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

23 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Physical consequences of long Covid.

    Graphical abstract – good idea imo – of “systemic consequences of COVID-19”.

    [JQ, if this graphical abstract makes   for slow page load or dead link, delete) 

    “Twelve-month systemic consequences of COVID-19 in patients discharged from hospital: a prospective cohort study in Wuhan, China 

    “Follow-up study of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) survivors has rarely been reported. We aimed to investigate longitudinal changes in the characteristics of COVID-19 survivors after discharge.

    “Methods and findings
    A total of 594 COVID-19 survivors discharged from Tongji Hospital in Wuhan from February 10 to April 30, 2020 were included and followed up until May 17, 2021. Laboratory and radiological findings, pulmonary function tests, electrocardiogram, symptoms and signs were analyzed. 

    257 (51.2%) patients had at least one symptom at 3 months post-discharge, which decreased to 169 (40.0%) and 138 (28.4%) at 6-month and 12-month visit respectively. 

    During follow-up period, insomnia, chest tightness, and fatigue were the most prevalent symptoms. Most laboratory parameters returned to normal, whereas increased incidence of abnormal liver and renal function and cardiovascular injury was evidenced after discharge. 

    Fibrous stripes (213; 42.4%), pleural thickening and adhesions (188; 37.5%) and enlarged lymph nodes (120; 23.9%) were the most common radiographical findings at 3 months post-discharge. 

    The abnormalities of pulmonary function included obstructive, restrictive, and mixed, which were 5.5%, 4.0%, 0.9% at 6 months post, and 1.9%, 4.7%, 0.2% at 12 months. 

    Electrocardiogram abnormalities occurred in 256 (51.0%) patients at 3 months post-discharge, including arrhythmia, ST-T change and conduction block, which increased to 258 (61.1%) cases at 6-month visit and were maintained at high frequency (242;49.8%) at 12-month visit.

    Physiological, laboratory, radiological or electrocardiogram abnormalities, particularly those related to renal, cardiovascular, liver functions are common in patients who recovered from COVID-19 up to 12months post-discharge”.

    Clinical Infectious Diseases, ciab703,



    The ABC Science Fricrion 

    “The long COVID doctors
    (Part 1 of 2)

    “In October 2020, three UK doctors shared with us their devastating personal experiences of COVID-19’s bizarre and disabling symptoms.

    “Months after they were initially infected, they were still grappling with ‘long COVID’ symptoms.”…

    “More information:
    From Doctors as Patients: A manifesto for tackling persisting symptoms of COVID-19 (15 September 2020)

    “Why we need to keep using the patient made term ‘Long Covid’ (1 October 2020)

    Body Politic COVID-19 Support Group

    Long haulers are redefining COVID-19
    (Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 2020)
    Duration: 35min 17sec

  2. The UK energy regulator OFGEM has released a policy document on supporting V2G in the growing EV fleet:
    They anticipate over 30 GW of peak supply capacity by 2050. It looks a professional piece of work that AEMO should emulate. The difference is that the UK has an actual policy for electric transportation.

    It’s a good sign that OFGEM puts a lot of emphasis on “consumer participation”. It won’t be the grid operator simply taking control of your EV overnight but a contractual dialogue. Consumers will need reassurance and transparency, for instance over the wear on batteries.

  3. There is, as I found out by chance, an organisation named “Committee for Sydney” . In February 2021 they published a paper, titled “Covid-19 recovery strategy 2021”

    Click to access CFS-Recovery-strategy-2021-1.pdf

    In this document there are phrases such as “hibernation” and “hermit kingdom”. Did any government rely on the content of this document? And, finding that the model of the course of the pandemic in this document, the government(s) had to change course rapidly?

    The NSW’s Premier’s former strategy adviser, Mr Veiszadeh (departure in May 2021), is now deputy chief executive of this organisation. He was quoted in the Sunday e-version of the smh that “Delta” is a game changer. Delta is the name of a Greek letter!

