Month: April 2019

Sir David Attenborough’s Climate Change: The Facts

Sir David Attenborough’s narration of Climate Change – The Facts is a one hour BBC sponsored piffle fest, wonderfully timed with the Extinction Rebellion protests. It is a collection of one alarmist liners of “we’re running out of time“, “if we don’t do something now,” or “we’re at a tipping point“. You get the drift. The irony of the title is that few facts are actually presented. A lot of grandiose statements but little in the way of hard numbers. Even when numbers are presented they don’t necessarily prove anything.

Many numbers presented are selected from groups that have been caught red handed manipulating data – including NOAA, UNIPCC and BOM to name a few. Take temperatures in Australia. Sir David puts them forward as rewriting records despite far hotter temperatures recorded a century earlier. Perhaps he should have cited the Bureau of Meteorology scandal of putting a hard floor on cold temperatures.

Some supposed experts spoke of:

1) an explosion in the severity and number of wildfires. The truth is both the area and frequency have fallen in the last few decades. 90% are either accidentally or deliberately lit.

2) rising sea levels and polar melting. Analysis using tide gauges and satellites showed 30 Pacific and Indian Ocean atolls including 709 islands, revealed that no atoll lost land area and that 88.6% of islands were either stable or increased in area, while only 11.4% contracted. What sea level rise? The most experienced is around. 1mm pa. Australia’s former climate change commissioner told us a decade ago that waves would lap the rooves of 8 storey apartments despite owning a house by the water.

NASA noted in 2018 that sea ice was increasing. It said an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.

3) the tragedy of coral bleaching at the Great Barrier Reef, despite it seen to be flourishing. Scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Sep 2017 surveyed 14 coral reefs between Cairns and Townsville to see how they fared after being bleached and were surprised to find the coral had already started to reproduce.

By all means watch it to see how poor a documentary can be made to sell a story of activism. Hysterics, exaggerations and bias to create fear mongering. Even the background musical accompaniment is designed to pluck at the heart strings. To be honest it’s surprising that Sir David wanted to put his name to it. In decades to come the climate scientists will still be saying we’ve got little time left to fix things.

Paris still in flames post Notre Dame

23 weekends straight now. While the world focused on the tragedy that was Notre Dame, the yellow vest protests continue. Many cars and motorcycles around Paris were set alight.

The yellow vests see Macron’s (unsurprising) immediate call to rebuild the historic landmark yet another slap in the face. The French president continues to ignore their grievances. The yellow vests feel that unemployment, the rise in the cost of living and higher taxation are burying them. They want the same priority shown to them as the 850yo cathedral.

A recap of the grounds of protest:

Economy/Work

  • A constitutional cap on taxes – at 25%
  • Increase of 40% in the basic pension and social welfare
  • Increase hiring in public sector to re-establish public services
  • Massive construction projects to house 5 million homeless, and severe penalties for mayors/prefectures that leave people on the streets
  • Break up the ‘too-big-to-fail’ banks, re-separate regular banking from investment banking
  • Cancel debts accrued through usurious rates of interest

Politics

  • Constitutional amendments to protect the people’s interests, including binding referenda
  • The barring of lobby groups and vested interests from political decision-making
  • Frexit: Leave the EU to regain our economic, monetary and political sovereignty (In other words, respect the 2005 referendum result, when France voted against the EU Constitution Treaty, which was then renamed the Lisbon Treaty, and the French people ignored)
  • Clampdown on tax evasion by the ultra-rich
  • The immediate cessation of privatization, and the re-nationalization of public goods like motorways, airports, rail, etc
  • Remove all ideology from the ministry of education, ending all destructive education techniques
  • Quadruple the budget for law and order and put time-limits on judicial procedures. Make access to the justice system available for all
  • Break up media monopolies and end their interference in politics. Make media accessible to citizens and guarantee a plurality of opinions. End editorial propaganda
  • Guarantee citizens’ liberty by including in the constitution a complete prohibition on state interference in their decisions concerning education, health and family matters

Health/Environment

  • No more ‘planned obsolescence’ – Mandate guarantee from producers that their products will last 10 years, and that spare parts will be available during that period
  • Ban plastic bottles and other polluting packaging
  • Weaken the influence of big pharma on health in general and hospitals in particular
  • Ban on GMO crops, carcinogenic pesticides, endocrine disruptors and monocrops
  • Re-industrialize France (thereby reducing imports and thus pollution)

Foreign Affairs

  • End France’s participation in foreign wars of aggression, and exit from NATO
  • Cease pillaging and interfering – politically and militarily – in ‘Francafrique’, which keeps Africa poor. Immediately repatriate all French soldiers. Establish relations with African states on an equal peer-to-peer basis
  • Prevent migratory flows that cannot be accommodated or integrated, given the profound civilizational crisis we are experiencing
  • Scrupulously respect international law and the treaties we have signed.

