Old Globe

Climate Change's 'Pigouvian' tax

The Spectator, 27 June 2022
   Rod Sims, formerly head of the ACCC, advocates a carbon tax as a ‘Pigouvian’ solution to the global damage which he says is being created as a result of burning coal, gas, and oil.

A ‘Pigouvian’ tax is set at a level where the damage from distorting the economy, which any tax inevitably causes, is offset by the rectification that it brings about. Such a tax is generally considered superior to having the government centrally determine measures to redress inadvertent damages resulting from production. This is because it incentivises firms to seek out the cheapest solutions and avoids governmental failures inherent in ‘winner picking’

Henry Ergas points out that the proposal Rod Sims .... Read online  ...pdf

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Standard of living to fall sharply

The Spectator, 24 June 2022
   In the pre-Covid days, strike activity was fast disappearing. In Europe, the average days lost from strikes more than halved.

In Australia, the fall was even more dramatic – from over 500 strike days per 1,000 workers in the 1970s, to just 14 in the decade to 2020.

Suddenly, in Europe a spate of strikes is underway. They are in England and threatened in France, Spain, Italy, and even Germany. These are taking place ‘amid spiralling increases in the cost of living’ which describes EU annual wage increases averaging 2 per cent compared to price increases of 8.8 per cent.     ..... Read online     .....pdf

Albo's war against Capitalism

The Spectator, 21 June 2022
   Seeking to disabuse critics of the notion that his interest and expertise in economics were Whitlamesque, Anthony Albanese released a couple of pages of an undergraduate essay on economics he wrote nearly 40 years ago. The material was replete with supply and demand curves to burnish his credentials on any sceptic.

Mr Albanese’s economics degree was from the ‘political economy’ school of Sydney University – which had a strongly Marxian focus – stressing on how the economy should best be managed by those who consider themselves well able to understand and manipulate it. The university mentors favoured central direction rather than what they perceived as the anarchy and heartlessness of the market system. ..... Read online     .....pdf

Politicians have sabotaged the energy market

The Spectator, 13 June 2022
   'After a decade of denial and delay, Australia deserves a better future – one with cheaper power, more jobs, and less emissions,’ said Energy Minister Chris Bowen, in his last media release prior to gaining government.

Mr Bowen advocated replacing coal generators with wind and solar, with their shares of electricity supply to increase from 30 per cent to 82 per cent by 2030. To facilitate this, he proposed spending $80 billion on transmission, thereby quadrupling its present costs.

He also ridiculed a Morrison government that ‘does not believe renewables are the cheapest form of energy, or that the    ..... Read online     .....pdf

Customers won't like the new energy game

The Spectator, 3 June 2022
   Right now in Australia, we are seeing some smaller electricity retailers being forced out of the market and voluntarily shedding customers. One example came this week, when ReAmped Energy told customers they should leave because bills were set to double.

These sorts of retailers have gained a few percent of the overall market by offering cheap prices via wholesale purchases on the electricity spot market, which is usually cheaper than arranging supplies through long-term contracts with generators.

But with shortages of electricity (which are from time to time inevitable) come very high spot market prices. What we are  ..... Read online     .....pdf

This is worse than we thought

The Spectator, 24 May 2022
   It’s much worse than we thought.

The ALP will govern in its own right, but will be forced into extreme positions by a Green-left Senate.

The first thing to recognise is that the result demonstrates a new consensus.

There are some differences between the ALP, the Coalition, the Teals, and the Greens. To placate its funders within the union movement the ALP will seek to abolish the ‘gig’ economy and promote a 5 per cent wage rise, something the Greens would also support. But that apart, the consensus represents a goal of abandoning the fossil fuel    ..... Read online     .....pdf

The Seinfeld election: a show about nothing

The Spectator, 17 May 2022
   With the virus abating, and with the confected anger over supposed government inadequacies for compensation owed to those harmed by adverse weather conditions losing topicality – the issues that should be dominating the present election campaign are taxation, spending, energy costs, industry policy, and defence.

The Coalition and the ALP have tried to minimise their differences on these matters.

