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

83 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Earlier today, ABC’s Michael Rowland filed a piece “COVID-19 cases are surging in America. What I saw there helps explain why”. It includes:

    “Case numbers have been growing exponentially.

    On Friday, the US recorded 180,000 new infections.

    That was 30,000 more than the previous day, and 76 per cent higher than a fortnight ago.

    There were nearly 1,400 deaths.

    It was the 11th day in a row the country reported more than 100,000 daily cases.

    At this rate, the country is on track to exceed 200,000 daily cases well before Christmas.”

    There’s a sobering video of Anderson Cooper (duration 7:11) talking about Trump and the response to COVID-19 included.

    US COVID-19 stats (as at November 16, 2020, 00:53 GMT):
    US total cases: _11,363,699
    US total deaths: _ _251,832
    US active cases: 4,177,612
    US critical cases: _ _20,715
    US death rate is about 2.2% of cases. So if there is to be over 200,000 daily cases, then US daily death rates are likely to rise above 4,000 in the next few weeks.

    The failure by Trump (and his devotees) to take COVID-19 seriously and the resulting and ongoing suffering and deaths in the US from COVID-19 will be forever Trump’s legacy.

  2. This cartoon needs to be opened and enlarged to read all niances.

    “Pandemics & Crashes

    “Longer-Run Economic Consequences of Pandemics

    “This article looks at the return on assets over 12 major pandemics since the 14th century.

    “How do major pandemics affect economic activity in the medium to longer term?… We study rates of return on assets using a dataset stretching back to the 14th century, focusing on 12 major pandemics where more than 100,000 people died… Significant macroeconomic after-effects of the pandemics persist for about 40 years, with real rates of return substantially depressed… Using more sparse data, we find real wages somewhat elevated following pandemics. The findings are consistent with pandemics inducing labor scarcity and/or a shift to greater precautionary savings.”

    Hope you have this for “The Consequences…” JQ…

    Click to access pandemics_jst_mar2020_.pdf

    Bonus: excellent cartoons of the time not unlike our current crop of cartoons. I recomm3nd above for inclusion in “The Consequences…

    And I recommend Investor Amnesia blog.

  3. Oh dear! Covid cluster in South Australia. There has been a 17 people cluster in a large family with the infection coming from a quarantine hotel. SA Health is coming down on it hard and hopefully it will be contained, but SARS-CoV-2 is nasty stuff. I was wondering if Australia would take advantage of its situation to see how effective vaccines are overseas before rolling them out, but I don’t think they will. Politicians are going to look at the cost of maintaining vigilance and want to reduce it as soon as they reasonably can.

  4. Does the research findings from KT2 imply that a pandemic mimics the after effects of a Depression. Only the “labour shortages” inference counts against this supposition. But if the Depression lasts, say ten years, then there may be skilled labour shortages. The inference about precautionary savings rising, does seem to be consistent with what was observed after the Great Depression in the USA.

  5. “Oh dear! Covid cluster in South Australia. There has been a 17 people cluster in a large family with the infection coming from a quarantine hotel”

    Again. Don’t understand how that keeps happening. Any reports of similar incidents in other nations with such quarantine hotels?

  6. RCEP
    Australia and others (but not India) have signed the regional RCEP trade agreement sponsored by China. Text here: It’s enormous, as these things tend to be, and I don’t claim yo have read it, but goingby he table of contents there is one significant absence: ISDS, investor-state dispute settlement. There is a dispute settlement procedure (Chapter 19), but it’s a classic one modelled on the WTO that can only be triggered by the participating *states*. So if you are an Australian exporter or importer with a beef about the way the Chines government is applying the rules, you will have two forms of redress: suing as a private body in the Chinese courts; and getting the Australian government to take up your case in an RCEP dispute panel. Looks OK to me.

    Maybe this will accelerate the demise of the anti-democratic ISDS overreach.

  7. Anti-democratic ISDS overreach equals corporate fascism. Yes, hopefully that is being rolled back. The devil will be in the detail, as usual.

    Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power.” – Benito Mussolini (speaking of corporate fascism).

  8. We can, perhaps, thank Philip Morris for the gradual demise of ISDS. The idea that an American company, selling a toxic product, could try overturn Australian health policy on the basis of a trade deal with Hong Kong made it obvious that the whole thing was a rort. I found an interesting article from 2019 by Pat Ranald (with whom I’ve worked in the past), She also raises the issue of IP for pharmaceuticals, where the news from RCEP isn’t so good, it seems.