    Gladys being a bit more literate now talks about the delta variant is a game changer.

    Mr Veiszadeh is quoted as saying: “We [the Committee] were quite frustrated at first that government was really stuck in 2020 settings when clearly Delta had shown that we are now in a different game,” (As can be read in the article, the Committee expected opening up of various kinds.

    My question: Who was stuck in the 2020 setting – the Committee – or the Fed Government, which introduced a total but temporary travel ban between India and Australia around the time Mr Veiszadeh left his position as strategist adviser to the NSW government?

  4. Meanwhile, reported on Sep 2 that:

    The benchmark U.S. natural gas price has nearly doubled over the past year. The front-month Henry Hub contract jumped from $2.406 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) at the beginning of September 2020 to as much as $4.606/MMBtu early on September 2, 2021. Prices have rallied despite the fact that the biggest gas-producing basin, Appalachia, saw in the first half of 2021 its highest average output since natural gas production in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations started in 2008.

    Demand is not being met by supply. Natural gas Inventories are also below average.

    And S&P Global Platts reported on Sep 2 that:

    High LNG prices in recent months have curbed natural gas consumption in some of China’s downstream sectors like heavy-duty trucking and forced energy-intensive businesses like ceramics to either slash output or suspend operations as fuel costs continue to surge.

    Domestic LNG prices surge 79%-85% over March-August.

    Will this be reminiscent of the 1970s oil crisis?

  5. Ernestine, The Committee for Sydney states; “We aim to be visionary, ensuring that Sydney retains and enhances its competitive, global status and key economic role for Australia.” which goes a long way to answering your question “Who was stuck in the 2020 setting – the Committee – or the Fed Government,”

    The Federal Government was just “hibernating” it’s  business as usual dogma cloak, until it can resume ‘bau’ without seeming to be ignoring us humans.

    Huge list of members but ONE is missing – a person. As in, the humans left out of the “competitive, global status and key economic role” and commensurate disenfranchisement.  Pity.

    “The Committee for Sydney
    All Members 
    (Refrain from pun kt)

    “Board and Team
    We all share the same passion Sydney — and the role it plays as Australia’s global city.

    – Managing Partner, PwC Australia

    – Chair, Finance, Risk and Audit Sub-Committee and Lead Partner, NSW Government
    [ lead partner? Of what?]

    – CEO & Managing Partner, MinterEllison

    [ I am related by marriage to a founding partner of MinterEllison – ‘do not argue with us’. If I needed a law firm, and did not care fir the other side, they’d probably be it tho. $$$ ]

  6. Joe Blow: – “There is no shortage of gas or oil and never will be.

    Are you referring to gas and oil in the ground, or as extracted volumes, Joe?

    I’d suggest it’s not a question of quantity, but of the increasing energy (and increasing monetary costs) required to extract those increasingly more difficult gas and oil resources remaining. The era of cheap gas and oil is coming to an end. And there’s the pesky problem of the climate crisis that requires fossil fuels to stay in the ground.

    The old financial advisor adage goes: Past performance is no guarantee of future performance.

    Goehring & Rozencwajg resource investors, in a post on Aug 31 titled North American Gas Markets Now in Deficit, suggests:

    The main challenge faced by US natural gas has been the unrelenting growth of the Marcellus and Permian. If we are correct and both plays are entering the early stages of exhaustion, then a new gas bull market has likely started. Production data seems to suggest we are correct and now anecdotal evidence among the producers points that way as well. Inventories are now beginning to get tight relative to seasonal averages and the US will likely enter the withdrawal season vulnerable to any bout of colder-than-normal weather. The great bull market in natural gas has begun.

    And from the Energy Watch Group, in a post on Apr 7 titled Oil and gas: An industry in decline, suggests:

    The oil and gas industry, from extraction to transportation to refining, is no longer the profitable and financially stable enterprise it long was. Over the past decade, the industry’s profits have sagged, revenues and cash flows have withered, bankruptcies have abounded, stock prices have fallen, massive capital investments have been written off as worthless and fossil fuel investors have lost hundreds of billions of dollars.

