Monday Message Board

Back again with 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. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page

26 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Re: Open forum for climate denialism …” “If your point is on this list, don’t bother making it.”

    A bit like the nuclear grand bargin!

  2. JQ / statistician – are you even able to detail these recalcs. Also first time per capita co2e.

    Important considering deniers and uses that SmoKo and jamland man are using them for. Article suggests appropriate yet document says 90% confidence 6% error.

    Seens like as article suggests, probably appropriate scientifically, extremely appropriate to provide cover and ammo for lnp against labor and IPCC / cop.

    I wrote this in frustration;

    After a bit of rumaging through depts pages found this;

    “It is also factoring in emissions reduction from the Snowy 2.0 expansion; energy efficiency measures; an electric vehicle strategy for which there are no details; the rebadged climate solutions fund; additional hydro projects and just under 100Mt of abatement from unspecified “technology solutions” and “other sources of abatement” such as projects under development but not yet contracted.”

    Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: June 2019
    Incorporating emissions from the NEM up to September 2019 Australia’s National Greenhouse Accounts

    Pg 35… Table 5: Recalculations (Mt CO -e) since the March 2019 Quarterly Update, by sector, R 2

    “2005 and 2017 to 2019
    5.11 Quarterly uncertainty
    For all sectors the Department’s assessment is that the 90 per cent confidence interval for the national inventory is ± 6.5 per cent (i.e. there is a 90 per cent probability that future revisions will be limited to ± 6.5 per cent of the current estimate).”

    “To choose an appropriate decomposition model, the time series analyst will examine a graph of the original series and try a range of models, selecting the one which yields the most stable seasonal component. If the magnitude of the seasonal component is relatively constant regardless of changes in the trend, an additive model is suitable. If it varies with changes in the trend, a multiplicative model is the most likely candidate. However if the series contains values close or equal to zero, and the magnitude of seasonal component appears to be dependent upon the trend level, then pseudo-additive model is most appropriate.”

  3. Yes this recalculation seems very timely for the LNC. It’s also clearly complex, has the Climate Council done an analysis of it?
    Side note – I have looked in since my comment about the deniers not being allowed, so was interested to see how that had moved on. Seems like they may not be interested in commenting under the new system? Unless they’re awaiting moderation of course.

  4. My comment above should of course be ‘I have not looked in since …’ ie this is the first time I’ve been back here since then.

  5. A few items to cheer readers up a little.
    – An association of shipowners has proposed to the IMO the setting up of a $5bn innovation fund for green shipping to be financed by a $2 per tonne levy on bunker fuel. Sure thing? Absolutely not. But real movement in a laggard sector.
    – A Dutch project for solar energy at sea has floated its first 8.5 kw (!) of panels, which have survived their baptism by North Sea storm. The plan is is to string panels between offshore wind turbines. I don’t know if this is going anywhere, and the Dutch combination of high population density and land shortage plus high latitude is uncommon – Japan and Korea might fit, but obviously not Australia. It’s a nice counter though to the land use talking point against solar. The real concern of crowding out farming has been solved with agrivoltaics, apart from the vexed question of how to spell it.
    – The wholesale price of solar panels, perhaps the second most important number in the world after the CO2 concentration, continues its inexorable decline. First the low price for plain polysilicon panels fell below 20c US per watt, then the average, and now the low price for mono PERC panels (PVInsights) is close at 20.5c. The average for the latter is only 22.4c per watt. Meanwhile, Jinko for one grind away at higher efficiency. They sell panels at 460 watts and are aiming at 500. When will we see panels like this going for $100? My guess is by the end of 2021. Sell your gas shares while they still have a positive value.

  6. There’s a land use argument against solar power? I’m flabbergasted.
    I know of the anti-colonial argument against solar power, but a claim that there’s not enough suitable land just seems bizarre. Even if we go full Kardashev scale one (use and store all energy available on a planet) that wouldn’t be true. But right now we’re busy making farmland into desert or salt pan, so until we start having arguments about whether too much marginal farmland is being paved with panels I think that one is just nonsense. See for example the Aotearoa argument about planting trees on farms.

