International scrutiny on Australia’s CSG industry

Posted by
14th January 2013

Hearing mixed messages on coal seam gas? This documentary might help to explain why. Al Jazeera’s “A Risky Business” includes the stories of locals affected by CSG, including locals from Tara, QLD, who featured in GetUp’s 2011 campaign video “Don’t Risk CSG”. Check out Al Jazeera’s documentary here:

“A few years ago hardly anyone in Australia had even heard of coal seam gas, now the industry finds itself under intense public scrutiny as it plans to drill thousands of new gas wells a year – many of them under farms and rural communities in the middle of the nation’s agricultural heartland. Coal seam gas could make Australia an energy superpower, but at what price to the nation’s health, environment and land?”

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  • Always Right

    CSG exploration is part of United Nations Agenda 21 designed to move people away from rural areas and into compact megacities where they can be easily controlled.CSG destroying rural environments and water tables is part of the plan.Go do the research on UN Agenda 21 and open your eyes.

  • Anonymous

    Fred under another name again I suppose?

    Your mention of agenda 21 is a ludicrous argument to use against something which has so many much stronger arguments available to oppose it.

    As per the document brief, Agenda 21 is a non-binding, voluntarily implemented action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development.

    Anyone who has spent any time reading the document and has at least a tenuous ability to understand what they are reading will know that the intent is to prepare for a future we are currently completely unprepared for. We need to be prepared for shortages of water and energy, along with the many subsequent commodities they contribute to. Want food? It takes large amounts of water (I’ve read estimates of something like two thirds of all drinkable water used) to produce our food, and yet between 30 – 50 percent of that never makes it to the consumer. World populations are set to balloon, and when taken alongside the threats of climate change, these issues may well define our ability to survive.

    But it’s a conspiracy to plan ahead? To research the problem and provide a set of voluntary measures to be used as blueprints for strategic planning is somehow abhorrent to you?

    True, they recommend that governments should take control of water allocation, with a view to ensuring that needs can be met with a minimum of wastage while maintaining options for survival situations. Or do you think that it makes more sense to keep farmer water allocations for crops and livestock at 100% while there is no drinking water to be had in population centres? Given that farmers tend to draw water from natural flows, what sense does it make to draw so much that it kills the flow downstream?

    They consider energy as an important resource, and guess what, CSG is just that. Does it have downsides and uncertainties, hell yes. Many strong arguments against it and the list is growing and getting stronger. Among these strong arguments you will NOT find ranting about vague conspiracy theories.

    We should cease all CSG activities until it can be demonstrated to be safe, but here is where it all falls down. People, and I dare say this includes yourself, are dead set against actions such as pricing carbon which serves primarily as a lever to make renewables the cheaper option for energy production, but they fail to see that this intensifies a market for low CO2 emissions energy, which is exactly the driver for CSG expansion.

    The only way to meet our energy requirements without continuing our destructive ‘business as usual’ fossil fuel powered lifestyles is to look to sources such as CSG, especially as it seems that all things nuclear are off the table in this country.

    You will see compact mega-cities by the way, but it will not be by UN design, it will be by simple requirement. Where do you think these extra people will go? Population centres will continue to grow, with an inevitable increase in population density. This includes regional population centres. It would appear you would like to proceed down this path without any forward planning as to the infrastructure and supply needs of the coming centuries.

    Basically, I think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick.

    But by all means, open my eyes. Please, tell me exactly where we can see the conspiracy you allude to in official documentation? Not your ‘feeling’. Not someone else’s half baked conspiracy theories. Where does it say how the UN gains any control from all of this, especially given that Agenda 21 remains non-binding, meaning that our own internal governance of internal issues contrary to the recommendations does not break our adherence to the guidelines of said document?

    Do you have any real point, or are you just meaning to voice an opinion of general contrariness?

  • TG1970

    In the same way it’s possible to choose electricity suppliers who offer 100% green options, is it also possible to choose a gas supplier who doesn’t use fracking? Or are they all doing it? Suppliers in my area are AGL, Energy Australia and Origin energy. The only one I can’t find information on re fracking is Energy Australia. The other two seem all for it.

  • Frank

    I agree that Australia has a shortage of water which will only get worse if you believe in the man made global warming theory, that is why i have repeatedly called for cutting all immigration to zero.Strangely the Greens and their ilk continue to push for increases in refugee resettlement, our environment is at breaking point now which is why these proposals from the left are so insanely ludicrous.

    The other arguments have been debunked numerous times.Edison did not need a whale oil tax in order to invent the light bulb.The problem we have is oil companies have a monopoly in the energy market and will buy out or kill outright any viable technologies.Wind power that kills thousands of birds (What an ecological tragedy that is) and does not work when there is no wind is not viable, hydro power is the most viable renewable but the Greens and Labor are against building more dams and hydro plants.Talk of carbon taxes in Australia and other Western nations are meaningless considering China will emit 50% of the worlds CO2 within 20 years at current growth rates.Did you catch the news reports on Chinas pollution smog recently by the way?

    Anyway i don’t know if you have seen it but it’s been out for years, a youtube video from the Rockefeller foundation funded “Forum for the future”.Go on youtube and look up ‘plannedopolis’ and watch the video, this is the society that the UN has in store for us under UN agenda 21.

  • Frank

    P.S. If the UN really cares about the environment why are they letting the USA introduce Genetically engineered salmon to the native population (AquAdvantage salmon)? Why are they allowing roundup ready GM Corn and other grains to be grown which are then eaten by birds, insects which then die? (Why do you think bee populations in USA have dropped so much??) UN does not care about the environment this is just a plan for increased control.

  • Anonymous

    The UN don’t ‘let’ the US do anything. The US dictates their actions independent of the UN, taking advice where it can be given. GM is another topic, but again, food security dictates that we simply cannot ignore the potential benefits of corn and grains which are more productive and resistant to pests and other threats.

    Clearly, they need to be proven to be safe, but to prove this, you first need to create it and grow it.

    I would be Interested to see any verified evidence that GM corn or grain consumption was directly responsible for animal deaths of any kind. The whole premise sounds like the usual unfounded conspiracy passed among the uninformed.

    Again, the UN does not gain control with the policies it proposes. As expected, the governments of individual countries decide based on the evidence available what the best course is for their own circumstances. Just because any given government makes a choice which you happen to be opposed to does not make the decision or the intent of the UN any less credible.

  • Anonymous

    The premise that potential water shortages in Australian should mean that immigration should be cut is ludicrous. The problem is global. Water shortages and the other problems caused by AGW are happening everywhere across the globe. This means, among other things, an increase in the number of refugees. The problem is common among us and in NO WAY absolves us of our responsibility to provide refuge for those in need. If it was a problem specific to Australia, you may have a point, but even then, not a very strong one.

    Edison did not need a whale oil tax to invent the light bulb? What? Of course he didn’t, it was already there. Whale oil was costly (in comparison to electricity) often in irregular supply, provided an inferior light , and had a mildly unpleasant odor. Meanwhile, electricity was cheap and abundant whilst also providing a steady, bright light. You need a tax when you want to push people away from something they prefer which has other, negative, side effects. In the case of electricity from fossil fuels, we produce CO2 emissions as a byproduct, which up until a price on carbon, we considered to be free. The price simply makes visible the byproduct electricity generation has always produced in order to give the cost incentive to move to renewable energy. This has not been debunked. It is pretty much self explanatory to your average sixth grader. If you make something cheaper and the primary drive for consumption is cost, people will go with the cheaper product. This is what a price on carbon does.

    Wind power is NOT an ecological tragedy. There are bird kill incidences, of course there are. It’s a solid mass spinning in the air. But the death of thousands of common birds is not a catastrophe. Wind turbines are assessed and placed in areas of low hazard to rare and endangered birds, and while the occasional bird strike undoubtedly occurs within these important groups, it pales in comparison to the number killed by cars each year. Then you have to consider the bigger picture, because while we ignore wind farms as a viable source of energy, we keep on burning coal, contributing to AGW, which, if ungoverned, may well remove the required habitats to support these birds at all.