  9. In the last weekend Australian Greg Sheridan warns that Conservatives worldwide must not be put off by Trumps open vulgarity and should stick with aggressive Nationalism .This is Murdochs man who gets to appear on the ABC to present his case in the interests of ‘balance’ .Often people like that disappoint in the ABC setting as they water down their views for the ABC audience . I am thinking also of Jordan Peterson on Q and A , such a let down.

    Morrisons mindless repetition of the ‘jobs’ mantra is nauseating . In question time when giving one of his ‘denied the dignity of work’ kind of answers he inadvertently recognised that financial deprivation of the unemployed causes mental illnesses.

  10. Conservatives and neoliberals worldwide have a choice. Stick to their current policies and destroy their countries or get voted out. Oops, LOL, the second is the choice of the people. 😉

    If we don’t destroy neoliberalism lock, stock and barrel, then it will destroy us. Very simple choice.

  11. sunshine,
    You state: “Morrisons mindless repetition of the ‘jobs’ mantra is nauseating .”

    Agreed. It seems to me that Bill Shorten is mimicking Morrison when it comes to the ‘jobs’ mantra.

    Broadcast on ABC 7.30 last night was an interview by Laura Tingle with Bill Shorten, primarily on the Robodebt class action settlement, but also on the position Labor took to the last election on climate change which involved a mid-term target of 40 per cent reductions by 2030. Bill Shorten said:

    “Oh, listen, there’s been forests chopped down to analyse the last election.

    I think that we were right to have a policy on climate. I do think, even though we were going to promote more jobs, I think the challenge is to communicate to Australians that having policies on climate should not be at the cost of jobs and we’ve got to put jobs at the forefront of any policy, and, you know, I accept we have to explain that longer and harder, and as much as we can – that jobs and cheaper energy come from improving our mix of renewables.”

    “If we don’t solve the climate crisis, we can forget about the rest.” – Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany

    There are no jobs on an uninhabitable planet. There is no planet B.
    We’ve got to put solving the existential threat of climate change at the forefront of any and every policy.

    I think Labor hasn’t worked that out yet. I haven’t seen it being articulated by any Australian pollie.

  12. I’d appreciate an answer to..
    Gregory J. McKenzie says above:
    “Does the research findings from [that kt2 posted] KT2 imply that a pandemic mimics the after effects of a Depression.”

    Any takers please?

  13. Unable to find in time which of these grantees is for CCS.

    “Jeff Bezos announces first beneficiaries of his $10 billion climate fund

    “Unlike other tech giants with climate change pledges, Bezos focuses on funding advocacy groups

    …”Much of the first round of funding from Amazon’s $2 billion climate fund will go toward getting more electric vehicles on the road and capturing carbon dioxide emissions, the company announced in September. Microsoft said in January that it would spend $1 billion over four years on technologies that remove planet-heating carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”…

    Big money and big audience. 3k comments in 1 day and 134,337 likes. Somehow very minutely reassuring that the comment by gopinath_75 is visible.

    “Bezos Earth Fund.
    “jeffbezos I’ve spent the past several months learning from a group of incredibly smart people who’ve made it their life’s work to… 
    …” Here are the grantees: The Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund,
    ClimateWorks Foundation,
    Dream Corps Green For All,
    Eden Reforestation Projects,
    Energy Foundation,
    Environmental Defense Fund,
    The Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice,
    Natural Resources Defense Council,
    The Nature Conservancy, NDN Collective,
    Rocky Mountain Institute,
    Salk Institute for Biological Studies,
    The Solutions Project, Union of Concerned Scientists,
    World Resources Institute, and
    World Wildlife Fund.”

    true_fustilarian Imagine thinking jeff bezos is a decent human tho lol”

  14. The RCEP is probably President Trumps greatest achievement — indirectly, of course.

    “Greatest” as in “best”. He’s certainly done things that are greater, as in “bigly yuge”.

  15. Hix, in places such as the UK, US, and France at the moment it would be hard to spot a cluster forming from poor quarantine hotel containment. It’s only when community transmission is low that a viral escape from quarantine becomes a major issue compared to reducing community infection rates overall.

    Using hindsight, our quarantine for returned Australians clearly should have involved better containment procedures and better isolation. Being “the best in the world” obviously isn’t good enough if best in the world results in multiple outbreaks. We need to recognize mistakes, rectify them, and carry on.

