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Hayek and von Mises brilliant economists

As prime minister, Kevin Rudd (now Ambassador to the US) in his 2009 Monthly article said,

"Neo-liberal economic philosophy has its roots in the theories of Hayek and von Mises" and "Neo-liberals such as Alan Moran ... blahblahblah".

Only a genuine buffoon makes such a connection but:-

Thank You Kevin    .....Read here (if you wish) 

The nuclear gamble
The Spectator, 21 June 2024

   Finally, the Opposition has announced it is going to develop a nuclear power future for Australia. The government, along with the renewables subsidy-fuelled lobby, issued howls of derision. Too expensive. The community won’t accept it. Drawing from no less an authority than a Simpsons cartoon, Energy Minister Bowen declared nuclear energy will cause mutations including three-eyed fish.

Predictably the move was panned by renewable energy investor Malcolm Turnbull, who burnished his own energy credentials in creating Snowy 2 as a $2 billion solution to the intermittency problem of wind and solar that would be up and running by 2022. Snowy 2 will cost over $20 billion, not be ready by 2030 and will only provide a minor     .....Read online   .....pdf 

Recognising ignorance
The Spectator, 19 June 2024

   In March this year, Treasurer Jim Chalmers asked the Productivity Commission (PC) to assess competition-enhancing reform options to reinvigorate the stalled process of productivity gains. He did so against a decade-long background of flagging productivity gains and actual falls since 2022.

 

Illustrating his ignorance about why such alarming trends were taking place, the Treasurer asked the PC to recommend solutions in the context of ‘adapting to the Net Zero transition’ (code for forcing the displacement of low-cost coal with high-cost wind and solar) and the ‘expansion of the care and support economy’. These – together with regulatory amplifications covering housing, mining, and     .....Read online   .....pdf 

Government regulations are responsible for unaffordable housing
The Spectator, 11 June 2024

   The Australian house building (though not apartment building) industry is mainly non-unionised and therefore has low costs. But building a new house or apartment faces hundreds of different regulatory requirements. For houses, (which comprise over two-thirds of new dwellings) the most important of these is government regulation of land for building – especially on the periphery of cities.

The latest Demographia Index places the cost of buying the median house in Australia at 8.2 times the median income (up from 6.2 in 2004). For Sydney and Melbourne, buying the median home requires 13.3 and 9.9 times the median income respectively. Perth at 5.4 times the median income has the cheapest prices in Australia.    .....Read online   .....pdf 

Renewable energy subsidies undermine our economy
The Spectator, 6 June 2024

   Australia has seen a 20-year downward trend in productivity. Many other nations have seen similar trends and the cause is common: burgeoning growth of government squeezing out productive investment and an unrelenting surge in regulations, especially and notably so in Australia, covering fossil fuel both in its extraction and in its domestic use.

The Productivity Commission depicts the generally downward trend in productivity since the mid-1990s, punctuated by a mini recovery that petered out about a decade ago. In 2022-23 productivity actually fell by 3.7 per cent and remains below its 2021-22 level.     .....Read online   .....pdf 

Energy issues in the Commonwealth budget
Canberra Daily, 29 May 2024

   Energy and climate issues were front and central in the latest Commonwealth budget.

The government announced that taxpayers will plough $22.7 billion into Labor’s ‘Future Made in Australia’ agenda. That funding is also intended to help “unlock greater private investment”, which detractors say in reality invites an even greater wasteful use of funds. The policy focus is on eliminating coal and other fossil fuels by fostering five priority areas: green hydrogen, critical minerals, green metals, low carbon liquid fuels, and clean energy manufacturing.

In the past, we have seen governments seeking to build local industries which have proven successful overseas – largely by using  .....Read online   .....pdf 

Budget papers.jpeg

Budget review: net zero cannibalises our prosperity
The Spectator, 16 May 2024

   The public is receiving the Budget with a sense of bored irrelevance. People are pleased to see a $300 cut in their electricity bills, hoping that someone else is financing this, but eyes glaze over at the billions of dollars of taxpayer money with which the government promises to catapult the economy into the nirvana that is the green energy transition. And nobody seems concerned that spending is at its highest since the Hawke-Keating years of the early 1990s.

But the reality is this budget not only amplifies the already excessive government spending levels, but adds measures that aim to transform the economy by injecting unprecedented government   .....Read online   .....pdf

Victoria’s Budget reveals a state strangled by Labor
The Spectator, 10 May 2024

   Forty years ago, John Cain’s Victorian government commenced an era of extravagant expenditure turbocharged by the Victorian Economic Development Corporation (a forerunner of the Albanese government’s Future Made in Australia fund) and government deficits. As the chickens of this were coming home to roost in 1990, after eight years as Premier, he was replaced by Joan Kirner, a politician from the far left.

The nine-year reign of Dan Andrews saw a comparable massive expenditure increase including extravagant public service spending and was propelled by his Big Build infrastructure program. Andrews was last year replaced by Jacinta Allen, like Joan Kirner, from the socialist left.

    .....Read online   .....pdf 

The modern obsession with ‘green’ investment
The Spectator, 1 May 2024

   The recently deceased Charlie Munger of Berkshire Hathaway was arguably the most successful investor ever. He was noted for his pithy statements, one of which was, ‘Invest in a business any fool can run, because someday a fool will.’ Under his and Warren Buffett’s management, the fund adopts the standard portfolio investment theory of investing in all sectors but targeting firms with great management systems. The sectors in which Berkshire Hathaway invests include food, technology, retail, home building, motor vehicles (only EVs), traders, telecoms, and energy (both oil/gas and renewables). Warren Buffett said about the latter, ‘We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms … that’s the only reason to build them.’

Many other investment funds do not follow this      .....Read online   .....pdf 

Debate over Albanese’s public sector investment in clean energy
Canberra Daily, 26 April 2024

   Mr Albanese’s government has announced a new plan to have the public sector as ‘a participant, a partner, an investor and enabler’ in selecting areas for support, with the focus on ‘clean energy’ and new industries.

There is so much wrong with this. 

In particular, the investment in clean energy is already destroying the low-cost electricity and gas that have underpinned our industry and agriculture. And it is doing so with subsidies extracted from consumers and taxpayers that amount to $15.5 billion a year.   .....Read online   .....pdf 

Broken Promises - Broken Budget

The Spectator, 22 April 2024

   In December 2021, Anthony Albanese announced his ‘plan’ to reduce electricity prices by $275 per household by 2025. He said he was certain of such a price reduction, ‘because we have done the modelling’. According to Selectra, the average bill was $145 higher in March 2024 than in November 2021.

Government measures are targeted at the ‘energy transition’ to Net Zero emissions of carbon dioxide by replacing coal and gas with wind and solar. As a result of this support, renewable energy is forcing low-cost coal capacity out of the market. But rather than producing benefits from what politicians tell us is the lowest cost form of electricity, the wholesale electricity price has risen to over $100 per MWh    ..... Read online   .....pdf 

Albanese’s Net Zero protectionism
The Spectator, 15 April 2024

   Australian governments are forcing a “transition” in electricity supply from coal (and gas) to wind and solar. Though the ACT has virtually no electricity generation other than that from rooftops, it leads the way in terms of its purchasing contracts for grid-sourced renewables.

Wind and solar have different operating characteristics than coal and gas electricity generators. Coal and gas (and nuclear) can operate pretty much continuously but weather and nightfall limits solar to generating only 20 per cent of the time and wind to about 30 per cent. And electricity supply from wind and solar generators is highly variable.

