A dark age coming

The headline story in The AFR today begins:

The federal government has slammed plans by business to go it alone on climate and energy policy but industry leaders are holding their ground and have the backing of Labor and the Greens.

It’s a new world out there.

Meanwhile, in the US: Is The Fed Trying To Tank The Trump Economy Before The Midterms? Want to breed uncertainty? Try this on for size:

Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said he still favors the central bank raising short-term interest rates three more times before deciding whether more increases will be necessary to keep the economy on an even keel.

This suggests the Federal Reserve should lift rates at its December, March and June policy meetings “unless something changes,” Mr. Kaplan said Tuesday in a Wall Street Journal interview.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said then that rates remain low enough to continue stimulating economic growth. But according to the Wall Street Journal other officials have expressed a range of views, and some uncertainty, about how high rates would have to go to reach a so-called neutral level that neither spurs nor slows growth.

A COMMENT ON RISING RATES: I have been asked about rising rates in the comments. And as I have said in the past, rates have been too low for too long which has lowered the productivity of our array of investments. The issue is not whether rates should rise – they should – but whether they should rise now immediately before an election. The effect on share markets was obvious enough. Front-page treatment of a falling market can move voter sentiment, specially the way it can be played on by the media. The Fed kept rates down throughout the Obama presidency and there was never any doubt it would push them up once PDT was elected. Optics is all, and even if the adjustments brought on by higher rates are positive for the economy, it may not look that way to anyone who is paying out more on their mortgages or small-business loans.

The most ignorant highly educated fools in history

This is from Campus Review: What Scott Morrison doesn’t get about most of the voting public. And what he doesn’t get is that they are ignorant fools. Here’s the text:

When now-Prime Minster Scott Morrison brought a lump of coal into parliament in 2017, pleading “don’t be afraid, don’t be scared, it won’t hurt you,” he made a critical error. That is, assuming he wants the Coalition to retain power at the next federal election.

That’s because to Generations X (b. 1961–81) and Y (b. 1981–96), which together comprise the largest segment of the voting public, combating climate change is their priority.

Australia’s generational spread, per 2016 Census data. Photo: ABC

This is a key finding of the University of Melbourne’s Life Patterns report, released this week.

The longitudinal study, which followed a cohort that left high school in 1991 and another that left in 2006, further revealed that although they both cared about minimising the use of coal, they did so for different reasons. Gen-Xers generally worried about their children’s health, whereas Gen-Yers tended to want to protect future generations.

Report co-author Dr Julia Cook, Research Fellow at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, explained how the researchers reached this conclusion.

“In 2017, we asked participants to nominate the three most important issues facing Australia.

“One major issue unites both generations: concerns about the environment and climate change …

“… Both groups consistently expressed grave concerns about the general lack of action towards climate change mitigation from the current government.”

Among Gen-Xers (now aged 43-44), women were almost twice as likely to think this than men, yet among Gen-Yers (now aged 28-29), men predominantly held this view, albeit by a slim margin: 40 per cent compared to 34 per cent.

“We’re not going to have air to breathe soon,” a mother living in a country town said.

A father living in a rural area was equally alarmed: “Climate change could ruin their [his children’s] lives and our governments are not acting.”

The other issues the groups aired tended to reflect their respective life stages. For instance, Gen-Yers were concerned about jobs and housing affordability, while Gen-Xers were anxious about the cost of living and education – a worry potentially exacerbated by Scott Morrison’s independent and Catholic schools funding announcement on Thursday.

I actually think this is reasonably accurate. These people will bring on a collapse of our civilisation – their civilisation – and never know what happened. And then by some coincidence, this was in The Oz today: Labor’s mining of millennials’ envy is a cynical ploy that may work. There you find:

Labor’s delusion that government is better able to order economic affairs than markets has cost Australian taxpayers tens of billion dollars over the decade. Its legacy includes unplanned and unwanted school buildings, the National Broadband Network, an unreliable and expensive electricity system and debt that will pass to the next generation, and possibly the one after that.

Yet Labor is doubling down. Bill Shorten is campaigning on the party’s least diluted socialist platform since Gough Whitlam. He promises intrusive government, and more steeply progressive tax. He will re-regulate the Labor market and hand back more power to the unions.

He will attack private health insurance and penalise self-funded retirees. He will throw more money at public schools and public health under the pretence of improving services.

He will resume subsidies to wind and solar farms, bringing more pain to consumers.

Economic freedom fighters like Uber and Airbnb will face a torrid time. Labor’s addiction to regulate, combined with the trade union movement’s determination to keep every worker within their grasp, will bring down the curtains on the sharing and gig economies.

Which sums up to this:

Labor’s politics of envy has a subliminal appeal to millennials. Winding back negative gearing or capital gains concessions for investors appeals to their grievances, even though its effect will be to tighten the rental property market on which most of them depend.

Higher education on demand has inflated career expectations for some. A significant proportion find themselves employed in jobs for which they are over-qualified, on paper at least.

The Opposition Leader is relying on these voters to get him home.

