#coal

Bjorn Lomborg points to cold facts of global warming

Bjorn Lomborg has written a powerful piece in the Weekend Australian which looks at the “cost” of climate emergency driven policy. It makes a complete mockery of the people who tell us we must save the planet with their prescriptions. Although CM has made the assertion many times that politicians make promises which are so unaffordable for so little return that it makes no economic sense. The hypocrisy of signatories is also telling.

Some of the choice quotes,

After New Zealand made its 2050 zero emissions promise, the government commissioned a report on the costs. This found that achieving this goal in the most cost-effective manner (which strains credulity because policy seldom if ever manages to be cost efficient) would cost more than last year’s entire national budget on social security, welfare, health, education, police, courts, defence, environment and every other part of government combined. Each and every year.

To replace a 1ha gas-fired power plant, society needs 73ha of solar panels, 239ha of onshore wind turbines or an unbelievable 6000ha of biomass...We often hear that wind and solar energy are cheaper than fossil fuels, but at best that is true only when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. It is deeply misleading to compare the energy cost of wind or solar to fossil fuels only when it is windy and sunny

Most people think renewables are overwhelmingly made up of solar and wind. Nothing could be further from the truth. Solar and wind contributed only 2.4 per cent of the EU total energy demand in 2017, according to the latest numbers from the International Energy Agency. Another 1.7 per cent came from hydro and 0.4 per cent from geothermal energy…In comparison, 10 per cent — more than two-thirds of all the ­renewable energy in the EU — comes from the world’s oldest ­energy source: [burning] wood.

Today, fewer than 0.3 per cent of all cars are electric, and even if we could reach 200 million electric cars in 2040, the IEA estimates this would ­reduce emissions by less than 1 per cent. That is why, in the face of years of failure, politicians have continued doing one thing: making ever bigger promises.

The promises made in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and in the Kyoto Treaty in 1997 fell apart. A new study of the promises made under the Paris Agreement finds that of almost 200 signatories, only 17 countries — the likes of Samoa and Algeria — are living up to them, and these are succeeding mostly because they promised so little. But even if every country did everything promised in the Paris Agreement, the emission cuts by 2030 would add up to only 1 per cent of what would be needed to keep temperature rises under 2C.

Al Gore awards Adani a badge of honour

Good to see Al Gore lay into Adani. Adani should wear it as a badge of honour given Gore’s track record of catastrophic failure with respect to his predictions. To show how out of touch he is, there is an irony that Adani, being an Indian entity, probably has more on-the-ground intel on plans for coal fired power. So luck is probably the last thing it needs.

India that has grown coal fired power gen from 61GW to 221GW. 4x in 18 years. While India might be diversifying the grid mix, coal isn’t on the way out as Gore hopes. 74% of India’s power gen is currently coal- fired. Plants don’t get closed over night. Expect a 40 year life minimum for a plant. Hazelwood was almost 50 when it was prematurely closed. Coal isn’t going away anytime soon.

A quick question, does anyone know whether Gore provides a disclosure statement as to which, if any, investments he has in the renewables field? It’s one thing to put one’s money where one’s mouth is but another not to disclose it when evangelizing.

Why doesn’t Atlassian lead the charge if it is such a great idea?

Coal.png

Atlassian Co-Founder Mike Cannon-Brookes (MCB) has put forward a vision that is so compelling for Australia to junk its $70bn coal industry, it is a real wonder why he has not decided to deploy the tech giant’s own capital to seize those obvious riches? He believes coal will be worth zero in 15-25 years. If it is such a dead industry, can he explain why China’s coal-fired power (great infographics here) has grown from 200GW in 2000 to over 900GW today? Or India that has grown from 61GW to 221GW of coal-fired power gen? Why would Adani persevere in the face of 8 years of government and regulatory roadblocks in Queensland if coal wasn’t on the menu for India’s future?

The International Energy Agency (IEA) notes the following on coal,

Coal power generation increased 3% in 2018 (similar to the 2017 increase), and for the first time crossed the 10 000 TWh mark. Coal remains firmly in place as the largest source of power at 38% of overall generation. Growth was mainly in Asia, particularly in China and India.

Note in the following map, yellow and red are levels of intensity and in operation. Grey is that idled or shut down.

Coal Fired Power.png

Global wind and solar installations account for about the same as China’s current coal-fired power capacity.