For its part, the Coalition has little alternative after five years of clothing itself in the ALP policies it claims to oppose. It has been spending in Whitlam-esque proportions since its MPs ..... Read more     .....pdf

Build More Dams

Letter to the Editor, Regulation Economics (from Viv Forbes) - 12 May 2022

   Since the days of Joseph in ancient Egypt, droughts have periodically rationed water and food supplies for humans and wildlife. Sensible peoples store water, but it is about 40 years since Australians built a big dam – young Aussie engineers have no damn experience.

Even beavers build dams and weirs to provide long-term wetlands and food supplies along rivers. Dams also moderate floods downstream.

See here for pictorial comment (right):
 

Foolish children and Green politicians think that floods are caused by carbon dioxide, but farmers know that it is La Nina that brings flooding rains to Eastern Australia             ..... Read more

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The politics of an energy dystopia

The Spectator, 10 May 2022

   We are seeing unprecedented prices in the Australian gas and electricity wholesale markets.

The first five days of May saw electricity prices average over $400 per MWh in Queensland and NSW, and over $150 per MWh in Victoria and South Australia. Compare this with the historical average daily prices of $40-$80 per MWh.

Forward electricity prices for 2023 averaged 122 per cent higher than in 2021. 

 ...... Read online     ..... pdf

Stoking the fires of energy policy

The Spectator, 26 April 2022

   Stung from previous election losses, the ALP is at pains to deny that it will introduce a carbon tax. The Coalition is trying to claim a Labor government would do so.

That aside, both sides are seeking to marginalise environmental issues and their all-important impact on the economy. Many on the government side believe the Matt Kean dogma that there is an inevitable ‘transition’ away from coal, while others feel obliged to murmur assent in the face of popular support for that same view, funded as it is by subsidy-dependent renewable energy interests.

In fact, we already have carbon taxes and an ALP ..... Read online     ..... pdf

Scomo, Albo, and their fantasy Net Zero policies

The Spectator, 15 April 2022

   Both the ALP and the Coalition have the same Net Zero goal for 2050, but that time frame is, at best, aspirational and is contingent upon technological breakthroughs many of which verge on the fantasy.

A 2030 time-horizon is a more realistic means of comparing the two sides of politics.

For 2030, the Coalition has a goal of a 26 per cent reduction in emissions compared to the base year of 2005 and hopes to achieve a 35 per cent reduction with its present policies.

The ALP is targeting a 43 per cent reduction on  ..... Read online     ..... pdf

Renewables subsidies: $22 billion by 2030

The Spectator, 5 April 2022

   Energy Minister Angus Taylor noted that the Commonwealth Budget added $1.3 billion to assist uneconomic renewable energy, bringing the total support to $22 billion by 2030. Added to direct budget support are the regulatory subsidies that force consumers to pay for otherwise unviable wind and solar energy as well as the networks that have to be built to bring their energy to market. 

Green energy enthusiasts and vested interests fraudulently claim wind and solar are cheaper than coal-generated electricity. Some also concoct data purporting to prove that fossil fuels benefit from enormous subsidies.

..... Read online     ..... pdf

You can't save the world with Net Zero

The Spectator, 24 March 2022

   Ever since socialism’s credibility collapsed in 1990, environmentalism has increasingly dominated the political agenda. Central to this was the global warming scare and its implications for energy supply and economic activities in general.

Environmentalists’ pressures ensured that this agenda was widely embraced. Every Western country agreed to pursue ‘Net Zero’ carbon emissions, replacing hydrocarbons with wind, solar, and prospectively hydrogen as power sources. In most countries, this was combined with rejecting another environmentalist bogeyman – nuclear power.

China, India, and other burgeoning economies ..... Read online     ..... pdf

Will war end the climate alarmist zeal of the central banks?

The Spectator, 21 March 2022

   Faced with implacable opposition from the Senate, Sarah Bloom Raskin, President Biden’s pick for supervising banks within the Federal Reserve (Fed), has withdrawn her candidature. During the Obama administration, she was one of the Fed’s seven governors and a Treasury deputy secretary.