With wind/solar at their present market share of   ..... Read online   .....pdf 

We have a problem with democracy

The Spectator, 4 April 2024

   The UK Reform Party, whose President is Nigel Farage, is campaigning for a referendum on ‘Net Zero’. However, YouGov polling has 71 per cent of all voters (63 per cent of Conservatives) supporting the overall Net Zero target. The majority vote is conditioned by agitprop claiming catastrophic global warming is occurring due to the burning of fossil fuels, that a consensus of nations is taking action to prevent this, and that the cost of doing so is trivial.

None of this is true.

Although mediocre scientists are on the global warming cart, the giants – think Richard Lindzen, Willie Soon, Will Happer, Ole ..... Read online   .....pdf 

Australia’s government-induced transition to a high-cost, unreliable electricity supply
Canberra Daily, 2 April 2024

   Australian governments are forcing a “transition” in electricity supply from coal (and gas) to wind and solar. Though the ACT has virtually no electricity generation other than that from rooftops, it leads the way in terms of its purchasing contracts for grid-sourced renewables.

Wind and solar have different operating characteristics than coal and gas electricity generators. Coal and gas (and nuclear) can operate pretty much continuously but weather and nightfall limits solar to generating only 20 per cent of the time and wind to about 30 per cent. And electricity supply from wind and solar generators is highly variable.

With wind/solar at their present market share of   ..... Read online   .....pdf 

Fatal flaws exposed in the Net Zero transition. What is to be done?

The Spectator, 26 March 2024

   According to NSW’s Ausgrid, the most recent AEMO draft Integrated System Plan (ISP) for electricity supply will require $325 billion for transmission to meet Net Zero emissions by 2050.

Aside from blowing the lid on this element of Net Zero’s cost, the call for submissions on the draft ISP allowed a sliver of realism to be voiced.

Electricity suppliers, including the major generation businesses, (who are also beneficiaries of renewable energy subsidies), warned the government and its appointed advisers that their time-frame for closing down coal and most gas generators is impossible.     ..... Read online   .....pdf 

Costs of subsidies for renewable energy and associated need for energy storage - Read here
March 2024

The grim cost of firming up solar and wind
The Spectator, 20 March 2024

   The ‘transition’ of the electricity supply industry has been forced by government subsidies to renewable energy generators with increased impositions on coal and gas with higher royalty charges and bans playing a secondary role. The first subsidies were introduced by John Howard in 2001 as the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target. He later described this as his worst political decision. It required electricity retailers gradually to include wind or solar to comprise 2 per cent of their additional energy. This was quantified as 9,500 megawatt hours.

These measures pandered to concerns about the global warming. They also responded to lobbyists, who wheeled out experts claiming that renewable energy technology would follow a variation of Moore’s Law,

 ..... Read online   .....pdf 

Energy Policy and How to Fix it
Quadrant Online, 15 March 2024

   Many people have personal concerns about the pursuit of green energy by governments, federally and state. The visual intrusion, the land-hungry windfarms and solar panels and the extensive enlargement of the transmission network required to accommodate them have a marked effect on individuals’ environments and livelihoods. But the more fundamental issue is the destruction of our economy and living standards from the policies being ruthlessly pursued by both Labor and – sad to say – Coalition parties and governments.

In pursuit of the myth that emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels is bringing about a change in the global climate, throughout the Western world governments are spending inordinate  ..... Read online   .....pdf 

Retrieving Australia’s energy policy disaster
The Spectator, 29 February 2024

   Australian governments are in denial but it’s clear that the great green revolution they planned for energy supply has failed abysmally. Supply has become precarious and electricity prices to households and commercial users alike are skyrocketing. This is threatening the ongoing viability of industries like nickel and aluminium smelting where energy accounts for a third of the costs.

Rather than abandoning the folly of an energy policy dictated by ideology and bereft of industry knowledge, governments are responding with ever more market interventions. These attempts to remedy the adverse effects of the interventions already in place will aggravate the economic injuries.

Federal and state government measures impose a  ..... Read online   .....pdf 

The solution to our government-induced malaise

The Spectator, 19 February 2024

   Studying last month’s Davos meeting of the world’s (largely self-appointed) elites, Walter Russell Mead sees an inflection point.

He says that when they listened to Argentinian President Milei promoting free market capitalism, the Davosies’ applause was more than polite clapping. There was a sense that all was not well in the supposed government-planned China, and a recognition that the more hands-on EU governmental approach has resulted in Europe slipping behind the US with its lighter government touch over the economy. This was coupled with a concern that the farmer revolts around Europe reflected a sudden rejection of trust in the establishment. Above all, Ukraine has made the Euro grandees ‘uncomfortably aware of how dependent the     ..... Read online   .....pdf 

The stumbling journey of EVs
Canberra Daily, 17 February 2024

   The forecast triumph of electric vehicles (EVs) is facing headwinds.

In the US last year, Ford lost $US64,731 for each EV it sold – almost as much as the selling price for the top-of-the-line Mustang Mach-E. GM is also facing difficulties and, like Ford, has re-jigged its production plans back towards the internal combustion engine. Also, mounting losses have forced Hertz to radically reduce its EV fleet.

And in Europe, reduced subsidies for EVs brought a 16 per cent sales fall in Germany last year with a further 9 per cent decline expected this year. In France, Renault was forced to abort plans to float its EV division on the stock exchange. Electric commercial vehicle makers have fared even worse. Several, including Volvo’s subsidiary and the UK’s   ..... Read online   .....pdf 

Plucking the income goose
The Spectator, 8 February 2024

   Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Louis XIV’s celebrated Finance Minister, is reported to have said, ‘The act of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to procure the largest quantity of feathers with the least possible amount of squealing.’ Populist politics suggests that policies which allow high earners to keep more of their earnings are always electorally risky, even though high tax rates on high income earners discourages enterprise, bringing long-term adverse effects on wealth creation.

 

So, the Labor government has abandoned the Stage 3 tax cuts, which it supported six years ago whilst in Opposition. This was to have removed some of the bracket creep caused by inflation which pushes taxpayers into higher income tax bands. The proposals would       ..... Read online   .....pdf 

Will this be the summer of Daniel?
The Spectator, 31 January 2024

   'Wholesale electricity prices on the East Coast have halved from 2022 levels, reflecting the increasing role that low-cost renewables are playing in daily generation,’ announced an excited AEMO press release, citing comments from chief Daniel Westerman.

 

But hold the front page!

 

Just to confirm that ‘one swallow a summer does not make’, the average 2023 price was around $120. That’s three times its level in 2015, which is the year before it became evident that the subsidies to renewables – now costing over $10 billion a year – had destroyed Australia’s low-cost coal-based electricity supply.     ..... Read online   .....pdf 

Will 2024 mark a turning point?
Canberra Daily, 20 & 23 January 2024

   The ACT projects itself as a pioneer in the global movement towards “Net Zero” emissions of carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases”.

The Territory has contracted for 100 per cent wind/solar electricity (though as an integral part of the NSW region its actual supply is 70 per cent coal derived). It has been a pioneer in subsidising electric vehicles and is a “first mover” in banning direct use of natural gas; those measures that are claimed to bring lower emissions by replacing coal, oil and gas with wind and solar.

The Territory’s position appears to be consistent with the communiqué issued in Dubai at the 28th annual Conference of the Parties (COP 28) of the UN Climate Change Convention. The COP 28     ..... Read online   .....pdf 

Renewables: an expensive nightmare to nowhere
The Spectator, 16 January 2024

   Plans for the elimination of coal require increasing regulatory measures and ever-escalating levels of government spending.

