Monday Message Board

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

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15 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Readers will have heard of the IPCC report on a 1.5 C target for global warming. (**** One striking conclusion is that at 1.5 degrees, 70%-90% of the world’s coral reefs are gone. At 2 degrees, it’s >99%: a wipeout. So if Australia wants to save any part of the Great Barrier Reef, it has to go all in on the stronger target. The report indicates the scale of energy investment required, but does not SFIK attempt an economic balance sheet. as the IPCC did for 2 degrees. I plan to blog on this.

    To cheer you up, I recommend looking at Andrew Blakers’ scenario for a 100% renewable electricity supply in Australia (actually the NEM area). The paper is at ****; a very lucid video presentation at *****

    Blakers has taken the clever approach of drastic simplification on technology. He relies only on wind, pv solar, HVDC transmission, and pumped hydro storage. In the base model, he assumes no technical progress in these either. These are all mature technologies with well-understood costs. He ran standard simulations of NEM electricity demand at a one-hour resolution. Grid integration through backup and transmission adds a half to the generating costs. The overall LCOE (including backup and bulk transmission) comes out at US$70/Mwh at current prices, clearly affordable.

    These cost estimates are a pretty firm upper bound. Further technical progress in wind and solar (plus other technologies he deliberately left out like geothermal, grid batteries, CSP and P2G) is certain in direction but not in magnitude. Suppose a full transition to renewable electricity by 2030, which has as early as anyone is talking about. On average investments will draw on 6 years of technical progress, with wind prices down a third and solar by a half. Pumped storage and HVDC are unlikely to change much, though cheap batteries could replace them partially.

    I’ve written to Blakers suggesting that he extend the parsimonious approach to modelling >90% renewable energy. You can’t get to 100% energy without fairly heroic technological assumptions on aviation, shipping, cement, steelmaking and long-distance trucking. But technology is now available for full electric heating of buildings and for land transport by cars, buses, and light trucks and vans. Between them, they make up the bulk of non-electric energy demand. They could be added to the scenario fairly simply. The costs become iffy; you could technically replace all the cars in Australia tomorrow with Teslas, but at astronomical cost. The revolution in land transport depends on further falls in the cost of batteries, which everybody expects.

    The results of similar exercises in other continents would be different in detail. Australia is hot and dry. It doesn’t have the big seasonal swings in heating common in Europe. But on the continental scale allowed by HVDC, good sites for wind, solar and off-river pumped storage are not scarce and you would expect similar results.

  2. Monday’s Four Corners re glyphosate was an absolute Barry Crocker. It was every bit as shoddy as Maryanne Demasi’s Catalyst stories on Wi Fi and statins from a few years back.

    Ian Musgrave, lecturer in pharmacology at the University of Adelaide has an article at “The Conversation” that tries to calm the nervous Nellies. ****

  3. A complete nonsense article. For starters Musgrave ought not be thinking about cancer, but general health and all causes mortality. Secondly he’s not looking at the body of the studies but he is reviewing the happy talk in the conclusions of meta-studies. This has some ways to go as an example of anyone “following the science.” Incredibly stupid idea that people have; that you lazily look through the summary and gauge the sentiment of the way its worded, rather than the science in the body of the study.

    If you want to find someone talking more seriously about glyphosate, then Musgrave appears capable of, try Stephanie Seneff.

  4. Its possible to bring down anyones cancer risk by tossing them off a very high mountain. If glyphosate is really really bad for you it could kill you before you have a chance to get cancer. This is why only some measure of general health, or all causes mortality, can ever make sense when you are considering the effects of a pesticide or a vaccine. So for example where vaccines are concerned, you will struggle to find any study ever that shows a vaccine to reduce all causes mortality. But you will find studies that show the whooping cough vaccine reduces the susceptibility to whooping cough. Whether the kid lives long enough to get whooping cough is not factored into the study. And for the most part the people making money off these things, are pretty happy if they can show that their concoction creates the right antibodies. An outcome at least two steps away from the idea of improving general health and reducing all causes mortality.

  5. I thought this AFR article on Glencore is worthy of attention. Why should free trade in capital be encouraged when foreign firms value local assets more highly simply because they avoid taxes using creative capital management practices and transfer pricing? Note a couple of facts in the article:

    Glencore have transferred $20b in assets out of the Australian tax net.

    Their $3b purchase of MIM assets years back was fully paid for with profits in 2 years.