    Recent technological advances in turbine design which have resulted in smaller surface area and slower rotation speeds further reduce the thread to birds. Taken together, your claim of ecological tragedy sounds nearly as weak as it actually is.

    There is good reason for not building dams all over the place, but the simplest one is simply that making more dams does not make more water. Dams are built in natural catchment areas because that is where the water is. If you see the major dams with 60% capacity, then you’re looking at two dams of the same size at 30% capacity. But, in your simplistic way you think, “but we have been at 100%, we could have captured the rest”. Fair enough, but to what end? The amount you capture will be transient – you cant rely on it to run a hydro system because most of the time it will be empty. Do you know what happens to empty dams which get filled rapidly? They bust. Do you know what happens to water held too long in a dam? It ‘dies’, which can cause large scale fish kill events when released. Basically, there is very little argument for building more dams when most of our catchment areas are already working at production capacity for us.

    As for for the carbon tax and your mention of China … So what. Our target is not to offset global emissions, it is to offset our own. The implication of your argument is that we cant change the whole thing so why even try. Basically, that is a foolish argument you should be ashamed to make. Thankfully, we have more progressive and conscientious voices to listen to on these issues.

    Smog is a separate issue, just out of interest. Smog is particulate matter which forms a low-lying cloud, eventually dispersing and settling back to earth. CO2 emissions are not visible and proceed to rise up into the atmosphere. Kind of irrelevant really, though it is good to see that you understand that pollution problems need to be tackled. Just a pity that you seem to need to be able to see the pollution to consider it worth acting on.

    Sorry, the rest was just ill-informed, but to propose that a youtube video showing someones vision of the future as definitive proof of what agenda 21 is about, well, that edges into the ridiculous. Besides which, there are some points made which are quite likely As I said, we use huge amounts of water to produce grains and crops, which we then turn around and feed to livestock along with even more water to produce meat. This is a luxury that we are very unlikely to have in the future.

    Just out of interest, the Rockefeller foundation openly accepts climate change as a reality, as does the creative work you propose to use as evidence. They call for action on climate change which, amazing enough, is what we have begun in Australia with our price on carbon. Perhaps you should consider getting on board with it. You can start by taking the time to understand that we can’t fix things by being part of the problem … we must reduce our own emissions and encourage others to take the same path.

  • Johann Berkmann

    Pretty despicable how the left is so against dams when it was the Wivenhoe dam that saved Brisbane during the floods a couple of years ago.Brisbane would have been completely destroyed without it.Of course Bligh announced to the world that the era of high rainfall in Brisbane was ‘over’ and this was ‘Due to climate change’ which resulted in the construction of the white elephant water desalination plant which is now mothballed, the floods hit and then Penny Wrong claimed the floods themselves were a result of ‘Climate Change’.Whatever furthers your agenda i suppose.

    My whole point about the Edison light bulb invention and i mentioned this is the vested interest in big oil, big coal is the main opposition to viable renewables.They will continue to buy out and destroy viable technologies that pop up so they can maintain their own highly profitable businesses.This is why a carbon tax is ineffective, oil prices have risen from 10 USD in the mid 90s up to 100 USD barrel recently and yet demand keeps rising and big oils profits keep rising.Coal demand from China is four times what it was 20 years ago.The Chinese cement industry alone creates more greenhouse gas emissions than the country of Germany.Again, big energy will continue to buy out and destroy viable technologies to maintain their profit monopoly on energy that is the main issue here not carbon taxes which affects the poorest sections of community the most.

    And didn’t John D Rockefeller make his fortune from oil (Same with Al Gore and Occidental Petroleum)? How ironic then that he now supports the man made global warming theory.Possibly has something to do with the opportunity to make billions,trillions in the global carbon trading markets.Googling “Denmark carbon fraud” gives some nice information… Carbon trading is just another Wall St/City of London gambling casino where regular taxpayers get screwed having to bail out bad bets.

    DK centre for CO2 fraud

    The Danish CO2 register at the centre of European CO2 fraud for billions.

    30. Nov 2010

    38 billion [$49.5 billion]

    The report says that there has been fraudulent trading in CO2
    quotas across the European Union, with many of the cases pointing back
    to Denmark.

    Investigations are being carried out in several countries,
    with the Danish Fraud Squad involved in investigations in Germany,
    Spain, Norway and Belgium. In France alone, authorities have found some
    151 quota accounts in the Danish register which they suspect have been
    used to carry out VAT fraud in CO2 quota trading.

    The Tax Ministry has been working on the issue for some
    months, but several countries are said to be slow in providing the
    necessary information.

    Tax Minister Troels Lund Poulsen has written to Parliament saying he
    plans to make personal contact with his colleagues in France and Germany
    in order to get more information.

  • Freddie

    If the UN can propose a global arms trade treaty they can propose a GM food & seed treaty banning export of GM food and seed.The recent French study with rats (Go google : monsanto gm corn tumor in rats) proved GM foods are deadly.

  • Right Said Fred

    “Wind turbines are placed in areas of low hazard” – another unadulterated lie.Observe large numbers of wind turbines placed in prime Californian Condor territory.It’s a bloodbath out there for common and rare birds alike – 2000 Griffon vultures killed per year in just 5 wind farms in Spain and the greens don’t see this as an ecological issue? Bizarre just bizarre….

    Two of California’s greatest environmental causes, renewable energy and saving the California condor, are on a collision course.

    The explosion of lethal prop-style wind farms being built in condor habitat
    is putting the hard-won future of the condor at risk.

    Many condors undoubtedly perish at such wind farms,
    although official reports attribute losses to other causes. Remember,
    great financial investments often warrant great cover-ups by those who
    stand to lose money.

    The leading cause of golden eagle mortality in California is collisions with prop wind turbines. (Wiegand: private correspondence.)
    Golden eagles are lighter and more agile in the air than giant, awkward
    condors. If eagles can’t avoid the blades, how can a clumsy flier like
    the imperiled California condor?

    At Altamont Pass, where nearly 7000 prop wind turbines choke the landscape, over 1000 birds of
    prey die each year. One of the most commonly killed species at the
    Altamont pass wind farm is the turkey vulture.

    The California condor, like the turkey vulture, is a scavenger. With their huge
    wingspans, condors catch thermal air currents and glide for hours
    looking for food. Flights for food can take a condor as far as 150
    miles, so it’s no stretch of imagination to speculate that condors
    frequent wind farms located within flying distance of their ranges,
    possibly even attracted to feed on the carcasses of other birds killed
    by the turbines.

    In Spain we have the Griffon vulture, a very
    large vulture that is slow and awkward in flight, much like the condor.
    Prop turbine wind farms in Spain have become slaughterhouses for Griffon
    vultures. Between 2000 and 2006 almost 1000 Griffon Vultures were found
    dead at just five of Spain’s wind farms in the Zaragoza province. Mark
    Duchamp of Save the Eagles estimates that nearly 2000 Griffon Vultures
    die at the prop wind farms in Spain each year. (Wiegand: private correspondence).

  • Franklin D Roosevelt

    2000 Griffon Vulture killed on all Spainish wind farms, not over 5 wind farms, my mistake.

  • Anonymous

    I really wish I could post links here, but basically, the evidence you provide is a long, long way from conclusive. There is a substantial list of flaws in the study, and We’ve evidence showing no real correlation in real word use.

    Quoted from Forbes article:

    “For yes indeed we really would like to know whether Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn (maize to Europeans) does cause health problems. We don’t think it does for several reasons. The multiple studies that have been done before looking at this very question for example. The fact that hundreds of millions of animals have been fed the stuff for years without anyone noticing anything odd about said animals. We’ve even got a nice natural experiment going on. Those humans in the Americas (North, South and Central) have been eating GM corn in vast quantities for a number of years now. Those humans in Europe have not. Again, we have not noted any difference in disease prevalence among the two groups that cannot be and is not explained by other factors.”