    These financial pressures are set to intensify over the coming decade, as the oil and gas sector faces the reality of the world’s transition to clean energy.

    From petroleum geologist Art Berman in a tweet on Sep 1:

    Tight oil new well performance has decreased with more DUCs.
    Tight oil output rose +1 mmb/d Jan 2019-Mar 2020 despite completions falling -220 (-20%) but 239 wells since Aug 2020 have added only +100 kb/d.

    I’d suggest we’ll see whether an oil and gas supply crisis emerges soon.

  7. Geoff Miell,
    I am not quite sure what you are getting at. The OPEC crisis was a supply shock. The current ‘crisis’ is one of demand. No one is arguing that oil demand hasn’t peaked and that gas demand won’t peak soon. Thus no one will really care what the price is – just like few care how much it costs to shoe a horse these days.

  8. Periodically over several years, Canadian earth scientist David Hughes has published ‘reality checks’ in response to the US government’s forecasts of domestic oil and gas production. The most recent one, titled Shale Reality Check 2019, suggests these forecasts by the US DoE Energy Information Administration (EIA) mean that by 2050:
    * 1.9 million new oil and gas wells will need to be drilled;
    * $13 trillion will need to be spent to drill all those wells; and
    * 10 billion barrels of tight oil production will be “missing” from UNKNOWN shale plays to meet the reference case forecast for cumulative production.

    Hughes’s Shale Reality Check 2019 finds that the EIA’s forecasts for major plays like the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Marcellus, Utica, and the Permian Basin are terribly unrealistic. Of the 13 shale plays analyzed, nine are rated as extremely optimistic, three highly optimistic, and only one moderately optimistic. And even with all this optimism, the overall forecast falls short by nearly ten billion barrels of tight oil, or 10% of the production volume required through 2050.

    I’d suggest the EIA’s forecasts are insane when there is NO CARBON BUDGET REMAINING for a safe climate for humanity.

  9. The EIA has been a standing joke for years. Their predictions for EVs, coal etc. have been so wrong – even 2 years out – that I am not sure anyone takes them seriously. Google Tony Seba + EIA for the run down.

    The thing is, the coal and oil age is fast drawing to a close and economics, not politics is driving it. The squawking from both sides of the aisle ( too slow, too fast ) is a sideshow.

    Despite desperate headlines designed to scare people, the all commodities index has declined 2% over the last 10 years. You hear lumber prices have doubled in the US, but you never hear that that figure was taken from the depths of the covid recession last year to the current boom in housing construction this year, which has temporarily driven the price up. Lumber prices have now declined 70 odd % but you don’t hear that!

    Another indicator that things are actually getting better – despite the current covid induced mess – is that the price of gold keeps falling. Worried people tend to buy gold. On the other hand, the price of bitcoin – a sign of optimism for a more decentralised future – keeps rising.

  10. Joe Blow: – “No one is arguing that oil demand hasn’t peaked and that gas demand won’t peak soon.

    Has oil demand peaked, Joe? Why have the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent crude prices continued on a general trend to rise in 2021?

    US$47.85/barrel on 29 Dec 2020 rose to US$69.28/barrel on 30 Aug 2021.
    WTI crude price history (1986-Aug 2021):

    US$50.61/barrel on 21 Dec 2020 rose to US$72.26/barrel on 27 Aug 2021.
    Brent crude price history (1987-Aug 2021):

    Meanwhile, it seems the Asia Pacific region crude oil production continues to follow a pre-COVID decline.

    Joe, has gas demand peaked, or is it that some gas consumers (e.g. in China, per my comment above at SEPTEMBER 6, 2021 AT 6:06 PM) now can’t afford the increasing gas prices? It seems to me demand is there, but affordability is beginning to constrain/curtail some use – like it seems to me it was in the beginnings of the 1970s oil crisis.