Her rejection by the Senate was a result of her expressed intent ‘to incentivise a rapid, orderly, and just transition from fossil fuels and other high-emission investments’.

Not so long ago, that opinion would have not been a barrier to the job – indeed her appointments under Obama faced   ..... Read online       ..... pdf

Practicalities in addressing autocrats’ aggression

The Spectator, 11 March 2022

   The shock of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is that it demonstrated a form of aggression most people thought belonged to an earlier time.

Following the Napoleonic era, a war of conquest against a recognised sovereign state was considered legitimate only if fought in the name of national self-determination.

National self-determination remained a worthy goal in the Wilsonian world of 1918, but its practicalities were always uncertain in the mix of languages and what were deemed to be ‘races’ that still characterised Europe. Even territorial claims based on national coherence disappeared post-1945, though in certain circles aggression     ..... Read online       ..... pdf

Fresh gunpowder in the nostrils of politics

The Spectator, 2 March 2022

   Fresh gunpowder in everyone’s nostrils has brought a new political reality.

It was only this month that US Army Secretary, Christine Wormuth demonstrated where her focus lies by introducing emission reduction plans, which would de-fang her nation’s military with features like:

  • Investing in an all-electric non-tactical vehicle fleet by 2035.

  • Significantly reducing operational energy and water use.

  • Buying electricity from carbon-pollution-free generation sources.

  • Reducing direct greenhouse gas emissions that result from Army

       ..... Read online       ..... pdf

Closing coal? The real victims are Australian energy consumers

The Spectator, 23 February 2022

   If software billionaire Mike Cannon Brookes is Australia’s latest corporate raider, his bid for AGL redefines the whole notion of a corporate raider.

Historically, corporate raiders have sought to profitably reinvigorate under-performing assets, but Mr Cannon Brookes ostensibly seeks to close down the target firm’s assets whether or not they are under-performing. Cannon Brookes is the junior partner in the bid which is led by Brookfield, a $250 billion real estate developer and manager with renewable energy comprising about ten per cent of its assets.

AGL has developed from a Sydney gas         ..... Read online       ..... pdf

Let’s remove government regulations that undermine electricity

The Spectator, 17 February 2022

   Today’s announcement of the early closure of the Eraring power station means that, with the Liddell station scheduled to close next year, almost half of New South Wales coal generation capacity will have closed.

Contrary to the propaganda, those closures are not because the coal stations have become uneconomic. They are due to competing energy supplies – wind and solar – having been subsidised by governments. This lowers the market price when those intermittent sources are running (while raising the overall price to consumers) and imposes stop-start costs on coal generators.

The loss of the coal generators will mean much ..... Read online       ..... pdf

Future Policy Directions For Australian Electricity Supply

A Submission to the Draft 2022 Integrated System Plan for the National Electricity Market of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)

9 February 2022

................ ..... Read submission here

Can Big Tech remain as the arbiter of politics?

The Spectator, 4 February 2022

   Increasingly, climate change is coming to dominate energy supply and indeed the whole economy.

Modest changes to the climate are taking place as a result of human activity releasing CO2 – mainly by burning oil, coal and gas – but this isn’t bringing adverse outcomes like fires, floods, hurricanes, pestilences, etc.

Combatting emissions by seeking to replace hydrocarbons with wind, solar and hydrogen is, however, having very serious economic consequences in costs to consumers and taxpayers while bringing about deindustrialisation of western economies, like Australia, which are implementing policies to restrain CO2 ..... Read online       ..... pdf

The re-enthronement of capitalism: are ‘woke’ investment funds falling behind?

The Spectator, 26 January 2022

   Over many years now, superannuation funds have been orientating their investments towards options that avoid unapproved Environmental and Social goods or Governance structures (ESG).

