JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


Handbooks


Advertising


Australian Speakers Agency



GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Archives

Books

Remember when The West could afford electricity 24 hours a day?

Last month UK Ministers were warned that six million households could enjoy blackouts for dinner this winter. To try to stave off disaster, the UK Business Secretary has already written to the owners of the last three remaining coal fired power plants to ask them to stay running through winter. This is despite them being set to close in September.

Given the dire shortage of cheap energy, another plan is to pay British households up to £6 for each kilowatt-hour they don’t use at peak time. While a normal kilowatt-hour would cost 28p, the blistering premium price shows how desperate the National Grid planners must be. The last thing they want is everyone to come home, turn on the oven and washing machine and plug in their scooters and EV’s at 6pm.

So now possibly in a grand experiment, as well as trying to control the weather with windmills, millions of families may try to reschedule body clocks somehow, eating later, doing laundry later, watching the melatonin-destroying blue-screens-of-insomnia after 10pm and running the drier while they sleep. Maybe it won’t be so bad, or maybe people will be more sleep deprived and less productive, fatter, or crash their cars on […]

Energy is Power but the West’s starving itself

Tell the children: Energy is Power

And show them this graph. For twenty years the West has been giving up power.

OWID Click to enlarge

A warning from John Constable and Debra Lieberman, Special to Financial Post

The energy of nations and the creation of wealth

Countries where energy consumption is plummeting don’t feel much pain … yet. And there is a good reason for that. One country is increasing its energy use, propping up Western consumption with exports and giving us a false sense of well-being. That country is, of course, China.

Since the West began its energy starvation diet, Chinese energy consumption has increased by over 50 per cent and its electricity consumption has increased by 200 per cent, overtaking the U.S. by a large margin. China, unlike the EU, U.K. and U.S., is still 90 per cent reliant on fossil fuels and nuclear. What’s more, only some of the immense wealth these fuels are generating is being exported. What is China doing with the rest? Time will tell.

But right now, as a matter of urgency, we must reverse the decline in Western energy quality and consumption […]

Energy Crisis picks up speed Downunder: Now a major Gas retailer goes under

Last week small electricity retailers were bleeding so badly they doubled their prices and asked their customers to leave.

This week it’s a big gas retailer, as Australia belatedly faces the same pain that hit and wiped out UK energy retailers:

Gas retailer Weston Energy’s collapse stirs call for Labor intervention

Perry Williams, The Australian

Weston Energy, which provides gas to more than 400 companies and government agencies, ceased trading with immediate effect on Monday, creating uncertainty for major manufacturers with 7 per cent of the east coast’s commercial and industrial market forced to find a new supplier.

The company said it could no longer finance cash flow requirements of its trading portfolio “on a timely basis” with prices rising over 180 per cent since April, and almost three times higher than at the start of the year.

These are blistering rises in costs:

With spot gas prices up to four times higher than normal levels and wholesale electricity prices in NSW on track to finish the June quarter twice as high as the previous record, Mr Willox called on the Albanese government to respond.

It’s a cult.

[…]

Guest Post by Rafe Champion: Famous last words?

Warwick McKibbin reckons Vladimir Putin might be the best thing that’s ever happened to the energy transition.

Speaking at The Australian Financial Review Business Summit on Tuesday, the economist, academic and former Reserve Bank board member argued that surging commodity prices caused by the war in Ukraine could force the urgent shift to clean energy to accelerate.

Really?

In the parallel universe Mark Mills at the Manhattan Institute has been sending warning signals for years that the push for intermittent energy in the west could have drastic geopolitical consequences. Here he explains how the conflict in the Ukraine has brought the drastic consequences upon us ahead of schedule.

Naivete about energy realities robbed the U.S. and its allies of important “soft power” options and helped finance Russia’s aggression. In the near term, our choices are limited, but continuing down the same energy path is a formula for yet more problems in the future.

He notes that the EU and the US over the past two decades spent more than $5 trillion and made countless mandates to replace oil, natural gas and coal.

This brought the hydrocarbon share of all energy use down by two percentage points […]

Two weeks of War undoes thirty years of energy propaganda: Everyone wants fossil fuels

It’s the Great Reset in Global Energy complacency

There is pandemonium on the markets and suddenly many nations want to be energy sufficient. It’s perhaps not The Great Reset than the collective-types were expecting?

The gas flows from Russia to the EU are sporadically tightening, and the Yamal-Europe line has been cut off. Gas in Europe is now trading at €340/MWh which is fully 22 times the long term average. Newcastle coal normally trades around $60 per ton, but now is over $400 USD.

A few days ago the former head of MI6 in the UK called for an immediate lifting of the frakking ban which was set to see concrete poured down the only two shale gas wells in England by March 15th. Thirty-five Tory MPs and four peers sent a letter to Boris demanding the same thing. Now even Boris Johnson is suggesting the Green targets could be relaxed, not just for Britain, but for all the West. He went so far as to suggest The West could give itself a “climate change pass” while we figure out how to get energy that isn’t Russian gas.

