the externalized cost of carbon being passed on to the the most vulnerable in the world” is mere armwaving. Where? when? are there no external benefits at all from atmospheric CO2? What did you have for your Christmas repasts, I bet the carbon content was at least 50%, the exact amount depending on your intake of certain medicinal beverages!

    Not even wrong.

  12. @ Charlie

    But you still breathe out CO2!”

    Epic fail for complete misunderstanding of the carbon cycle. But to assist you, ask yourself, where does all the carbon that I exhale originally come from?

  13. In my opinion the feed-in tariff for residential PV should not exceed 20c per kwh. It is not a premium product and doesn’t deserve a premium price. Some claim it helps with summer load following. However it is just expensive tokenism if 10% of houses are producing 1000 watts at noon while 80% of houses use 2500w of air conditioning at 5-6 pm. Meanwhile the gas turbine generators whir away on half throttle waiting to pick up the slack. It would take much less capital cost to do it all with gas, albeit with some fuel cost.

    German experience suggests high PV input may make the grid unstable on sunny days. I regard PV as a middle class fashion statement that the lowest socio-economic stratum helps pay for. Ms Kenneally got this one right if nothing else.

  14. Hermit, an appropriate response to an unstable grid is to make it more robust not to dismiss PV. The grid can be improved by linking up more energy storage in the system and/or making existing storage more responsive to PV cycles- which are more reliable in nature than wind.

    I recall you similarly dismissed ecological hotspot of the Coorong and lower lakes to be given up.

  15. So I take it Hermit that you have taken down your solar panels and are now buying all your energy from the grid?

  16. @paul walter
    Happy New year dear Paul, yes – a friend. A constant here who sees things the way I do and no we wont forget the Prof in our New Year wishes. God the world would be a confusing mad place without him wouldnt it?
    Gotta love a guy who tells the truth as he sees it (without being paid for it), is good, fair and kind and bonus!!!! hosts a bunch of nutcases who ramble on about anything and everything….

  17. @jakerman
    According to climatologist James Hansen we will return to El Nino conditions in 2012-2014. Does that mean the Coorong and lower lakes must have the same water levels they enjoy now? That will be in spite of high food prices from irrigation cutbacks.
    @BilB
    For once we agree. Servicing mud huts off-grid is an appropriate niche for PV. Making tiny amounts of expensive electricity for a grid that supports aluminium smelters and air conditioning isn’t.

  18. @Mike

    Epic fail for complete misunderstanding of the carbon cycle. But to assist you, ask yourself, where does all the carbon that I exhale originally come from?

    And in any event, as the intellectually frivolous dross pushing the polluters’ cause ignore, the question of CO2 abatement is not to remove CO2 in toto from the atmosphere but rather, to remove just so much CO2 from the flux as causes the observable climate anomaly. CO2 that is the sine qua non of human welfare is not our object. CO2 that is added above the threshhold for maintenance of the ecosystem services on which humans depend for wellbeing is.

    Our project is to foreclose harm to human welfare by upholding the integrity of the biosphere upon which we all depend rather than to declare CO2 anathema. The polluters’ harpies act as if we are bound by a quasi-religious crusade, and frequently assert it, but this is just another iteration of a strawman argument.

  19. According to climatologist James Hansen we will return to El Nino conditions in 2012-2014. Does that mean the Coorong and lower lakes must have the same water levels they enjoy now? That will be in spite of high food prices from irrigation cutbacks.

    We agreed to protect the Coorong and lower lakes under a Ramsar treaty. We did this for a reason, the rich and unique biodiversity. As s basic foundation we should give the Coorong and lower lake the water sufficient to meet our treat requirements. We are currently failing dismally .

  20. @Hermit

    In my opinion the feed-in tariff for residential PV should not exceed 20c per kwh.