    They added to a body of evidence, but they proved no definitive link.

    But of course we want to know if it is safe. This is why it is tested.

  • Anonymous

    Hey, did you just correct yourself using another username?

    Seems legit.

  • Anonymous

    There is no disparity in the two views you present, as odd as it may seem. Extreme weather events are set to increase due to AGW, including large scale floods every bit as much as heatwaves. The overall trend however, will be towards less rainfall and more heat. As for the desal plant being in mothballs, well, let’s just hope it stays that way for as long as possible. But mark my words, my prediction is that within the decade, people will be very glad for that piece of infrastructure.

    You’re all over the place with your carbon tax spiel. You’re saying that ‘big fossil fuel’ is killing off alternative energy in order to maintain their profits. I’m sure they would like to, but the fact is that they have no ability to prevent investment in renewable energy. But because of the free market we have, they price their product to be below the competing technologies, making their product the most financially attractive product. Why try to hide developing technology when you can simply make is less desirable than their own product?

    This is what the price on carbon is for. This is why it works. You inflate the cost of consuming their product to the point that it becomes more financially viable to use the alternate product. If there is a criticism to be made of the price on carbon, it is that it is still too low.

    And hurts the poor the most? The facts just do not back up that statement. Besides the fact that the lowest income sector received a generous compensation package alongside assorted schemes to help reduce their consumption, the reality is that the largest consumers of electricity are those with large houses filled with high consumption devices.

    Again, what is happening overseas is largely irrelevant unless you are trying to argue that we should be doing nothing while trying to urge others to act.

    And hey, you brought up Rockefeller, not me, but what difference does it make exactly if they made their money through oil? We didn’t always know about climate change. There was a time that oil, like cigarettes, were considered to be without adverse effects. I’m sure if you follow the families of big money back far enough you’ll find slave owners. Surely you aren’t suggesting these people now support slavery?

    They made their money, and then they discovered the nasty sting in the tail of fossil fuels. They now openly accept climate change as a reality and endorse action. What more could you ask of them?

    And there were some problems with the UN’s initial implementation of their carbon price. Again, I’m not sure what you are getting at. We are not a part of the UN trading scheme yet, and any legitimate problems which are found will be rectified. This is the nature of things. You make something, you find a problem, you fix it. If everything that was found to have a problem was just casually discarded, well … I’d be hard pressed to think of anything that would have made it through.

    Your argument is strange when taken as a whole. It’s not a perfect world, so lets do nothing and let it all fall apart. I mean really, is that all you have to contribute?

  • Anonymous

    This is my second attempt at a response, but let me try again.

    First, let me point out that what you have quoted there is an article of unknown credibility. Who cites private correspondence as a reference? Is that the equivalent of “he mentioned in passing without giving any evidence to back his claim”. I mean it’s clear the author has an axe to grind; the hyperbole alone can tell you that.

    Yeah, “nearly 7000 prop wind turbines choke the landscape” is a pretty neutral kind of statement, wouldn’t you say?

    That is not to say that the points have no merit, it’s just that we have nothing besides truth by assertion to go on, and the verbiage tends to suggest those assertions may go beyond what the evidence supports.

    As a counter-cite:

    “Eagle fatalities only occur at a very small number of wind facilities across the country, and a significant mortality rate at individual sites is even rarer—primarily at the earliest wind farms in California, developed when siting practices were in their infancy and long before the interaction between eagles and turbines was understood. In fact, the data shows collision with turbines at modern wind farms is responsible for less than 2% of all reported human-caused golden eagle fatalities (and far less for bald eagles – with only three documented cases being reported nationally in the last 30 years), with vastly greater amounts attributed to power lines, vehicle strikes, lead poisoning, drowning in stock tanks, illegal shootings, etc”.

    Regardless, pointing out a problem with a specific turbine deployment in no way renders an entire technology without merit. I would think that one of the primary merits of any source of renewable energy is that it doesn’t add to the problem of climate change; a problem which will do far greater damage to all wildlife than anything else man has ever had a hand in.

    But as for your accusation, no, it is not a lie that environmental studies are taken to test the suitability of the site for wind farm use. It is law in Australia at least, but I can find several environmental guideline documents for the US and I see no reason to think that they were not done in the cases you mention, albeit a long time ago when the industry was in it’s infancy.

    Technology is improving, and these advances are resulting in a greatly reduced instance of bird strike in new turbines. In fact, I’ve found a few references to the locations you mention being the source of development of new technology to combat bird strike. It would seem that from the bad, good is being drawn.

    Again, a counter-cite:

    “That aside, the U.S. wind energy industry has demonstrated a willingness to work with the USFWS to address those instances where higher than anticipated eagle fatalities have occurred. This includes the oldest facilities mentioned above, which have had historically the highest mortality rates, that are currently being “repowered” with new, larger turbines that have lower rpm and are spaced much farther apart than the original site layout. Eagle experts who have worked closest to the issue for decades predict that fatalities may drop by as much as 80% when repowering is completed. The wind energy industry is also working actively to avoid and reduce impacts at newly sited facilities.”

    And yet, as I intimated above, this is all just a sideshow. There are an abundance of sites which have a very small impact on endangered wildlife, and I’m talking in the range of at least 95%+ of all major sites. Should the few with issues be closed or relocated? Possibly. Does this make wind turbines an ecological disaster? No. Obviously not.

    What *would* be an ecological disaster is to disregard a viable renewable energy source due to the need for vigilance and caution, and instead stay with fossil fuels as our primary energy source and watch climate change wipe a large proportion of all animal species off the planet by the simple expedient of removing their natural habitats.

  • Anonymous

    I forgot to touch on dams, though I think my previous statements pretty much cover it.

    To re-iterate, it makes no sense to have a dam sitting empty waiting to capture the overflow from another dam in the event of a once in a hundred (or thousand) year event, simply because a dam without water deteriorates very rapidly and presents more of a danger than a safety measure.

    Also, Wivenhoe was able to assist mitigating the severity of the flood waters in 2011 because *it’s already there*. Have a look around for green initiatives to remove Wivenhoe. Find any? No. It’s a dam placed in a sound location at a collection point in a large natural catchment area. That is why it was built there. It would make no sense whatsoever to build another dam nearby because there is no water to put in it other than that already in Wivenhoe.

    It also houses two hydroelectricity generators out of interest; a peak storage generator and a small freeflow generator.

    Anyhow, it’s really not that complex. More dams come with substantial environmental impacts and have questionable value given the lack of untapped natural catchment areas in which to place them. That is why they are opposed by those who are playing to strong policy rather than populist politics.

  • Francis P Blakethorn

    Explain why it is fine for wind farms in California to kill critically endangered Californian Condors and wind farms in Spain to kill 2000 vultures per year (Vultures feeding on the dead bird carcasses already killed by wind turbines) but it is not OK for fish and other marine life to be disrupted by construction of dams.Why the double standards?.I have posted links detailed the massive destruction wind turbines are doing to the bird population and you keep brushing it under the rug.

    I’ve already gone over the other stuff – let me give another example here.Back in 2000 the government slapped a 10% tax on processed food while leaving fresh fruit and vegetables untaxed.Did jacking the price of processed foods up 10% make Australians eat healthier? Are fewer Australians overweight than in 2000? Like i already siad oil was 10 USD in the mid 90s, now it is around the 100 USD mark yet oil consumption continues to rise.This is because there is no viable alternative to oil because the big energy companies keep buying out and destroying any viable other technologies.The government needs to clamp down on this practise and allow the free market to create viable energy products for the future, wind turbines that are destroying vast numbers of birds are not viable.Solar panels that use vast amounts of silver and rare earth minerals are not viable on a mass market scale.Hydro does do some damage to the environment i agree (like all power generation) but the fact that immigration quotas are not being cut drastically means we will continue to have a greater water shortage in the future so we will need more of them it is as easy as that.

