Coal Wins and Flannery Fails

Posted on Fri 03/25/2011 by


Andrew BoltBy Andrew Bolt

The Newcastle wind tower was already a joke, being lit up at night – which allowed us all to see when it wasn’t working.

Anthony Watts:

I thought windmills were all about generating electricity, not using it. So why put torches on it that run all night? Want to bet the lighting power is coming from coal?

Now it’s not just a bigger joke, but a wake-up:

NEWCASTLE’S renewable energy beacon, the Kooragang Island wind turbine, could be removed to make way for the expansion of the port’s coal-loading infrastructure.

If the future really was wind, not coal….


Reader Banga, who’s in the business:

The Kooragang wind turbine is a 600kW system with a capacity factor of no more than 5%. It produces less than 300MWh a year. Total NSW annual demand is about 78,000,000MWhs. This means it supplies less than 0.000004% of NSW demand.

It is not a beacon, it is a symbol of the futility of renewable energy.

TonyfromOz adds…..

Andrew has a guest ‘slot’ on morning radio here in Melbourne Australia. This morning he had as his guest, Professor Tim Flannery, who has been asked by the Gillard Labor Government to head up a Climate Change Commission and act as the Commissioner, and his main task is to ‘sell’ the Government’s proposed legislation to place a price on Carbon. The following is a partial transcript of that interview.

On our MTR 1377 show today:

– Our fine Resources Minister Martin Ferguson pays out Greens Leader Bob Brown as “Soapbox Bob”.

– An anecdote that helps to confirm that Ferguson is a climate sceptic.

– Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery joins us – but refuses to say by how much the world’s temperature will fall thanks to Julia Gillard’s global warming policies. Later he concedes that even if the whole world slashes its emissions we won’t know what difference it will make for maybe a thousand years. Doesn’t sound like much of a deal to me.

– Flannery agrees that Julia Gillard was wrong to say that every reputable climate scientist backs her view of man-made warming.

And more. Listen here.

Professor Tim Flannery


A partial transcript of my interview today with Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery:

Bolt: How much will it cost to cut our emissions by the Government’s target of 5 per cent by 2020 and how much will world temperatures fall by as a consequence?

Flannery: Sure. We do have economists on the commission who will be giving a very in depth look at that this evening and I don’t want to pre-empt their assessment of the various cost options, but in terms of how much it will cut temperatures that really very much depends upon how Australia’s position is seen overseas …

Bolt: No, no, we’ll get onto that, Tim. I’m not going to dodge that. The argument is indeed that we have to set a lead and the world has to follow and on our own we can’t do blah blah, but just looking at the basic facts so people can figure it out for themselves (that) the world needs to come on board. On our own, cutting our emissions by 5 per cent by 2020, what will that lower the world’s temperatures by?

Flannery:  See, that’s a bogus question because nothing is in isolation…

Bolt: Everyone understands that that is the argument But we’re just trying to get basic facts, without worrying about the consequences – about what those facts may lead people to think. On our own, by cutting our emissions, because it’s a heavy price to pay, by 5 per cent by 2020, what will the world’s temperatures fall by as a consequence?

Flannery: Look, it will be a very, very small increment.

Bolt: Have you got a number? I mean, there must be some numbers.

Flannery:  I just need to clarfy in terms of the climate context for you. If we cut emissions today, global temperatures are not likely to drop for about a thousand years.

Bolt: Right, but I just want to get to this very basic fact, because I’m finding it really curious that no one has got (this) fact. If I buy a car … I want to know how much it costs and whether it is going to do the job.

Flannery: Sure.

Bolt: In this case I want to know the cost of cutting our emissions by 5 per cent by 2020 and will it do the job: how much will the world’s temperatures fall by if Australia cuts its emissions by this much.

Flannery: Look, as I said it will be a very, very small increment.

Bolt: Can you give us a rough figure? A rough figure.