    In my opinion that puts the effective cost of abating CO2 at above $200 tCO2e. That’s not sustainable unless that is the general price we are imposing on CO2e emissions. Given that the state is not jumping with excitement at my party’s rather modest interim carbon price proposal of $23 tCO2e it’s hard to see how $20 can be passing rational. Shouldn’t measures (whatver they are) that cost about as much as we are willing to spend on CO2 abatement now be undertaken first?

    Conversely, if we think that more than $200 tCO2e is rational policy, shouldn’t it apply generally? Why should it be a special concession for people with solar panels. Shouldn’t it be given to people who find useful ways of abating net emissions from landfill and water treatment and agricultural residues, for example? What about people who find ways of binding CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it in some stable state or of capturing CH4 from gassy mines or abating other even more potent GHGs (NF3 used in plasma etching {forcing 21w/M2 pppb} for example, which is associated, inter alia with production of Plasma TVs and similar)?

    If we had such a price we wouldn’t need a FiT for PV. People whose energy and other Co2/GHG intensive consumption patterns persisted would be paying a much larger net price than those who weren’t and those who weren’t would have a rebate to do with as they wished, including, if they thought it worthwhile, purchasing PV.

  21. In my opinion that puts the effective cost of abating CO2 at above $200 tCO2e.

    Unlike the cheapest (low hanging fruit) abatement costs like efficiency, PV reduces with scale. The global all time subsidie required to bring PV to ultimate cost competitiveness is projected to be between$50 billion to $166 billion. Not a large cost in the long run.

  22. BTW we hit PV break even at far cheaper/quicker rate where the solar insolation is above average (like Australia’s is).

  23. And the storage capacity requirements of PV match well with the essential transition to electric vehicles. Batteries for EV can buffer the demand and supply from PV and other intermittent renewables.

  24. Fran, what’s relevant is the difference between the feed-in tariff and the delivered price of coal-fired electricity, including distribution and retail* costs. That’s commonly 15-20 c/kwh (roughly 5c for generation and 10c for distribution and retail), so the difference is 0-5c/kWh and the implied carbon price (assuming 1tonne CO2/MWh for coal) is $0-50.

    * Retail is a bit complicated, but we’re down to minor details here.

  25. @jakerman

    Your problem is the assumption that past “learning curve” rates will persist. Your link document shows that the most significant factors — (plant size and efficiency, and spill over advantages from the grwoth of the IT industry) are already factored in. It’s unlikely that increasing production runs will yield the same cost advantages relative today as past growth did. While silicon chip production may continue to edge down in cost, one can’t assume we wil get the same order of improvement as we saw from 1990 onwards.

    Yet even if you do assume this, a more general and technologically neutral approach shouldn’t hurt PV, if, as you say things are so propitious for it here. My concern is to protect the pool of funds available for mitigation activity by ensuring that whatever it is, it is rationally disbursed. Paying a bunch of rather better off people to demand slightly less than they do from the grid doesn’t sound like good policy, especially when for them, price is not a significant constraint on their demand patterns. Giving them access to cheap subsidised power may simply result in them using what they use even more wastefully with a clear conscience.

  26. @John Quiggin

    Just as a baseline, here is my latest notice of electricity costs for Y2011 (MWh)

    Peak — (1st 19.178kWh per day) (inc GST) $199.21 MWh
    Peak Balance (inc GST) $290.84 (MWh)
    Daily service charge (inc GST) $0.47619
    Off peak controlled load 1 (inc GST) $90.53 MWh
    Off peak controlled load 2 (inc GST) $133.32 MWh

  27. Your problem is the assumption that past “learning curve” rates will persist.

    Your problem is the assumption that learning curve rates will not persist. PV production is tiny compared to computer production, and has huge scope for advancement in many different directions, not just piggybacking on IT production.

    It’s unlikely that increasing production runs will yield the same cost advantages relative today as past growth did.

    The learning curves do not project, nor do they depend on maintaining the same improvement as the past, read the charts. What is projected (and observed) is smaller incremental improvement with increasing production.

