Extinction Rebellion – instinctive revulsion

The lunacy is incredible. Carbon neutrality in the UK by 2025. Good luck with that. The Extinction Rebellion (ER) is the next radical left protest movement that seeks widespread civil disobedience, because in the words of one of the founders, “getting arrested can be quite fun.” Some have goals to see inside of a prison cell. CM suggests doing such protests in China where most of the “environmental” problem they fear lies. No doubt President Xi will warmly oblige requests for long stays in one of his many jails.

ER’s manifesto is a collection of web links to climate alarmist sites and comments. Pretty much every maximum alarmist reference has been uploaded. No balance in there.

Sadly they haven’t done much proof checking of the website contents. That’s what happens when one is foaming at the mouth kneeling at the altar of climate alarmism.

Note the following 3 examples

1) under pollution ER notes,

All forms of pollution were responsible in 2015 for an estimated 9 million premature deaths“.

Yet only one paragraph later it follows up with:

the very air we breathe is growing dangerously polluted: nine out of ten people now breathe polluted air, which kills 7 million people every year.

So deaths have gone down? Which is it?

2) The Great Barrier Reef

Corals reefs are suffering mass die-offs from heat stress.  These events are becoming much more common with back to back die-offs on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia in 2016 and 2017.

Wrong again. The reef has been 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.

3) Rising sea levels

2°C warming  would threaten to inundate areas now occupied by 130 million people while increase to 4°C could lock in enough eventual sea level rise to submerge land currently home to 470 to 760 million people globally

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.

Maybe we should feel safer in the knowledge that ER co-founder, Gail Bradbrook, flew to Costa Rica to have a high dose of a psychedelic substance (iboga) which induced visions according to the FT. Should we put her eR movement down to the hallucinations and anxiety caused by the drug?

Two certainties.

We can be sure ER will not be a peaceful conscientious objector (charges for property damage already reported) and CM was right to cancel his FT subscription given they thought giving these loonies any airtime was warranted.

2020 presidential election campaign funding not even close

So the fundraising for the 2020 residential election moves on in earnest in America. It seems Trump has received $30m in Q1 2019 alone. Bernie Sanders has collected $18m and Kamala Harris $12m since her bid to run in January 2019. Elizabeth Warren has $4m in the campaign kitty and Beto O’Rourke $9.4m.

For a man so hated, many seem willing to throw their cash in the ring to support his re-election bid. The Republican National Committee has raised another $46m. The large number of donations it received seem to be driven off the back of the outcome of the Mueller report which announced no crimes committed.

Could it be the deplorables, who apparently have no money, want to put Mr Trump back in charge in 2020? Or maybe a broader section of Americans are tired of the non-stop drone in the media and tuned out to Democrats who seem more interested in opposing Trump on everything rather than put forward a proper campaign based on alternative policies.

The fallacy of the 8 minute charge

ABB is claiming that it’s top of the line EV charger can juice 200kms in 8 minutes. Theoretically 100kms takes 4 minutes. It’s fast. However a Tesla Model S 100D has a theoretical full charge range of c. 540km. So to charge from empty using the top of the line ABB charger systems will still take 22 minutes, not 8. If an EV, fully loaded with fat people, luggage and the aircon set to maximum, is stuck in heavy city traffic (think of watching numerous video feeds on your iPhone), it’s theoretical range could drop like a stone. So if the same car only manages a real world 200km off a charge because of hideous traffic conditions the charge time is still 22 minutes for that 200km, not 8 minutes.

Full marks to ABB’s marketing department. But what it fails to take into account is the faster a battery is charged the quicker it’s quality deteriorates, meaning replacements would be required earlier and the global CO2 footprint goes up and poor Congolese children are sent to mine more cobalt.

Note the IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute was commissioned by the Swedish Transport Administration and the Swedish Energy Agency to investigate lithium-ion batteries climate impact from a life cycle perspective.

The report showed that battery manufacturing leads to high emissions. For every kilowatt hour of storage capacity in the battery generated emissions of 150 to 200 kilos of carbon dioxide already in the factory. Regular EV batteries with 25–30 kWh of capacity will result in 5 metric tonnes CO2, which is equivalent to 50,000 km driving in a regular, fuel-efficient diesel vehicle.

If we use those Swedish metrics on the Tesla Type S 100D battery pack of 100kWh, the car has done 167,000km worth of CO2 before its left the factory. So that would mean 20 metric tons of CO2 per car without taking into account any charging from the grid which is largely fossil fuel derived in most countries.

