Not everyone likes the grand bargain

I’ve been very surprised by the extent to which some commentators on the right have been willing to entertain the idea of a carbon price in return for lifting the ban on nuclear power. I mentioned Aaron Patrick in the Fin yesterday. And today, here’s Adam Creighton at the Oz

Reviving the carbon tax debate is probably anathema for many, but if one were set up correctly, with all the money being returned to taxpayers by way of an annual payment, it would make nuclear power stations more viable and provide a political springboard to abandon the massively inefficient clutter of state and federal renewable energy targets.
Carbon dividends for all is a much better sell than a carbon tax on everything

On the other hand, one person from whom I confidently expected unqualified support has jibbed at it. As I said a while back, the proposal should appeal to anyone who seriously believes that nuclear power should be adopted as a response to climate change.

The obvious example, for me at any rate, is Ben Heard. So, I was quite surprised when, in a lengthy Twitter discussion (here’s his feed), he would not endorse a carbon price, or any other specific measure to reduce emissions. Not only that, but he professed greater sympathy for rightwing science deniers than for anti-nuclear environmentalists.

It’s easy enough to guess what is going on here. I imagine Heard started out with genuine concern about the climate, and convinced himself that nuclear power was an essential part of the solution. That entailed arguing that renewables couldn’t do the job, even with storage. At this point, Heard would have got plenty of hostility from environmentalists, and plenty of support from denialists. So, when he’s faced with something like a carbon price (or, for that matter, any effective climate policy) that his new friends will hate (check out the old white male Oz commenters on Creighton’s post), he backs away. I’ve previously seen the same pattern with Barry Brook and (from a different starting point) Ted Trainer.

68 thoughts on “Not everyone likes the grand bargain

  1. John – Ben has a tweet today unambiguously embracing your proposal … as should anyone with a basic understanding of climate change, electricity generation, markets and Australian politics.

  2. I must admit I haven’t been following the loons for the last 5 years, but what if any serious argument (from someone with credibility) is there against a price on carbon pollution. I think the failure of whatever fig-leaf of an alternative (direct investment?) should mean that the old arguments don’t carry any water.

  3. I am disappointed but not entirely surprised that prominent advocates for nuclear continue to withhold criticism of climate science deniers in order to maintain their (false) belief that they have strong support within conservative right politics. It must appear like supporting carbon pricing would upset those people and risks leaving them with no supporters in mainstream politics at all. But I think they are not really supporters at all and anyone who takes on pro-coal and gas climate science deniers as allies in stopping global warming, let alone for advancing the most politically and economically problematic option, has to be desperately desperate.

    Lacking the climate motivation I really don’t expect the LNP to even be able to commit to a long and difficult campaign that risks having backbenchers breaking out from behind the Wall of Denial and getting alarmist about climate change to argue effectively for it – and upsetting the fossil fuel industry. Nuclear has more political value to these culture war warriors as something that they can point at the ALP and Greens for preventing than as something they have to campaign consistently and hard for the next decade or more about, whilst somehow not mentioning climate change or the phase out of coal.

    Maintaining the kind of electricity infrastructure and systems that suits coal in order that it remains suitable for nuclear if it ever happens may be part of climate denial tolerant pro-nuclear thinking; certainly the kinds of change that large scale wind and solar will bring will make things harder for nuclear (very low daytime electricity prices that can’t be matched and require higher charges outside those periods to compensate, industry adoption of batch processes that can be opportunistically scheduled, transmission aimed at linking solar and wind farms to reduce the need for “baseload” etc).

    Getting LNP support for a vanity nuclear plant that probably needs solar and wind to be curtailed to be viable (even more so with carbon pricing I would think) probably looks like cause in common as well as an important step on the way to their dream of “better things using nuclear” but I think the differences in motivations are too profound. That nuclear advocates can so readily overlook how profoundly damaging climate science denial is to nuclear and yet still fawn on the very people and interests who choose lying about the greatest threat to Australia’s and the world’s prosperity ever – to protect fossil fuel revenues – over using the truth to back nuclear leaves me scratching my head.