    And we ought to be aware of the likelihood of competing power generation rising in costs faster than projected as peak oil bites harder.

  28. @jakerman

    Your problem is the assumption that learning curve rates will not persist. {…} The learning curves do not project, nor do they depend on maintaining the same improvement as the past

    I see. It’s as clear as mud 😉

    And we ought to be aware of the likelihood of competing power generation rising in costs faster than projected as peak oil bites harder.

    This is an argument, if it is sound, for reducing/eliminating subsidies for PV since other factors will drive resort to such technologies.

  29. I see. It’s as clear as mud

    Let me simplify it for you: the learning curve rates do not depend on maintaining the same improvement as the past.

    The projected range of PV cost competativeness (@50-170 $billion) is attained with diminishing incremental improvement.

    This is an argument, if it is sound, for reducing/eliminating subsidies for PV since other factors will drive resort to such technologies.

    Only if you want to delay PV development and risk an even larger oil shock, and potentially leave transition until its too late. We need to use our remaining cheap oil to build the sustainable energy of the future, or else we’re stranded.

  30. @jakerman

    The projected range of PV cost competitiveness (@50-170 $billion) is attained with diminishing incremental improvement.

    That’s the bit I’d like “simplified”.

    Only if you want to delay PV development and risk an even larger oil shock,

    I have no opinion about the desirability of PV development. An “even larger oil shock” might be no bad thing, if it forces a rapid transition way from industrial use of hydrocarbons where politics has failed. The boiling frog approach we have now seems much more hazardous.

  31. That’s the bit I’d like “simplified”.

    Its as complicated as it is. Its the finding of Nemet’s study.

    An “even larger oil shock” might be no bad thing, if it forces a rapid transition way from industrial use of hydrocarbons where politics has failed.

    That is ignoring and completely the opposite of the risk I described. The risk is replacing transition with civil collapse. Have you read much on peak oil?

  32. @jakerman

    It’s as complicated as it is. It’s the finding of Nemet’s study.

    Nemet’s study (at the link) made no explicit argument on that. It merely tracked the history, attempting to account for it and left us to assume a learning curve that would eventually cross that of the long term hydrocarbon cost.

    That is ignoring and completely the opposite of the risk I described. The risk is replacing transition with civil collapse. Have you read much on peak oil?

    I have, but I don’t agree that it means what most I come across using the term think it means. Certainly, if there were to be a return to early-mid 2008 prices in a hurry there’d be some dislocation, but “civil collapse?” — I don’t think so. There’d be some austerity and a flattening of growth which would sap demand for oil, thus mitigating the price spiral. There’d be a renewed focus on using oil wisely, with a sharp increase in interest in EVs and we’d adapt to the new regime.

    Let us be clear: if politics can’t get us the changes we need (and that seems to be one of the messages from Bali/Cancun), then the earlier we get a serious hydrocarbon-derived crisis the better.

  33. OK Hermit, so I have to assume that you have decided to leave your panels perched atop your mud hut, as the answer to the first question.

    But on the second you really do not understand the potential of solar power. You’ve got one fixed view of how things work and you’ve locked out all quantitative understanding of how the future will unfold. To a degree you are entitled to your miss perception as you entered the solar energy consumer market very early and paid top dollar for your lower efficiency panels. That experience has shaped your views and that is where you are locked.

  34. Fran,

    “Given that the state is not jumping with excitement at my party’s rather modest interim carbon price proposal of $23”

    What party would that be?

  35. @BilB

    Are the Greens proposing the use of nuclear power for Australia, Fran?

    They aren’t just now, as you would surely know.

  36. @jakerman

    The global all time subsidie required to bring PV to ultimate cost competitiveness is projected to be between$50 billion to $166 billion. Not a large cost in the long run.

    In this case the long run means around the year 2032.

    One thing’s for sure, the CO2 level in the atmosphere is going to get a lot higher before it stops increasing.