  16. Ronald said ” Using hindsight, our quarantine..”

    “Until Proven Safe: The History and Future of Quarantine
    Geoff Manaugh
    Nicola Twilley

    …” Until Proven Safe tracks the idea of quarantine around the globe, through time and space, chasing the story from the lazarettos and quarantine islands of Venice–built before communicable diseases were really understood–to the hallways of the CDC, NASA, and the cutting-edge labs and conference rooms where the future technology of quarantine is being developed. The result is a tour of an idea that could not be more urgent or relevant, a book full of stories, people, and insights that is as compelling as it is definitive.”…

  17. KT2 (re your comment at NOVEMBER 17, 2020 AT 11:52 AM),
    You state: “Unable to find in time which of these grantees is for CCS.”

    The Verge article you link to includes:
    “It’s also somewhat of a departure from contributions that Amazon and other giants have made recently to climate tech startups. Amazon, Microsoft, and Stripe, in contrast to Bezos, have all pledged to funnel money toward developing brand-new technologies to reduce and capture their industries’ greenhouse gas emissions. Much of the first round of funding from Amazon’s $2 billion climate fund will go toward getting more electric vehicles on the road and capturing carbon dioxide emissions, the company announced in September. Microsoft said in January that it would spend $1 billion over four years on technologies that remove planet-heating carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”

    That suggests to me Bezos is NOT investing in organizations developing CCS.

    You may find this article at CleanTechnica by Michael Barnard headlined “What Does Bill Gates’ Favorite Energy Guru, Vaclav Smil, Get Wrong?” interesting, that includes:

    “This is about another area where Gates’ and I overlap, climate solutions. I’ve been publishing perplexed stories about Bill Gates’ engagement in this space for years, and I’ve been deeply perplexed as to why he gets disease so right and climate action so wrong. I’ve published on his investments in the air-carbon-capture-to-fuel boondoggle Carbon Engineering and the useless industrial component Heliogen. I’ve published on his lobbying of Congress to extend federal subsidies for nuclear to small nuclear reactors based his long investment in Terrapower. I’ve published on his funding of research into solar geoengineering. My assessments are almost entirely negative. With the exception of his investment in a redox flow battery company, my take is that he’s squandered his billions to little effect. He could do an awful lot better.”

  18. IIF: Climate change to consume 7% of income by 2100
    “…The dispersion of the 11 estimates measuring the effect of 2.5°C warming on income is large, ranging from -3% to +0.1%. This sample of 27 studies suggests that the income effect is negligible or even moderately positive for the first degree of warming but that it is increasingly negative for larger rises in temperature (Chart 1).

    …While much of the older literature found that hot/poor countries suffer from larger climate change-induced income declines than cold/rich economies, this landmark new IMF report paints a more nuanced picture: e.g. Canada and India face large losses, while the European Union and Mexico might not be hit as hard. Moreover, the “tragedy of the horizon” is such that the impact is initially relatively minor (risking complacency) through 2030 and 2050–global GDP per capita losses of “business as usual” only amount to 0.8% and 2.5%, respectively. Yet under this same scenario, factoring in the effect of climate variability on GDP/capita suggests that the economic damage could be much greater, with global losses of 2%, 5%, and 13% by 2030, 2050, and 2100, respectively.

  19. Close call. What would Adelaide, SA, and the rest of OZ be looking at now if the SA plebs hadn’t loudly protested and made the Big Australia cartel put the planned Adelaide November resumption of international student job taker imports temporarily on ice? Thankyou Adelaide.

    “…Banning international students entry into Australia is excellent policy:

    It ensures that quarantine capacity is reserved for returning Australians;
    It will not add to the oversupply in the labour market (helping to put a floor under wages);
    It will reduce population pressures in the major cities (and enable governments to catch up on chronic infrastructure shortages);
    It will force Australia’s universities, which eroded pedagogical standards and free speech in pursuit of international student dollars, to focus on educating Australians; and
    It will reduce the risk of importing COVID-19 into Australia.
    It’s good to see our governments finally put Australians first.”

  20. “It ensures that quarantine capacity is reserved for returning Australians.”

    I think quarantine capacity, for all practical purposes, is pretty much infinite in Australia. It’s amazing what you can achieve in this country with a helicopter and a two week supply of food and water. Or maybe we should put those floating hotels to good use and bring them over on a two week cruise? (It would be necessary for no one to test positive, getting on, getting off, or during, for that to count as two weeks quarantine though.)