  4. “Check out the old white commentators”.
    John, I come here to read your analyses and often insightful opinions. Every now and then though you slip into ad honimen attacks reflective of today’s political culture that I hope to be below you.

  5. JQ says ” Snap ! ”
    “it would make nuclear power stations more viable “.

    @Andrew. As in their playbook, JQ is stating fact – “Check out the old white commentators.”. I would have added “shouting at clouds” with Maurice N. See here for ad hom and ideology…

  6. John, your proposal is described on Ben Heard’s twitter feed that you linked to as “Hugely Encouraging”. I am at a loss to know what you are on about here.

    Anyway congrats on a very sensible (on multiple levels) proposal that you will undoubtedly cop some flack for.

  7. “I must admit I haven’t been following the loons for the last 5 years, but what if any serious argument (from someone with credibility) is there against a price on carbon pollution. ”

    There he is we have found him. After all these years we have found the fellow with the evidence to prove CO2-warming isn’t just another oligarchical scam. What you need is an honest CO2 record, and honest temperature record, Then after showing correlation you have to make a reasoned argument towards causation ….. Once you have gotten that far you would also have to show that less frosty mornings is a bad thing, being as we are heading into another little ice age.

    These are not scientific beliefs. These are religious beliefs. MIchael Mann and the others have been shown to be frauds and idiots many times over. These religious beliefs are getting in the way of sound resource management. We need to slow down coal exports, since we desperately need to have more of that coal for Australians.

    Higher royalties for coal exports is a much better option. Who knows what you are getting yourself involved with, as soon as you say the evil oligarchical fraud words “carbon price.”

  8. High royalties on coal so no one will mine it so we’ll have enough left over to stop a new glacial period if we need to sounds good to me. My main goal is to actually cut pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, but we can add glacial period insurance in there as well.

  9. Lets keep the junk science out of it Ronald. Rog ….. What is your point? Don’t leave home without a point. What is the argument you are making? Ronald don’t be absolutist. If you crank up the royalties you can do it in such a way as to SLOW exports. Its going too far to bring them to a halt. That would invite alienation from Japan, potential war with China, and possibly humanitarian crises elsewhere. But we do want to slow the exports down a great deal.

    We have to become absolutely tight with Japan. So we don’t want to swing to extremes. But the key here is that royalties are controlled LOCALLY as rog may be pointing out. Whereas its not clear that a carbon price would be subject to local control. Local control of a “carbon price” lends itself to being hijacked by internationalist criminals and parasites. Every lawyer and his Momma would be hovering around trying to lock us in and reduce our capacity to act with the problems of the day and with flexibility.

    I like the idea of us putting the royalties through the roof NOW and simply forcing everyone to adapt. But the 2030’s will be the perfect storm of drought, cold weather, food shortages, and especially energy stress. So if we spend a decade forcing everyone to cope with high international coal prices …. it may be that we would need to loosen the thumb screws during the 2030’s. The 2030’s is this huge catastrophe in the making. We should be cruel during the 2020’s, to be kind during the 2030’s. We can have a grand strategy. But a locked in grand bargain that is too specific; Well that takes away our capacity to act in a crisis.

  10. According to the Minerals Council, an impeccable source to be sure, in FY2017/18 QLD was the beneficiary of $3.7B of coal royalties. NSW was next on $1.7B and then VIC with $70M. Plus direct and indirect employment.

    That sort of money buys influence and friends and needs to be considered, should there be a blitz on coal.

  11. A blitz on coal? A blitz? When the Arabs put up the price of oil in the 70’s did they make less money? Or more? We could take a lot more royalties, selling less coal. Or a little bit more. Or the same amount of royalties. Or a little bit less royalties. But the worst of all combinations would be to sell our coal to foreigners cheaply, and be forced to burn it at home at great expense. Which could happen depending on how the phrase “carbon price” is interpreted. We should solve our problems without too much recourse to sado-masochism.