Flannery: Sorry, I can’t because it’s a very complex system and we’re dealing with probabilities here.

Bolt: …I’m just trying to get the facts in front of the public so we know what we’re doing. Just unbiased. Is it about, I don’t know, are you talking about a thousandth of a degree? A hundredth of a degree? What sort of rough figure?

Flannery: Just let me finish and say this. If the world as a whole cut all emissions tomorrow the average temperature of the planet is not going to drop in several hundred years, perhaps as much as a thousand years because the system is overburdened with CO2 that has to be absorbed and that only happens slowly.

Bolt: That doesn’t seem a good deal… Someone surely must have done the sums that for all these billions of dollars we’re spending in programs that it’s got to have a consequence in terms of cutting the world’s temperature. So you don’t know about Australia, you wouldn’t dispute that it’s within about a thousandth of a degree, around that magnitude, right?

Flannery: It’s going to be slight.

A transcript of my previous interview with Flannery here.

Yesterday we tried to get precisely the same answer (listen here) from Professor John Daley, CEO of the Grattan Institute, which is releasing a report which finds that our state and federal governments tipped $12 billion into emissions-cutting schemes that were close to useless, and which argues we should go for emissions trading instead:

Bolt: To get to Julia Gillard’s target of cutting emissions by 5 per cent by 2020, how many more of these billions would we need to have spent…?

Daley: Well, if you’re going to do the whole lot through rebate schemes, you’d have to spend in the order of about $300 billion …(Gillard’s emissions trading scheme) is a much more efficient way to go…

Bolt: You say go to carbon trading, or emissions trading. In your report you of course have look at whether this is worth doing – you’ve looked at what you would get for your money. By how much will the world’s temperatures fall if we go to this emissions trading scheme that Julia Gillard recommends? You’ve no doubt looked at that.

Daley: Well, it of course depends on what other countries in the world…

Bolt: No, no, just ours, John. I’m just looking at us. Us alone.

Daley: This is a classic collective action problem.  If every country in the world looks at how much will their reductions make a difference, the answer for any individual country, even for the United States, even for China, is not that much.

Bolt: No, no, I’ve got you. I’m very familiar with that argument, that if we don’t move, no one else will, and nothing’s done and it all goes to hell in a handbasket. What I’m trying to do is just get to the bottom-line facts: if we spend these umpteen billions on cutting emissions further, to the five per cent by 2020, how much will Australia’s action alone cut the world’s temperature by? That must be measured somewhere. That must be part of your report.

Daley: Well, I think it’s not been measured anywhere because it’s not seen as being the right way to think about this.

Bolt: Well it would be. People want to know the gain for the pain.  Have a guess then.

Daley: The reality is that no country in the world is cutting their emissions alone…So to what extent are we doing our fair share?…

Bolt: Look, we’ve got that argument….  I’ll ask just one last time… If you don’t know just say so, but if you do know, I know it’s got all those caveats, but just tell us how much the world’s temperature will fall if we do what you recommend and what Julia Gillard plans.

Daley: As I said, we haven’t run the numbers on how much it will make a difference if Australia acts completely alone.

Bolt: You should have.

Daley: The reason we haven’t done that is because Australia is not acting alone. Therefore it’s not a very helpful thing to analyse.

“Not helpful” means you’d realise the pain is not worth the gain. Whever we do – whatevery anyone does – hardly seems worth it, really.

And by “not helpful”, the people pushing the schemes say they’d rather not tell you the truth. You might ask too many awkward questions.

That is why no one yet pushing an ETS or a carbon tax will answer our question. And why we drew exactly the same blank a fortnight ago with Jill Duggan, from the European Commission’s emissions trading scheme.

Andrew Bolt is a journalist and columnist writing for The Herald Sun in Melbourne Victoria Australia.

Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and is a regular commentator on Channel 9′s Today show and ABC TV’s Insiders. He will be heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of new radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.

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