Federally, the ALP has built upon the measures introduced by the Turnbull and Morrison governments with increased funding for ‘Clean Energy’ projects, the Safeguard Mechanism (requiring the biggest 215 electricity users to reduce their emissions by 30 per cent by 2030), and the Capacity Investment Scheme (CIS) which provides subsidies to developments that add ‘firming’ capacity to improve the reliability of the weather and daylight reliant wind and solar.

Climate Change and Energy Minister, Chris Bowen, won’t say how much the CIS contracts are costing. He says that’s because     ..... Read online   .....pdf 

20 years since John Howard’s renewable energy policy
The Spectator, 5 January 2024

   It is now just over 20 years since John Howard introduced a renewable energy policy which required wind/solar-generated electricity to be incorporated within energy retailers’ total supply. This gave those sources of energy a de facto subsidy. That basic subsidy presently is $50 per megawatt hour for large-scale solar and wind – rather more than the total price of generated energy formerly experienced – and $40 per megawatt hour for rooftop solar.

 

John Howard recognised the error he had made and that subsidised energy would, if allowed to expand, undermine the electricity supply’s economics. He refused to increase the capped amount of subsidised wind and solar from its initial 9,500 gigawatt hours (nominally 2    ..... Read online   .....pdf 

The energy Grinch
The Spectator, 27 December 2023

   Just before Christmas, the CSIRO presented the government with an analysis in support of their beliefs that wind and solar are the cheapest electricity supply sources. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) also issued its latest Integrated Systems Plan (ISP), carrying a similar but more nuanced message.

 

Overlooking evidence that the higher the share of renewables the higher the electricity price, CSIRO’s analysis (GenCost 2023-24) also rejected concerns that the intermittent nature of renewables would translate to impossibly high costs.

 

Implicitly, the report endorsed the COP28 climate forum’s communique

  ..... Read online   .....pdf

Australian farms among most productive in the world
Canberra Daily, 21 December 2023

   Aside from farmers’ skills, a nation’s agricultural potential is dependent on three key variables: good rainfall, plentiful sunshine and secure rights over the land that is being used for farming purposes.

While Australia has plenty of sunshine, it is the driest continent by a considerable distance. However, reasonably secure property rights and a have-a-go attitude have brought Australian farms to be among the most productive in the world. Australian farmers produce about twice as much agricultural output as the population consumes.

“Riding on the sheep’s back” is a hackneyed but not inaccurate description of the Australian success story at least until the past 50 years when mining rose to prominence.

An indispensable part of the success of agriculture has been irrigation. This has severely reduced     ..... Read online   .....pdf

From West to East: shifting global power via Net Zero
The Spectator, 21 December 2023

   The 28th annual scourging of fossil fuel users, the Conference of Parties (COP28), has been and gone. Like the previous 27 meetings, it has issued a lofty statement of intent but unlike other recent meetings there was no Greta Thunberg. Her absence appeared to relate to limited protest options in the oil potentate United Arab Emirates.

Some observers regard the final COP agreement as a radical intensification of the fight against coal since it mentions phasing out the demonic fuel for the first time. Others argue this is an exaggeration since the conference advocates a phase-out only ‘in a just, orderly, and equitable manner’.

In fact, although the ‘commitments’ at the COP talkfests are voluntary,

..... Read online   .....pdf

ACT energy policy denies consumers choice
Canberra Daily, 13 December 2023

   Green climate activists initially preferred gas over electricity for power supplies. They did so because, per unit of energy, the CO2 emission levels of gas are about half those of coal, which remains, albeit to a diminishing extent, the mainstay of electricity power generation. But each new regulatory victory in extending the subsidies for wind and solar to replace low-cost and more reliable coal in electricity generation has led activists to raise the ante. Some have dishonestly claimed lower gas use, as well as helping prevent a fictitious “global boiling”, will also reduce non-existent health risks from gas fumes.

On 8 December, the ACT became the first Australian jurisdiction to ban gas connections to new housing developments.      ..... Read online   .....pdf

Capacity Investment Scheme hog-ties nation to energy woes
The Spectator, 9 December 2023

   Market regulation is designed to modify the outputs of, and inputs to, goods and services. In doing so, they will not only cause higher costs and prices but also bring unanticipated distortions that require additional regulations that normally magnify cost increases.

Nowhere is this more apparent than with regulations placed over the Australian electricity market and the expanded subsidies envisaged under the government’s recently announced Capacity Investment Scheme.

Electricity is the building block for modern production and human comfort. It involves the cost of generation, the cost of transporting it through poles and wires, and the cost of administering that process.

   ..... Read online   .....pdf

The broken water politics of the Murray Darling Basin
The Spectator, 25 November 2023

   Twenty-five years ago, initiating a pattern that is now commonplace, a group of radical environmentalists calling themselves scientists launched a campaign to re-allocate water, then being used in agricultural production, to the ‘environment’. The claim was that agriculture, and especially irrigation, was causing environmental stress through salinisation of the soil and erosion.

As usual with such activist claims, the facts showed them to be totally baseless. There is no serious soil or water salinisation in Australia other than that which occurs naturally. Moreover, it is ludicrous to suggest that farming is causing soil stress when both farm productivity and farm output has increased steadily for two centuries. A Parliamentary Committee examined the matter and agreed with that conclusion.         ..... Read online   .....pdf

Labor cannot escape blame for economic woes
The Spectator, 17 November 2023

   The Australian Financial Review’s Michael Read demonstrated how Australia experienced a sharp reduction in living standards during the third quarter of 2023, an outcome not seen within the OECD as a whole.

Productivity is the key to income levels and it has been falling in Australia. Real output per hour worked, following a brief post-lockdown recovery (the red line below) on the latest data (the June quarter of 2023), was over 7 per cent below the average level at the March quarter of 2022. The widening gap between wages (the blue line below), which continues to grow, albeit sluggishly, and productivity is unsustainable. Inflation is inevitable with such a gap.      ..... Read online   .....pdf

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The Paris crowd
The Spectator, 07 November 2023

   Last month, the Paris-based OECD published its latest assessment of the Australian economy.

Nobody read it other than those people paid to do so. And it did not, and could not, better inform anybody of desirable future directions because all it did was repeat the bromides and policies that Australian government departments – mainly the Treasury – served up. Those policies were eagerly accepted by the OECD report writers since they are cadres in the same group-think team.

Predictably, the OECD assessment recognised a problem with the Australian government’s fiscal deficit. But, just as predictably, ..... Read online   .....pdf

The Bowen delusion
The Spectator, 30 October 2023

   Both the ALP and the Coalition, ostensibly as a means to reduce national emissions of CO2, espouse wind and solar supported by regulations and financial subsidies.

As well as causing increased taxes, disadvantaging coal means higher energy prices across the board. Political leaders fail to explain this – often because they don’t understand why prices rise.

Governments prefer consumers to refrain from asking where these price rises come from. After all, when it comes to energy, the government is acting in the interest of the consumer. Allegedly.

John Howard’s original regulation, 20 years ago was to force electricity     ..... Read online   .....pdf

Chasing idiocy: how subsidies power our energy price hikes
The Spectator, 24 October 2023

   If we looked at the picture for Australia in the mid-90s, the electricity industry was massively overstaffed and the gas industry was dissipating the wealth that Exxon had discovered in Bass Strait.