A 2019 model year BMW 530d diesel emits 138g of C02/km. So it can travel 145,000km just to match a car with a 100kWh battery pack before it leaves the dealership floor.

Do we really want 50% sales in EVs if the metrics are this bad? Don’t forget car emissions continue to drop. Diesel emission standards today are 97% lower than Euro 1 levels set in 1992.

If current fast chargers cost $60,000 a pop, one imagines the super chargers from ABB will be in the vicinity of $80,000+. Multiply by the number of stations and chargers we’re well above $15bn in Australia if we match Norway’s statistics scaled to our market.

That’s the problem with green mathematics. They only look at selective statistics, not the whole. 99.8% of Australians seem to get the maths based on the fact EVs make up only 0.2% of total new car sales.

After Life

Ricky Gervais has gone back to his tried and tested formula in After Life. Saw all 6 episodes of the first series last night. He is one of the few comedians that can transcend humour into real life. His dead pan performance was so life like. It is utterly believable. Typically British too.

No spoiler alerts, but unlike Derek, this is the best bits of The Office & Extras. Hidden within his comedies is one key takeaway. The Office was all about the horrible boss we all know who is completely out of touch. Extras was a complete slaying of the sycophantic behaviour of celebrities. In After Life he takes a monster swipe at the mainstream media.

It cuts deep. You won’t be disappointed.

Haven’t our Senators got more important things to do?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out independent Senator Fraser Anning’s remarks were insensitive at the time of the Christchurch mosque shooting. Appealing that one doesn’t condone his actions proves what exactly? That one is normal?

Parliamentarians and civilians alike attacked Anning relentlessly on social media, calling for his resignation. Greens Senator Larissa Waters even posted a congratulatory picture of herself ‘flipping the bird’ to Anning while he was being interviewed on the lawn below her office. With class like that, we should hold great faith in our public officials and their ability to set community and moral standards. Seriously?

Is the Senate’s quest to virtue signal so great that they have to log it in the Hansard that “we were on the right side of history in slamming Anning’s inflammatory words“? Our feral Senate has hardly cloaked itself in glory to be dishing out lectures of propriety to others.

Ultimately, what purpose does it serve to push through a censure motion on a man who likely won’t be in the Senate in 6 weeks time? Anning probably couldn’t care less in any event. It was political theatre. Nothing more.

Australia has far more pressing issues than this. Energy prices, wage growth, jobs creation, affordable housing, tax relief…the list goes on. Anning probably ranks outside the Top 100 things burning inside the electorate.

ABC Staff Engagement Survey – less than 50% engaged

The Morrison government is promising $44m in extra funding for the ABC for “enhanced news gathering” over 3 years. When will the Coalition realize that this treat will not make the ABC show any leniency in the lead up to the federal election? Did they even bother reading the ABC Staff Engagement Survey buried on page 94 of the 2017/18 Annual Report? Less than half are engaged.

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 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 was 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.

The multicultural SBS has seen its budget grow from A$259mn in 2008 to A$412mn in 2017. SBS staff numbers have grown from 844 to 1,466 over the same period with average salaries rising from A$82,689 to A$88,267 or 7.2%. Which begs the question why is the SBS able to operate at 31% of the budget in salaries while the ABC is at 50%? Surely the ABC’s economies of scale should work in its favour? Clearly not.

Australia’s largest commercial terrestrial station, Nine Network, has 3,100 employees against revenues of $1.237bn. So to put that into context, Nine can generate c. A$400,000 per employee whereas the ABC generates A$238,168 in tax dollars per employee. In a sense the ABC could be shut down, and each employee paid $108,000 in redundancy costs annually for two years simply by selling off the land, buildings and infrastructure. The SBS generates A$281,000 in tax dollars per employee. The ABC will argue it deserves $400,000/employee revenues rather than a 46% headcount reduction to be on equal terms with the efficiency in the private sector.

Stop throwing more money at the problem and get an aggressive MD who will make a real difference. Pay him/her millions to save $100s of millions. The taxpayer deserves no less. So do over half the 5,000 employees at the ABC who are dissatisfied with the very organization which is so terribly run.

Shorten’s 50% EV target will bring on NBN Mark II

There are 10 simple reasons why Bill Shorten’s 50% EV target by 2030 is ridiculous. Perhaps we should ask ourselves why the government is meddling in an industry they know next to nothing about? Having a zero emissions (ZE) target is one thing they might aim for but why not tell auto makers they need to get to that goal but grant complete technological freedom in how to achieve it? If the auto makers see necessity as the mother of invention, who are regulators to dictate the technology? If an internal combustion engine can achieve zero emissions does that not meet the ZEgoal?