  21. “Or maybe we should put those floating hotels to good use and bring them over on a two week cruise? (It would be necessary for no one to test positive, getting on, getting off, or during, for that to count as two weeks quarantine though.)”

    Great idea floating. Those ships would come cheap at the moment. But why after 10 or so months of the pandemic and with all those empty beds afloat hasn’t that been done anywhere? … oh .. wait. But then again all the cadaver disposals could be real cheap, quick, and easy as.

    “It’s amazing what you can achieve in this country with a helicopter and a two week supply of food and water”

    So it’s into the central deserts they go. They pilot large passenger helicopters there themselves, landing at several pre-supplied fuel dumps along the way, I suppose, where they refuel and do all ground crew and pre-flight checks themselves. They wait in the outback dead centers awhile, eat tinned beans three times a day, it’s the least we could do for them as they bury their own dead for us, Then those still alive unsurprisingly test themselves covid free before again flying themselves back out to whichever population center they desire?

    35,000 assorted returning Australians are going to require more than mere food and water and will require present amongst themselves an unusually high cohort of rotary wing pilots, avionics technicians air frame mechanics, and etc.. That may be easy but they would need in addition all the other services of a large regional city, ie., everything, every day, and ready to hand. And they better not raise questions of insurances and liabilities… certainly not how we’ll cover ourselves, and it goes without saying they’ll have to pay if they put a ding in any helicopter! So if they want to come home they better get themselves sorted and fully trained up wherever they may presently be overseas before they embark on any trip back to Oz. It’s on them after all. All of it. Why don’t we bill them?

  22. Svante, we’re actually going to use fire fighting drones. One payload either dangling from below or wedged in the water intake if they have to be scooped up from a body of water and remote piloted so no crew. At the moment they don’t have the range when burdened to carry someone more than two weeks walk from population centres, but this can be remedied by fitting customers with explosive collars. This plan has already received approval by Boris Johnson’s cabinet for offloading population that’s surplus to their requirements and we’re just waiting for approval from the relevant Minister at our end. I don’t see any reason why the scheme can’t be extended to paying overseas students.

  23. Was thinking about South Korea, China, Taiwan etc…, in France the utility of a quaranten hotel seems limited in the first place.

  24. “we’re actually going to use fire fighting drones”

    OK, so what about the food supply?

    “At the moment they don’t have the range when burdened to carry someone more than two weeks walk from population centres”

    Well this is just no good, is it? A timely solution is needed now, no, yesterday!

    “but this can be remedied by fitting customers with explosive collars.”

    Yeah, but can the customers pay? And if they are creditworthy it’ll do you no good fitting their collars before their payment clears, and the payment system will be rather gummed up due to the numbers. What do you do with them in the meantime? Leave 35000 strolling around and camping at Mascot until they break out?

    “This plan has already received approval by Boris Johnson’s cabinet for offloading population that’s surplus to their requirements and we’re just waiting for approval from the relevant Minister at our end. I don’t see any reason”

    Four more problems for you here:

    1. We don’t need to, nor must we deal with Boris Johnson’s cabinet population issues. That’s his problem. If we start there there’ll be no end of others lining up.
    2. Boris Johnson’s cabinet doesn’t call the shots over here.
    3. There’s no one Minister here. Scummo said. It’s a we’re doing it all together group hug thing. So no one serving at her majesty’s pleasure is in charge and no one can be charged, and they approve of only themselves and while they’re so busy hugging that… times up.
    4. I don’t see any reason.

    “paying overseas students”

    Do you mean those fronting for high end money laundering real estate purchases? Apart from those you won’t find many paying overseas students here. The net flow of overseas student funds is overseas as we mostly pay them, and pay for it in other heavy associated imposts too.

  25. Guess the nativists hide and keep as many people out as possible approach does have a point at the moment. Quite sad, really in theory it should be working. And maybe it does work in South Korea.
    Alas, if it neither works in a collectivist dictatorship nor in a highly developed well functioning western society, odds are most will mess it up.

  26. I am a strong opponent of the false promises of unfounded false optimism, as I think anyone who reads my posts will know. However, here is one hopeful piece of news.

    It appears that many children could be very resistant to COVID-19 and therefore continue in good health after exposure and also not become transmission vectors. It was thought and hoped for some time that this might be true but this study all but confirms it, subject to more studies and peer reviews.