Regardless of the need to restore a national monument, Macron has had no impact on restoring order.

Macron’s poll numbers got a bounce from 29% approval to 32% on the back of Notre Dame. He has merely moved from catastrophic to diabolical. Notre Dame is a one off event for Macron. The question is whether they buy his proposed tax cuts for the poor or boosts for small pensions. The yellow vests don’t want platitudes.

Canadians petrified by climate change – apparently

We keep getting told that climate change is the biggest threat to our civilization. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau is big on a carbon tax to fix it. Yet in the last two provincial elections, Ontario and Alberta, the parties that have pushed to repeal the carbon tax have both won in landslides. So maybe Canadians aren’t scared of global warming?

In Ontario, Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives surged from 28 seats to 76. His main rival, incumbent Kathleen Wynne of the Liberals fell from 58 to 7.

In Alberta, Jason Kenney of the United Conservatives gained 63 seats from 25 at the last election handing victory over incumbent Rachel Notley of the New Democrats which fell to 24 seats from 52.

We’re told by politicians, the Extinction Rebellion and the school climate strike that climate change is one of the greatest moral challenges of our lives. We’re asked to panic. Yet we must consider the hypocrisy of the 22,000 climate disciples and 7,331 observers that flew into the Katowice COP summit. The laugh was that all the recommended airport transfer choices were diesel powered. Or the 1,500 private jets carrying elites who flew into Davos to debate climate change.

Yet these election results show that more people are interested in economic security than virtue signaling through carbon taxes. Notley was a one term wonder. The way the polls look for Trudeau, it seems he will follow her lead in elections this year.

We shouldn’t forget that French President Emmanuel Macron repealed his petrol excise hikes after the yellow vest protests which are still ongoing. Yes, human nature is sadly driven by self-preservation.

CM has said the same thing repeatedly to alarmists. If you want to convince skeptics, stop being children. Whether it is the chanting and laughter brigades deployed to disrupt forums on coal or the “Fossil of the Day Awards” where the host brazenly shames representatives who don’t conform to the realpolitik of the climate alarmists, it is juvenile. There are even fossil fuel derived signs and a T-Rex suited sidekick to add to the childish antics of slagging off the Polish hosts at Katowice for promoting clean coal. Perhaps 16yo Greta Thunberg is the perfect poster child for such activists as she is more mature than the rest combined.

CNN ranks 15th last week

According to the latest Nielsen ratings, Fox News grabbed #1 slot for viewers, followed by MSNBC, HGTV, USA Network & TBS. CNN scored 15th spot, behind networks like The Discovery Channel, Food Network, TLC, and A&E.

From April 8-12, CNN only averaged 690,000 people and 180,000 in the key 25-54 age demographic.

This is what happens when people “tune out”. Perhaps the reality is that too many CNN viewers think everything is a rerun because even new news can be mistaken for being old news played on a loop on CNN. Did you know they can’t stand President Trump?

Dame Emma jets in to join Extinction Rebellion climate protests

Dame Emma Thompson has joined the Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests in London. Sadly she just needed to jet in from Los Angeles to do so. Hollywood hypocrisy comes in all shapes and sizes. Surely she could have YouTubed her support from her gated mansion to do her bit!

For a group that demands we must be carbon neutral by 2025, there are always exceptions when it comes to themselves. Take the stacked coffee cups in the picture above.

Do these Einsteins realize that the majority of take away wax-lined coffee cups aren’t recycled even though they can feel good about themselves when disposing of it in the right bin? How many people elect to have their brew poured into a ceramic cup? Certainly not this lot.

The cost to recycle the 500 billion (and rising) coffee cups consumed annually is so astronomical (it is hard to separate the wax that stops the cup disintegrating because of the energy intensity involved to do so) that over 90% end up in landfill. No one talks about that 300 million tons of virgin paper used to make these cups! How many of us give it one thought when we need a shot of caffeine? Right?! Although Starbucks is trialing a 5p latte levy for those that elect to use a paper cup.

We pointed out the glaring mistakes made on the XR website earlier in the week. If only they did their homework. No doubt their proposal for citizen assemblies will be stacked with people with little knowledge of the subject matter. Perhaps they can sip on Starbucks lattes as they seek ecological justice.

While XR might claim they didn’t ask for a police presence, sadly public safety requires the Met commit already thin resources. 570 arrests have been made. Lying on the ground, according to XR, stretches the police even thinner as it requires 4 officers to carry them away.

Let’s say they win government support and hit 2025 carbon neutrality. Many industries would need to shut up shop to meet the demands of the protestors. Has XR built that into the manifesto? Of course not. Any price is worth paying when no one has bothered to work out the cost.

The ABC shows its shocking political bias

The ABC loves to say it has no political bias. Yet one of its leading journalists posted this tweet essentially encouraging people to vote Labor or Greens to ensure they get more funding.