The governance part involves avoiding firms with boards and senior executives containing too many white males and, therefore, inadequate ‘diversity’. The Environmental and Social parts used to mean avoiding firms in the defence and tobacco industries, but the pariahs in the modern woke world are hydrocarbons – coal, gas, and oil. These and some other industries, like forestry and nuclear power, are targeted by the legions of non-government organisations which are largely funded by governments and wealthy elites, some of whom owe their for ..... Read online       ..... pdf

Australians mugged by taxes and regulations

The Spectator, 18 January 2022

   Issued last Friday was a new Victorian government review of ‘embedded networks’, which act as the electricity retailer to co-located customer groups in dwelling clusters like flats and caravan sites. The panel of four conducting the review included two consumer activists from the Victorian Government-funded Consumer Action Law Centre, and another member from the renewable energy lobby group, the Clean Energy Council.

The panel’s recommendations purport to introduce some measures that will prevent cheating of consumers by suppliers and other measures designed to give consumers better value. While speculating about how consumers served by embedded networks    ..... Read online       ..... pdf

The four horsemen of the economic apocalypse

The Spectator, 6 January 2022

   The appearance of Covid brought a resurgence of fears of Armageddon.

Conscious of mankind’s imperfections, ancient settled societies envisaged a destructive reckoning that could only be averted by the people’s acceptance of and subservience to a warrior god. Jews, Christians, and Muslims have their own versions, as does Marxist Leninism.

The Christian version features the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, each one soothing personal unhappiness with measures that carry seeds that worsen it.  ..... Read online       ..... pdf

Is Frydenberg’s post-Covid economic optimism justified?

The Spectator, 21 December 2021

   Josh Frydenberg was pleased with last week’s midyear economic review issued by Treasury. He preened himself, opining that the Covid spendathon had kept the economy ticking over and that the future was a deluge of new jobs, higher incomes, and what he described as one of the world’s ‘strongest recoveries’.

He declared, ‘Our economic plan is working!’

Glossed over was some of the enduring economic damage which government policies have left in their wake. The bottom line is that we’ve seen a permanent uplift in government spending. At a level of 28.7 per cent of GDP this year, it barely falls in future   ..... Read online       ..... pdf

 

There will be a reckoning for renewables

The Spectator, 13 December 2021

   With COP26 a recent memory, the looming federal election has again pushed renewable electricity into the limelight.

Despite the campaign promises of federal politicians, electricity systems are constitutionally the responsibility of state governments. Accordingly, in the push for glory and accolades from the media and the renewable lobby, state governments have foisted a series of renewable electricity targets onto their constituents.

In 2015, the Queensland government committed to supplying 50 per cent of the state’s electricity demand from wind and solar by 2030. The effect of this on the existing Queensland government- ..... Read online       ..... pdf

Is the ALP ‘powering the future’?

The Spectator, 7 December 2021

   With the collapse of the Soviet bloc came a disenchantment with socialist planning as an alternative to market capitalism.

 

Environmentalism, seeking to reverse specious damage allegedly caused by market capitalism, became the alternative paradigm.

In the context of confected global warming alarmism, the enemies of free markets now focus on interventions to prevent greenhouse gas emissions. Central to such interventions is a forced replacement of hydrocarbons – coal, gas, and oil – by wind and solar. In addition, we have unattainable technologies like hydrogen being crowbarred into prominence by faddists and subsidy seekers.   ..... Read online       ..... pdf

Remembering Adam Smith before it’s too late

The Spectator, 3 December 2021

   Adam Smith in his Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, marvelled at the way the factory system made vast improvements in productivity due to its division of labour.

In his pin-making factory example, he estimated that this allowed 4,000 pins a day per worker to be manufactured, while one man working alone would probably only make one such pin. A modern manufacturing plant, like a car factory, assembles in pre-arranged formats tens of thousands of ‘pins’. Many, like semiconductor chips, are manufactured in climate-controlled facilities largely by robots.

Smith attributed the success of the nascent  ..... Read online       ..... pdf 

Why are we borrowing from Build Back Better?

The Spectator, 25  November 2021

   Seventeen Nobel winning American economists have said that the Biden Administration’s $1.7 trillion “Build Back Better” program, will increase growth without inflation. They include well-known names like George Akerlof – husband of US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen — Daniel Kahneman, Robert Shiller, Robert Solow and Joseph Stiglitz. Other US based Nobel economists, of which there are 27, (incongruously, including the left-wing Paul Krugman) did not sign the petition. Almost all Nobel Prize-winning economists are US based.  