In the case of electricity, Victoria led the way, and one simple figure illustrates the benefits brought about by privatisation and the introduction of competition. Generation Victoria was the monopoly supplier. Prior to reforms, which were ironically initiated by socialist Premier Joan Kirner, it employed 25,000 people; by the early 2000s, the numbers employed, including consultants and contractors, were under 3,000. At the same time the output, in terms of the power stations’ availabilities to run, had lifted from somewhere in the mid-70 per cent.    ..... Read online   .....pdf

Albanese’s heavy-handed government
The Spectator, October 2023

   The contrast between the ALP’s most successful government – the Hawke-Keating government – and that of Mr Albanese is easily recognisable. By and large, Hawke led a party that had transformed itself from the wreckage of the previous Whitlam government’s dalliance with extreme socialistic policies. Mr Albanese leads a government that is a reversion to the Whitlam policies cloaked in more modern green-imbued garb.

The government led by Bob Hawke set about to differentiate itself, not only from the socialism of Whitlam, but from a Liberal/National Coalition that had not deviated from a path involving government increasingly constraining business operations.     ..... Read online   .....pdf

Labor in office: time to take stock
The Spectator, 28 September 2023

   The Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the Energy Minister were supposedly somewhat trained as economists, but all three fail to grasp the discipline’s basic principles.

 

Energy Minister Bowen claims that his renewables program will create 60,000 jobs by replacing ‘legacy’ coal plants with wind and solar facilities plus the increase in power lines and batteries that replacement will entail.

 

While increases in jobs (and/or income levels) may result from the services stemming from government spending, Mr Bowen’s numbers refer to the gross jobs involved in the construction activities  ..... Read online   .....pdf

Unexpected costs
The Spectator, 17 September 2023

   Manipulated estimates of Levelised Cost of Energy tables showing wind and solar to be the cheapest supplies of energy are contradicted by the trends on actual electricity costs and inter-country comparisons.

 

The readily available data by country for the wind and solar renewables share and price of electricity show a high share of renewables is concomitant with high electricity costs. The cheapest electricity is found in the nations with the lowest renewable energy share: Saudi Arabia, Russia, India, UAE and Korea. Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy have high prices and high renewables shares.     ..... Read online   .....pdf

The RBA’s Cock and Bullock Climate Myth
Quadrant Online, 8 September 2023

   In recent years, getting promoted to the most senior ranks of the bureaucracy has been conditional upon the candidate being either immersed in the ruling polity’s ideology or proving willing to subordinate “frank and fearless” advice to political pragmatism. Those climbing to the top in economic or environmental policy areas have had to assure their political masters they are on board with human-induced catastrophic climate change and that wind/solar (and the hydrogen fantasy) are the only antidotes. 

Michele Bullock showed this in titling her first speech as governor-designate as, Climate change and central banks. Her previous public statements made no mention of the issue. These included this before the Senate and this in June (when she had her hat in the ring), ..... Read online  

Spinning the myth of Global Warming for corporate gain
The Spectator, 25 August 2023

   Although in 2011, the Commonwealth Budget papers compiled all the measures that were being implemented to foster renewable energy, that assembly ceased, presumably, because it was recognised as being antipathetic to the notion that wind and solar were cheaper than the fossil fuels that they were destined to supplant.

 

The myth of human-induced global warming has always been a mixture of scientific chicanery and businesses, seeking to leverage a competitive advantage over their rivals.

 

For scientists – at least those in the public sector – global warming provided the opportunity to be listened to by politicians and the public, to attend international gatherings, and be shown the respect they felt was previously lacking.     ..... Read online     .....pdf

The onset of bankruptcy: from green to red
The Spectator, 13 August 2023

   CSIRO'S GenCost analysis, which gives cover to Ministerial actions to replace coal and gas with wind and solar, has been revealed as a series of factoids that make wind and solar energy appear cheap because the infrastructure required to transport it, the storage required to firm it and its subsidies are all just assumed to be costlessly in place.

 

here are also growing grassroots concerns about the collateral land use and environmental damage to rural and suburban communities from the wind and solar farms and their associated transmission lines.

 

Energy Minister Chris Bowen has plans to increase regulatory imposts on energy and extend them to Industry, the Built Environment, Agriculture and Land, Transport, and Resources.  ..... Read online     .....pdf

Global Boiling: Net Zero hysteria catches fire while Greens meltdown
The Spectator, 3 August 2023

   UN Secretary-General António Guterres has declared ‘the era of global boiling has arrived’. Australia’s Teals and Greens no doubt eagerly grasped at the ‘terrifying’ words.

 

Greens Senator Nick McKim went into a state of peak catastrophism when he said, ‘Shut your mouth! People are dying because of … sociopaths like you.’ It was a comment directed toward Matt Canavan. He was swiftly asked to withdraw the remarks. ‘I withdraw, and I’m not going to cop interjections from sociopaths like Senator Canavan. I will not cop it and I won’t…’

 

The invective attests to blind adherence to the ideology of human-induced climate change that is failing to occur and  ..... Read online     .....pdf

The $10 billion cabal of renewable subsidies killing coal
The Spectator, 24 July 2023

   A t this time, the attack on fossil fuels, particularly coal, is at a crescendo. In North America with the dishonestly named Inflation Reduction Act and the European Union with its Green Deal, key government institutions are doubling their efforts to subsidise renewable energy and force the closure of coal.

 

In Australia, we are seeing similar trends spearheaded by Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen, a man whose political conceit is only exceeded by his apparent incompetence in the role. Bowen was the man who, as Immigration Minister in the Gillard government, announced that stopping boats bringing illegal immigrants to Australia was impossible. He remained unchastened when the Abbott   ..... Read online     ..... pdf

Treasury’s Warmists Chill the Prospects for Growth
Quadrant Online, 18 July 2023

   W e have seen big government and woke financiers working hand in glove over recent years to advance the cause of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG). Superannuation funds have been increasingly orientating their investments towards 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 once meant avoiding firms in the defence and tobacco industries, but the pariahs in our modern woke world are avoiding hydrocarbons – coal, gas, and oil.

When the Bank of England released its support package for firms facing difficulties due to the Ukraine war, it insisted that firms   ..... Read online    

Why Dutton needs coal not renewables or nuclear
The Spectator, 8 July 2023

   Y esterday, Opposition leader Peter Dutton called for Australia to embrace nuclear power to secure a clean, cost-effective, consistent electricity supply. 

Dutton is right to be concerned that the government’s policy of replacing coal-fired plants with renewables will end in a disastrous shortage of power.

 

Dutton’s proposal is to replace coal-fired plants with small modular reactors that are on the drawing board in the US, UK, and elsewhere. By locating the new nuclear reactors in existing coal-fired plants, they can tap into existing transmission lines. 

There are a number of problems with this, but first ..... Read online    ..... pdf

The failure of forced transition despite public lust for green energy
The Spectator, 1 July 2023

   T hroughout history, interactions of supply and demand have driven ‘transitions’ – think horses to cars and trains; whale oil to paraffin; transistors, resistors, capacitors to microchips. Uniquely, the much-flaunted energy transition from coal, oil, and gas to wind and solar and perhaps to green hydrogen is politically propelled, resting on a supposed link of climate change from burning hydrocarbons.

 

In Australia, as in the US with its so-called Inflation Reduction Act and the EU with its European Green Plan, expelling hydrocarbons from the energy supply has become the central dimension of politics itself.

Ostensibly, this is curious since environmental      ..... Read online    ..... pdf

Jumpin’ Jack Flash: gas joins the ‘lexicon of evil’
The Spectator, 26 June 2023

   I n 1990, at the dawn of climate alarmism, it was welcomed as a bridge to the zero-carbon fantasy that was to avert a fruitless search for a ‘Planet B’ – billed as the only alternative to decarbonising. Per unit of energy, gas, after all, has only half the carbon dioxide emissions of coal.