  6. I think that free trade in “capital” (a new level of ponzi-money, sitting above that which is generated internally) is de-stablizing. It subverts normal balancing mechanisms between countries. Leading to chronic trade deficits in some countries, that can go on for decades and hollow an economy out. I think that a lot of these so-called free trade agreements are a bait and switch, smuggling in various numbers rackets under the banner of free trade. Free trade in “capital” lacks the Riccardian justification of free trade in manufactures. Think how amazingly functional our savings banks were in the sixties. Savings generated locally were lent to local businesses. Fantastic. Kept the economy in balance and the jobs in the small towns. The economy in better balance when the savings are recycled, for the most part, in the geographical area, where they are generated. The kids don’t realise how magnificent our banking was circa 1950-1970. Almost idyllic in my view.

  7. This is why only some measure of general health, or all causes mortality, can ever make sense when you are considering the effects of a pesticide or a vaccine. So for example where vaccines are concerned, you will struggle to find any study ever that shows a vaccine to reduce all causes mortality.

    Wrong. I didn’t struggle. I found one easily. I expect I could find more with little additional effort.

  8. I fear the glysophate studies, and many others, need further independent verification:
    “Unfortunately, up to half of all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have never been published, and trials with statistically significant findings are more likely to be published than those without (Dwan et al., 2013). Importantly, negative trials face additional hurdles beyond study publication bias that can result in the disappearance of non-significant results (Boutron et al., 2010; Dwan et al., 2013; Duyx et al., 2017)”
    The image showing study to bias to spin to citations (green being cited more) needs to be projected on the Opera House imo.
    Does anyone have a local orother relevant example?

  9. I had planned to go for an 85km bicycle ride through parts of the Gold Coast and Northern Rivers this Saturday, and return home over the mountains on Sunday. However the Bureau of Meteorology has forecast drenching rain along my entire proposed route all weekend.

    If my mind worked the same way as those of members of the current Federal Government and its supporters, I would not accept that this is a scientifically informed prediction of objective meteorological probabilities in the region. Instead I would conclude that the Bureau of Meteorology has been captured by postmodern feminists, cultural Marxists and gender theorists who have conspired to maliciously fabricate a tendentious forecast for the region with the intention of denying heterosexual cis males such as myself our God-given right to masculine physical self-assertion.

  10. @Paul Norton.

    Well said, Paul. I am trying to see the silver lining in the phenomenon of which you speak. As I see it, much of the Right will be discredited because:

    (1) the phase out of fossil fuels will continue to be relatively painless, so by about mid-Century the denialists, nearly all of whom are alarmists when it comes to whether we can get by without fossil fuels, will look silly, and

    (2) if the pessimists on the Left are correct and the antics of the Right mean we do not transition fast enough to avert disaster, by about mid-century the Right will look reckless as well as silly.

    Either way, I envisage malaise setting in to a discredited Right and a boost for the progressive side of politics.

  11. The BOM state that the accuracy of their weather forecasts “easily outperforms a random guess” and predicted rainfall is usually given as a percentage of chance ie 50% chance of at least 15mm.

    This might not helpful for those requiring binary answers, a should I or shouldn’t I scenario, and should not to be confused with climate.

    Others would say that the BOM is always wrong and you should have more faith in your own decisions.

  12. According to Ruddock’s report, the sky fairy people (religionists) should be able to discriminate against gay kids and gay teachers, wherever their sacred texts allow for such a thing.

    At various times, the Abrahamic cults who make up the bulk of our religionists (Christianity, Judiasm, Islam, Mormonism etc) have been into witch burning, genocide, animal sacrifice, slavery and racism, all mandated by the sacred texts mind you.

    I guess an ultra orthodox Abrahamic cult that wants to sacrifice a bull and burn some witches while keeping a slave or three to collect the firewood should be allowed to do so, all in the name of religious freedom, such is the logic of the Ruddock report.

    PM ScoMo now tells us that the sky fairy schools should be able to kick kids out of school if they disagree with whatever interpretation of the sacred texts happens to be in vogue in the school at a particular point in time. In other words ScoMo has no problem with religious schools being rote-learning madrassas that produce little robots who have been taught not to think for themselves.

    I look forward to the day when religiosity is classified as a mental disease and the afflicted are subject to compulsory conversion therapy. Is schadenfreude a sin?

  13. “Scott Morrison has promised discrimination law amendments to make clear no student at a private or religious school should be expelled on the basis of their sexuality.” ***

    Well at least that’s something. Religious schools can make a gay kid a suicidal outcast and tell her/him they face eternal damnation but they can’t technically expel them.

    In a few decades- progress having continued as I’m sure it will- the wickedness of our treatment of LGBQTI will be seen as just as vile as Jim Crow, the KKK and Apartheid.

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