The President claims the “Build Back Better” program’s cost, itself seriously underestimated, is fully offset by taxes. This is untrue and, moreover, not relevant since increased taxation will cause   ..... Read online       ..... pdf 

ScoMo’s climate modelling is even dodgier than his climate policy

The Spectator, 14  November 2021

   The government went to Glasgow to sell its net zero emissions by 2050 policy to world leaders. 

  

The policy was based on heroic assumptions like green hydrogen – at present not even a pistil hoping to be fertilised — becoming the cheapest source of electricity, and solar power, which presently costs $70 per MWh as long as suppliers dictate demand, falling to $15 per MWh. Its low credibility was recognised by the legion of green left loonies in Glasgow, who awarded Australia the “Colossal Fossil” for measures that least promote the undermining of current living standards. 

Now we have the “modelling” ostensibly behind ..... Read online       ..... pdf 

COP26 and the climate cult’s schizophrenia

The Spectator,  7 November 2021

   British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, in addressing the fashionable fiction of human-induced climate change used the hackneyed phrase “It’s one minute to midnight on that doomsday clock and we need to act now”. He even conscripted Prince Charles’ relatives to the cause, thereby lighting a slow fuse under the 1135-year-old monarchical institution.  

President Biden has taken leadership of the issue but due to the failure of Congress to pass the “build back better” spendathon, Myron Eball of the Competitive Enterprise Institute argues that the US has ”little to offer but hot air” but that its policies will bring “increasing energy prices and economic collapse”.      ..... Read online         ..... pdf 

Farewell ScoMo, hello crippling costs of climate fantasy

The Spectator,  28 October 2021

   Scott Morrison is heading off to lead Australia’s team at the Glasgow climate change meeting. He goes with a formula that will continue the nation’s shuffling towards diminished income levels from the politically motivated sabotage of the economy.   

Like Joe Biden and most other leaders who have decided to attend, Scott Morrison brings nothing extra to the table. Amidst the Conference’s impassioned pleas and scary stories, there will be no dramatic new pledges, no carbon border tariffs, no methane-driven constraint on beef growers and further deferrals in the promised gifting of $100 billion a year “compensation” the rich nations have promised poor nations. Voices from climate realists and alarmists alike     .... Read online         .....pdf 

ScoMo, net-zero, that deal – and the death of the Nationals?

The Spectator,  24 October 2021

   Like MPs from other political parties, the Nationals are motivated by self-interest with rare infusions of the public interest represented by Matthew Canavan and few others.  Apparently, enough rural MPs have been persuaded by opinion research purporting to show that rural seats’ voters believe the loud voices declaring “net zero” will be good for the regions. Others realise that any funding and regulatory compensations offered for sacrificing mining and farming would be meagre.    

Deputy Nationals leader  David Littleproud says that cast iron guarantees can be offered to protect regional Australia. He claims the Nationals have triumphed in “securing but also growing regional jobs into the future.”  This is absurd.     .... Read online         .....pdf 

Why won’t the advocates tell us the cost of net-zero?

The Spectator, 17 October 2021

   Nowhere in the world can wind and solar compete without subsidies which drive out more competitive supplies and eventually raise electricity costs and/or taxes. One manifestation of the cost stemming from increased renewables supplies can be seen in the price of electricity. The average electricity price alongside the penetration of wind/solar for the 15 largest economies in the world shows this pattern.  The relationship of wind/solar and price indicates the share of renewables accounts for 64 per cent of the difference in prices between these major economies.  (Other causes include policies on nuclear energy as well as natural endowments and pricing regulations). 

Most of Australia’s more grounded      .... Read online   .....pdf (unedited)

Much Pain for Net Zero Gain

Quadrant, 13 October 2021

   It is this simple: skyrocketing world electricity prices stem from renewables policies. Notwithstanding the avalanche of propaganda we are seeing throughout the country, no wind or solar gets built anywhere in the world without subsidies paid by taxpayers and customers.  In Australia’s case these costs are $10 billion a year in grants and network spending. 