    That is a piece of good news. If the youth are surviving differentially and then understanding like Greta Thunberg that radical climate, ecological and political economy actions are necessary to save the Holocene climate and ecology of earth and thus save humans into the bargain, then there is some hope.

  27. Thanks Geoff Miell for pointing out “in contrast to Bezos”. No wonder I couldn’t find ref.

    Bill Gates has / did have a legendary ability to aquire & synthesise knowledge – before Melinda a great story of former girlfriend and he reading biology texts on weekend trips, – I am amazed he went for…

    From article linked in your ref: 
    “Chevron’s Fig Leaf Part 1: Carbon Engineering Burns Natural Gas To Capture Carbon From The Air

    “To scale to a million tons of CO2 a year, the company would need 2,000 two-meter fans blowing air into contactors in an array 20 meters high, 8 meters thick, and two kilometers long (broken up into 10 slabs) surrounding a central gas-fired CO2-processing plant which also generates the electricity for the fans in the primary model. 

    …” the company is four orders of magnitude off of a real solution, and the price tag to make this type of technology absorb useful amounts of CO2 would be in the trillions annually. 

    “All of these carbon capture technologies like to talk up the price of capture, which Carbon Engineering puts at $100 per ton, but they neglect to count in storage, distribution, and sequestrations, easily half of the cost.

    “I reached out to Professor Mark Z. Jacobson of Stanford for a comment on the technology. He’d already assessed it of course:

    “SDACCS (synthetic direct air carbon capture and storage) is not recommended in a 100% renewable energy world. SDACCS is basically a cost, or tax, added to the cost of fossil fuel generation, so it raises the cost of using fossil fuels while reducing no air pollution and providing no energy security. To the contrary, it permits the fossil fuel industry to expand its devastation of the environment and human health by allowing mining and air pollution to continue at an even higher cost to consumers than with no carbon capture.”…

    “Bill Gates and Big Oil back this company that’s trying to solve climate change by sucking CO2 out of the air

    “The company is backed by Bill Gates — but also by the oil giants Chevron, BHP, and Occidental. These partnerships will bring Carbon Engineering’s tech to market by using the captured carbon to make synthetic fuels and and help extract more oil from the ground.”

  28. A Consequences of the Pandemic & human bias.

    Prisoners Covid deaths:
    STATE run [private?] Texas USA vs NSW: 280 deaths to ONE.

    “80% of people who died from COVID in Texas jails had never been convicted

    “COVID-19 deaths account for 93% of all deaths among people in custody. According to the UT Austin research, the infection rates in jails and prisons are 490% higher than the state of Texas as a whole; 40% higher than the national prison population average; and 620% higher than the national average.

    “It’s not just Texas though. California, Ohio and Florida are also among the highest infection rates, according to NPR, with17,000 cases in California alone.

    “Kentucky currently has 367 active cases spread between the state’s 14 correctional facilities. Earlier this year, they released 1200 people to help reduce prison crowding.

    ● 80 percent of those who died of Covid-19 in Texas county jails were never convicted of a crime [Jerusalem Demsas / Vox]
    ● Pandemic’s Deadly Toll Behind Bars Spurs Calls For Change In U.S. Jails And Prisons [Eric Westervelt / NPR]
    ● DOC commissioner responds to family members’ concerns about COVID spread in prisons [Callan Gray / KSTP Eyewitness News Minneapolis]
    ● Over 100 active virus cases at West Virginia federal prison [Associated Press]
    ● With COVID cases rising, Pennsylvania lawmakers call for release of terminally ill inmates [Joseph Darius Jaafari / The Morning Call]
    ● Family fears for inmates as COVID-19 cases in Kentucky prisons rise [Sofia Millar/LEX 18]
    ● COVID outbreak infects 131 inmates in St. Louis prison [Eric Baerren / The Morning Sun]


    “Corrective Services
    Current situation
    Last updated: 16 Nov 2020

    “Key information
    As at 13 November  2020:
    “There were 12,866 inmates in full-time custody.There has been one confirmed case of COVID-19 within the inmate population in NSW.

    “There are currently 0 confirmed cases among the inmate population.”