    And really? you ask what i am getting at with linking the carbon trading fraud article? Rockefeller, Rothschild, Al Gore et al want carbon trading so they can make billions in the carbon trading markets.Do yourself a favour and google “Al Gore worlds first carbon billionaire” and it will bring up a good article from the UK telegraph.Just follow the money dude, Sheez….

  • Anonymous

    Who exactly said it is fine for bird kills due to wind farms? I mean, I pretty much explicitly acknowledged a known issue with a small percentage of wind farms. What you fail to acknowledge is that it *is* a known problem, with current, active works underway to resolve it.

    “Eagle experts who have worked closest to the issue for decades predict that fatalities may drop by as much as 80% when repowering is completed.”

    This is not brushing under the rug. This is acknowledging a problem which has been improved and continues to be improved and in no way invalidates a totally viable source of renewable energy.

    Regarding dams, I realize that you don’t get it, and frankly, I don’t blame you. The issue of building dams is far more simple that understanding the myriad of problems water storage presents. Marine life is one problem, and not an insignificant one, but it is only one aspect. You change the ecosystem for the entire system downstream, which effects everything from native fauna to flora, not to mention water quality which can be a major issue where water is drawn off for town supply downstream. This also does not take into account the ecosystem lost underneath such a large body of water. And it needs to be a large body of water, because you don’t want to have it too deep … deep water in static storage tends to de-oxygenate, which in turn can cause stagnation and bacterial growth leading to water toxicity – not a good attribute for water being returned to natural flows and used for human consumption. I could go on, but you get the gist. You don’t just slap a dam anywhere. It must be a viable location and the benefits need to offset the known problems, also taking into account known risks. It all takes a whole lot of planning and design.

    Your examples of failed incentives just don’t work. The 10% markup on processed foods was not to add incentive to buy fresh foods, it was a concession made that people should not be taxed for what is considered a staple food, especially when these products were usually exempt from the taxes the new tax was designed to replace. This is why some processed foods were also excluded if they could be considered staple, or perhaps more accurately, discretionary purchases. Despite media spin, nobody expected it to make people healthier, and citing it as an example of why a price on carbon wont work is ludicrous. The purposes and conditions surrounding them were completely different.

    This is also the case when you cite an increase in oil or prices as a sign that our consumption continues because ‘big fossil fuel’ hushes up new technology. But that claim really makes no sense. As I said, it would make no sense to expend vast amounts of money acquiring and hushing up new technology when they can simply under-price it. This is the free market. Prices increased because our consumption of a limited resource increased.

    Which makes me wonder why you expect the free market to solve this problem. If fossil fuel is the cheapest resource, then the free market will just not work to solve the problem. We *know* this because of the adoption rates of green energy. If the free market worked in the way you seem to think it does, big oil would have lost out simply because everyone would have moved to renewables and there would be no more market for their wares. But the reality is that green energy is a niche market.

    Business becomes big business when you buy low and sell high. There is no incentive to buy medium and sell for the same amount. But if you were to make both items the same purchase price, then the free market would start to work. There would be greater demand for renewables, so the price per kw would start to rise as demand reached capacity, which would in turn trigger investment to meet the demand for capacity given the positive return on investment.

    Don’t get me wrong, the fossil fuel industry has a lot to answer for, and hell yes they are trying to keep us addicted to their products. But they are driving the masses simply by keeping their product cheaper, coupled with the knowledge that we already have the infrastructure to use their product in place. They know that a move away would require a large scale investment in new equipment. They only have to make it difficult to justify the infrastructure spend to win.

    Why? Because of arguments like yours, odd as it may seem. You can find fault with pretty much any renewable energy source, and your reaction to this is to say “Well … it’s not the perfect solution right now so let’s scrap the lot of it.”

    As one of (if not THE) driest continent on earth, we are not well suited to large scale hydro. Geothermal on the other hand we have a good potential for. I read recently that tidal power may be making a resurgence with some new techniques making it more productive. Solar is rapidly becoming cheaper in large scale deployments, including base load systems with night-time storage capacity. Solar is in a massive growth phase at the moment, and there are whole new areas of research starting to show that solar is possible from abundant materials. Sites like kurzweilai have some excellent resources on these breakthroughs in their news section if you filter for energy. Printed solar panels, graphene panels, flexible cells, transparent film panels on high-rise windows, I mean, the possibilities are immense, but again, you want to dismiss it with a paragraph.

    You seem to lament the influence of ‘big fossil fuel’, yet you have gone out of your way to try to discredit pretty much every renewable source with large scale potential with the technology we have at our immediate disposal. And understand, the ‘other viable technologies’ you think need to come to the fore are the very ones you are trying to dismiss. There is no ‘free energy’ machine. We must look to the energy available from the world around us. Solar, wind, hydro, tidal, thermal. We need ALL of these in some measure to meet our energy needs and to remove ourselves from the fossil fuel teat. Such a shame that you have ruled out two of the biggest one due to some minor flaws which are being rectified and improved even as you read this.

    And I like that way you think that following the money brings you to the bad guy. Have you considered that no matter what energy source we have, it needs to be profitable to the people who invest in the infrastructure and manage the markets which allow these investments to be profitable for all on a global scale? You seem to be well aware that ‘big fossil fuel’ wants to keep raking in the cash despite the damaging effects of their product, yet you somehow feel that people investing heavily to provide the same product without the detrimental effects should not reap rewards for this?

    See, what you’ve done is, you’ve made a monster of the people trying to shift us to non-destructive patterns and become a defender for those you seem to accept are the ones in the driving seat of the current imminent car wreck.

    Yes, I accept that renewable energy is not perfect. Wind farms placed before we had the understanding and technology we now have have had a negative impact on some species. As cited above, work has been done which could see an 80% reduction in avian fatalities, and we can hope and advocate for this to improve in the future. Solar has some material shortage issues, though this is not really a limiting factor at this stage and are recyclable in any case. Regardless, we know that research is well underway to maximize our solar capture ability without the need for costly or limited materials. We also have other means at our disposal to augment our renewable capacity, and these means are also the subject of continued research and improvement.

    Yet the avenue you seem to want to pursue is hydro, which is fine as far as it goes, but as noted above comes with a substantial lack of additional capacity (and even if we could somehow find the water to perpetually fill new dams, you conveniently overlook the environmental downsides). Dismissing wind and solar knocks out about 25% of our existing renewable capacity, which would need to be replaced by … yep … fossil fuel. Your inability to see the benefits beyond past missteps and minor deficiencies hands more power to the people you claim should be clamped down upon.

    Yeah … sheesh

  • Nikkoh

    I have been reading the comments for this page and it’s funny how we all have the power to find information but yet we all differ so much in our opinions and our beliefs. First of all birds are not dying from new wind farms as Stryks did point this out to me a while ago and i did do my research, new wind turbines spin allot slower as to protect bird from hitting the blades, look it up.
    Agenda 21 is real and is not good for the planet and the UN is slowly becoming a World Government who are supporting or even maybe the cause of Tyranical Governments. Edison Did not invent the light Bulb Nichola Tesla Did and Edison Did not invent Electicity Tesla Did, Edison Invented DC Electricity but not AC electricity which tesla did and changed the whole way of life for us.

    This i no Conspiracy but the UN is there to take control of the Planet with the help of our corrupt Governments it sounds unbelievable and as a Conspiracy but the signs are there. A Global Warming is biggest lie ever told to the people, everything can be easily fixed if they would allow technology that has already been invented to hit the market. History is Fact and has happened so we can’t change it but we can change our future if we demand change from our Governments. Nichola Tesla was funded to work on particular projects but when the people that were funding him found out that he was working on free energy they quickly closed all his projects down. In my opinion he was one of the greatest Men to ever live on this planet, It’s funny how he died alone and poor without money and if Westinhouse’s Son didn’t agree to pay for his accomodation till the day he died, Tesla would have died homeless and alone in the streets. His career was destroyed all because he wanted to help man Kind.