So to the 10 reasons;

1) Australia sold just over 1.15m cars in 2018. Since 2008, SUVs comprised 19% of total sales. Today 43%. So much for the unbridled panic about catastrophic climate change if consumption patterns are a guide.

2) Australian fuel excise generates 5% of total tax revenue. It is forecast to grow from $19bn today to $24bn by 2021. If Shorten does what he plans then he’s likely to add to the deficit, especially if he lobs $5,000 per car subsidies on 577,000 cars (50% of 3018 unit sales in Australia).

3) cash for clunkers? If the idea is to phase out fossil fueled powered cars, surely the resale/trade in values will plummet to such a degree that trading it on a new EV makes no sense at all. False economy trade where fossil fuel owners will hold onto existing cars for longer.

4) Global EV production is 2.1m units. Looking at existing production plans by 2030, it is likely to be around 12mn tops on a conservative basis. So Bill Shorten want 5% of world EV supply when were only 1.2% of global car sales. Many auto makers are committed to selling 50% of EV capacity into China. So Shorten will be fighting for the remaining pie. No car makers will export 10% of all EV production to Australia without substantial incentives to do so.

Don’t forget Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also intends to get every fossil fueled powered car off the road in a decade. The US has 270 million registered vehicles, the overwhelming majority being petrol powered. The US sells 16-17mn cars a year (sadly slowing). Therefore in the US, 16 years would be required to achieve that target.

5) Ethics of EVs. To save the planet, the majority of cobalt to go into making the batteries comes from African mines which use child slave laborers. There is a moral scruple to keep a virtue signaling activist awake at night!

6) EV makers aren’t happy. In Europe there are over 200 cities with EV programs but none are alike. In the quest to outdo each other on the virtue signaling front, car makers are struggling to meet such diverse requirements meaning roll outs will be slow because there is no movement to standardize.

7) EV suppliers aren’t convinced. Because of the above, many EV suppliers are reluctant to go too hard in committing to new capacity because global car markets are slowing in China, US, Europe and Australia. High fixed cost businesses hate slowdowns. Writing down the existing capacity would be punitive to say the least. New capacity takes a minimum of 2 years to come on line from conception.

8) the grid! In the UK, National Grid stated that to hit the UK targets for EVs by 2030, an entirely new 8GW nuclear plant would be required to meet the demands of EV charging. Australia can barely meet its energy needs with the current policies and Shorten would double down on the same failed renewables strategy that has already proved to fall well short of current demand ex any EVs added to the grid.

9) in 1999 automotive experts hailed that EVs would make up 10% of all vehicle sales by 2010. In 2019 EVs make up around 2.5%. So 9 extra years and 75% below the target. The capacity isn’t there much less consumers aren’t fully convinced as range anxiety is a big problem.

10) charging infrastructure is woefully inadequate. Await another taxpayer dollar waste-fest. Think NBN Mark II on rolling EV chargers out nationwide. The question then becomes one of fast charger units which cost 5x more than slower systems. If the base-load power capacity is already at breaking point across many states (Vic & SA the worst) throwing more EVs onto a grid will compound the problem and drive prices up and potentially force rationing.

CM is putting a fuller report together but these are the basics. Governments are clueless. Look at Germany’s 2008 failure on bio-fuels adoption.

“The German authorities went big for bio-fuels in 2008 forcing gas stands to install E-10 pumps to cut CO2. However as many as 3 million cars at the time weren’t equipped to run on it and as a result consumers abandoned it leaving many gas stands with shortages of the petrol and gluts of E-10 which left the petrol companies liable to huge fines (around $630mn) for not hitting government targets.

Claude Termes, a member of European Parliament from the Green Party in Luxembourg said in 2008 that “legally mandated biofuels were a dead end…the sooner It disappears, the better…my preference is zero…policymakers cannot close their eyes in front of the facts. The European Parliament is increasingly skeptical of biofuels.” Even ADAC told German drivers to avoid using E10 when traveling in other parts of continental Europe”

When a Greens politician from Luxembourg no less trashes an environmental policy you know it’s destined for failure. How about the government try to consult with the industry before it promises (no pun intended) the earth!

What a farce. This will (no pun intended) backfire or short circuit?