    ….” Unprecedented times require the courage to make decisions which are consistent with evidence and the wellbeing of the whole community. We call on the government to urgently reduce the number of people incarcerated to lessen public health risks. We call on NSW Corrective Services and NSW Justice Health to provide clear and detailed information to the public.”
    Nicholas Cowdery AO QC
    President, NSW Council for Civil Liberties
    Rebecca McMahon & Eugene Schofield-Georgeson
    Convenors, Criminal Justice Action Group

    Published: 09 November 2020COVID-19 and Australian Prisons: Human Rights, Risks, and ResponsesCameron Stewart, George F. Tomossy,[…]Scott Brunero 
    Journal of Bioethical Inquiry (2020)

  29. Guess who posted this: “risk management, analysis of fat-tails”.

    COVID-19: A Complex Systems Approach

    “Single volume selection of papers on COVID-19 using a complex systems approach, including agent based models, cellular automata, networks, population dynamics, spatial-temporal patterns, risk management, analysis of fat-tails, data analysis and visualization. 

    “We accept journal-style papers, reviews and commentaries. 

    “Deadline for submissions Jan 5th 2021

    Someone here or with “Epistemic & Personal Transformation:
    Dealing with the Unknowable and Unimaginable” may have submission or be very interested in results.

  30. KT2 says NOVEMBER 18, 2020 AT 11:29AM:
    “Bill Gates and Big Oil back this company that’s trying to solve climate change by sucking CO2 out of the air “The company is backed by Bill Gates — but also by the oil giants Chevron, BHP, and Occidental. These partnerships will bring Carbon Engineering’s tech to market by using the captured carbon to make synthetic fuels and and help extract more oil from the ground.”

    Why the surprise?

    It’s worth a Godwin’s.

    This is DNC policy, baked in, bipartisan, and about to go into powerful action. This action and the huge incidental government funding setting up a new oil boom are standouts in print in Biden’s Promise on climate change!

    Before the end in the bunker, as the children were put to death, JG said one more time that the people voted for everything we did. AH wrote two ”Mein Kampf” books from about twenty years before that, and everybody got to buy at least one of those books that told them exactly what he’d do in power.

    Why any surprise?

  31. KT2,
    Carbon Engineering (CE) is one of a number of organisations attempting to develop large-scale technologies for Carbon Capture Utilisation (CCU), that convert the direct air capture (DAC) of carbon dioxide (CO2) plus water (H2O) to synthesize hydrocarbon liquid fuels to enable the operation of ICE vehicles and jet turbines. The CCU process is supposedly powered from renewable energy to give it ‘green’ cred.

    The CE promotional YouTube video titled “How to turn carbon dioxide into fuel | Carbon Engineering”, dated 15 Feb 2018, can be seen outlining the process here:

    Unfortunately, you can’t beat the Laws of Physics.
    Energy efficiencies for the burning of hydrocarbons to do useful work just can’t compete with electric motors (in most applications).

    Per the European environment group Transport & Environment, battery-electric vehicles
    (BEVs) are at least three times more energy efficient when compared with hydrogen-fuel-cell-
    electric vehicles (HFCEVs), due to significant energy losses from when renewable
    electricity is generated through to that energy dissipated at the road wheels to do useful
    work. Power-to-liquid hydrocarbon internal combustion vehicles (P2L-ICEVs) are even less
    energy efficient. Overall efficiencies (per Transport & Environment, dated 22 Aug 2017):
    • BEVs: _ _ _ 73%;
    • HFCEV: _ _ 22%;
    • P2L-ICEVs: 13%.

    The European Commission requested the Group of Scientific Advisors to investigate Novel carbon capture and utilisation technologies. The report published in May 2018 can be found here:

    It seems to me the evidence indicates the CCU challenges are many, and CCU won’t be a timely solution for the climate emergency.

  32. South Australia entering strict 6 day lockdown. There are now 22 people in the cluster that have been found so far. You can leave your home to get food or for safety but that’s about it.

    The strain has a very short incubation period. It can take only 24 hours from exposure for a person to become infectious and a generation is 3 days, not the around 6 days it was earlier in the year. It has a low rate of symptoms with with lots of asymptomatics who are able to spread it. We can hope the low incidence of symptoms means this stain is less deadly. It does make contact tracing difficult and really reduces the likelihood of vaccination post exposure being highly effective at reducing spread. (But still worth a shot, if we happened to have any vaccine lying around.)