The genesis of the current malaise has been closures of generating plants which have been demonised by the politically correct. In Europe this mainly involves coal.  Those countries that have been particularly severely hit by the present crisis are the UK and Spain, both of which have closed 80 per cent of their coal capacity – and Germany, which has closed about one third of its coal.  Germany also suffers from having closed  .... Read online

The Business Council of Australia’s green schizophrenia

The Sepctator, 11 October 2021

   The Business Council of Australia is a pale imitation of the body that pioneered economic reform and deregulation 30-40 years ago. Nowadays it is dominated by firms in service industries who support green policies which for many of them are important sources of revenue in trading and advisory functions.   

Most of the rump of BCA members involved in mining production, gas and electricity and manufacturing are acutely aware of their dependence on government.  In addition to commercial support this includes protection from the NGO activities that impaired business in recent decades but also against the increasing numbers of green left regulatory and judicial appointments.    .... Read online          .....pdf

Beware a blind charge to net-zero emissions

The Spectator, 30 September 2021

   In the prologue to the UN Glasgow meeting on climate change, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has been preparing the ground for an Australian statement announcing a goal of “net zero” emissions.  He is doing so on the basis of “if rape is inevitable lie down and enjoy it”, arguing that banks and investors are increasingly requiring net-zero and that there is increasing investor appetite for Australian renewable energy (wind and solar) with $35 billion invested in it since 2017.    

Left unsaid was that all that $35 billion in investment was made possible by the direct and indirect subsidies to wind and solar.  This was made clearer by New South wales Energy Minister, Matt Kean, who has no misgivings about the forthcoming triumph of ren ..... Read online      .....pdf

Australia’s Obscene Green Subsidy Machine

Quadrant, 6 October 2021

   When an ALP government introduced a “carbon price” on electricity in 2012 it was sold as a neutral tax. It was, of course, nothing of the sort.

 

The tax was on the carbon content of fossil fuels, but a neutral tax would have had the new tax replace other imposts. In fact, mandatory levels of renewable energy required of every retailer, which were the major Commonwealth subsidies to wind/solar, were left in place, as were other support mechanisms. In addition, there were state schemes, though at the time these were still modest in scope.

At its 2014 rate of $24 per tonne, Labor’s carbon tax, if applied to all fossil fuel inputs into electricity, would have raised $3.7 billion  .... Read online

If we’re all such good friends and allies, there’ll be no carbon tariffs? Right?

The Spectator, 20 September 2021

   Almost daily, supposedly pro-business outlets publish material calling for net zero emissions, carbon taxes and the abandonment of coal in the cause of curing the synthetic problem of human induced dangerous climate change.  Never do they disclose the existing $7 billion a year cost of subsidies, further boosted by frequent spending announcements like the $1.5 billion pursuing of will o’ the wisp schemes for energy from hydrogen.  Only occasionally, for example in addressing the mounting costs of Turnbull’s Snowy 2 folly, does it refer to other expenses being incurred, and even then it is from a perspective of seeking even more subsidies to renewables.  

The Financial Review’s Jennifer Hewitt is not be the ... Read online     .....pdf

There’s so much wrong with Anthony Albanese’s ‘Green ANZUS’

The Spectator, 15 September 2021

   Rehearsing what he says is Labor’s long commitment to the American alliance, Anthony Albanese has sought to modernise this, saying, “ On coming to office, I will make comprehensive US-Australia co-operation on climate change a hallmark of our alliance.” 

That agenda is being set by political commentary on the recent IPCC report’s climate forecast.  The report, delivered last month, contained some concocted data on previous centuries, temperature data that disappeared the warmer climate in Roman times and the Viking era and cooler eras post 400 AD and in the four centuries to 1850.  That apart, the recent IPCC report was rather less gloomy than some earlier ones regarding adverse temperatures and climatic .... Read online     .....pdf

The ongoing woke undermining of Australia’s economy

New Catallaxy, 7 September 2021

   The march of the woke inspired destruction of the free-market economy continues apace. The additional baggage it is being required to carry is evident from articles and views from the past couple of day’s media.