 

But a political Group-Think by all major Western leaders (post-Trump) favours net neutral emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases between 2030 and 2050. This has raised the ambition of the leading cadres and is impacting on politicians. New vistas for closing off the use of hydrocarbons are being probed. Gas has become no longer half-way acceptable.      ..... Read online    ..... pdf

World Bank woes
The Spectator, 19 June 2023

   T he World Bank has a great cosmopolitan air to its name – not like one of those parochial institutions like the US Federal Reserve or the European Central Bank. This is the world organisation.

However, the World Bank turns out to be just another Woke UN institution. Its original rationale was to provide long-term loans to foster infrastructure in third-world countries. Water, energy, and health were major disbursement areas.

Nowadays any energy funding would exclude hydrocarbons. Indeed ‘sustainable development’ and ‘transition’ are key objectives – both are, of course, code for replacing fossil fuels with renewables. Nuclear is excised from the Bank’s vocabulary.     ..... Read online    ..... pdf

Slowing down environmental craziness
Spectator, 10 June 2023

   P ressure to replace controllable and low-cost coal and gas with an intermittent and high-cost wind and solar alternative continues, but there are increasing signs of unease with this policy. Some of this may stem from a growing recognition of the implausibility of the government’s claims that the ‘transition’ to wind and solar will be both smooth and cost less when finished.

 

For many, a compromise that will give a secure electricity supply without carbon emissions is nuclear. This, though far more expensive than coal as a source of electricity, is safe and, being controllable, is cheaper than wind and solar. 

 

The problems with nuclear include the long    ..... Read online    .....pdf

The Rise and Riches of the Rentrepreneurs
Quadrant Online, 5 June 2023

   C WP Renewables Pty Ltd presents as a story of successful entrepreneurship for which its owners have been rewarded with fantastic profits. But that outcome has been accompanied by a huge cost to the community.

The company, established in 2007, has been mainly involved in wind farm developments with giant Swiss holding company Partners Group, which also contributed a chunk of equity capital. Aside from some potential ‘blue sky projects involving solar, wind and batteries, CWP’s main assets were five windfarms with 257 turbines erected between 2016 and 2020 at a cost of $1.72 billion. The turbines were financed by the Commonwealth’s CEFC green energy bank ($233 million), and Partners Group    ..... Read online    

Political and corporate defeatism
The Spectator, 26 May 2023

   C harles Mackay’s 1841, titled Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds has enduringly served to refute claims of collective wisdom. He described events like Dutch tulip mania and the 1711-22 South Sea Bubble as frenzies of collective investment hysteria.

In the modern era, every decade or so we have seen more such investment delirium, including the build-up to the 1929 Wall Street crash with lesser events like the 1970s Poseidon mining boom/bust and the 2007 collapse of US leveraged housing funds.

In all cases, investment frenzies ramped up share prices to stratospheric levels. Lessons have not been learned. The next debacle will centre on

   .... Read online     ..... pdf

Upshots from politicians delivering more free stuff and regulations
The Spectator, 24 May 2023

   T he forerunner of democracy – a post-medieval one-man-one-vote – was propelled by radicals seeking greater freedom of trade, speech, and religion in the face of vested interests and intolerance.

Building upon gains in these areas, radicals promoted greater equality – first of incomes (by compulsory takings from the better-off) and subsequently augmenting this with regulatory measures on economic activities. At a later stage, some special privileges were extended to previously disfavoured racial groups. In this latter respect, people, at least in Western nations, are probably more accepting of non-mainstream race, religious, and sexual preferences than in any previous era.     
.... Read online
     ..... pdf

Recessions are bad news for super funds
The Spectator, 11 May 2023

   T he Commonwealth budget surplus stems from the nation’s resource assets, and to a lesser degree its agricultural strengths. But, rather than fostering these advantages, Australian governments are focused on negating them.

 

For agriculture, this is seen in ever-mounting land-use restrictions and in the Commonwealth’s intent on stopping the live sheep and beef trade.

 

The resources industry faces even greater environmental-based curbs on new proposals.

 

The Commonwealth Environment Minister, Tanya  .... Read online     ..... pdf

Energy: drowning in subsidies
The Spectator, 6 May 2023

   P aul Broad, the former head of Snowy Hydro, resigned amid, according to the Australian Financial Review, an escalation of tensions with Energy Minister Chris Bowen. Broad did not comment on his reasons for resigning. In a recent interview with 2GB,  he said ‘it will take 80 years not 8’ to transition to renewables. He seems to claim we need this transition, but I do not believe we do. Most political leaders are deaf to such views, which swim against a tide of activist enmity and businesses searching for subsidies.

You can’t. And the truth is, we need this transition. If it ever occurs, it will take 80 years, not eight. So there’s massive changes need to occur. And I’m deeply concerned about the rush. The notion that somehow     .... Read online     ..... pdf

Australian productivity growth lowest in 60 years
The Spectator, 25 April 2023

   L ast month the Productivity Commission (PC) revealed that Australian productivity growth on the decade to 2020 was the lowest in 60 years. Mining and agriculture were the most efficient sectors, though productivity gains in some services – like medicine and digital services – may be hidden because of improved quality.

 

To avoid antagonising the dominant political ideology, with masterly understatement, the PC opines, ‘…abatement efforts could, in many instances, increase the cost of production and could put downward pressure on measured productivity, at least in the short term.’ The PC makes stacks of recommendations for improvement, including some that could raise productivity by freeing up investment  .... Read online     ..... pdf

Two cheers for democracy!?
The Spectator, 19 April 2023

   T wo cheers for democracy! So wrote E.M. Forster speaking for the Bloomsbury set, the affluent intellectuals who were the leading ‘Wokes’ of the 1930s. ‘Two cheers’ was a half-hearted acclamation of a political outcome that, at least in the England in which they lived, had neither delivered government shorn of Victorian traditionalism nor advanced sufficiently along a socialistic path.

 

The Bloomsbury set would be more pleased with ‘diversity equity inclusiveness’ slogans that have been adopted by today’s professional elites and become omnipresent in all but a handful of democracies and in nations where Islamic politics dominates.     .... Read online     ..... pdf

Australia’s ‘green energy’ chimera
The Spectator, 12 April 2023

   T he government has asked the Joint Committee on Trade and Investment Growth to inquire into ‘Australia’s transition to a green energy superpower’. It wants ideas on how to accelerate growth in sectors covering renewable energy, batteries, electric vehicles, and so on.

 

The inquiry attracted 125 submissions. A few submissions, like that of the Australian Environment Foundation (AEF), pointed out that the proposal rests on the case for reducing human-induced emissions of carbon dioxide but that there is no scientific proof that this would have any significant effect on our climate. And, the non-Western world is not going down that same path, with the consequence that the de-carbonising economic suicide into which the West is sleepwalking, can     .... Read online     ..... pdf

The unsafe Safeguard Mechanism

The Spectator, 28 March 2023

   A nd so, the Greens have joined the ALP in imposing additional carbon taxes on the top 215 greenhouse gas emitting firms. In passing the so-called Safeguard Mechanism, the voluntary program that the Coalition originally introduced is converted into a requirement on the nation’s top mining and industrial firms to reduce their emissions by 30 per cent by 2030. Those emissions are said to be 137 million tonnes a year. Their curtailment builds up to constitute 40 million tonnes a year. This is in addition to abatement measures already in place, which confer a subsidy on wind and solar, that has enabled those energy sources to displace a quarter of the supply formerly provided by coal.