    It takes time to deploy alternative technologies to displace gas/oil reliant technologies. Have we run out of time?

  11. Consequences – an detailed paper to check timeline and events re your forthcoming book JQ. Ivermectin & philanthropy outed as well. Yes, big paragraphs.  ymmv.

    “A Continuation of a Timeline of Ivermectin-Related Events in the COVID-19 Pandemic 

    [June 30, 2021]
    References (394)

    “An extension to a previous timeline covering April 2020–March 2021
    “The new timeline covers the period from April 2021 to June 2021.
    “*** Topics:
    – WHO’s role and its funding, 
    – Gavi, COVAX, 
    – Trusted News Initiative, 
    – International Fact-Checking Network, 
    – the role of private philantrophy, 
    – Frontiers issue, 
    – comparison to the H1N1 pandemic, 
    – new treatment protocols, 
    – causal modeling.”

    “Trial results published in the period resembled those of previous trials, not producing clinically meaningful changes to the results of existing meta-analyses. Mainstream press of the high-income countries mostly repeated the same arguments as in the previous period, including the warnings against ivermectin by the European Medicine Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The sparse and one-sided coverage of ivermectin in the press appeared to result from a program called Trusted News Initiative (TNI). The censorship practices of the social media companies, with policies disallowing expression of views differing from the guidelines of the WHO, continued unchanged, apparently organized under a program called International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN).

    “In contrast to the previous period – during which groups such as the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) and the British Ivermectin Recommendation Development (BIRD) group attempted to influence the decisions of government agencies – in this period these groups began to bypass the agencies and turn directly to clinicians and the public.”

    …” Crticism towards excessive influence of Bill Gates in the WHO emerged during the period, as the largest funder of the WHO appeared to be a group of vaccine promotion and intellectual property rights enforcement oriented organizations founded by Gates. There was a noticeable centralization of power, with the pandemic response largely directed by a few public-private partnerships working on commercializable technologies.”

    Project: COVID-19
    Authors: Mika Turkia

  12. It seems Australia hasn’t got the memo about oil demand peaking.

    The Australian Government’s Office of the Chief Economist published the Resources and Energy Quarterly – June 2021, that shows in Table 8.1: Oil Outlook that Australia’s refined product consumption is expected to pick-up to almost pre-COVID levels by 2022-23:
    2019-20: 984 kb/d average consumption
    2020-21: 930 kb/d (estimate)
    2021-22: 949 kb/d (forecast)
    2022-23: 972 kb/d (forecast)

    And it seems Australia’s diesel fuel imports continue to rise regardless of the COVID pandemic, per Matt’s graph (for Jan 2004 to Jun 2021) tweeted at CrudeOilPeak on Sep 7:

    No diesel fuel = no freight trucks & trains running = economy shuts down

    See Australia’s feedstock consumption cover graphs (particularly Figure 16, albeit the data is almost 2 years old but IMO indicative of Australia’s ongoing precarious situation) at:

    It seems to me that Australia’s energy security (and therefore its economic vitality) is becoming more vulnerable to a petroleum fuel supply disruption.

  13. John Quiggin and all social scientists modellers etc are also artists. Sorry JQ. And a question JQ – how much ro train an NN AI on your corpus? Better do it and own it before an idiot like me does, or bill gates or googl deep mind will. The “JQAI”.
    Eric Hoel “… d) a bad counterpoint given the honest need for regulation to preserve human health, human dignity, and economic health in plenty of other fields and technologies.”

    For ONE human brain neuron,  it takes seven to eight layers of one neural net.

    Remember in the ’80’s when the argument was storage vs ram vs cost vs result? Craig Venter, who slaughtered the US Government’s attempt to decode the genome,  simply used brute force – instead of a “big” computer,  he just filled a warehouse with thousands of little cheap machines. Same in 10yrs with NN & AI. Eric Hoel says “The immediate licensing of GPT-3 by Microsoft was an augury of this. Indeed, the rights to interact with these AIs will be some of the most valuable licenses on the planet in the next decade. ”
    Ten years – 2032. 