The Business Council of Australia continues to call for additional costs to be imposed on the firms it is supposed to represent. Its CEO Jennifer Westacott wants to make domestic violence leave a right.  The sixty something says her mother was abused so why should not employers be required compensate women for being assaulted by their husbands/lovers?!                                                                        .... Read online

The UN says no coal by 2030

The Spectator, 7 September 2021

   Reminding us of what a difference a year makes was yesterday’s exhortation by UN Climate Action Team head Selwyn Hart, that Australia abandons coal by 2030. That means replacing electricity from coal which, in spite of facing incessant government penalties, provides two-thirds of the supply.  It also means sacrificing a fifth of our exports.   

 

A year ago, the 2015 Paris climate treaty appeared to be dying. With President Trump coasting to re-election, China simply mouthing support and India using the treaty as a fulcrum to extract rents from the west, only the EU was taking it seriously. And in doing so the EU was completing its decades-long transfer from industrial powerhouse to an interesting place to visit that had outsourced its carbon-emitting   ....Read online      ..... pdf

When Liberals Gussy Up in Green Drag

Quadrant Online, 2 September 2021

   The advice to governments from the Energy Security Board (ESB) recommendations on the post 2025 electricity market has brought howls of outrage from the renewable energy sector. Wind and solar electricity suppliers, who already get half their revenue from subsidies, were hoping for more of the same.  The ESB does envisage additional subsidies in the form of transmission lines to link remote supplies but the centrepiece proposal is a “capacity” payment to generators.  This rewards those generators able to be dispatched by the market manager, as opposed to relying on the weather to make them available.

The ESB policy proposal was motivated by fears that the breakneck increase in supply of inherently intermittent and unreliable ....Read online

Kabul: the harbinger of western decline or the catalyst for Trump’s return

The Spectator, 20 August 2021

   Recently revealed from the fall of Afghanistan is that President Obama exchanged Kairullah Khaikhwa, the public face of the Taliban leadership, along with four other jihadists for Bowe Bergdahl, a United States soldier turned traitor.  One interpretation of this deal is that it stemmed from Obama’s political naivete, or even contempt for his own nation.   

An alternative view is that the deal was the action of an imperious grandee confident that a benevolent gesture to a conquered backward adversary would do no harm. The latter interpretation is consistent with that of a woke administration that trumpets its cultural sensitivity but flies the rainbow flag on the US Embassy in Kabul.  To the  ....Read online      ..... pdf

The IPCC buries two millennia of fluctuating temperatures

The Spectator, 13 August 2021

   Probably nobody in the world has read the 3,949 pages of the latest IPCC report.  But many people have studied the 41 page politically determined, Summary for Policymakers.   Aside from rhetorical conjecture about increased human induced emissions of carbon dioxide bringing more storms, fires and pestilence, the following killer dual chart is placed at the outset of the Summary.   

If this is accurate, it means human actions have changed the climate by at least the 1.1°C temperature increase estimated by the world’s most distinguished and celebrated atmospheric physicist Richard Lindzen.  Lindzen’s fastidious reliance on science, positions him as estimating that a (human-induced) doubling of atmospheric CO2 will mean a 1.1°C global temperature rise. On his estimates, almost all of   ....Read online  ..... pdf

Will big financial institutions destroy our resources sector before the Greens?

The Spectator, 2 August 2021

   Last month Paul Kelly wrote that Australia was being inescapably propelled to adopting a Net Zero CO2 emissions policy, not by green activists or government policies but by global investment funds, “now mobilised in the climate cause”. 

Traditionally, investment funds have been passive stakeholders, buying and selling shares based on prospective returns.  An active approach, based on environmental, social, and governance — ESG — criteria is replacing this. The cornerstone of ESG is net CO2 neutrality.   