  7. My guesstimate is that roof area alone would easily be sufficient space for solar panels to provide all electrical power for domestic and commercial use and for solar hot water heating. Industrial power use would likely be another matter and might well need solar farms on vacant desert and semi-desert land.

    My house has about 40% (if that) of its north facing roof covered with solar panels and a solar hot water system collector (evacuated tube). This provides enough power and hot water for 4 people (if need be) while still exporting enough power to the grid to supply 3/4 of the power needs of another similar household.

    We don’t need to cover good land with panels. Roofs and open air car parks would provide more than ample area. This would likely reduce the local heat island effect of such car parks if some of that power was transmitted away for use elsewhere.

  8. “We don’t need to cover good land with panels. Roofs and open air car parks would provide more than ample area. This would likely reduce the local heat island effect of such car parks if some of that power was transmitted away for use elsewhere.”

    I like it and I want to do some outrageous virtual signalling. Don’t we get a bit tired of conservatives whose attitude to the tragedy of the commons is to say we cannot lead the world in carbon internment? No I think we ought to lead the world in carbon internment. If we can get every roof covered with panels and every last piece of dry land covered with swales we can shame every other nation into following our lead. But also inspire every nation (with a desert) to do the right thing.

    Look at what these boys have revealed to us about the power of Swales built 90 years ago? And what would have happened if most of our aid programs were to do with paying refugees in the dry area to build swales?

    This is a fascinating video:

  9. I am not endorsing these links but nice to see some good news we may not have seen…


    “If we want to change the story of the human race in the 21st century, we have to change the stories we tell ourselves.

    52. Democracy is proving far more resilient than the headlines suggest. Since 2000, the number of democracies has risen from 90 to 97, including 11 countries that became democratic for the first time ever, and in 2019, 2 billion people in 50 countries voted, the largest number in history. Al Jazeera
    [ 30 years and only 7 more? About 300+ years then to get democratic earth! Is this good news? ]

    53. A new survey across 167 countries said that tolerance towards LGBTQIA+ people has risen in almost every region of the world in the last decade. Japan Times

    54. The number of people killed in wars around the world reached its lowest level in seven years, and battle fatalities have fallen by 43% since 2014. PRIO

    Happy 2019.

  10. My point about paving marginal farmland rather than colonising other countries was that we’re so far, so very very far, from running out of land to put solar panels on that the idea we could run out is a joke. Yes, sure, put solar panels on every roof that they make sense on, but it’s quite reasonable to look at less inhabited parts of Australia and wonder if somehow we could come to an arrangement with the landowners to farm photons there. That would probably be more effective as we grind down the cost curve of rooftops (but right here right now it’s again a matter of political will rather than money… there’s lots of suitable roofs without panels). There’s also stupid building regulations that permit or even encourage people to build roofs that are not suitable.

    It’s like the horrible question “how do we store electricity”, when the list of suitable sites on the east coast kind of just peters out when the people making the list decide they’ve had enough, rather than when they actually run out of sites.

    Also, carbon farming should really just be called farming, and the extractive soil plant-growing process should be called mining. They’re taking value out of the land and when they leave they will, if pressed will do a hasty restoration to the absolute minimum extent permitted.

  11. (sorry: suitable sites for pumped hydro. All you need is an elevation change and a couple of suitable dam sites)

  12. Moz… ” There’s a land use argument against solar power? I’m flabbergasted.”

    We have exactly this ‘argument’ in the central west. Prominent ex cattle / grape /winery – of which many owned by ex consultants (“yes I bought after advising on amp demutualistion” – and no I’m not exagerating) who actually run the numbers and sniff the wind re markets, profit, climate and renewables and so got zoning changed quietly – then announced a large solar farm within 3kms of town in ‘wine country’. Several locals & land owners cried foul and came up with every argument imaginable. Waste if land. Eyesore. Not needed.

    But they didn’t jump first. And failed…

    “Find a better location for the Burundulla (Mudgee) Solar Farm

    “0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!
    “This needs to be done by 5th July 2019 to be considered as part of the formal assessment.”