    Ikon, your son will invest. Tax AI now. 

    Ryan Moulton, a software engineer at Google Research said; “The last emotion was fear. The output was simply too good, and this bot isn’t  the most impressive output I’ve seen. “…
    Yes, Ryan is speaking of images. Easy now, as is text generation to wite JQ’s stories.  How long before concepts and math?

    Eric Hoel says, and I agree;
    “This “bitter lesson” massively privileges corporations when it comes to AI—not academic researchers or open software. In a few years almost all the really success AIs, the ones capable of doing human-level writing and creativity, will be controlled, trained, or licensed entirely by Big Tech”…

    Eric Hoel article 

    “Big Tech is replacing human artists with AI
    Corporations are automating everything, even our pets
    [Read for automating – ” and monetising”]

    “Oh, a few people have pointed it out here and there, a small smattering of noticing, but mostly AI-generated text and art (from painting to photography to illustration to music) is still viewed as a lark. There are opinionated voices that insist there’s nothing to worry about¹, and so to most it’ll remain a lark, until it suddenly isn’t. For AIs are advancing quickly in the form of high-parameter neural networks, possessing trillions of connections. What seems to make AIs more intelligent is simply their scale. More neurons, more connections (referred to as “parameters” in the community) means better, and techniques that don’t work at one scale may jump to human-level at a larger one. The professor and Deepmind researcher Rich Sutton calls this the “bitter lesson,” saying that:
          “The biggest lesson that can be read from 70 years of AI research is that general methods that leverage computation are ultimately the most effective, and by a large margin. . . The bitter lesson is based on the historical observations that 
    1) AI researchers have often tried to build knowledge into their agents, 
    2) this always helps in the short term, and is personally satisfying to the researcher, but 
    3) in the long run it plateaus and even inhibits further progress, and 
    4) breakthrough progress eventually arrives by an opposing approach based on scaling computation by search and learning.”…

    This “bitter lesson” massively privileges corporations when it comes to AI—not academic researchers or open software. In a few years almost all the really success AIs, the ones capable of doing human-level writing and creativity, will be controlled, trained, or licensed entirely by Big Tech (Facebook, Microsoft, Google, etc). Quite simply they will be the only ones with the money for it, as each AI will cost millions of dollars just to train (perhaps eventually billions).

    “According to the test, GPT-3 is far more creative than the average person, scoring in the 85-95th percentile. If you like, take that test and see if you can beat the machine. But it’s cold comfort even if you do, because it just means you’re holding out for GPT-X. Keep in mind deep learning only proved its worth by allowing AIs to beat humans at Go in 2015—a mere six years ago. We are incredibly early in this technological revolution and there are no signs of stopping. The rest of our lives will be a slow story of the automation of creativity: already non-rhyming poetry, soon rhyming, already prose snippets, soon the short story, already surrealist painting, soon realist, impressionistic, and so on.”…

    “For instance, I recently came across a postwherein Ryan Moulton, a software engineer at Google Research, used an AI to generate illustrations in the style of artist James Gurney.
    “AI-generated art from “Tour of the Sacred Library”

    “After experimenting with various techniques, his reaction was:

    “The last emotion was fear. The output was simply too good, and this bot isn’t even the most impressive output I’ve seen. “..

    “How Computationally Complex Is a Single Neuron?

    September 2, 2021
    “Computational neuroscientists taught an artificial neural network to imitate a biological neuron. The result offers a new way to think about the complexity of single brain cells.”

    “The overfitted brain: Dreams evolved to assist generalization
    Erik Hoel

    Craig Venter
    …”He was listed on Time magazine’s 2007 and 2008 Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world. In 2010, the British magazine New Statesman listed Craig Venter at 14th in the list of “The World’s 50 Most Influential Figures 2010”

    Positive note to end on short term. Yes, I & YOU may use this code to discover vaccines. Until you can’t because you need googl er al licence. Because you need $20m compute just to train NN.