  33. Yep, CCU is another boondoggle along with CCS. Simple fact is you can’t beat a solar-electrical economy. Even if EROEI (Energy Return on Energy Invested) for solar is only 6:1, this equals getting 24:1 from a carbon and hydrocarbon economy. The reason is that an electric engine is about 4 times more efficient than a combustion engine or combustion turbine for getting useful work from the energy source. Efficiency (energy converted to useful work) of an internal combustion engine is about 20% and efficiency of an electric engine is about 80%,

    If people start with the whataboutry re. batteries, energy storage etc. you can reply: Well then you have to count all the storage, pipes and transport for hydrocarbons.Just as bad and probably worse in costs than for an electrical economy. Electric storage and transmission often has far less moving parts. Storage, transport and dispensing of fossil fuels is a massive, energy hungry enterprise in its own right.

  34. As part of Scotty From Marketing’s sell off in exchange for his marvelous major new Japan-Australia defence deal has he also been able to swap something to get his hands on any of their instantly assembled no-nukes nukes?

  35. The US and Europe are having new and massive crises re covid-19. In the US, the third wave is stretching the medical and social systems of just about every state in the union to breaking point. The US is entering a severe crisis period. The obstructionism and culpability of Trump is close to treason and also to mass first degree manslaughter, IMHO. Countries like Italy and eveb Sweden are now in severe trouble also. This is going to even worse, much worse perhaps, before it gets better. I expect the global crisic to run for at least another 4 years, making obviously a 5 year crisis. Even in the West, the crisis has at least 2 years to run and possibly up to 5 also.

    Those who advocated and still advocate hard lock-down to elimination were and are correct and near absolutely vindicated. The one problem for nations like the USA is that Covid-19 is now so totally out of control it is uncertain how long they would now need to run a hard lock-down to eliminate the virus. It might be an almost impossibly long time like 6 months or more. In any case, the populations of the USA and EU are apparently so fractious, foolish and science-denying and so lacking in personal and social discipline that one doubts they are capable of the effort or even of cenceiving the effort. Their education and inculcation into self-indulgent consumerism has gone so deep they seem to be conceptually and emotionally ossified into capitalism, consumerism and selfishness. Perhaps I am wrong and will yet be proven wrong. I hope so. But I see little reason to hope for the USA and EU to persist as little more than semi-failed states long term.

    The world will be changed permanently and forever by this crisis and the perfect storm of other crises running concurrently. The West so far, except for some lucky outliers like New Zealand and Australia, has completely failed the challenge, abysmally so. It has all the hallmarks of civilizational failure. The collapse of Western civilization is well and truly on the cards. The East Asian Cultural Sphere may survive but it has its own challenges of great over-population and a possible lack of regional resources. For example, shortages of clean water and clean arable lands may soon prove a major problem for China along with climate change, sea level rise and desertification.

  36. Gotta get the ponzi restarted at any cost:

    International student flight on track
    17 November 2020
    “A group of international students will return to Charles Darwin University on 30 November
    Charles Darwin University (CDU) remains on track to be the first university in the country to pilot a program which will see its international students return to Australia, with the flight almost at capacity and set to arrive on 30 November.

    Almost 90 per cent of approximately 70 seats on the Singapore Airlines flight have been filled, with the remaining spots expected to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

    Students from five countries (China, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia) will travel to Singapore to be connected to the pilot fight, which will depart Changi Airport and touch down in Darwin…”

  37. If one forgets the seriousness of it all, the recent vaccine announcements start to get into amusing soap opera territory. First we got Pfizer/Biontech announcing over 90%, then the Russians announce 92%, next Moderna announces we got 95% and need lower temperatures!
    Now Biontech announces today, measuring the same way as Moderna, (probably with confidence intervals out of the window) we also got 95%!

    The more serious issue hiding behind those marketing games is the question of who can deliver how many doses early on and who will get them. One thing is already obvious: It will not be fair. The rich nations will get more early one, and the all US operations strongly favor the US over the rest of the world.

    For those who did not catch that episode: Trump also tried to orchestrate a US government purchase of Biontech early on, so the US would get all those vaccines. Obviously neither the EU nor Germany would have tolerated this. Either way, it did not even come to that point, since all shareholders, including one US billionaire shareholder, Bill Gates seemed to have been not very amused about the idea.

  38. I give these claims, of 95% effectiveness, zero credence at this point.

    Vaccine effectiveness can vary from 99%, for MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) IN CHILDREN down to 10% to 60% across the population for seasonal flu strains. Vaccines are usually less effective in the elderly who suffer from “Immunosenescence (which) results in diminished responses to vaccination. Annual flu vaccines also are notoriously less effective in the elderly.”