    I agree though we need to watch for spurious non optimal land use.

    And the central west – when coal gives us back the water – imo the whole area will turn into insensive greenhouse cropping ala israel / netherlands etc.

    Not enough affordable water now. And a long time to refill the glass;
    “There are now three large mines in the same area – Glencore’s Ulan, Yancoal’s Moolarben and Peabody’s Wilpinjong. In the 2011 Ulan Land and Environment Court case a judge noted it was indisputable the mine would cause “long-term depressurisation of groundwater within the mine footprint and beyond” which would take “a fair bit longer than 200 years for groundwater to recover”. The loss of baseflow for the Goulburn River caused by just the Ulan mine was “not a negligible impact”, the judge said.

    All three mines have applied or been granted increases in the amount of treated mine water they can discharge into the Goulburn River, as their operations below the water table cause groundwater to enter the mines, in some cases beyond original modelling predictions. While Wilpinjong’s discharges must have a salinity load of 500EC or less, which is roughly the salt load of the river above the mines, Moolarben and Ulan can discharge water up to 900EC under current Environment Protection Authority licences.”

    Little do the tourists know (and most locals), that the Goulburn river is only flowing through ” The Drip ” because Ulan mines treatment plant duscharges a km or 2 above The Drip.

    And little oppisitiin to the mayor and the other amp demerger both rezoned and covered excelleny cropland into crappy mcmansions. Seriously energy intensuve bought iff the plan and altered a bit west facing windows with nth facinng plumbing and drainage. Added bonus – mayors blicks rezoned at half size doubling his boondoggle. He didnt vote and another abstained getting rezoning thru.

    200 yrs before we return aquifers to pre mega mines, and salt – I dont know…

    “The current approved underground mining footprint in the Ulan Wollar area has grown to nearly 145 square kilometres with an approved total open cut area of over 68 square kilometres. The licensed extraction of water by the coal mines, including incidental take (interception) of groundwater, as predicted in mine reports, will exceed 42 ML/day over the next decade. In 2015 the combined water usage by Ulan, Moolarben and Wilpinjong coal mines was estimated at 8,650 million litres (UCML, 2015b; MCO, 2015; WilpinjongCoal, 2015).

    “All three mines have been granted pollution licenses by the government that permit offsite discharge of treated mine water and spillage from sediment dams. During 2016 Ulan Coal Mine discharged around 8,000 million litres of treated mine water offsite, carrying an estimated 4,287 tonnes of salt (UCML, 2016). The chemical composition of saline mine discharge water  can differ significantly to what naturally occurs in surface waters. Mine de-watering, seepage and the discharge of excess mine water in the upper Goulburn is increasing downstream salt loads, altering the natural flow regime, and changing surface and groundwater chemistry. ”

    Plenty for the kids to do.

  13. I second the idea of a land tax. But for family ownership of pacrels of land under 625 square meters it should be a really really small land tax. For family ownership of parcels of land under 1000 square meters it should be a really small land tax. For family ownership of parcels of land under 2000 square meters it should be a small land tax.
    In addition there should be taxes on the houses or palaces that sit on the land. Not only that there should be a limit on the amount of residential property that a family can possess for their own use.
    Prbobably 300 square meters, maybe 400. I am thinking along the lines of one large house, or a more modest house and a smaller vacation cottage.
    I would also think that a government would want to encourage appartment living. So a large appartment building say 6 stories tall spread over a large space With an average size appartment of say 100 square meters should have a very very low land tax per square meter to pass on to the renters, or the appartment owners if the building is a condo.
    Not only that the amount of rental property that a person can own should be limited as well. I am thinking not so much about total space as total income. Another thing to keep in mind is that running a hotel which obtains rent for very short terms is not the same business as renting unfurnished apartments.

  14. The only suggestions that I am aware of, to divert waters inland, have been from crackpot theorists, who to water their desert loving trees.