MCB’s idea that we should export the sun and wind is utterly fanciful. The amount of transmission loss over distances in Australia would be massive. Our own energy market operator, AEMO, noted that energy transmission losses for those wind and solar farms located furthest from the main load hubs, in north Queensland, western NSW and some in Victoria could suffer marginal loss factors (MLF) of up to 22%.

To think our closest neighbours – New Zealand, Papua New Guinea & East Timor – are at least 200km away from our extremities. At least 500km to major city centres like Port Moresby. That is assuming our ecomentalist Department of Environment would fast track approval for Cape York and the Daintree Forest to be logged and turned into a wind and solar park to then run some cable to Port Moresby. The problem with MLF is that if Port Moresby demanded 1MW of energy, then it would need to pay for more than it needed to anticipate the MLF which would grow the further the demand was from the main load hubs that could supply it.

To add to the problem, Australia’s ridiculously high power prices would be completely unattractive to the likes of Papua New Guinea. They would be better off ignoring Australia’s transmission and self-supply. That is exactly what it is doing. PNG currently get 30% of its power from hydro, 40% from gas and 24% from oil. Note it has signed a memorandum of agreement to install, you guessed it, a 60MW coal-fired power station in Lae. Energy security is on the menu.

MCB has suggested we set up local manufacturing to harness all of our local resources. Once again, a great idea on paper, but in practice, our prowess in low-cost manufacturing has a terrible track record. The now defunct auto industry is exhibit A on that plan.

As is so often the case for celebrity billionaires, thought bubbles are often free to them but costly to others. Tesla shareholders know that feeling. Who could forget JCB’s retweet of Greta Thunberg at the time of the election, imploring Australians to “not f*ck it up“??

MCB may drive a Tesla and have plans to make Atlassian 100% powered by renewables by 2025 but for the sake of shareholders it best he sticks to his core business unless he plans to divert capital to diversify Atlassian and harness this green future. Perhaps he should put Greta Thunberg on the Atlassian board as an executive director on renewable exports?

Cate Faehrmann plays investor for a day

Investment managers have difficult jobs. They have to forecast a whole plethora of variables from global economic growth, currencies, commodity prices and micro level corporate industries. If governments can provide ironclad policy certainty, investment choices become relatively easier. Unfortunately, perfect information detracts from performance because things get priced almost instantaneously.

It might be nice that 415 funds all call for a ratification of Paris Climate Accord (which means nothing in practice as the US isn’t a signatory and its emissions have fallen while China is a signatory and emissions continue to rise) but truth be told,  it sounds what is commonly termed in financial circles as “talking one’s book.” NSW Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann pretends to understand finance in her latest piece.

While these 415 firms might represent $32 trillion in assets under management (AUM), the truth is not all of those funds are spoken for in terms of climate-related investments. Investment advisors by their very nature have very diverse client bases. They cover basic low-risk pension (i.e. stable income) funds all the way to riskier return profiles for clients that want more exposure to certain themes or countries. If clients aren’t interested in buying climate funds, the asset managers don’t gather fees. Pretty simple.

Much of the fund industry has focused on ESG (environment, social responsibility & governance) since its inception in 2005. ESG represents around $20 trillion of global AUM, or 25% of total professionally managed funds. Therefore the other 75% of monies are deployed without this in mind. In reality, this is done because investment managers must hunt for the best returns, not those which sacrifice profitability for virtue. If NAB offered you a 10% 1-yr deposit and no solar panels on the HQ roof and Westpac offered a 1% 1-yr deposit because it did, would you invest in the latter based on its ecomentalism?

Let’s take the world’s largest public pension fund (2 million members), California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) which is a cosignatory to this demand for climate action. Apart from the fact that this $380bn fund has been so poorly managed (marked to market unfunded liabilities are c.US$1 trillion), its portfolio consists of widespread ownership of met coal, petroleum and other mining assets. It owns bonds in fossil-fuel producing nations such as Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Saudi Arabia as well as highly environmentally unfriendly aluminium smelters in the world’s biggest polluter, China. So there goes the rhetoric of “demanding” Paris is ratified, that we shift to a low carbon economy and we force companies to report their carbon commitments.

It is frightening that some members of our political class believe that investment managers which collaborate in groupthink are worthy of listening to. On the contrary, the performance of many must be sub par. It is a sad reality that 80% of large-cap fund managers fail to outperform the index on a regular basis. So praying for governments to backstop investments they deployed capital into shows more desperation than innovation.