Thanks to NetZeroWatch

So much for the end of Fossil […]

Just like that: Germany U-turns, and wants unfashionable energy like nuclear, coal, and gas

All it took was a War.

Policies based on fashion can be dead-set one day and gone the next. Until Saturday Germany was about to close its last nuclear power plants, gas production had been falling for 20 years and it planned to phase out coal plants by 2030.

Germany was the largest energy consumer in Europe, but was also determined to pursue Energiewende, the policy of transitioning from fossil fuels.

On Sunday all that changed:

Nuclear, coal, LNG: ‘no taboos’ in Germany’s energy about-face

By Christoph Steitz, Riham Alkousaa and Maria Sheahan, Reuters

In a landmark speech on Sunday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz spelled out a more radical path to ensure Germany will be able to meet rising energy supply and diversify away from Russian gas, which accounts for half of Germany’s energy needs.

“The events of the past few days have shown us that responsible, forward-looking energy policy is decisive not only for our economy and the environment. It is also decisive for our security,” Scholz told lawmakers in a special Bundestag session called to address the […]

It’s expensive to change the global climate, just ask the EU

If there was a sign of a major problem with energy policy it might look just like this:

In the EU for most of the last ten years gas prices were €20. Last week they spiked to €180. Prices have come down in the last few days as a flotilla of 15 US tankers crosses the Atlantic to rescue the EU and some Russian troops departed from the border near Ukraine.

Who needs gas? Everyone apparently… | Source: Trading Economics

It’s heartwarming to see the US tankers on the way:

US Tankers headed for EU

No sign the EU governments get the message:

What will it take? The Netherlands announced that they will limit coal stations and pay them not to produce electricity most of the time in the hope of stopping floods and droughts:

Dutch Government will limit coal-fired power stations to just 35% capacity from January 1.

Dutch coal-fired power stations may not operate at more than 35% of their maximum capacity in the coming years. “In the short term, this will lead to a significant reduction in CO2 emissions at coal-fired power stations of approximately 6-7 megatons,” the Ministry […]

The Green Agenda meets The Energy Crisis (just in time for COP 26)

Some great Green plans are starting to come undone and it’s not even winter yet

But it is just in time for a reality check on COP26.

Europe’s energy crunch is continuing, as gas storage volumes have shrunk to 10-year lows. In the UK 12 energy companies have collapsed this year leaving 2.2 million customers stranded without an electricity provider. Things are so bad the Dutch government is thinking of reopening the Groningen gas field, Europe’s largest onshore gas field. This is a big backward step for the transition to magical energy. “Until recently, the plan was that Groningen would be closed completely by 2023, ending the large-scale gas production and export by the Netherlands with a bang.”

There are even thoughts of switching back to coal. Drax is suddenly talking about keeping some coal plants running a bit longer, something that would have been blasphemy a few months ago.

Across Europe and Asia — the energy crisis runs amok

No one can blame Brexit for food shortages in Brussels:

https://twitter.com/hermannkelly/status/1442901773958582274

But people can blame Green policies for energy pain

Kate Andrews: Britain’s weak energy security puts net zero in doubt The Daily Telegraph, 29 […]

Why Life in the 21st Century Will Be Nasty, Brutish, and Short

While some global whiners are predicting death, disease and reckless fish, an ominous array of other forces are gathering. The time of plenty, peace and abundance could be coming to an end. I’ve finally had a chance to look at David Archibald’s hot new book, and it’s a book that needs to be discussed. It’s the debate we ought to be having. (I’ll be referring to it again on this blog).

In the West we have rarely had it so good: since World War II things have been relatively peaceful; the sun reached a once-in-8000-year global maximum, keeping us warm; the big easy oil fields were tapped, gifting us the cheapest energy in human history; and the most obvious gains in agriculture meant food supply increased even faster than populations grew. David Archibald paints a provocative argument of a world where a cooling sun means grain supply can’t keep pace with demand, oil production starts to slide and forces of unrest in the mid East collapse to chaos while those in the far East rise ascendant.

David Archibald writes:

Who are those four horsemen? A severe, solar-driven cooling is one. Over the next twenty to thirty years, we are […]

New British plan will pay people to be “ready to do nothing” to help with energy crisis

The birthplace of the Industrial Revolution has a new bright idea. Big-Government is going to take £1 each from people using electricity and instead of giving it to people who make electricity, they’re going to give it to people who don’t absolutely have to have electricity. Those people might be paid for doing no useful work, or indeed, in a fabulous twist, they might be paid not to do no work, but just to be prepared to do nothing. It’s a brilliant left-of-center economic move, guaranteed to help the non-essential part of the economy at the expense of the part that does things that matter.

Expect to see the UK doing more non-essential things in future.

Businesses could be paid to shut down from 4pm and 8pm on winter weekdays, under plans approved by regulator Ofgem

by Emily Gosden

Hundreds of businesses could be paid to switch off their power between 4pm and 8pm on winter weekdays as soon as next winter to prevent blackouts, under plans approved by regulator Ofgem.

Mothballed old gas-fired power stations will also be paid to come back to stand-by so they can be fired up to prevent the lights going out when demand is […]