  12. Count me as reluctant to support terrestrial nuclear fission plants, but if that’s what it takes to get the LNLNP coalition to allow a carbon price I’m willing to do it. Albeit it does seem odd that “at least $100 to make nuclear viable” has somehow morphed into $50 then $25… which is great from my point of view since we get a price on carbon *and* nuclear still isn’t viable. But hey, if that’s what they’re buying I’m definitely selling 🙂

  13. “I am at a loss to know what you are on about here.”

    Despite some encouraging words about the general idea, Heard would not respond when I asked him directly (and several times) whether he would support a carbon price. He still has not, as far as I know.

  14. @Moz I decided to go with the most optimistic possible assumptions. $50 is still enough to wipe out existing coal fired power quickly, and to make renewables cheaper than new gas-fired plants. It might just make nuclear competitive, which is the payoff for nuclear fans in endorsing it.

  15. I like the proposal but I think it makes a poor grand bargain.

    The premise is that one side makes an instant and irrecoverable concession, removing prohibition on nuclear power, while the counter-party will need to keep good faith and maintain a high carbon price against all subsequent attempts to undermine it.

    I don’t see the bargain leading to a stable state high carbon tax for any trade off.

  16. @Moz of Yarramulla

    Estimates of the cost of advanced nuclear under development (SMRs, Gen IV systems) give an average LCOE of US $50/MWh with a range of $30/MWh to $90/MWh. Note that LCOEs of fully dispatchable generators and variable renewables should not be directly compared.

    Click to access document_gw_07.pdf

    Nobody can yet tell you whether these estimates are reasonably accurate or not. Just as nobody can tell you the cost or deployment time of a 100% renewables network based mostly on solar and wind because it has never been done. Furthermore nobody can tell you with confidence at all when it will be done anywhere or even if it will be done with absolute certainly.

    Pretending these uncertainties do not exist is just hubris.

    There is only one sane path and that is to have all the technology options on the table and be in a position to adopt whatever suitable unfolding developments make available. Precluding technologies for arbitrary reasons is nuts.

  17. Nice one quokka, you’ve defined your argument very carefully to avoid the more obvious gotchas. Can you point to anyone suggesting a pure wind/solar grid other than as a strawman to “prove” we need fossil fuelled plants in our grid? As far as I’m aware Australia doesn’t care about a pure wind/solar renewable system because we have hydro, pumped hydro, and batteries in our grid already.

  18. “if [a carbon tax] were set up correctly, with all the money being returned to taxpayers by way of an annual payment, it would make nuclear power stations more viable”

    I don’t get this. If a carbon tax is needed to subsidise nuclear power to make it viable, there won’t be anything left to give back to taxpayers.

    And there is an inherent paradox. if the carbon tax does the intended job and puts coal fired electricity out of business, there won’t be any (or not enough) carbon left to tax, so it won’t raise any revenue and nuclear power won’t be able to be subsidised.

  19. Smith9, I think he is just saying he wants the revenue raised by a carbon price to go to tax payers in an annual payment and this condition isn’t related to making nuclear power more viable.

    Why he would want money to go to taxpayers in an annual sum instead of reducing taxes, I don’t know. It’s a ridiculous idea. I mean, if he wants the money to go to tax payers, then they are obviously paying taxes. It’s like he was born yesterday. You’d think he would have worked this sort of thing out by now.

  20. It is not needed for a subsidy. It is a tax on carbon based power. This makes electricity more expensive, but the consumer is not hit immediately in the wallet, because the money goes back to them. However, if someone then builds a reactor, it will not owe this tax, and can therefore sell power cheaper than the coal plant next door, the coal plant goes out of business, and at this point, the funding for the rebate goes away

    At this point the consumer is hit in the wallet, as their electricity bill falls, but the rebate falls more, with the size of the difference depending on how expensive the reactors turned out to be.

    On the other hand, the national health service will save a bunch of money from not having to deal with the consequences of coal burning, which should outweigh the higher bill quite considerably.

  21. “the size of the difference depending on how expensive the reactors turned out to be.”