    “Property Prediction with Neural Networks on Raw Molecular Graphs

    “This code is the basis of two works carried out at AstraZeneca:”…

    Vigilance. AI & Robot Tax now please.

  14. Masks. Commonsense & decency.

    “Mask mandates save lives”

    Niels-Jakob Hansen, Rui C. Mano 

    02 September 2021

    “The emergence of new Covid-19 variants and a highly uneven vaccine rollout have put mask mandates back on the policy agenda. This column presents new evidence that state-level mask mandates reduced new weekly COVID-19 cases, hospital admissions, and deaths significantly in the US. The results imply that 87,000 lives were saved up until 19 December 2020, while an additional 58,000 lives could have been saved if all states had put in place a mandate starting in April 2020. Mask mandates had a greater effect in counties more positively inclined towards mask wearing.”

    “Going from raw data to an econometric model, we find that mask mandates on average reduced new weekly COVID-19 cases, hospital admissions, and deaths by 55, 11, and 0.7 per 100,000 inhabitants, respectively (Figure 3). To put these numbers in perspective, the average new cases, hospital admissions, and new deaths in our sample are 166, 24, and 2.6. This implies that mask mandates reduced the average weekly COVID-19 cases, hospital admissions, and deaths by roughly a third, a half, and a quarter, respectively.  Our results are robust to several robustness checks. Importantly, our results are not driven by other contemporaneous state-level health and containment policies or the existence of county-level mandates in states without state-wide mandates. . ..”

    Via Naked Capitalism. Thanks.

    “Authors’ note: The views expressed in this column are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board, or IMF management.”

    “Niels-Jakob Hansen is an economist in the World Economic Studies Division of the IMF’s Research Department. He contributes to the chapters of the World Economic Outlook.”…

    Rui Mano
    “Rui C. Mano is a senior economist in the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department. He is a “senior desk economist” for the United States and Grenada. “..

    Some prefer not to mask.

    Australian economist advises – No masks & Ivermectin. There goes the IMF gig….

    “Wikinews interviews Professor Gigi Foster about pandemic control in Australia

    Wednesday, August 11, 2021
    “(3) buy and disseminate ivermectin, and start randomised controlled trials of it and other potential treatments/preventative approaches to covid; 

    “From my reading, vaccinating the healthy young against COVID-19 with the vaccines we presently have available is likely to be worse for them, in expectation, than not vaccinating them and risking their exposure to the disease itself.

    “I also resist by not wearing a mask, and openly hugging people in public.”…

  15. This one us for you JQ. Snappy title. Heard of SRO’s? 

    …” it shows how four different constitutional doctrines, now resurging under a conservative-majority Supreme Court, pose existential threats to existing SRO models. ” 

    Self-regulatory organizations (SROs) sound like the  laissez-faire if laissez-faire! Yet it seems SRO’s allow regulation at arms length without a vote. I don’t understand the implications and hope you may provide a post JQ, on SRO’s. Any Australian equivalents? 

     I do not comprehend how ” … The ability of an SRO to exercise regulatory authority does not necessarily derive from a grant of authority from the government.” Wikipedia

    How is this possible? Am I misunderstanding? 

    “Supreme Risk

    58 Pages
    Posted: 20 Aug 2021
    Last revised: 7 Sep 2021

    Benjamin Edwards
    University of Nevada, William S. Boyd School of Law
    Date Written: August 18, 2021

    While many have discussed the social issues that might arise because of a majority-conservative Supreme Court, one critical consequence of the current Supreme Court has been overlooked: the role of the Supreme Court in generating or avoiding systemic risk. For some time, systemic financial risk has been regulated by a mix of self-regulatory organizations (SROs), such as the Depository Trust Corporation, and federal regulators such as the Financial Stability Oversight Council. However, the Supreme Court’s recent jurisprudence now creates real risk that federal courts will declare keystone SROs unconstitutional because they do not fit neatly into an eighteenth-century constitutional framework.