The common view is that investment in firms with rich ESG pedigrees is “closely linked with business resilience, competiti  ....Read online  ..... pdf

Another Green Spruiker Takes AEMO’s Helm

Quadrant, 17 July 2021

   As well as subsidy-seekers, governments, international institutions, business leaders and investment managers all conspire to close down cheap energy. The confected notion of harmful climate change is the justification for the dethronement of market forces and their replacement by a new clerisy of politicians and bureaucrats controlling the world’s economies. Though market forces would normally bring the demise of higher-cost suppliers, political and administrative, impediments under the Paris Accord on climate change are designed to prevent this, as my recent piece in The Spectator  explains. 

Although Australia is not (yet) formally adopting “net zero” emissions, there are strong pressures to do so.  In any event, Australia is   ....Read online

Net zero emissions? That will be $3000 for each of you, each year

The Spectator, 15 July 2021

   In a widely accepted assessment, Energy consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. estimate the carbon price must rise to $160 per ton by 2030 to restrict emissions to the “net-zero” level that the IPCC claims is necessary to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius.  

In crude terms, for Australia with CO2 equivalent emissions at an annual 500 million tonnes, net CO2 neutrality means a cost of $80 billion a year, or over $3,000 per head. The outcome would also entail closing much of the primary and secondary industry which define a modern economy.  

There is no shortage of interest groups seeking   ....Read online     .....pdf 

Forget the virus. We should be panicked by lost productivity

The Spectator, 30 June 2021

   The very definition of harmful advice is found in the Treasury’s five yearly Intergenerational Report, the latest edition of which was handed down on Monday.  In The Australian, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg acknowledged “there remains much work to be done”, but praised the report for its policy guidance.    

In his piece, Josh quoted one of Paul Krugman’s rare insights “Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it’s almost everything”.  

But that quote was probably Josh’s sole contribution to the piece.  You see, Josh has an economics degree and not all of it involved erroneous Keynesian macroeconomics, which advocates  ....Read online     .....pdf 

Also read about the Intergenerational Report on:   Catallaxy Files

Why don’t we hear about the $40,000 per household cost of decarbonisation?

The Spectator, 25 June 2021

   T he Irish Times reports that an IMF study of Ireland estimates that the nation will need to spend 20 billion euros a year – or five per cent of GDP – to meet its 2050 goal of net zero emissions of CO2 from the burning of coal, gas and oil.

In Australia, we are already edging towards the deplorable net zero target while not even formally embracing it. According to RBA estimates, we spend some $7 billion a year on large-scale renewables plus $3 billion a year on rooftop facilities.  

Wind and solar facilities cause so much damage ....Read online     .....pdf 

The western world’s elites conspire to outlaw cheap energy

The Spectator, 16 June 2021

   Aspirations of the “have nots” or “have too littles” have, through their elected representatives brought an inexorable growth in the size of government. Government in most western nations controls over half of GDP (it is 45 per cent in Australia) compared to under 25 per cent a century ago. Ironically, some notionally communist nations that ostensibly favour an enhanced government economic presence have relatively small government GDP shares – China (37 per cent) and Vietnam and Cambodia (23 per cent).   

Notwithstanding their diminishing non-government sectors, western economies have, to date, still retained scope for markets to bring about cost efficiencies and innovation — and hence rising living standards.    

But a corrosive undermining of economic         ....Read online   ..... pdf

The western world’s wealth-busting corporatist conspiracy against hydrocarbons

Catallaxy Files, 16 June 2021

   I have a piece in the Spectator this morning addressing how the world elites have conspired together ostensibly to combat a harmless gas (CO2), no conceivable accumulations of which could have more than a negligible affect on climate.  Politicians, national and international bureaucrats, financial institutions, leading business actors and the ‘intelligentsia’ have agreed to direct investment away from the hydrocarbon energy sources that have been essential to creating modern-day living standards.

As a backstop against capitalist competition finding chinks through the arrays of impediments to using the cheapest sources of energy, the western world is edging towards a complex system of carbon-content tariffs that will reinforce their wealth-busting iron grip.   ....Read more 

The G7, woke corporates and the end of capitalism

The Spectator, 9 June 2021

   The Bank of International Settlements, the