 

One way to meet the new reductions is by      ..... Read online     ..... pdf

Slow rolling crisis or banking wildfire?
The Spectator, 23 March 2023

   The world’s leading funds manager, BlackRock, has argued the collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) may start a ‘slow rolling crisis’. This may be so but, at this point, bank share prices have stabilised (Chinese banks have even seen their share prices increase).

 

SVB was only sixteenth in terms of size within the United States. Yet it, and the smaller Signature Bank, were bailed out by the Biden Administration, ostensibly on the basis that their failure would cause contagion across the system. Perhaps, as many have conjectured, other factors, including SVB’s important role as a lender and bag-holder to the speculative tech industry, may have helped its path to salvation.   ..... Read online     ..... pdf

Silicon Valley Bank: doomed to fail?     
The Spectator, 15 March 2023

   The basic question to ask about the collapse of the $200 billion Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) is, why did it take so long for such a collapse to occur?

 

The root cause of the bankruptcy is the vast increase in US government spending, which, like that of other governments, was not accompanied by matching increases in taxation. Inevitably, the outcome of that is an increasing money supply monetary policy. And the corollary of that will always be an increase in inflation.

 

When the US Federal Reserve started to combat the excessive supply of money it did so by the only way available – buying up debt – ..... Read online     ..... pdf

Australia: suffocated by regulation and raided by greedy politicians     The Spectator, 8 March 2023

   Gary Banks in The Australian notes how government regulatory measures are destroying our vital comparative advantage in energy supply and promoting inefficient labour relations practices, while spending splurges have brought no improvement in outcomes, especially in health and education.

Years of over-regulation and excessive spending have been pushed even higher by Labor. The Commonwealth Government has to maintain the momentum of carbon abatement by massive new regulatory impositions on the major carbon dioxide emitting firms and forcing consumers to fund new spending in the transmission lines for wind and solar.
..... Read online     ..... pdf

Climate change: short on proof, drowning in nonsense

The Spectator, 27 February 2023

   The environmentalist creed in context

 

Environmentalism, more particularly its prevalent global warming strain, dominates politics. It is the fourth such banner raised by the disgruntled that has conditioned politics since Medieval times.

 

Earlier eras saw politics underpinned by a struggle against government taxation which in the anglosphere can be marked by Magna Carta (1215), the English Civil War, and the American War of Independence. France experienced the ‘Fronde’ in 1648, which placed restraints on the king’s ability to levy new taxes, eventuating in the French Revolution a hundred and forty years later when the king was forced to convene a Parliament to seek    ..... Read online     ..... pdf

Is coal making a comeback? Australian mining’s uphill battle  The Spectator,  19 February 2023

   Coal supplies a quarter of the world’s energy, oil and gas account for a half, and renewables – in spite of vast subsidies everywhere they are built – comprise just 7 per cent.

 

While Germany is being ridiculed for re-opening coal mines, even tearing down a wind farm to do so, it is claiming this is only a temporary departure from its decarbonisation transition.

 

Such assurances are not being given by the fastest-growing developing nations.

 

Indeed, Bloomberg reports, regretfully, that coal is making a comeback

     ..... Read online     ..... pdf

Climate ruminations: the markets reject Chalmers

The Spectator,  13 February 2023

   Combatting the perceived incidence of global warming is driving government policies. In Australia this has been obvious for many years, but for the ALP it was clarified by the publication in the Monthly of the Treasurer’s philosophy on the need to remake capitalism. Jim Chalmers claims this is necessary because energy policy cannot be left to genuine market forces when we need to combat the effects on the Earth’s atmosphere by the combustion of fossil fuels.

 

That rests on the theoretic construct that a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere, which is likely to take place in the next 50 years, is causing about a 1 to 1.5°C warming and Australia, with 1 per cent of emissions, can be instrumental in stopping this. Most experts     ..... Read online     ..... pdf

"Chalming" no-one:  Labor rommances communism
The Spectator,  29 January 2023

   Jim Chalmers is proving to be the most iconoclastic Treasurer since the Whitlam government’s Jim Cairns, a man who only joined the Labor Party after his application to join the Communist Party was rejected. Cairns spearheaded a previous assault on conventional capitalist economic theory and, like Chalmers, sought to borrow, spend, and regulate the nation into prosperity with fairness. Both Chalmers and Cairns came into politics with doctorates in economic history – that of Chalmers was a hagiography of Paul Keating, whose policies he now wants to reverse.

Like Cairns, Chalmers faced a budget crisis but was unable or unwilling to make the expenditure reductions necessary to rectify this.

   ..... Read online  ..... pdf

Energy chaos: the shape of things to come

The Spectator,  25 January 2023
   Australian governments have made energy policies focused on achieving higher shares of renewable energy that they claim is the cheapest source of power. The Commonwealth government is planning for renewables to reach 82 per cent of supply by 2030, while the Liberal Party’s plan is for 85 per cent by 2050 and 61 per cent by 2030. State governments have additional plans. In pursuit of these goals, governments around Australia are being sucked into a vortex requiring ever-increasing controls, while seeing mounting cost increases.

Subsidies that amount to $6.9 billion per year have propelled wind and solar, which had virtually no market presence 20 years ago, to their current market share of 27 per cent. The CSIRO and other    ..... Read online  ..... pdf

Inquiry into Australia's transition to a green energy superpower

Submitted 22 November 2022

The inquiry seeks advice on how Australia can “transition to a green energy superpower”.

The Inquiry mentions a number of areas in respect to the “transition”, including:
• where trade and investment activities are already having a positive impact; and
• emerging and possible future trends.

It further seeks advice on how government agencies can assist in identifying opportunities and in assisting and subsidising new investment. It has particular interest in how activities can be assisted in areas the government has determined to be prospective. These, it says, include renewable energy, battery storage, energy supply and infrastructure, electric vehicle industry, infrastructure; advanced manufacturing, and services and technology.

The Australian Environment Foundation notes multiple failures where industries designated by governments as being highly prospective have received favourable treatment from tariffs or support through financial assistance. None have succeeded. Some of these have been in the areas now, with little supporting evidence, once again being re-affirmed as worthy of support.     ..... Read the submission here

The Old Man’s Tale

by Viv Forbes


 

 

The council man was adamant:
“The Law must have its way,
The shed you built is not approved
It must come down today.”

 

“No doubt the shed is safe and strong
And no one has complained,
But plans and rules must bind us all
Or anarchy will reign.”

The old man clenched his horny hands,
He gripped the planner’s arm,
Then changed his mind and led him out
To look around the farm.

“You see that shed” the old man said,“With shingle roof and wattle wall,With no advice from coots like youMy Grandpa built it all.”

“He came out here from Birmingham
With no help from the Crown,
Without a passport or a card
He sailed to Sydney town.”

 

“He got himself a riding horse
Bought cows and found a dray,
But sought no travel permits
As he left for Moreton Bay.”

 

“There were no maps to guide him
Once he left the city blocks,
And flooding of the Richmond
Cost him half his mob of stock.”

 

“But when he got to Moreton Bay
A sickness swept the place,
So Grandpa saddled up again
To see a safer base.”

 

“For weeks he struggled northwards
Thru the bush and hostile blacks,
Until he reached a mighty stream
Which stopped him in his tracks.”

“The soil was deep and fertile
And the flats were green and lush,
So Grandad thought he’d squat a while
He had no need to rush.”

 

“He cleared the scrub and dug a well
And found himself a wife,
He brought her to that wattle shed
To start their married life.”