    SROs are under-appreciated regulatory entities comprised of industry members regulating their own industries with deferential oversight from federal administrative agencies. While ordinary civics discussions entirely omit SROs, they play a critical legal and economic roles and exercise enormous power delegated to them by the federal government. Yet as nominally private entities, they enforce federal law and their own rules without abiding by the restrictions imposed on governmental entities, such as providing due process.

    This article makes three contributions to the literatures in financial regulation and constitutional law—disciplines which rarely interact. 

    First, it provides a detailed account of how SROs became functionally integrated into the federal government and serve as federal law enforcement and regulators. 

    Second, it shows how four different constitutional doctrines, now resurging under a conservative-majority Supreme Court, pose existential threats to existing SRO models. 

    Third, the Article explains how Supreme Court decisions declaring SROs unconstitutional or limiting their powers generate systemic risk and may trigger a financial crisis.

    Keywords: SRO, self-regulation, constitutional law, financial regulation, securities, NYSE, FINRA, NFA, Future, Systemic Risk

    Wikipedia … “A self-regulatory organization (SRO) is an organization that exercises some degree of regulatory authority over an industry or profession. The regulatory authority could exist in place of government regulation, or applied in addition to government regulation. The ability of an SRO to exercise regulatory authority does not necessarily derive from a grant of authority from the government.”

  16. I had to share this. It’s a gem.

    Look at all the nice things money can buy
    Everyday there’s more and more
    Do you ever stop and wonder why
    You’re neither rich nor poor?
    Eine Kleine Middle Klasse Musik

    Dropping off the school kids in the second car
    Parking on the yellow line
    Getting in the shopping on a credit card
    Knowing how to choose a wine
    Eine Kleine Middle Klasse Musik

    Proud of your home and your neighborhood
    It’s so up and coming that you feel so good!

    This is freedom in a land of plenty
    You get nowhere if you just stand still
    You got to hold on to what you got as best you can
    Cause if you don’t someone else will

    Look at all the nice things money can buy
    Every day there’s more and more
    Do you ever stop and wonder why
    You need to lock your door?

    Loneliness is all that people ever share
    Smuggling their pain through “Nothing to Declare”
    Living next to people who agree to disagree
    Happy in their pie chart society
    Eine Kleine Middle Klasse Musik
    Eine Kleine Middle Klasse Musik

    Eine Kleine Middle Klasse Musik
    Eine Kleine Middle Klasse Musik-a
    Eine Kleine Middle Klasse Myuhoo-oo-oo-oo-oo-hoozik-AH
    Ah, ah, ah….

    By Neil Innes and The Rutles.

  17. The slow death of the ISDS racket

    Via the invaluable Coalwire blog, from ClientEarth:
    “The Court of Justice of the European Union today held that EU climate polluters could not use the arbitration system under the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) to claim compensation in disputes between member states – in a decision environmental law charity ClientEarth and climate coalition CAN Europe said should spell the end of the outdated ECT. The treaty contains a controversial investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism, which allows foreign investors to sue governments for changes in social or environmental laws that impact their business.”

    Quick thoughts.
    1. The Energy Charter is walking dead. Italy has denounced the treaty, and France, Spain, Poland and Greece propose ending it. The likeliest outcome of the current German election is a red-green coalition, which would follow suit and stop supporting the German utilities suing the Dutch government through ISDS over the early closure of the new Maasvlakt coal power station.
    2. Supreme courts have woken up to the status threat presented by ISDS. In an alpha dog competition between them and the cosy club of commercial arbitrators, the arbitrators are bound to lose.
    3. The ECJ ruling came from a referral by a Parisian court hearing a case arising from an iSDS suit brought by Ukrainian investors not called Jarndyce against Moldova, which is not an EU member. I don’t understand this either, and do not propose to invest the time needed to find out.

  18. Any better climate zingers – catch phrases?

    “Just as the Stone Age didn’t end for a lack of stones, the fossil fuel age won’t end for a lack of coal, gas or oil.”
    Frank Jotzo – ^1.