    Stryks i’ve told you this before, if our Governments truely cared about us and the planet they would force the Corporations that have shelved such inventions to be released to the People of the planet but they are not doing that, to me it’s a concern for the future of the human race and Strykes i know you are a highly inteligent human being but it Boggles the mind how and why you can’t see that.

  • Anonymous

    You know what is funny though, if it’s a vast global conspiracy and big oil has tucked away the technology required to help us and the planet, then why do you know what these new technologies are and how effective they will be? What kind of cover up allows people like you and me to easily find what they want hidden? For that matter, what do you care if they are hidden, given that you don’t believe anything is wrong in the first place?

    Have you considered that these ‘devices’ are almost exclusively explained and promoted by people who are selling the plans to make them? Have you wondered why, if these devices are based on intellectual property owned by multinational corporations that they would not be legally allowed to sell or even make publicly available said plans, and that doing so would have the website taken down within the blink of an eye?

    Tesla was an amazing man who was a substantial way ahead of his time, but the fact is that he was also a significant way behind where our current knowledge is. I mean, imagine what he might have done had he been alive today, with the foundation knowledge we have at hand. Understand that, just because he was ahead of his time, not everything he proposed or worked on was a success. He was just as fallible as anyone else.

    But I’ve made the challenge before, and I still wait for evidence of any kind of over-unity device which actually does what it states it will. I guarantee you that the people telling you that ‘free energy’ works are still living in grid connected housing running conventional energy.

    At any rate, we do not live in a country where the government can force a company to publicly divulge and relinquish rights to proprietary information it possesses, and it cannot force it to release a product based on same.

    So you see the problem, yeah? This is what my rational mind cannot get past when it comes to this issue.

    1. There is no evidence that there is any significant technology has been held back, and ..

    2. That any such technology works and would render all other energy production technologies obsolete, and ..

    3. That if there were to be hidden technologies, there is no viable way to get them to release it, especially because …

    4. The government does not have the power to force them, and …

    5. Even if they did, they would need evidence that there was something to release.

    Also, and perhaps more interestingly,

    6. That if the government did what they *could* do, starting out by introducing a price on carbon, that they could …

    6a. Increase investment in known viable renewable technologies, which would ..

    6b. Improve the efficiency of these known viable technologies, and ..

    6c. Reduce the stranglehold of fossil fuel companies, which in turn would ..

    7. Provide any fossil fuel based company holding back clean technology with a powerful incentive to release this technology in order to provide a product to maintain their declining bottom lines.

    You could say that we see the same end result, I guess. It’s just that I don’t really accept that hidden technology could be so readily found, or that any said technology would negate or invalidate investment in renewable technologies which are known and available *now*. But if there are hidden technologies out there which are not being released, it will be due to the fact that these technologies would serve to damage their cash cow, correct. If alternative measures were to diminish the cash they could squeeze from the cow, it seems unlikely the incentive to retain the technology would remain, given the massive profits to be made from said technology.

    As I said elsewhere, Agenda 21 is just an agenda. We can subscribe to it and fail to abide by it as we see fit without penalty. It is non-binding. We still self govern, no matter what. Out of interest, we have been a signatory to Agenda 21 for some time now, I believe it was under Howard that we joined, though I may be wrong there.

    There is some truth in the notion that the UN is designed to be a world government, but I feel your mistake here is to assume that the form of that government will be a dictatorship. But if we are to take global or multinational actions regarding issues which involve the collective, it seems that the only solution would be to have some kind of governance structure above national level. Or would you prefer that this governance came solely from a single country which puts it’s own interests first, and before you suggest it, this is largely what the UN is designed to prevent.

    Conspiracies exist, of course they do, but the ones you are suggesting here just don’t stand up to scrutiny, at least with the evidence which has been presented. But if you want to talk about significant amounts of evidence, then we can go back to talking about climate change. ;-)

    I am concerned about the future of the human race, but what scares me most is the widespread conspiracy to avoid facing the realities of the damage our current lifestyles cause and the blatant refusal to change from our current course without some mythical panacea technology, while at the same time ignoring and outright opposing the totally viable alternatives we have at our disposal *right now*.

    There is a report out there from 2009 detailing how we could switch globally to 100% renewable energy using the technology available at the time, and they concluded that it was possible to do by 2030 if there was enough will to do so. We don’t need a hidden technology. We already have a place to start. If you want to look for conspiracies, I’d look towards those who want to prevent us from doing so.

  • Nikkoh

    “Given that you don’t believe anything is wrong in the
    first place?” You are wrong there Strykes I do believe there is something
    wrong, The air we breath is over polluted with Carbon Monoxides and in reality I
    do want change, this is why I am so confused about how I feel about all this
    because in reality I would love to stop all fossil fuels. In reality we both
    want the same thing we just disagree on the cause. I think you are right that
    it was Howard but I could be wrong as well. The problem in this Country is that
    inventors do not have the support from our Government so the technology usually
    ends up overseas. Where I think the conspiracy is, is when someone invents a
    different way to create energy because they have no help from our Government
    they end up selling it lets say to the oil companies for a quick Buck and then they
    then Shelve what could become their competition. From what I have been reading unless offcourse it’s a lie Tesla
    had invented Free energy devices and also wireless electricity which now does
    look possible if you take in consideration that you can actually buy a charging
    pad where you can just throw your device on the pad and it charges without

    Sorry Stryks I’m not really saying you are wrong, it all
    could be lies about all these inventions that can generate electricity for
    free, they say the energy is all around us.

    I just can’t understand how much Technology has advanced
    especially in the last 50 Years but the way we generate electricity is so

  • Anonymous

    Fair call on the other emissions that are problematic. If it makes you feel any better, the carbon reduction scheme is designed to reduce other emissions as well, in that where carbon emissions are generated, those other harmful emissions are usually emitted as well. Reducing one reduces the other.

    I totally agree that innovators and inventors are undersupported here. I actually think we are starting to make some traction with private investment firms starting to take an interest, but we do still have a lot of room for improvement in encouraging these people to stay in Australia and develop their projects here. I’m not sure it’s entirely a government thing, but on the other hand, I don’t see any reason they should not participate in funding of product development where the idea is sound and profitable.

    In regards to Tesla and ‘free energy’, my understanding is that his use of the term was not in regards to energy generation, but in regards to energy transmission. I seem to recall that his later projects revolved around the idea that we could use a layer of the earths crust to transmit power to every location on the planet at the same time. I think the general idea was that energy was pumped into this layer, and all that was required was to insert a receiver into the layer to be able to draw some energy out. The receiver gets ‘free energy’. What is more, I think I read somewhere recently that someone has found that this could actually be done, but that the amount of energy required was too much to contemplate, which makes sense when you consider that Tesla probably didn’t really have any idea how much energy would come to be consumed all these years down the track.

    I’m not really saying that there is no tech being shelved, but yeah, the leap of logic is too great for me to be too concerned about it given the lack of any solid evidence of anything which would be a definitive game changer. I guess this lack of concern is reinforced, as I said, by the fact that we have the technology available to achieve our energy targets with zero emissions, carbon *and* the others caused by burning fossil fuels.

    Again, I have to totally agree with you regarding how primitive our existing fossil-fuel technology can seem at times . Sometimes when I think of it compared to where I would like to think we could go, it seems like the equivalent of rubbing sticks together. But then, taking the longer view, I can’t see how we would have made it to this point without going through the intervening steps. I mean, it doesn’t seem likely that we would have expended the effort required to develop renewable energy (as electricity at least) without first developing an addiction for electricity, and it seems unlikely that we would have developed that addiction without an obvious, low tech means of obtaining it.

    I must admit though that the thought has crossed my mind that the first experiments with electricity were taking place around the same time as the science behind windmills was being fully understood. How different things could be if we could go back in time to get the two groups together and say “Hey, how about using these together? Why use coal to boil water to get steam to turn a rotor when the wind will do it all without the bother?”. Ahh well.