  15. Oddly haunting tune. Akarog to pump water into the desert is clearly to waste water. As the Bureau Of Meteorology map shows very clearly. These must be some real crazies that you speak of. Further to that, pumped water always has a salt component to it. So when the water dehydrates off, as the BOM clearly shows that it will, the salt is left there on the ground or in the soil. The land is salted up and destroyed forever. So people who want to irrigate the desert as you suggest, will be doing to the land what the Romans did to Carthage. But much worse since our climate would preclude getting rid of all that salt. You must warn people against these irrigation crazies.

    Must be crazies like THESE crazies right?

  16. James Wimberley. Excellent link to my post. I am slightly aquianted with the soon to be ex grape grower to solar farm person. He as mentioned was a top consultant for M&A. He will listen and evaluate. I’ll shout you a dinner at tetsuyas if your paper cited makes him change his mind and mix power with pinot.

    Yes grapes can burn yet the winemaker has fair bit of latitude as to what wine to turn lesser quality / taste /,sugar – even turning whites to reds and vice a versa!

    I have seen;
    – Used barrels ground as a tannin booster. If your merlot is dark maybe they just tipped a lot of old musty barrels chips into vat and let mix.

    – diatomaceous earth hi pressure filter to turn a red into a white

    – been covered in defoliant while bike riding!!! Grrrrr. Vineyard owner was amenable to reducing spray drift.

    Yes they use…
    Bud reduce
    Foliant. – don’t drop your leaves yet
    Organic – oh no need to meention sulpher content below 10ppt.
    You name it they use it.

    As to table grapes not so sure, yet on writing this I’ll ask for some organic next time!

  17. Speaking of matters vinous, a vigneron was recently reported to have demolished his vineyard and reorientated the rows to run E-W instead of N-S. He said the grapes now need shade from the canopy from the blistering heat – they used to prune the canopy for more sunshine to increase ripening.

    The vigneron seems to be buying time.

  18. “13. Selective populism: there are no individual citizens with individual rights and opinions, only “the People . . . expressing the Common Will”. As this is a fiction, the Leader pretends to act as “the People’s” interpreter and rails “against ‘rotten’ parliamentary governments”. Again, Eco prophetically warned of a future “TV or Internet populism” where “the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People”.

    “Today these characteristics are re-emerging in the the tactics used by President Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi, Rodrigo Duterte and Viktor Orbán among others. This essay, and Eco’s work on communications and conspiracy, lets us understand these trends as interconnected phenomena: the current surge in political polarisation and nostalgia is intrinsically tied to the far Right, and explains their actions once they gain power. The characteristics Eco listed above make the far Right uniquely willing to play on the powerful human tendency to invent enemies to define themselves against, be it China, the US, India, or Europe immigrants, LGBT persons, feminists and minorities—all are grist to the far Right’s mill. Cast as existential threats, thanks to what Eco terms the far Right’s “Armageddon complex”, they are used to rally people to a political identity based on violently purging contaminants from the body politic to rebuild a more moral “traditional” society. Notably Poland’s Law and Justice Party and Orbán in Hungary apply the language of “invasion” to migrants and LGBT individuals alike.”

    “Conspiracy theories flourish as reason and expertise are dismissed”….

    “Umberto Eco and the rise of a new fascism

    “The great Italian writer foresaw the risk of “TV populism”—a far Right in plainclothes, possessed by conspiracy theories in the internet age

  19. Classic headline
    “NSW poised to privatise state forests to raise $1bn for infrastructure projects”
    So does that mean Neoliberalism is dead? Love the “Infrastructure sweetener” though, makes the trashing of public assets so much more justified!

  20. Re coal in Germany. The Coal Commission report was a compromise that included a ban on any new coal power stations. The federal government plans to walk back this deal by allowing the switch-on of a completed plant at Datteln in Westphalia, apparently in exchange for shutting down an old lignite plant at Schokau in Saxony. Datteln is designed for hard coal, no longer mined in Germany, so the fuel would have to be imported, and there is no good jobs argument. The Greens are gearing up for massive protests which could easily get messy (blocking trains). Remember that the protesters won over the Hambach forest. The story could just reflect hardball negotiations over compensation, but in that case it’s hard to see the government’s strategy.

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