    But nuclear reactors are extremely expensive. They might be able to compete against coal if there is a big enough carbon tax, but they won’t be able to compete against renewables. If nuclear is needed as dispatchable energy (… must … not … write …baseload ….) for when there isn’t enough renewable energy, then either electricity prices will be super high or nuclear will need super subsidies.

  22. “I don’t get this. If a carbon tax is needed to subsidise nuclear power to make it viable, there won’t be anything left to give back to taxpayers.”

    This is half-right. As our experience with a carbon price showed, there was more than enough revenue to compensate low income households for the higher price of electricity. High income households just paid the higher price. As you say, once fossil generation is completely wiped out, there will be no revenue, but the change in prices over a decade will be just about invisible in the CPI.

  23. I have no problem with dropping prohibition on nuclear power. If that gets this silly piece of misdirection off the agenda, then I am all for it. That said there should be no subsidies for nuclear power, no guaranteed pricing for FHCs anywhere in the energy system. Moreover, there should be no ‘commercial in confidence’ arrangements that remain so after the ink is dry on an agreement nor damages if an an agreement is overturned. All operational matters should be on the public record in real time.

    In addition, no proposal that cannot be delivered within five years of agreement should be considered. We simply do not have 15 years to do abatement.

  24. @Moz of Yarramulla

    Batteries and pumped hydro do not generate electricity. Hydro produced 7.3% of Australia’s electricity in 2018. Hydro is likely to decline as percentage of Australia’s electricity production as demand increases over the next few decades. There is little opportunity to increase hydro and even less social license for any more big dams. Geothermal is dead in the water for now at least. Wave power is going nowhere. Tidal probably unrealistic.

    There was no deception whatsoever. If you want to insist on 100% renewables you are demanding of the order of 90% of electricity be generated by solar and wind in Australia – unless you are a fan of burning a shed load of biomass. “Combustible renewables” produced 1.3% of Australia’s electricity in 2018. There are no other ways of generating electricity stamped with the “renewables” brand.

    As for batteries, you would need around 2,700 of South Australia’s big battery to provide the storage capacity of Snowy 2.0. Far from being easy 100% renewables is extremely challenging.

  25. @Fran Barlow

    “In addition, no proposal that cannot be delivered within five years of agreement should be considered”.

    Proposed Asian Renewable Energy Hub in Western Australia:

    2014: Site selection completed
    2022/2023: Final Investment Decision
    2026: First Electricity
    2030+: Full Capacity

    Do I really need to add any further comment?

  26. If batteries and pumped hydro fail to thrive I’d rather we push for renewable Hydrogen capable gas plants over nuclear.

    I think we should know within 5 to 10 years if it is in fact tenable or not to ultimately forego more conventional kinds of backup to support wind and solar. 15 to 20 more to wait if we turn to nuclear for that – and it won’t be the same electricity grid it is now. Gas plants that can transition to H2 look like something more conventional and comprehensible and sellable to the RE and storage naysayers. I think we should know within 5 to 10 years if renewable Hydrogen is going to be viable or capable of being deployed on a similar time scale to nuclear.

    Whilst I have reservations about H2 for road transport – or export – I think it’s potential for industrial uses in Australia is enormous.

    I think it may be bordering on essential to push as far and as fast as possible with Hydrogen, most especially as it offers the most promising low emissions iron smelting option currently available (pilot plants now under construction in Sweden). H2 produced on-site at (well electrically connected) gas generation plant would not need to highly compressed like it would for long distance transport or piping and bypass some of the need for more extensive H2 infrastructure; it seems like a very good fit to me.

  27. @paul walter

    Labor is either exceptionally ignorant or being deceptive hoping to generate some preemptive nimbyism. Probably the number one reason for reconsidering Australia’s ban on nuclear power is the advent of new nuclear technologies that simply do not have the same requirements for suitable sites as GWe class light water reactors which were not only the game in town but also the only game on the horizon at the time of the Switkowski report.