Mis-educated by design, perhaps, but with no actual knowledge – both among the teachers and the taught – the tragic result.

They’re crazy but as they see it only half as crazy as Labor

The PM, in today’s Oz:

Scott Morrison has said Labor’s 45 per cent emissions reduction target would lead to the closure of every coal-fired power station in Australia.

The Prime Minister said electricity prices were starting to drop and would continue to do so under the government’s policies.

“The alternative is Labor will put into law 45 per cent emissions reduction target, the target we have that has been the commitment of the government for many years now of 26 per cent, that won’t have a material impact on electricity prices, that is my advice,” Mr Morrison told 5AA radio.

“But to take it to 45 per cent would pretty much shut down every coal fired power station in the country, it would increase people’s power bills by about $1400 on average for every single household.”

Meanwhile, from someone self-identifying as the Minister for the Environment, promising to do what cannot be done:

One of my responsibilities as the new Minister for Environment is to ensure Australia remains on track to meet our international commitments.

To be clear on this, Australia will meet our Paris emissions target without compromising the economy. Our approach remains the best way to meet our 2030 target. No country in the world is relying on a single policy. This is the responsible approach to policy, as is reviewing your existing policies to ensure they are meeting your objectives.

The Emissions Reduction Fund — a $2.55 billion investment — is one of the tools we are using to reduce emissions. The ERF has contracted with farmers, landholders and indigenous communities to deliver practical investment in our helping regional communities while reducing emissions.

The message: we are only half as crazy as Labor.

Just in case the evidence mattered

Global Temperatures Drop Back To 2002 Levels
Arctic Sea Ice Back To 2007 Levels

From here

Global temperatures fell back to 0.19C in August. This means the year to date (YTD) average is 0.23C, putting them back to roughly where they were in 2002. —Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 2 September 2018 

Summer is over, and Greenland’s surface has gained 510 billion tons of ice over the past year – about 40% above normal. Last year Greenland gained a little more ice, about 50% above normal. Last year, the Danish Meteorological Institute reported on the gain in ice, and blamed it on Hurricane Nicole. I wonder what their excuse will be this year? —The Deplorable Climate Science Blog, 31 August 2018 

Arctic sea ice is on pace to be close to last year and above those minima observed in 2015 and 2016. —Ron Clutz, Science Matters, 31 August 201 

To which may be added this.

How Climate Policies Slam the World’s Poor


A new study has found that strong global climate action would cause far more hunger and food insecurity than climate change itself. Models suggest that climate change could put an extra 24 million people at risk of hunger. But a global carbon tax would increase food prices and push 78 million more people into risk of hunger, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and India.

Lomborg argues in New York Post that if we want to eradicate hunger, there are more effective ways, such as a global trade deal. And we need to get smarter about climate change, too, focussing on more investment into green energy R&D

Workers need a pay rise and are therefore determined never to get one

Two kinds of contrary stories, but only contrary if you are not part of the cargo cult mentality of the left. Then we can have higher real incomes and at the very same time throw over the cheapest energy sources available to us. First we have this: ‘Australia needs a pay rise’: Change the Rules volunteers reach out to thousands in door knock campaign.

Union members are volunteering to conduct thousands of conversations with Australians about the desperate need for pay rises during a national door knock in September.

Over two weekends, door knocks and market stalls will be held in more than 40 locations, covering Queensland, NSW, the ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia.

Volunteers will be hearing people’s concerns about the lack of fair pay rises under the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Government, and talking about the union movement’s plan to change the rules so people can get fair pay rises that keep pace with the cost of living.

And then there’s this: $15b European trade deal doomed if Australia dodges Paris pledge.

The Coalition’s internal climate war risks damaging the economy after Europe declared it would reject a $15 billion trade deal with Australia unless the Morrison government keeps its pledge to cut pollution under the Paris accord….

Labor’s climate change and energy spokesman Mark Butler said the government had no emissions reduction plan and would fail to meet its Paris goal.

“The Prime Minister might think he can get away with [failing to cut emissions] domestically, but it is clear it will not be accepted by our international trading partners, who rightly have an expectation the Australian government will act to deliver on our international obligations,” he said.

I used to think they said all those things just because there are people stupid enough to take all this on board without seeing the problem. Now I think they are just this stupid themselves. But at least The Coalition are redeeming themselves. Now they have to get the rest of the country to see the point, or at least 51%. Not really such a big ask and there’s still plenty of time to do it.

Australia in the climate change news

This would certainly be a change. This is how our change of government is being seen from the UK.