    So, in relation to those for whom the vaccine will matter the most (the elderly due to much higher susceptibility) it is almost impossible that any covid-19 vaccine will be 95% effective or anywhere near that. The above article mentions the fact that studies tend to focus on vaccine safety and do not properly study efficacy in relation to Immunosenescence.

    “Intriguingly, aged mice experience a more severe form of SARS after infection, akin to elderly humans. The excessive use of young mice with immune systems that are optimal for antiviral responses, and that experience less severe disease, could bias results in a way that overestimates the potential of vaccines to perform well in the elderly.” – The Conversation.

    In summary, lots of media spin going on and little honesty, rigor or caution in terms of communicating early study results to the public.

  39. Ikonoclast (re your comment at NOVEMBER 18, 2020 AT 2:26 PM),
    You state: “…Even if EROEI (Energy Return on Energy Invested) for solar is only 6:1…”

    EROEI (aka Energy Returned on Investment ERoI) is tricky to calculate in a meaningful manner – getting the boundaries of the denominator correlated usefully/meaningfully requires the judicial choice of direct and indirect costs associated with energy production/extraction.

    Charles A.S. Hall et. al. tried to quantify ERoIs for different energy technologies in a paper published in 2014, titled “EROI of different fuels and the implications for society”. Table 1 provides EROI values for various fuel sources and regions.
    Hydropower: _ greater than 100:1
    Wind ERoI: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 18:1
    Photovoltaic ERoI: _ _ _ 6 to 12:1

    These figures are at least a decade old. I’d suggest with technological improvements in solar-PV and wind power, the ERoIs are perhaps likely to be significantly better now, particularly for PV.

    Charles A.S. Hall spoke of his concept “Energy Return on Investment” (EROI) at a seminar arranged by think tank Global Challenge in Stockholm in 2012. At time interval 22:17, Hall presents a slide showing Society’s Hierarchy of Energetic Needs.

    In the CleanTechnica article “What Does Bill Gates’ Favorite Energy Guru, Vaclav Smil, Get Wrong?” roughly two-thirds of US primary energy consumption in 2019 was wasted.

    We don’t have to replace all of the primary energy we use today, we have to replace the energy used productively in energy services as efficiently as possible.

  40. Geoff Miell,

    I agree. I was taking the worst case of solar possible with a broad boundary for the denominator(s) and then illustrating that after accounting for electrical efficiency that is still as good as 24:1 fossil fuel economy, which latter efficiency I doubt today for fossil fuels. Fossil fuel economies are horrendously inefficient and horrendously environmentally destructive. The basic difference is that a solar-electrical economy will save us and a fossil fuel economy will send us extinct in short order.

  41. This writer calls it like it is. I can see that my view that the West has undergone a massive fail and scored a massive set of own goals, is a view which reality is rapidly making mainstream.

    The writer shreds the West’s response, especially of the USA & EU, and exposes it for what it truly is. The most disgraceful, egregious, idiotic, civilizational fail since the rise of civilization itself, except perhaps for the increasing climate crisis. This is indubitably true when one takes into account the accumulated scientific knowledge and technological development that we had. We should have been able to deal with this, with ease and aplomb. After all, the East Asian Cultural sphere has done so.

    I don’t think many in the West realize yet what an abysmal and watershed failure this has been and the existentially dire position it leaves us in. A comprehensive Western collapse is well and truly on the cards and possibly in very short order. Now begins the Western Humiliation and it may be longer than China’s hundred years of humiliation. That’s if we all don’t go extinct anyway.

  42. Svante, I thought Bill Gates would baulk at “but they neglect to count in storage, distribution, and sequestrations, easily half of the cost” ^1. And a 2050 cost effective timeframe. But the market of trillions in future may be his prize???

    ^1. “All of these carbon capture technologies like to talk up the price of capture, which Carbon Engineering puts at $100 per ton, but they neglect to count in storage, distribution, and sequestrations, easily half of the cost.”

    If interested in detailed costs, investments, timeframes …
    “In this paper, a techno-economic assessmentof the main CO2 direct air capture technologies, from an energy system point of view, has been carried out. ”

  43. Well ,well – a cultural problem in our military ? What a surprise .Call me un-Australian if you like but since birth I have assumed it to be so . War has a way of bringing out the worst in people . There is a reason soldiers are normally not much older than children, its hard to get older people to do those things .At least today the military spokesperson remembered to apologise to Afghani’s rather than pretend that it is Australia that is the real victim as Morrison did.

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