As CM wrote at the start of the month, the ABC’s own internal staff survey showed how poorly run the corporation is. It doesn’t need more funding but better managers to improve efficiencies. Moreso the staff satisfaction is below 50%. Read on…

The ABC conducted its second Corporation-wide employee engagement survey in late 2017. The previous survey was conducted in November 2015, with outcomes reported in the 2016 Annual Report.

The overall employee engagement score from the 2017 survey was 46%, down six points from the 2015 results. 6% down!!!!

This moved the ABC from the median to the bottom quartile when benchmarked with other Australian and New Zealand organisations. Bottom quartile!!! 

Employees expressed the need for improvement in several areas, including:

• that the ABC Leadership Team needs to be more visible, accessible and communicate more openly.

 that the ABC needs to do a better job of managing poor performance. Even the staff want to move duds on. A commercial spirit among the staff?

• that employees want to know what action is being taken to address feedback received in the survey.

The ABC management (no longer with us) conducted sessions on the back of the survey.

Three key priorities were identified from these sessions:

1. The way in which the ABC recruits, contracts, inducts, develops and manages its people needs a huge amount of work. Inefficiency!!!

2. More communication is needed between teams – employees want to know what other teams are doing, and want less top-down, hierarchical communication. Bureaucracy!!!

3. Many of the ABC’s processes, tools and technology don’t work effectively for its people. Obsolescence!!!

So instead of giving the ABC more money, perhaps an efficiency drive driven by a change manager could achieve the same outcomes desired by the market for far less cost. This reads like an organization that has too much fat.

To that effect, the annual report also noted:

Bureaucracy Stop was launched in March 2018 with the aim of creating a working environment with less bureaucracy and red tape. The program wrapped up three months later with 147 ideas on simplification of processes, 55 of which were resolved by the end of the financial year.Where a simplification solution wasn’t available in response to an idea, an explanation was provided as to why that process needed to remain.

What were the dollar savings for these 55 improvements?

Maybe the government should say to ABC management for every dollar saved, the ABC keeps 50c? For a broadcaster with over $1.1bn in funding, 10% of savings would mean they keep c.$60m. Morrison’s $44mn is easily covered.

Digging a bit deeper into the stats of the ABC reveals a big need for overhaul. Comparing 2017/18 and 2015/16 we see that TV audience reach for metro fell from 55.2% to 49.7% and regional slumped from 60.3% to 54.0%. If we go back to 2007/8 the figures were 60.1% and 62.4% respectively. For the 2017/18 period, the ABC targets a 50% reach. Hardly a stretch.

Since 2008, the average salary of ABC’s staff has risen 18% from $86,908 to $105,219. Total staff numbers have risen from 4499 to 4939. Therefore salaries as a percentage of the ABC revenues have risen from 37.1% of the budget to 50%. The ABC’s ability to generate sales from content has fallen from A$140mn in 2015/16 to A$46mn last fiscal year.

It is a breach of charter for the ABC to be using taxpayer dollars to advertise political messages for its own purposes. If it was managed properly it could comfortably do more with less rather than ignore the realities that improvement is required across the scale rather than chucking more money at it.

Return of the State-Owned Enterprise

Image result for state owned enterprises

A new investor to Japan once asked CM how to categorise corporate behaviour in the land of the rising sun. CM replied, “Japan is not capitalism with warts, but socialism with beauty spots.

Latest reports confirm the Bank of Japan (BoJ) has now become a top 10 shareholder in almost 50% of listed stocks. In a sense, we have a trend which threatens to turn Japan’s largest businesses into quasi-state-owned enterprises (SoE) by the back door. The BoJ now owns $250bn of listed Japanese equities. It is the top shareholder in household Japanese brands such as Omron, Nidec and Fanuc. At current investment rates, the BoJ is set to own $400bn worth of the market by 2020-end.

The original reason for this move was to boost the ETF market and hope that Mrs Watanabe would pocket her winnings and splurge them at Mitsukoshi Department Store to increase consumption. Sadly all she has done is stuff it under the futon.

Although the government has been very public about the drive for good corporate governance, a stewardship code that drives to unwind cross-shareholdings, improve liquidity and lift returns, sadly the BoJ essentially reverses free-float and confounds the ability of companies to be attractive investments. What will happen if one day the BoJ announces it needs to pare its balance sheet back or that its holdings become too noticeable? These stocks will crater and Mrs Watanabe will become even more gun shy.

We shouldn’t forget that behind the walls of the BoJ, there is discussion to buy all $10 trillion of outstanding Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs) and convert them into zero-coupon perpetual bonds with a mild administration fee to legitimise the asset. Global markets won’t take nicely to wiping out 2 years worth of GDP with a printing press. Such a reckless experiment has yet to hit the Japanese Diet for discussion because such a move will require legislation to approve it. If it happens, the inflation the BoJ has now given up on will turn into a tsunami.