GWPF Newsletter 30/08/18
Australian Govt Promises To Abandon Green Subsidies & Ignore Climate Targets
Climate Change Action Off The Agenda Under Morrison Government
Australian’s new Energy Minister Angus Taylor has unveiled a new energy policy focused exclusively on reducing electricity prices, in a strong signal the Morrison government will abandon all efforts to lower carbon emissions. The move comes a week after the issue of climate change precipitated the ousting of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.  —The New Daily, 30 August 2018

 

Renewable energy subsidies and emission-reduction targets will be replaced with a focus on lowering electricity prices under the Morrison government. New Energy Minister Angus Taylor said the federal energy policy has been “a mess” and says the fact prices have soared while blackouts persist means something has “gone terribly wrong”. The Daily Telegraph understands emission-reduction will also play no future role in ­energy policy. —The Daily Telegraph, 30 August 2018

The new Prime Minister — who took a lump of coal into parliament and accused Labor of “coalaphobia” — is under pressure from colleagues to support clean-coal technology. Whether it’s marginal seats in Queensland, western Sydney or Victoria, the message is clear: voters want action on energy prices, not emissions targets. –Geoff Chambers,The Australian, 28 August 2018

The most climate-skeptical nation on Earth

This is how our political troubles have been viewed in the US, at least according to the Crackpot News Network: Why not wreck the planet? It could save your political skin. Although already overtaken by events, there you may read:

(CNN) There is a certain mindset in politics, present the world over and across the political spectrum, which distrusts expertise. That mindset is presently revealing itself in Australia, where this week a small group of conservative-minded members of parliament held the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, hostage over climate policy.

Turnbull’s center-right Liberal party had pledged to reduce emissions from Australia’s energy companies more than a quarter (from 2005 levels) by 2030, a key part of its efforts to meet its international obligations.

 

But several of his own MPs, led by his predecessor as prime minister and long-term rival Tony Abbott, forced him into a climbdown by threatening to vote against the legislation. Turnbull’s government barely has a majority in the House of Representatives, and losing such a key vote could have led to a leadership challenge. Cowed, he dropped the pledge, and on Tuesday narrowly survived the revolt.

 

Yet for large parts of the political class here, and the people who vote for them, climate change is seen as a scam perpetrated by liberal, anti-business scientists.

 

One in five Australians, a poll last year showed, believe that climate change is a “hoax.” Another poll in 2015 declared that Australia was the most climate-skeptical nation on Earth.

 

Abbott himself has said that the “settled science” of climate change is “absolute crap” and that efforts to reduce its impact are like “killing goats to appease the volcano gods.” Another politician, the anti-immigration populist Malcolm Roberts, has clashed with scientist Brian Cox, claiming that NASA data was “manipulated” to make climate change appear worse than it was, to Cox’s astonishment.

 
And you can see here the evidence we are ignoring, from that same report.
 

Australia is a country where environmental damage is obvious, in the form of the hole in the ozone layer over the Antarctic caused by use of CFCs decades ago, the steady bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef from warming, carbon-dioxide-acidified seas, and the ever more prevalent bushfires.

Makes me proud to be an Australian.

 

A positive story about both coal AND Donald Trump

The world may really be about to change. From Donald Trump saves coal from renewables surge from The Weekly Standard and published in The Australian.

No country has a greater abundance of hydrocarbon energy than the US. The corollary is that no country was as big a loser from participating in the Paris Agreement and its intention to progressively decarbonise the world’s hydrocarbon superpower. On July 10, the Energy Information Administration forecast that next year the US would produce 12 million barrels of oil a day and overtake Saudi Arabia to be the world’s No 1 producer. When it comes to the politics of energy, the interests of the US and European green ideology are irreconcilable.

Trump understands this. “Our country is blessed with extraordinary energy abundance, which we didn’t know of even five years ago and certainly 10 years ago,” the President said last year. Those remarks were not only a paean to America’s energy resources, they were a full-dress rejection of the policies of his predecessor and of the Democrats’ goal of Europeanising US energy policy.

“We have nearly 100 years’ worth of natural gas and more than 250 years’ worth of clean, beautiful coal,” he said. “We are a top producer of petroleum and the No 1 producer of natural gas. We have so much more than we ever thought possible. We are really in the driving seat. And you know what? We don’t want to let other countries take away our sovereignty and tell us what to do and how to do it. That’s not going to happen. With these incredible resources, my administration will seek not only American energy independence that we’ve been looking for so long, but American energy dominance.

“And we’re going to be an exporter — exporter. We will be dominant. We will export American energy all over the world … These energy exports will create countless jobs for our people, and provide true energy security to our friends, partners and allies all across the globe.”

For the first time since 1992, when George HW Bush went to the Rio Earth Summit, a US president was outlining a global energy strategy diametrically opposed to the tenets underlying the UN climate process. Trump was establishing a rival pole based on energy realism and energy abundance.

On just this alone, PDT can lift the American economy into a prolonged period of rising growth and higher incomes. It’s amazing that no one else has the strength and courage to do the same anywhere else.

What did Australians use before they had candles?

Electricity!

Maddening because all of it is destructive of wealth and community but with absolutely nothing in return. If you see global warming and climate change as the biggest hustle in the history of the human race, repulsively stupid, where the community is defrauded and robbed to benefit a handful of grifters in a way that will make some of them very wealthy indeed [see Al Gore], or will raise incomes and status for quite a number beyond any worth provided whatsoever [the halls of academia and the business community are filled with such vultures], then the world as you see it has truly gone mad. Infuriating for the rest of us, but without the slightest idea how to change direction before we go over the cliff.