 

“Then rangers tried to take his land
(For squatters rights were spurned.)
My folks were forced to sell their stock
To buy the land they’d earned.”

 

“My Pa was born in that old shed
He worked to earn his land
‘Twas he who built the homestead
And no planner lent a hand.”

 

“The sweat of generations
Feeds parasites like you,
And now you tell us builders:
‘This shed will never do.’

“With subtlety and cunning
You have nibbled at our rights,
You’ve taxed away our substance
So now we cannot fight.”

 

“But this is where I draw the line
And I won’t be alone,
So if you try to smash my shed
I’ll fight for what I own.”

 

“So clear off or I’ll clout you
Do not bother us again,
Take all your forms and files and fees
And shove them up the drain.”

 

The planner started shouting
But old Nigger bit his leg.
He cleared the fence, and yelled a threat:
“When next I come you’ll beg.”

 

The wreckers came next morning
But the neighbours got there first.
They stood six deep across the gate
And bid them do their worst.

Before the planners could react
Before the police could call
The old man’s son, a barrister,
Restrained them with the law.

 

He quoted laws and precedents,
He combed the ancient books,
He tied the council up for months
In writs and counter suits.

 

By then there were elections
And the old man led a team;
They sent the planners packing
And restored the builder’s dreams.

 

Once more a man could build a shed
Without a planner’s chit
And no one could invade his home
Unless he had a writ.

 

The planner got an honest job
The red tape was undone,
The Old Man got a Knighthood
His mighty fight was won.

Collapse of the $35 billion Sun Cable

The Spectator,  16 January 2023
   Last week saw the collapse of Sun Cable, a pie-in-the-sky $35 billion plan by alternative energy enthusiasts, Andrew Forrest and Mike Cannon-Brookes, to generate solar energy and transport it by cable 4,200 kilometres to Singapore. The taxpayer provided $14 million for the project’s solar system, Australian-developed 5B. But major spending, which amounted to $210 million before Andrew Forrest pulled the plug, came from the two entrepreneurs.

 

Last week also saw Energy Minister Chris Bowen release his consultation for the disarmingly named Powering the Regions Fund. A centrepiece of this was weaponising the ‘Safeguard Mechanism’ from the emission reporting requirement that the Coalition  ..... Read online  ..... pdf

Dark money

The Spectator,  11 January 2023
   Recent years have seen a strengthening dominance of politics over individual and commercial decision-making. This is readily evident in the growth of regulations and government spending increasing from under 20 per cent of the economy a century ago to around (and over) 50 per cent today.

 

Within democracies, these developments are due to electorates demanding income redistributions and tolerating increased national debt – oblivious to the adverse effects on their own future living standards. There are very few political leaders of stature like Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, Margaret Thatcher, or Donald Trump who seek to persuade voters of the folly of such demands. Most opt for.    ..... Read online  ..... pdf

Batteries not included

The Spectator,  29 December 2022

Renewable energy battery farms threaten to cripple the economy with cyclic costs
   The replacement of fossil fuels (and nuclear) by wind and solar is said to be a ‘transition’ implying, like that from sail to steam and horse to motor power, that this is being inexorably pushed by consumers adopting a lower cost technology. In fact, the ‘transition’, wherever it is taking place, is due to government subsidies and regulations. Not one significant unit of wind or solar power generation anywhere in the world has been installed without such assistance

 

Moreover, a wind/solar-rich electricity system requires expensive features that are naturally present or available at a trivial    ..... Read online  ..... pdf

Chris Bowen’s rendezvous with bad ideas

The Spectator,  22 December 2022
   Back in July 2022, Chris Bowen the Minister for Climate Change and Energy, launched the latest CSIRO electricity costs report which says wind and solar are the cheapest forms of electricity supply. He said, ‘This underlines the need for Australia and the world to invest heavily in renewable energy sources to put downward pressure on power prices.’

 

He continues to call for eliminating coal and gas in Australia, claiming this is necessary to prevent harmful climate change. Climate change was the focus of his September address to the American Australian Association. He said 80 years ago, ‘Curtin and Roosevelt had a rendezvous with destiny. Our job is to avoid a rendezvous with  ..... Read online  ..... pdf

Energy collapse: it all begins with a market cap

The Spectator,  14 December 2022
   Thousands of years of experience – from the ancient Babylonians and Roman Emperor Diocletian, through to modern times – have demonstrated how price controls prevent the allocation of scarce goods to their most valuable uses, lower short-term production, and cause investment to seize up.

 

The inevitability of such outcomes is lost on Australia’s political class. Politicians, egged on by self-interested and socialists, are once more embracing price controls that were abandoned in the 1980s when the Hawke-Keating government accepted market prices stemming from supply and demand as the most efficient means of running the economy

..... Read online  ..... pdf

ESG: climate virtue bleeding super dry

The Spectator,  7 December 2022
   B usiness, where the profit motive is explicitly dominant and where the hundreds of millions of direct and indirect owners want to see it remain the crowned ruler, might be expected to reject spending that syphons off profits to political causes… And yet, nearly every firm funnels funding to politically acceptable causes, in the main involving those of a social and environmental nature.

 

Sometimes, pressured by governmental regulatory stances, like the soon-to-be mandatory reductions on the top Australian emitters, a growing number of firms also engage in expenditure that replace fossil fuel derived energy with more expensive wind and solar. Also important is the avoidance by superannuation fund managers of ..... Read online  ..... pdf

Dan enters the pantheon of ‘great’ leaders

The Spectator,  28 November 2022
   N ow the hurley burley’s done, and Dan Andrews is in the pantheon of the state’s great leaders, it’s time to see what Victorians voted for.

Like other electorates in the Western world, Victorians proved themselves to have a large appetite for government spending. The Lib-Nats joined Labor (and, of course the Greens) in proposing big increases in hand-outs. For Labor, these included subsidies for electricity, travel, kindergartens, and ‘infrastructure’.

But, reflecting voter preferences for free stuff, Labor was reticent in approving tax increases to cover these increases. These election gifts therefore (as did the Liberals’ offerings) add to the ..... Read online  ..... pdf

Victoria’s looming energy disaster

The Spectator,  23 November 2022
   A centrepiece of Victorian Premier Dan Andrews’ campaign is to renationalise Victoria’s privately owned electricity businesses. He claims that the private owners have scammed ‘$23 billion in profits off pensioners, families, and businesses’.

The state’s electricity assets, previously managed by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV) were sold under the Kennett government in the 1990s. Kennett inherited a near-bankrupt state.

 

The SECV had been a drain on government finances due to its excessive levels of staffing. Over-staffing is a hallmark of ..... Read online  ..... pdf

Our retreat from rational economics

The Spectator,  16 November 2022
   In today’s world, government spending accounts for up to and (in the EU) over 50 per cent of GDP – Australia’s at 38 per cent may be understated due to it being a federation. In the 1920s, no significant government spent more than 20 per cent of its nation’s GDP (federal spending in America and Australia was 4 per cent 6 per cent respectively).

 

Sovereign debt is now well in excess of 100 per cent of GDP in most EU countries, America, and Japan – Australia’s is 57 per cent. Until 100 years ago no state went into debt except to combat an existential crisis – indeed few states had the creditworthiness to do so.

 ..... Read online  ..... pdf

Greta and her green-communism

The Spectator,  8 November 2022
   Many breathed a sigh of relief when Greta Thunberg announced she was not going to attend COP 27 Climate Change meeting which is now underway at Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. The COP process is a ‘greenwashing scam’, she explained.