    I think fossil fuels had their place, but I think that place needs to be the past.

  • Mikael Proynatis

    So you still deny that the most profitable companies in the world (oil companies) would ever buy out or seek to destroy energy sources which threaten their wealth?

    Stanley Meyer running a water powered car in 1992, he was found dead after a mysterious food poisoning incident in 1998.

    I mentioned the GST because critics are now calling for a “junk food tax” which would operate in a similar fashion (to increase the price of processed foods).As with the price of oil going from USD15 a barrel in 1995 to USD100+ barrel recently consumption of junk foods kept increasing because they were a cheaper source of calories even though fresh fruit & vegetables are effectively subisidised through vastly reduced water rates paid by the producers of those foods.You cannot seriously claim that running a car on oil is cheaper than running one on water? Look at the “Petrol price cycle”, prices regularly jumping by 10-15c a litre at the pump midweek and the government does nothing even though the price of oil usually has stayed relatively stable during that time.Maybe the government lets oil companies engage in the ‘petrol price cycle’ for revenue purposes – you get more GST with 1.50 a litre than 1.25 per litre… And certainly more than you get for a litre of water.

    As for solar, we had a big hailstorm here back in March 2010 that destroyed most panels and they all had to be replaced.Whats the energy cost there in re-manufacturing all of those panels? It was a disaster and ended up pushing the insurance premiums up for everyone.Tidal and geothermal also seem viable but governments seem hell bent on pursuing dead end technologies like solar and wind.I know Iceland is the world leader in geothermal (Running three aluminium smelters on renewable geothermal last i checked – would the greens support alumiunium smelters here if they ran off renewables? They were against a pulp mill that used 100% plantation grown timber so probably not…) so maybe we could get some advice from them.

    As for the “green energy revolution” BP was running the largest solar panel manufacturing facility in Australia which they went on to close in 2009 and solar thermal power plant ausra moved from Australia to USA as well so i’m not seeing Australia becoming a world leader in this stuff any time soon as Labor or the greens are claiming.Of course The Greens also claimed that Tasmanias economy would rebound through “eco-tourism” after logging and mining were decimated but the facts are now out that Hobart has the highest state capital hotel vacancy rate in the country, Tasmania has the lowest wages in the country, the highest unemployment in the country etc so most people have become accustomed to ignoring the greens lies which is why they are losing votes so rapidly.

  • Mikael Proynatis

    So you still deny that the most profitable companies in the world (oil companies) would ever buy out or seek to destroy energy sources which threaten their wealth?

    Stanley Meyer running a water powered car in 1992, he was found dead after a mysterious food poisoning incident in 1998.

    I mentioned the GST because critics are now calling for a “junk food tax” which would operate in a similar fashion (to increase the price of processed foods).As with the price of oil going from USD15 a barrel in 1995 to USD100+ barrel recently consumption of junk foods kept increasing because they were a cheaper source of calories even though fresh fruit & vegetables are effectively subisidised through vastly reduced water rates paid by the producers of those foods.You cannot seriously claim that running a car on oil is cheaper than running one on water? Look at the “Petrol price cycle”, prices regularly jumping by 10-15c a litre at the pump midweek and the government does nothing even though the price of oil usually has stayed relatively stable during that time.Maybe the government lets oil companies engage in the ‘petrol price cycle’ for revenue purposes – you get more GST with 1.50 a litre than 1.25 per litre… And certainly more than you get for a litre of water.

    As for solar, we had a big hailstorm here back in March 2010 that destroyed most panels and they all had to be replaced.Whats the energy cost there in re-manufacturing all of those panels? It was a disaster and ended up pushing the insurance premiums up for everyone.Tidal and geothermal also seem viable but governments seem hell bent on pursuing dead end technologies like solar and wind.I know Iceland is the world leader in geothermal (Running three aluminium smelters on renewable geothermal last i checked – would the greens support alumiunium smelters here if they ran off renewables? They were against a pulp mill that used 100% plantation grown timber so probably not…) so maybe we could get some advice from them.

    As for the “green energy revolution” BP was running the largest solar panel manufacturing facility in Australia which they went on to close in 2009 and solar thermal power plant ausra moved from Australia to USA as well so i’m not seeing Australia becoming a world leader in this stuff any time soon as Labor or the greens are claiming.Of course The Greens also claimed that Tasmanias economy would rebound through “eco-tourism” after logging and mining were decimated but the facts are now out that Hobart has the highest state capital hotel vacancy rate in the country, Tasmania has the lowest wages in the country, the highest unemployment in the country etc so most people have become accustomed to ignoring the greens lies which is why they are losing votes so rapidly.

  • Houston Schlitzstickler

    Over 50% of Rats fed GM corn in the study were sterile within three generations.Three generations of humans takes 50 years so you can’t claim that GM corn which has been available since 1996 (17 years) has no effects with regard to reproductive capacity because not enough time has passed.Roundup has been proven to cause reproductive malfunctions especially in men, roundup residue is obviously found in GM roundup ready corn.What is so hard for you to understand here and why are you supporting monsanto one of the most evil companies on earth.

  • Houston Schlitzstickler

    Over 50% of Rats fed GM corn in the study were sterile within three generations.Three generations of humans takes 50 years so you can’t claim that GM corn which has been available since 1996 (17 years) has no effects with regard to reproductive capacity because not enough time has passed.Roundup has been proven to cause reproductive malfunctions especially in men, roundup residue is obviously found in GM roundup ready corn.What is so hard for you to understand here and why are you supporting monsanto one of the most evil companies on earth.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not supporting anything except a rational reliance on evidence rather than rushing off on a witch hunt. As I said, there are numerous criticisms of that study, but perhaps the three most important ones are:

    - Control group was too small.
    - Breed of rats were prone to tumors and other related reproductive issues when fed on an unrestricted diet, as was done here
    - The methods used to generate the statistics presented were unconventional, while conventional statistics methods produced no substantial variation from previous studies showing GM to be a neutral process.

    But that is not to say that I think it IS a neutral process, or even that it is safe. On the other hand, this is one piece of evidence and it appears to have some significant flaws.

    What is hard to understand is how one questionable piece of evidence is enough to make you snap to a fixed position that all GM is evil. I mean, even if this roundup resistant corn is eventually found to be unsafe, you realize that it doesn’t invalidate GM overall.

    At any rate, my feeling on GM as a whole is that it is going to be required at some point, whether we like it or not. The challenges presented to us in terms of food production over the next few centuries are likely to require manipulation, simply to produce the vast quantities required with a reduced resource load and reduced risk of crop failure due to environmental stress, disease and pest infestation.

    Isn’t it better to research this now, before it becomes a case of emergency research?

  • Anonymous

    I *never* denied that companies would hold back technology. In fact, I explicitly state several times that it’s possible, if not likely. They have a clear incentive to do so.

    Mentioning Stanley Meyer as evidence of this is pretty weird, given that this technology is still being developed and publicized. At any rate, despite the description, it was not running on water, but was in fact running on hydrogen (collected by splitting water molecules). The thing is, despite often being marketed as an over-unity device, the reality is that it takes more energy to create a unit of hydrogen than can be retrieved from that unit. It’s similar to the kits you can buy to produce hydrogen from water using energy from your cars alternator. The gas gets added to the fuel mix, and people think they are getting better mileage – but they are not. Every step of the process loses energy. The extra load on the alternator increases resistance to the pulley, making the engine work harder which consumes more fuel. The alternator is not very efficient at any rate, and doesn’t convert all of the force applied to it into energy, while some of the energy it does create is lost in the conversion to hydrogen. That hydrogen does not convert back into energy at a 100% conversion rate either, so what you have effectively created here is an ‘energy reduction machine’.