    There are two major factors that come into play with SMRs that make site selection a great deal easier and far, far less of an issue.

    1. The possibility of dry cooling removing the need for a site close to a large body of water. There is a small penalty in thermal efficiency compared to water cooling.

    2. Dramatically reduced emergency planning zones – possibly no further than the plant boundary. The US NRC is currently considering this but has already accepted the methodology proposed by TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) used to make such rulings.

  28. Most of the sensible renewables plans really don’t involve ~90% wind and solar. 80% wind and solar, plus several hours of storage, existing hydro, and small amounts of biomass/CCS/hydrogen is more likely. Even 80% wind-and-solar and 20% non-CCS gas would get carbon emissions down by a factor of ~10 in Oz.

    The big question is what happens in the other sectors (things like air transport/cement/industrial heat) that will rapidly become more important than electricity. UK is already at that point, where worrying about absolute 100% emissions reduction in the electricity sector is not the main game.

    Hydrogen would be great for some industry uses and for powering infrequently operating gas peaking plant. Fuel cell aircraft would be nice too, but I wonder about public acceptance and timeliness: aircraft evolution is pretty conservative. Looks like H2 has already lost the battle for ground transport. Think you would need to compress or liquify H2 anyway even if you only planned to store, not transport it.

  29. Quokka, people can’t even work out where to move the relatively low level waste from Lucas Heights, which is currently shipped overseas because no-one could agree on a site and the site is now full. In South Australia, where low-level waste from mining is stored (c.f., waste that would come from a nuclear plant), expansions have been talked about and dismissed multiple times over the last few decades, as was the idea that SA should be turned into the worlds nuclear dump (why they even wasted money thinking about this one defeats me).

    Thus, like other controversial projects, I find it hard to imagine it not taking decades to get up, if at all. Sydney’s second airport, which seems far less controversial, for example, was first proposed in 1972. In Melbourne, Coode Island was only moved because it blew up. Now imagine the politics in creating a new nuclear waste site for higher level waste to be stored indefinitely, and now imagine the cost of renewables and storage in 30 years.

  30. John Quiggin, may I suggest that nuclear power proponents in Australia fall into two principal categories:
    (1) Those who believe (or pretend to believe) the false propaganda that renewable energy and energy efficiency cannot do the job, and therefore try to undermine this ecologically sustainable pathway; only this category has been mentioned so far in this thread.
    (2) Those who wish Australia to reopen the nuclear weapons option via nuclear power, either using spent fuel from nuclear power stations or uranium enrichment. The recent push from authors associated with the Lowy Institute and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute is discussed in an article by Mark Diesendorf & Richard Broinowski in ‘A Covert Push for Nuclear Weapons?”, published online in Australian Outlook on 26/8/2019 and reprinted the same day by RenewEconomy — see; the issue was also aired by Phillip Adams on Late Night Live on 29/8/2019.

  31. Mark, it’s true as your article shows that people have raised this idea from time to time. But the big push was in the 1960s, when Sir Philip Baxter was running our policy.

    That failed, and we ratified the NPT, which is obviously a formidable obstacle. Add to that the fact that the US would strongly resist any moves in that direction, and its hard to see the idea getting any traction.

  32. Ben – “Think you would need to compress or liquify H2 anyway even if you only planned to store, not transport it.”

    I’d expect that it would need significantly LESS compression, well short of liquification if produced on-site for on-site use. About 800 bar (12,000 psi) is needed to be a practical vehicle fuel. I suggest any transporting of H2 would require that. At that it needs about 3 times as much storage volume as petrol for the same range. It is a significant energy cost that can be avoided and should where possible – larger volume storage requirements but those will not be so heavily engineered.

  33. @Mark Diesendorf

    What John Quiggin said. The chance of getting the political support for nuclear weapons in Australia, absent some really dramatic downturn in geopolitics is just about zero. Let’s hope we never see such a downturn because the outcome could be terrible – nuclear weapons or not. Nuclear weapons are simply not on the agenda unless you want to put them there.