Maybe we should think of Adani as a classic example of investment at work. While Annastacia Palaszczuk’s government is backflipping on the Adani Carmichael coal mine after the electoral drubbing handed out to federal colleagues, the voluntary infrastructure tax is a cynical way to try to make the project less financially viable. After 8 years of ridiculous and onerous environmental approvals, Adani probably think it only needs to wait til October 2020 when an election will wipe out Queensland Labor from government and the infrastructure tax will be repealed soon after.

CM has long held that the non-ESG names are the place to invest. Most of the auto-pilot, brain dead, virtue signalling group think money has been poured into ESG. All non-ESG companies care about is profitability, not focusing on all the soft cuddly things they do displayed on the corporate lobby TV screens on a loop. Sadly when markets inevitably implode, investors always seek safe havens to limit the damage. As so much money is collectively invested together, so the bigger the stampede to the relatively attractive values provided by the stocks that have been cast aside by “woke” investors.

If climate scientists were surgeons would you let them operate on you?

Why do our politicians continually recycle and peddle climate experts that have made so many dud predictions? If they were major organ transplant surgeons with this record of failure, would you ask them to operate on you?

Annastacia Palaszczuk’s government has stumped up $142,000 to hire the Brisbane Convention Centre for former VP Al Gore to lecture on a subject where his prophecies have been way off the mark. The Office of Environment has chosen not to release the full costings. Now that Adani is back on, it makes them look even more stupid for inviting a quack.

Gore made ridiculous statements that Arctic sea ice could be completely gone by 2014. It’s still there. Thicker too.

Who could forget his mysterious absence from the 2009 Copenhagen UN COP summit when the Climategate scandal unfolded.

The National Center for Public Policy Research obtained Gore’s electricity usage information through public records requests and conversations with the Nashville Electric Service (NES).

In powering his home, Gore still greatly outpaces most Americans in energy consumption. The findings were shocking:

• The past year, Gore’s home energy use averaged 19,241 kilowatt hours (kWh) every month, compared to the U.S. household average of 901 kWh per month.3,4
• Gore guzzles more electricity in one year than the average American family uses in 21 years.5
• In September of 2016, Gore’s home consumed 30,993 kWh in just one month – as much energy as a typical American family burns in 34 months.
• During the last 12 months, Gore devoured 66,159 kWh of electricity just heating his pool. That is enough energy to power six average U.S. households for a year.
• From August 2016 through July 2017, Gore spent almost $22,000 on electricity bills.6
• Gore paid an estimated $60,000 to install 33 solar panels. Those solar panels produce an average of 1,092 kWh per month, only 5.7% of Gore’s typical monthly energy consumption.

There is an irony in Palaszczuk’s backflip over Adani. Here she was thinking that Shorten would win and that her anti-coal activist environment team could get some status from Gore to kill it off for good.

Now the cost to save her political career far outweighs the planet. Tells us all we need to know.

Palaszczuk backflips on Adani

What a farce. Queensland Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is about to backflip on the Adani coal mine approval after her federal colleagues were wiped out in Queensland.

Typical. She’ll still lose the next state election in October 2020 for this expediency. She had to weight for the litmus of a federal election to find her missing conviction. Total clown show.

The people have spoken. So all the radical left activists have failed. The bullying of the banks which caved in to this pressure are no better.

This approval process has been 8 years in the making. An Indonesian coal mine took only 18 months.

Queensland Government appointed an advisor, Tim Seelig, to the Dept of Environment. As an anti-coal Greens activist it seems apparent he threw up roadblocks to dissuade Adani from going ahead by unnecessary and overbearing approval processes.

Now Palaszczuk is considering launching an inquiry as to how Seelig was hired into the role despite the applications deadline having ended. Another backflip.

Once again – get woke, go broke!

Innovation nation’s energy mix

Israel is often thought of as the “innovation nation”. Jewish people sometimes joke that if Moses has a GPS he would have never picked modern day Israel as its the only place in the Middle East without oil.

So one would think that with the collective minds of all those brilliant inventors that they’d look at revolutionizing the renewables bandwagon. Sadly not.

Here is Israel’s electricity generation mix:

Natural Gas: 66%

Coal: 27.5%

Solar: 4.9%

Diesel/Oil: 1%

Wind: 0.16%

Over 90% is fossil fuel based.

However the Ministry for Environmental Protection does exist although it’s main target is water conservation which has been an issue since the Israeli state was founded.

Perhaps it is because they don’t see a cost effective solution by moving to renewables? Or perhaps they’re pragmatic knowing their carbon footprint is 0.0000024% of the global total? So nothing they do will make an impact. So let’s stick to energy that makes us competitive.