    At any rate, take a look at the Genepax website for a modern water fueled car. Understand though, the energy in water is chemically stored hydrogen and oxygen, and the energy released is at the very best best equal to the energy required to release it. It’s fuel cell technology, nothing more.

    Regardless, you’re saying what now? That ‘big fossil’ killed Stanley in order to silence him. I’m assuming that they must have killed him and then stolen the car, equipment and blueprints as well, yes? And then silenced everyone who he showed it to? Everyone who helped him develop it? Given that we still have the technology, it seems a bit of a waste, and if we’re so definite that they did it, why am I seeing no charges laid? You realize that no evidence renders this line of argument invalid, yes?

    You’re still mixing your examples up here. We can exclude the water references, so I guess that’s a start, though I fail to see anywhere were I said it was cheaper to run a car on oil than water. Anyhow, The ‘junk-food’ tax is an example of adding a price to drive consumer purchasing patterns, which has little to do with calories and more to do with reducing the future health system burden from the effects of all this unhealthy food. Meanwhile, water is generally cheaper for primary producers because they purchase in bulk, and the water they purchase isn’t treated or pressurized, etc. Any additional subsidies you might like to mention here would likely fall under the category of ‘common good’, with food production being a necessity, it is vital to ensure that it is financially viable to actually produce the food we all consume.

    But I’m not sure what that has to do with anything, unless you’re arguing that junk food consumption could not be altered by inflating the cost of these goods. My response to that would be simply to look at cigarettes. It’s a highly addictive product, and while multiple measures are necessary, the fact remains that the largest factor in reducing cigarette consumption has been the artificial inflation in price.

    At any rate, if there has been a recent increase in junk food consumption, do you not think that this might have been the cause for a call for a junk food tax? You seem to be trying to argue that someone wants to implement a tax on junk food but it didn’t reduce consumption even though it hadn’t been implemented yet.

    I don’t see how oil prices or fuel price cycles are relevant at all really. Oil prices rise as per the free market – when demand is high and supply is low, the price goes up. When the price goes up, the cost of goods made from that resource go up, i.e. fuel. Fuel companies know they can charge more at certain times because despite their unhappiness, people will still pay. There is room for more regulation on this, but without proof of collusion, it’s not against the principals of a free market to charge what the consumer will bear.

    There is also another factor to consider, which again is internal supply and demand. You’ll notice that it is peak times such as holidays and weekends in which the prices rise. Again, where there is more demand and a limited supply, the price increases. You need to consider that there is only something like three weeks worth of fuel under normal consumption in the country at any given time. There needs to be some mechanism in place to ensure that these reserves do not get depleted too rapidly.

    You had a hailstorm which damages some panels, and you propose that this invalidates solar? How odd. Do you not think other infrastructure is damaged by natural events or just gradual wear? Power lines taken out by fire or blown down by storms. Transformers struck by lightning or cracking a housing in extreme heat and then blowing at the next rainstorm due to moisture infiltration. I could go on, but basically, looking to destruction of infrastructure as a failure of a technology is … well … pointless. All infrastructure fails under certain circumstances, in the same way that houses can still flood if they are built above the one in a hundred year flood level. Infrastructure is designed to withstand the majority of the weather it will be exposed to but not all. And this is common to ALL infrastructure.

    Panels can be damaged by severe weather, though usually the weather will also smash car windows and do severe damage elsewhere, but then again, a lot depends on the qualities of the particular panels. But what is the cost of re-manufacture? Cheaper than it used to be is the answer I will give. But given the extended warranty on panels alongside the bulk purchase savings made by the insurance companies, I feel quite certain in saying that the premium increases were not solely due to damage to solar infrastructure.

    Despite your claim that solar and wind are dead-end technologies, the reality is these two are far and away the most abundant, largely untapped sources of energy available to us. Wind power alone is estimated to have a potential of over five times the amount of current global energy production. We actually have tidal energy underway in Australia, and I understand that planning is underway for geothermal as well, but neither of these negate other renewable energy sources. Also, the primary reason that Iceland is a leader in geothermal is due to the large amount of deep thermal output due to it’s volcanic activity.

    Though you may not see it, the closure of the BP manufacturing plant had little to do with the feasibility of solar or of our ability to be innovators in the field. As you should know, given you raised the matter, only the manufacturing arm was closed, meanwhile the research and development sector still exists and is an active contributor to PV advancement. Ausra on the other hand was a victim of the GFC, and at any rate was more involved in technology development than anything else. Many of the larger projects they did turn out were in other countries, given the lack of investment in Australia.

    Both of these incidents took place *before* a price on carbon was implemented …. in fact, I’m not sure that it was even seen as being on the cards back then. Meanwhile, a price on carbon is specifically designed to encourage and supply investment in renewable energy facilities in this country, which I’m sure would have very helpful in keeping these industries profitable had it been implemented sooner. Meanwhile, people like you talk down the carbon price, not realizing that in doing so, you prolong the pause before independent investment starts to gather momentum. As we move forward, you’ll start to see more investment and development of these technologies as the effects of a price on carbon start to take hold.

    But in the end, we get to what I think you really wanted to do, which is to badmouth the Greens and Tasmania in general. The fact is, Tasmania has always been economically unstable, which has very little to do with any recent changes. One of the key problems Tasmania has is a lack of population, which is something many like to conveniently overlook when using statistics to show how poorly Tasmania performs for unemployment compared to the rest of mainland Australia. These unemployment figures also fail to take into account the disproportionately large number of older residents and retirees who are receiving the Age Pension.

    You want to talk about tourism though, so lets start out by saying that the population of Tasmania is something like 510,000, but the average number of tourists they receive each year is in excess of 800,000. This produces about 1.3 billion dollars into the Tasmanian economy, a figure which is quite impressive given the large number of tourists to the number of people to service those visitors.

    It should come as no surprise to you that in the past, a lack of investment has stifled growth in various sectors of the Tasmanian economy, eco-tourism included, but with activities underway to protect and secure the native beauty of this area of the world, and with more and more people looking towards environmentally responsible investment, there can be little doubt that eco-tourism will continue to grow into the future.

  • Goslim Zhinfago

    Your argument about “peak periods” like weekends and holidays causing a spike in demand being the reason behind petrol prices rises is null and void since the “petrol price cycle” of jacking up prices 10-15c in one day did not exist prior to 2000-2001.My point about it was just the lack of government intervention to tackle the issue of price gouging by the oil companies in this fashion.And it is ridiculous to compare a once in a hundred year flood event to hailstorms that happen at least twice yearly in Perth and more frequently in other capital cities i imagine.You know this.The Greens want to build huge solar mirrors in the Goldfields costing billions of dollars so we are not talking small change like a couple of pine telegraph poles here.Instead of building these money sinks that are rendered useless by the first hail of the season why not invest in the new technology where CO2 emissions from coal plants are pumped into storage tanks and then turned into carbon based fuels? I am sure you read the reports from last year of advancements in this technology.

    Video of bike in Pakistan running on water with no petrol.Watch earlier videos in the series if you want to see him clear the carburettor and fuel tanks of petrol.Anyway government does not want this water tech to become mainstream as they will lose revenue from fuel taxes.If half of the drivers in Australia stopped using their cars tomorrow do you think the government would be happy? Hell no, it’s all about the revenue generation and that goes for the carbon tax as well.

    Finally in regards to junk food taxes and do i believe we should introduce them.the answer is no, we should move towards scrapping medicare as it will bankrupt this nation.Everybody should pay their own medical costs, this would ensure people live healthier, if they want private medical insurance they can go that route.Personally i am a fit guy i weigh 80kg at 6 foot.I drink maybe two soft drinks per month.Why should i pay more for soft drinks if i eat healthily 90% of the time and keep in good shape? There is no justification.

  • Fred

    Population is set to peak at 9 billion and then decline sometime later this century but i digress…. Have you ever done any research into “skyscraper greenhouses”? they are building them now in sweden.54 storey buildings where food is grown vertically.