    As you should be well aware, there is no evidence of a nuclear weapon having ever been made from reprocessed light water reactor fuel. It’s just not suitable. The overwhelming majority of the world’s power reactor fleet are light water reactors. As for Generation IV systems, proliferation resistance and physical protection are high on the list of priorities. The notion that there is an easy pathway to acquiring weapons grade plutonium through commercial nuclear power plants built with today’s and tomorrow’s nuclear technology and engineering is pretty much preposterous.

  34. quokka, the Australian climate is far too hot for dry cooling. The efficiency losses in Summer in most of the country would be 25-30%.

    And it would be hideously expensive. Which is why none of the ‘dry cooled SMRs’ you refer to have progressed past the design stage.

  35. …. Using nuclear weapons as an argument against nuclear power requires you to utterly ignore the entire philosophy behind the present non-proliferation regime. Diplomatically, the bargain is that non-weapon states refrain from building the bomb, and in return, they get technological support for the civil use of nuclear power. This framework gets stronger the more economically valuable civil nuclear power is, and trying to stop the spread of civil nuclear undermines it.
    It is one of the many, many arguments against nuclear power that gets trotted out by people who first decided that nuclear power was bad, and then decided to go looking for reasons why they hold that opinion. Uncharitable? Perhaps. Accusing people of harboring a secret desire to build the bomb isnt very polite, either.

    The actual reason I personally support nuclear power is simple, and two fold. It is a strategy of decarbonization we can be sure is technologically workable, because it has been done before, and I really, really do not like making bets about the future of the planet.

    And b: I regard arguments that this time solar and wind are a sure thing with great doubt, because I have heard them for as long as I have understood language, and for that entire span of time, those claims were lies. Lies that turned out to be really, really useful to coal and gas.

  36. Quoll, your efforts to peddle the unpeddlable have been epic, heroic, Herculean, but you project falls apart at the Augean Stables juncture; readers here are already aware of how impossible it is to shovel the amount of horsefeathers the lobby system and vested interest s will generate to get their own way.

    We have already seen the results of self regulation or even legal regulation at the level of coal mining, apartment construction dereg and choir boy supervision in the church.

  37. @Pere Duchesne, the only relevant issue I could extract from your otherwise irrelevant comment is the issue of regulation. If apartment construction in Australia had been regulated to anywhere near the standards applied by nuclear regulators around the world, you would not be seeing today’s problems. As for workers health, nuclear power plants are very safe places to work. Radiation exposure is monitored and (rarely needed) action taken long before there is any health issue. If only coal mining adopted such high preventative standards.

  38. Mark you could ask and they would tell you. I would want nuclear weapons only to deal with a naval invasion. Since water is a great shock absorber and we don’t want anyone conducting an Inchon-style landing against us. The Americans are bankrupt and crazy. So we might need submarine nukes to keep our sovereignty. On the other hand there are always these bonehead savages out there that imagine Churchill wasn’t a war criminal and think that its okay to target civilians. So I’d be worried about the misuse of nuclear weapons once we had them.

    As to your gullibility with wind and solar. Three-blade wind is a confirmed dud. Other forms of wind power may have great success as niche power. Neither wind or PV solar can be helpful without storage, they will always be useless if they are subsidised, and they will go backwards when we get rid of the subsidies. Subsidising them creates an energy sink where there need not be one. CSP solar could theoretically work well but thats not for everywhere and it will take decades of effort to become cost-effective and so we ought to start slowly now.

    In terms of wanting nuclear, the reason why I would want it is that its in effect inexhaustible so it may as well be renewable. And we want extra energy to add to organic material and coal to upgrade it as a form of fuel. I get a visceral sense of waste thinking about that coal travelling all over the world in solid form. Ghastly waste, but its needed for now. Plus we have few known alternatives to nuclear. No need to get silly or emotional about it. Nuclear is like CSP in that it will probably take decades of patient un-rushed effort to get all aspects of the supply chain sorted out so that its fantastically cost-effective, and without debt, but at least we know it can be done.