It seemed that the girl, although not even having reached the age of 20, had already emerged from the catharsis of teenage simplistic idealism. Was she having doubts about promoting a goal of dubious worth at a cost that is unknown but without a scientific breakthrough is incalculably high? Seemingly so, and that corroborated the notion that at a coming of age (historically at 21), she reached a maturity society expects of each emerging generation to take balanced judgements ..... Read online  ..... pdf

Andrews’ Leninist approach to power

The Spectator,  24 October 2022
   Last week, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews paraded his inner Lenin. He attacked Victoria’s privately owned coal generation businesses, claiming that they have taken ‘$23 billion in profits off pensioners, families and businesses’ and announced that they must be effectively driven out of business by state-owned alternatives.

 

Those facilities were sold to the private sector during the 1990s.

 

Jeff Kennett and his Treasurer Alan Stockdale pushed through the privatisations, which netted $11 billion for the   ..... Read online      ..... pdf

Dirty dependency: superannuation and ESG

The Spectator,  21 October 2022
   Condemning those who have glued themselves to roads to create chaos, the (now former) UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman hit out at ‘the Guardian-reading, tofu-eating, Wokerati anti-growth coalition’. Her indignation about the economic damage caused by climate radicals is warranted, but she said nothing about the economic harm stemming from the fund-manager/governmental institutional wing of the anti-coal climate alarmists, which uses the Environment Social and Governance (ESG) pastiche as cover for its control aspirations.

Indeed, as she was speaking the Bank of England..... Read online      ..... pdf

Dead-weight drowning productivity

The Spectator, 14 October 2022
   Productivity growth is the key to income growth – we can’t have the latter without the former. A matter that has troubled many economists in the Western world during recent decades is a slowdown in productivity growth. 

Australia is typical. Multi-factor productivity – the overall return on labour and capital inputs combined – has been growing at only 0.3 per cent per year in recent years, while the more commonly understood, labour productivity, has also seen growth at only 0.9 per cent a year. These are half the levels seen in the 1990s. 

That slowdown is less evident in many countries ..... Read online      ..... pdf

The price of environmental activism

The Spectator, 7 October 2022
   The environment social and governance (ESG) movement commenced life over 100 years ago with wowser investors avoiding shares in brewers and distillers. Embargoes on the merchants of sin, with gambling and smoking joining alcohol, have long ceased to be the primary target. The sin is now hydrocarbon energy (particularly coal), with gas and oil as secondary prey. That other bête noir of green agitators, nuclear, is considered an additional activity to be avoided and divested.

 

With this agenda, ESG investors have come to dominate stock exchanges, and their funds expected to total $50 trillion by 2025 which is over one-third of total global stocks.       ..... Read online      ..... pdf

Argentina’s socialist demons are coming for the West

The Spectator, 26 September 2022
   How did we arrive at the position where, throughout the Western world, political decisions to undermine the cheapest and most reliable energy sources are bringing about economic stagnation and possibly collapse?

Notwithstanding evidence of this, why are policy settings intensifying the very measures that have created the breakdown?

Europe is seeing record energy prices and the America’s renewable subsidy-oriented Inflation Reduction Act portends a following of suit.

For Australia, similar measures are intensified by law courts deciding that individual Indigenous voices, now extending to a  ..... Read online      ..... pdf

The sharp decline since Paris

The Spectator, 14 September 2022
   Returning from the 2015 Paris Agreement, former Clinton Energy chief Joe Romm, proclaimed:

‘You know, change happens slowly, until it happens quickly.’

He was talking about climate ‘guru’ Michael Mann declaring that the Paris Agreement signalled the end of ‘the age of fossil fuels’.

Of course, there was a major speed bump along that road in the form of Donald Trump, who commenced dismantling the subsidies and regulations that were forcing this rapid change in the world’s biggest economy. And, to the ridicule of the German UN delegation including its Foreign Minister, Trump presciently urged Germany to.     ..... Read online      ..... pdf

Transition teething problem or permanent disaster?

The Spectator, 27 August 2022
   Politicians, regulators, and subsidy-seekers portray the present difficulties in the energy market as being part of the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy – and perhaps to more exotic forms of energy derived from extracting hydrogen from water.

They go on to claim that transitions always involve teething problem difficulties.

This is false.

Transitions in the past from horse-drawn transport to trains, motor vehicles, and aeroplanes involved only benefits to    ..... Read online      ..... pdf

Dangerous energy politics

The Spectator, 02 September 2022
   Electricity has properties that require supply and demand to always balance every few seconds.

This means, firstly, that there has to be a considerable surplus of supply in order to cope with swings in demand. Secondly, a large share of supply (and/or demand) has to be capable of rapidly switching on and off. 

There is probably no other area of the economy with such time-sensitive complexity and an array of different providers with vastly dissimilar cost profiles.

Electricity is an area of commerce that is highly unsuitable for political control.     ..... Read online      ..... pdf

An Open Letter Concerning AEMO’s 2022 Integrated System Plan

By Dr James Taylor PhD

Independent Engineers and Scientists     ..... Read here

A mild case of split portfolio disorder

The Spectator, 18 August 2022
   As a one-time senior public servant, I find the debate over Scott Morrison’s supposed power seizure of separate ministries to be based on somewhat unrealistic depictions of the powers of individual ministers.

 

There are two issues in Prime Minister Morrison’s visits to the Governor-General. The first concerns the massive overreaction to Covid and the Prime Minister’s decision to formally appoint himself as several ministers as an insurance against his colleagues’ incapacitation and, astonishingly, doing so without informing those colleagues. The second was the insertion of himself as de facto Minister in the Department of Industry, Energy and Resources.

With regard to the latter, Morrison has said,     ..... Read online      ..... pdf

Labor’s Climate Bill is an economic precipice

The Spectator, 08 August 2022
   In what The Australian called a ‘capitulation of the Greens’, the government’s Climate Bill has passed the House of Representatives. Its passage through the Senate is a formality.

With the Bill’s central requirement being that greenhouse gas emissions fall by 43 per cent (from the 2005 base), it amplifies the 28-30 per cent formal reduction level set by the previous Coalition government. In pursuit of decarbonisation to combat a mythical ‘climate crisis’, the Bill is designed to stymie the use of coal and gas. In doing so, it will increase the costs of mining, manufacturing, and other services; it will also increase costs in the farming sector – including by diverting the use of productive agricultural land into a carbon sink.      ..... Read online      ..... pdf

Wrecking a Nation One Electricity Bill at a Time

Quadrant Online, 29 July 2022
   The first thing to recognise is that for many years now governments — Labor and Coalition alike — have been hard at work destroying the low-cost electricity market that Australian businesses and consumers once enjoyed . The second thing to note is that there is an actual undertone of energy realism — yes, really! –about the Albanese government, but it is no portend of good news: “You’ll know what we’re up against when your electricity bill arrives,” the Treasurer said on Thursday (July 28). That would be the bill we were assured during election season would fall by $275 once Labor waved its magic wand. 

We can see the degeneration of Australia’s electricity security graphically presented in the chart below which tracks July electricity    ..... Read online

Politicians destroy nuclear when the world needs it most

The Spectator, 25 July 2022
   Human advancement has rested on harnessing increasingly dense sources of energy from non-human origins. Animal power, burning wood, wind technology, and water power were crucial in allowing early civilisations to develop.

The Industrial Revolution that gave humanity income levels 10-100 times higher than those of antiquity was driven by hydrocarbons which brought over 100 times the power density of wind.

Nuclear, with 10,000 times the power density of coal, has been heralded as ‘the next step’ for the last fifty years.      ..... Read online