  37. So Fran,

    Following

    ” my party’s rather modest interim carbon price ”

    I imagine what you really meant to write was

    “we…aren’t just now””proposing the use of nuclear power for Australia”.

  38. @BilB

    we…aren’t just now””proposing the use of nuclear power for Australia

    I wouldn’t say that as it is off limits here at the insistence of PrQ, except in sandpits.

  39. Fran, I was exploring the strength of your connection not examining an issue. “My Party” seemed pretty chummy to me, but it seems that it may be a loose affiliation of convenience rather than an association deep common conviction.

  40. BilB I managed to go 2 years without paying a power bill so I think I know what PV can do. Just lately I’m finding that cloudy summers and prolonged denial of simple pleasures are getting the better of me.

    As to battery cars providing auxiliary grid storage I think we need convincing trial results first. I’m not sure if the Vics will press ahead with their trial now Brumby is gone. If someone lent me a $45k battery car I’d put electricity in it. Then I’d stop when I had to give the car back, so the trial proves nothing. Coincidentally the spouse of the NSW premier is into battery cars which makes the NSW govt purchase of a coal mine somewhat surprising. Maybe they have it all back to front, people will buy the electric cars if the electricity is free. I suspect when petrol is $3 per litre then natural gas powered cars will be all the rage.

  41. @BilB

    My Party” seemed pretty chummy to me, but it seems that it may be a loose affiliation of convenience rather than an association deep common conviction.

    Let me assure you BilB: there’s nothing convenient about joining The Greens

    I joined The Greens because:

    a) they framework within policy is developed is ethically admirable — starting from the desire for social justice, human rights, empowerment of the marginalised and sustainability
    b) as far as I can tell these public expressed values are shared by those of the party’s supporters I meet
    c) internal processes are scrupulously fair and democratic

    These attributes easily suffice for me to set aside reservations I have on specific policies. My party’s positions on that technology, on cap & trade, on HECS etc, while flawed, IMO, are not breaches of important principle nor indicative of poor process. There can be no doubt that most Greens are satisfied with the party’s current posture.

    That doesn’t mean that a minority can’t take a different view on one thing or another.

  42. Chris Oneill,

    I think that you are using the Nemet study to suggest that solar panels will take a long time to mature.

    That is not how I read it, but the take away lines must be

    “If we are going to rely on experience curves. . .

    1 Need to be explicit about reliability of predictions
    2 Policy decisions should reflect variation in L-rates

    If we consider the drivers of technological change itself. . .

    • Need to create incentives for investments in
    cost-reducing activities
    • Investments drive cost reductions
    • Expectations about future demand drive investment
    • Government activities affect these expectations
    • . . . and perceptions of risk”

    But I think that it should be noted that the basis of his figures is the average US retail domestic electricity price of 10cents. Well this figure is not so average. The fact is that on third of the US population pays 15cents or higher for electricity, and these populations include California and New York. With the highest being 27.8 cents pr unit.

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/electricity/epm/table5_6_b.html

  43. Nemet’s study (at the link) made no explicit argument on that. It merely tracked the history, attempting to account for it and left us to assume a learning curve that would eventually cross that of the long term hydrocarbon cost.

    Yep, that what the data shows, supported by the history of other experience curves. Its also logically consistent that renewables get cheaper with ioncreasing production while non-renewable have a different terminus.

  44. @jakerman

    Yep, that what the data shows, supported by the history of other experience curves.

    So it is an assumption not based on any actual data applying on the timeline we are talking about. Glad we cleared that up.

    Its also logically consistent that renewables get cheaper with increasing production while non-renewables have a different terminus.

    How so? Unless you can devise some way of continually reducing the cost and efficacy of storage renewables can get incrementally cheaper but major real declines in cost p[er output will stay out of reach.

    Other technologies — let’s not mention them in this topic — have far more scope to take advantage of the kinds of factors that drove Nemet’s learning curve for PV.

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