    We want to get over this silliness that its one energy source or the other. In the fallout from hitting that 2005 peak in output from traditional oil-wells we need to be able to access every form of energy available. We are right back under Malthusian considerations without that energy source that used to jump right out of the ground at us; without this source growing year after year. So there is nothing we are in the position to ignore or be bigoted against (except subsidies.) People have to get their head around this big change that has come about. Energy used to literally jump out of the ground at us. It almost used to follow us home.

    So we have to get our agriculture to be an exporter of energy rather than an energy sink. We need to look at our population layout, and figure out if the suburbs are even viable from an energy perspective. We need to get ASIO cover to stop men in black showing up and hurting people whenever they put together an over-unity device. ASIO needs to stop sabotage of our nuclear power stations when we have them. We cannot put up with glorified public servant welfarism with all these hundreds of government departments. We need a much smaller public service. We cannot put up with government debt, fractional reserve banking, or any other sort of bank welfarism. We need far less debt and a much smaller financial system. We have to look at our immigration in our new Malthusian environment and we just have to stop being mad bigots when it comes to energy sources.

    We need to upgrade our water and rail cargo transport systems. We have to get good at doing big things cost-effectively. The ultimate example of good technology made into a financial quagmire is the NBN. Optical fibres were, are, and probably always will be, great technology. So if we cannot do that right there isn’t much we cannot screw up. This oil production plateau. This is serious stuff. Winter is coming. Anyone who is boiling this down to “Solar Yay …. Nuclear Boo” … they are getting in the way.

    “In addition, no proposal that cannot be delivered within five years of agreement should be considered”.

    Thats a pretty ridiculous arbitrary ruling. We aren’t out of this long energy emergency anytime soon. We are looking at decades of hardship and thats if we are doing things right. We have to be thinking in terms of decades and centuries. Not a few years. Many big projects need to be patient and slow in order to keep costs down. So you don’t need to speculate about what pro-nuclear people have as a hidden agenda. Ask me and I’ll tell you. I’m in favour of any type of energy and many types of funding. But never these straight subsidies and rebates. Because they create energy sinks and banker welfarism no matter how good or bad the technology is. The rebates have to go.

  39. Not detecting a great deal of desire for a carbon price from the nuclear advocates. Lots of rehashing the same old, though.

    On H2 storage pressure: underground gas storage is usually less that 200 bar, so that is definitely less than compression for H2 cars. This is probably not relevant in practice, but the compression energy is at least in principle recoverable.

  40. Ben you are talking as if Michael Mann and other liars are serious scientists. Higher royalties for coal exports would be a good thing. We don’t want to lock in a lie though. We don’t want to be pretending that CO2 is the problem when its objectively a good thing. This is an energy crisis and not a CO2 crisis. So it would be good if people got up to speed with scientific matters. Its pretty bad news if you aren’t able to understand what kind of crisis we face. We face a global energy crisis heading into a little ice age. Thats not a crisis of too much CO2 and the horrorshow will be so much worse if CO2 levels don’t keep rising.

  41. Graeme – I can’t take seriously what those who won’t take decades of consistent science based expert advice seriously say – but I take what people like you are doing very seriously; climate science denial is in my view the greatest impediment to constructive action in the face of the greatest threat to enduring prosperity Australia and the world faces.

    I will continue to strongly urge politicians and policy makers to base their decisions on the mainstream expert advice and to choose knowing better over ignorance and to to reject the casual slander of the leading scientists who have provided us that clear warning – slander such as you are engaging in. They – and long running science programs – have given us a gift beyond price – the window of opportunity to act to regain climate stability – and deserve heartfelt gratitude, not derision.

    The squandering of that opportunity is testament to the power of misinformation and the amorality of our business lobbies and media “informers” in giving it oxygen.

  42. “Graeme – I can’t take seriously what those who won’t take decades of consistent science based expert advice seriously say…”

    Well science is not your strong suit then. “A man’s got to know his limitations.” Its not what they say that counts. Its the honesty of their data and the evidence they arrive with. If they claim their models as evidence and the models never work, thats evidence for the contrary thesis. Do you understand that? Because science is not for everyone.