  • Anonymous

    I have looked into vertical gardens before actually. Exciting stuff, and I’m sure part of the solution. But if you look into the reasons and timing for the 9 billion people peak theory, then you will see it focuses on agricultural losses causing excessive mortality rates, holding back the population growth in the short term and banking on a lower reproduction rate afterwards.

    None of this negates my point. You have 9 billion people to feed and you have to juggle water, nutrients, pollutants, environmental stress, diminishing viable pasture, just to name a few complex issues, and then you throw in a new fungal disease or pest which wipes out a third of your yield and is resistant to treatment. You’re going to be looking for a solution quick smart.

    What I find interesting is, you get a theoretical model like this future population projection, and you’re 100% on board like it’s a given. But you get hundreds of papers from the last 30 years showing that climate change is happening and you’d be giving it the whole “bah … junk science … conspiracy” deal.

    Go figure.

  • Anonymous

    I understand your point regarding price spikes, but my response was pretty clear. There is nothing legally wrong with a business charging what the market will pay. It’s the free market in action. What government intervention would you like, and who exactly do you think is going to provide it? This is not the way government works in this country, and if it were, we could just as easily say, “Apple … your iPhones are too expensive … charge half what you currently do or else”. Is that the future you have in mind for your country?

    Are you seriously saying that you think the large scale solar plants you mention will be made from the solar panels the public have have on their homes? Hmmm … What we are actually talking about is mirrors. Parabolic mirrors usually. They concentrate a wide area of solar exposure onto a relatively small area for collection. Generally this is through molten salt, so in other words it is not photo-voltaic at all, but solar-thermal. So yes, it *is* just something relatively trivial to replace, and no, they will not be designed for consumer use – they will be designed to be all but bulletproof. In other words, none of what you say has any real merit in this context.

    The CO2 to fuel breakthrough is excellent news, but again, you have to understand it in context. The breakthrough is in the ability to generate and energy dense liquid fuel from an abundant material which we co-incidentally want to reduce. However, if you pay attention, you will see that it takes a lot of energy to complete this process. They are using what to do this? That’s right, their test facility uses a 88 square meter solar concentrator to generate the temperatures required. As with the water engine, energy must go in to make energy come out. As I said, the real breakthrough is that it makes an energy dense fuel, which is currently the primary stumbling block of EV.

    And wait, this bike in Pakistan … this would be the same water tech that you say a man was killed to keep hidden? How effective was that again? I also really enjoy that you think youtube is definitive proof that something is real.

    One of the functions of the price on carbon *is* to collect revenue, but there is nothing untoward about this as much as you might like to spin it that way. The policy is designed to funnel revenue back into homes and businesses in the form of rebates, credits and grants to help them switch to more renewable sources of energy such as solar. This includes grants and tax offsets for companies looking to invest in renewable infrastructure in Australia.

    The key to a switch to renewable energy is investment. That is what the price on carbon is driving. You *did* previously state that you wanted to move away from fossil fuels, yes? You understand that this is a means to do so?

    As for your statements regarding medicare and junk food, all I can say is that I think your statements are probably the most selfish form of first world foolishness that I have heard for some time. That is OK though, because it’s a first world issue and we are a first world nation. Your solution might even viable … they sure seem to like the system they have in America *sarcasm*.

    The justification is simple really. There are many variations but this is one of my favorites – “…the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped. ” ~ Last Speech of Hubert H. Humphrey

    That you clearly do not subscribe to this ideology is not really a concern of mine.

  • Ron Paul

    The government is there to make sure there is no collusion between the big oil companies to fix the price of fuel.Collusion between big companies to fix prices of certain goods or commodities is not free market.Giving your example of apple iphones, if there was collusion between apple and other smartphone makers to set a price together then that would not be free market either.

    As for the price on carbon spiel if you want my opinion on the matter a better way to reduce emissions and encourage the adoption of renewables would have been to keep the solar panel rebate scheme in place that Labor scrapped.Pink batts were a good idea but poorly implemented by the government (RIP the four installers who died because of that poorly designed program).Keeping the solar rebate in place and not implementing the carbon tax would have had benefit of keeping our manufacturers more competitive.Can you really claim that Australian cement manufacturers are dirtier than Chinese ones? Shutting Aussie plants down and relocating them to China increases global pollution and CO2 because China has lower standards on pollution and efficiency, you know this.

    As for the comments about government taking care of people from cradle to grave history has always shown that the most libertarian societies have been the most prosperous and successful.Switzerland did not even join the United Nations until 2000 for example, has the most guns per capita in Europe, one of the highest GDP per capita in the world, consistently runs both trade and budget surpluses etc.If you fail to understand this that is not my concern, just remember that every socialist/communism system has turned totalitarian, thats not the kind of future i want.

  • Fred

    If you are so concerned about overpopulation why not campaign for an end to all African food aid? Surely you can’t think the birth rate in Chad of 7 babies per woman is sustainable? I have a book here written by an African author named Dambisa Moyo entitled “Dead Aid” which was a bestseller.Basically it describes why African food aid programs are a waste of time (Undermines local farmers amongst other reasons).I highly recommend you buy this book and read it.

  • Greens are Finished

    Good article in the Australian, fantastic that this exposes the greens agenda to a huge audience for a one world government led by technocrats.

    “For a long time, the Greens succeeded in skating under the media radar, presenting themselves as just a bunch of happy tree-huggers.

    To be fair to many Australians who voted Green believing their vote was a harmless two-finger salute to register their dissatisfaction with the two major parties, Brown was a consummate politician. Love him or loathe him, the former Greens leader, a master at hiding the Greens’ more radical agenda, took his fringe party to new electoral heights. But even the salubrious sounding Brown could not always hide his party’s nutty left-wing agenda, let alone his own hubris. His support for “one world government” betrayed the Greens’ anti-democratic preference for decision-making by a small group of globe-trotting elites, self-appointed moral guardians even further removed from voters than our politicians in Canberra.”

  • Anonymous

    Hah … Sounds like the Australian all right. Classic.

  • Anonymous

    I’d actually check the mortality rates on those regions. They tend to have so many children because so few children reach adulthood. Nevertheless, I tend to feel that aid should be given to become self sufficient rather than direct aid, though it’s a difficult situation that many parties are trying to address in multiple ways, some successful, others not so much so.

    Population control is something that needs to be addressed, though it’s a hard one. I can think of a few approaches, but I can’t say I like any of them overmuch, especially as countries with higher education levels and living standards tend to self regulate reproduction rates. I certainly don’t agree that we should sit on our hands and deny aid in order to control global population.

  • Anonymous

    That’s right re collusion. Have you got proof of collusion, beyond just stating that it is? I ask, because there are already regulations in place which would be enforceable should collusion be proven.

    I know it plays to your argument that the solar scheme was tabled in that it was a Labor decision, in the same way the Pink batts policy was. What is interesting is that you seem to think I’m going to defend them out of loyalty to the party, which is totally not me. Having said that, I can see why they put the brakes on solar panel rebates … the take up was far higher than was even optimistically estimated and problems with the grid were the result. But as I said, I don’t really roll with a party and I genuinely feel a little embarrassed for those who do.

    I like the ‘keeping our manufacturers more competitive’ part, like we were a manufacturing mecca before the carbon price. We have many issues with manufacturing, but you’ve really taken your eye off the ball if you think the carbon price is anything more than a marginal cost of business. But again, revenue collected from the carbon price flows back in compensation for trade affected industries so this molehill you’re making into a mountain is in reality not even a molehill. Given this, the carbon price is not a significant force in sending plants offshore, however the pre-existing issues are.

    Your observations on Sweden are interesting, but largely beside the point. I begin to see where the fixation on hydro comes from however. Regardless, we are not a country with a socialist or communist government. We tend to have a left center and right center, but both tend to lean towards neoliberalism since the days of Hawke. I get the feeling that the kind of government which would suit you is just not on the table. Maybe the Katter party?

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