    All the expert words, models, all the support from us plebs, and a simple sentence cuts through. Zeitgeist tells us, we need zingers backed by Frank J & JQ.

    JQ’s zinger is well, not really a zinger. Unless you get finance and lockdowns…

    “The cost of this would be around A$50 million a year, over ten years. That’s less than the estimated cost of a week of COVID lockdown in Sydney.” ^2.

    If JQ’s above statement was being sold by Harvey Norman it would be…
    “buy now for $50, and a cash back of $5,000,000,000 in ten years!” accompanied by a shouty man and big text.

    Just replace 50 yrs past and fridges & freezers with solar & wind & smiley workers & teenagers, 50 years hence;
    – 34 seconds.
    “Harvey Norman – TV Ad 2 – Australia 2008
    (Nice touch;
    – captured from VHS! “Harvey Norman TV Commercial Captured from a 2008 VHS tape recorded in Sydney, Australia”)


    One of the advert production companies doing HN tv ads is “We Did Productions ” which has a zinger of a catch phrase –
    “Video is the Jacinda Ahern of online marketing!”.

    “A promising new dawn is ours for the taking – so let’s stop counting the coal Australia must leave in the ground”


  19. Investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) is dead or should be. The functional nation state remains the alpha dog compared to TNCs. It just needs to remember it. Supreme courts are backed by, and a Consitutional part of, the nation state. They can be stacked by conservative neoliberal governments for sure. That’s where the problem lies. We just need to toss out the neoliberal pro-plutocratic parasitic infiltrators into government like Berejiklian and Morrison (Bjelke-Morrison) [1], here in Australia.

    Note 1: Joh Bjelke-Petersen was a bible-bashing and completely corrupt politician in Queensland, Australia in the 1970s. He was known for gerrymandering electorates to stay in power, restriction of civil liberties, strike breaking and reputedly taking bribes, along with other members of his cabinet.

    “Two of his state ministers, as well as the police commissioner Bjelke-Petersen had appointed and later knighted, were jailed for corruption offences and in 1991 Bjelke-Petersen, too, was tried for perjury over his evidence to the royal commission; the jury failed to reach a verdict as the jury foreman was a member of the Young Nationals (undeclared conflict of interest) and Bjelke-Petersen was deemed too old to face a second trial.” – Wikipedia.

    Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam famously called Bjelke-Petersen a “bible-bashing bastard”. Never were truer words spoken. Anyone else noticed how fundamentalist and evangelical “Christians” are the most corrupt and most dangerous bastards around?

  20. Divide & Conquer by Scott Morrison.

    When I talk trade I talk trade

    When I talk climate I talk climate.

    Paraphrase of ABC RN today.


  21. Decisions, more difficult decisions.

    Robot tax, please.

    “When Robot Eyes Gaze Back at Humans, Something Changes in Our Brain And Behavior

    “If the robot looks at you during the moment you need to make a decision on the next move, you will have a more difficult time in making a decision,” says cognitive neuroscientist Agnieszka Wykowska from the Italian Institute of Technology.

    “Your brain will also need to employ effortful and costly processes to try to ‘ignore’ that gaze of the robot.”

    “Mutual gaze with a robot affects human neural activity and delays decision-making processes

  22. Canberra may not be listening to Andrew Blakers, but somebody else is. South China Morning Post:

    “Beijing aims to double China’s pumped storage hydropower generating capacity in five years and double it again by 2030, in a bid to provide most of the energy storage needed to make its ambitious renewable energy expansion programme viable. The installed capacity will rise from 31.5 gigawatts (GW) at the end of last year to more than 62GW by 2025 and 120GW by 2030, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said on Thursday in a statement about the sector’s newly released 2021-2035 development plan.”

    PUHS schemes take time to build, say 5 years, so the 2025 target must mainly be projects already under construction. The news is the plan to double it again by 2030.

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