    So for example for 120 years or more, aether-denial has been mandated from above. Even though we know the various wave-lengths of light and other types of electro-magnetic radiation. This is fraud and its made great chunks of physics incoherent as the physicists have desperately tried to concoct models without aether, which cannot be done logically. For about 90 years or so, to maintain a paid position in physics, you have had to believe that gravity is not a force, its space bending. This is a logic free, evidence free position. Its a simple diktat. Proven wrong by the fact that you can feel the force between your butt and your chair right this moment, and there is no space to bend between them.

    Science fraud Michael Mann was getting about suing all and sundry and bankrupting everyone who pointed out he was full of it. He lost the last court case because he wasn’t game to show up with his data. He got rid of the medieval warming period in his graph. Obviously he has powerful backers to be willing to commit open science fraud in this way.

    So if you aren’t willing to tackle the science you should listen to people who are. Even if they may be conservatives. Conservatives like Ian Plimer. A real scientist whose standing was lost when he took on the science-denial religion of dangerous CO2-warming. I always make a habit of listening to people who are coming from different traditions to myself. If thats not your thing, well you aren’t really cut out for science. Let me mention other failures of logic and science. Consider the idea that matter-energy can neither be created nor destroyed. This is not only not a law, its a logical contradiction. Since if matter could never be created there would be no matter. There is energy coming out of my heater right now. So try science for a change. It works for me.

    And for the love of stupid blondes everywhere will you drop this idiotic Orwellian language? Can you try that for me? In what sense am I a climate science denier? For three years (2005-2008) I was in the thick of all the debates and its very clear what the science says. The science says that our CO2 output is not any kind of driver of climate and that we are heading into a little ice age. By the 2030’s we will be in the thick of it. Unlike the 70’s it won’t be cold and wet it will be cold and dry. If we have a drop in CO2 levels at this time it will be the worst disaster since the 14th Century.

    Its not slander to call Michael Mann a fraud. Its a fact. And he can do nothing to hurt anyone now that he lost that last court case. Because he won’t come up his data. That won’t change any time. He’s not coming up with the goods and his days of bankrupting real scientists is over. In the former Soviet Union if you doubted the Einstein idiocy you would be placed in a camp and pumped full of drugs. But in the West you were controlled by other methodologies. Which just goes to show that this cult against conspiracy is a deeply anti-scientific delusion. The people who have this delusion can watch building 7 collapse and not think that anything is afoot.

    Now you would think that all this would not matter. Its true that we have to get beyond hydrocarbons because sooner or later its going to take one tonne of coal energy equivalent to dig up and transport ten tonnes of coal. This is thought to be a broad rule of thumb to show where the energy source becomes unviable. So this bad habit of digging up and transporting coal in solid form isn’t a forever thing, and its a crying shame even now. So our goals (mine and yours) ought to be aligned and your science incapacities ought not be a problem. But this theory doesn’t seem to work. The people who are delusional about CO2 also appear to be delusional about subsidies. If you want a Fabian socialist world, as your name seems to indicate, you have to be ruthless in cutting the cash flow to communist undertakings that are not justifying themselves in terms of productivity. If private undertakings require rebates (rather than lets say zero interest loans, and zero tax on retained earnings or a pioneer communist program) …. well they have to go. You are creating an energy disaster even if the technology is sound. So your science delusions do seem to matter. I don’t know why but they do seem to. Because if it was up to me, we could be independent of hydro-carbons by late in the century and then we could choose the usage of them we deemed necessary without hardship. We’d have CSP heliostats as the “pioneer tree” to greening our deserts. We would have everything well worked out by the later decades of this century and it would be a much nicer Australia to live in.

  43. +1 mrkenfabian said it better than I…
    “and to choose knowing better over ignorance and to to reject the casual slander of the leading scientists who have provided us that clear warning – slander such as you are engaging in.”

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