2017 — What’s to Review?

2017 was not at all my happiest year, though I can feel strength coming back in the sixth week of my recovery from double pneumonia. And while I was ill Australia’s industrious electors discharged their duties in Queensland and in the Federal seat of Bennelong, about which I wrote nothing at all. So perhaps I should venture a comment or two there.

All I really observed with respect to the Queensland election result, and that from television, was that the Labor Government had been returned, with a massive swing against the Liberal-National Party Opposition. I thought I ought to have a proper look at the data, and fortunately the Electoral Commission has completed its work. The swing business is somewhat more complicated than the news suggested. In 2015 the LNP was in power, and had enjoyed a previous massive win in the defeat of former Premier Anna Bligh in 2012, when Labor was left with only seven seats. The outcome in 2015 was the L-NP’s narrow defeat, and the return of a minority Labor Government. Labor had won only 37 per cent of the vote to the LNP’s 41 per cent, but scrambled over the line with the help of the Greens (8 per cent). One Nation achieved a whole 1 per cent, and the Palmer United Party (remember them?) picked up 5 per cent.

In November this year the battle lines were different. Palmer’s party had disappeared, and while indeed there was a swing of 7 per cent against the LNP there was also a swing against the Labor Party as well, of 2 per cent, meaning that the major parties each won just a little more than a third of the vote. What had caused this? Well, One Nation had picked up 10 per cent, and the Greens went from 8 to 10 per cent. I didn’t hear any of this detail on the TV. Things are changing in the attraction of the several elements of our party system, as I have said before. Both the majors, in Queensland and elsewhere, need to ponder on that shift. It is leading to odd results.

Forward to last Saturday’s Federal by-election. Here the official results are not yet available, but on the face of it Labor secured a swing of about 5 per cent, providing John Alexander and the Liberals with a reasonably comfortable margin of victory. There was such a hullabaloo about Labor’s wonderful candidate, former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally, that the newspaper reader and television viewer might have thought it was all over but the voting from the time her candidature was announced. I do not know the details of the local campaign (again, what I saw were news clips on the TV news), but at a time when the Government is apparently on the nose, and Labor comes up with a bright and attractive, not to say experienced, woman candidate, a five per cent swing away from the Government seems pretty light-on to me. There have been several by-election outcomes with a much larger swing. In fact, Labor in 2008 in NSW suffered swings of double figures against it in four by-elections held on the same day. Maybe there were all sorts of local nuances that led to the Bennelong result, but again, the outcome will deserve a lot of analysis from both sides, notwithstanding that Labor was said to be ‘buoyed with the result’. I think it should have been somewhat worried.

Then there was the Donald. He has become the person, indeed the name, that so many people want to detest. What we see of him comes mostly from American television, and is not, how should I put it, completely fair. But then the President sees the MSM as having campaigned against him in last year’s election, which is by and large true. So he ignores the media, and relies on Twitter feeds. While this is portrayed as somehow loony I saw somewhere that his Twitter audience is over 65 million, and climbing. Others say that is negligible. He did use it effectively to win the election. Joe Hockey, our Ambassador in Washington, pointed out in a speech to the Lowy Institute that not only is the American economy moving ahead, but public perception of the economy is moving the same way. The 58 per cent level satisfied with the growth of the economy and it direction is a higher figure than at any time since about 2002. Mr Trump has taken the USA out of the Paris Accord, and promoted energy reliability and independence as the real goal. That seems to have been popular too — Americans are no more interested in climate change as the be-all and end-all of government policy than are Australians, about 7 per cent in each society, as far as polls show.

It fascinates me that so many Australians are happy to advise Americans, and indeed their President, as to what they and he should do, or not do, yet we complain if other countries show any sort of interest in our politics, and what should happen in our elections or foreign policy. No matter, Mr Trump is the current bogey for very many. If he were not there, someone else would have to fit the bill. He seems to be getting rid of regulations, and that could be done here as well. Our Parliaments generate an immense amount of regulation, as though none of it adds to anyone’s costs, but I’ve written about that too.

I’ll pass over the rainbow marriage day and the tumultuous cheering in Parliament, as though the pollies were somehow responsible for something really good they could have done ages ago but didn’t, for all sorts of really important reasons. I say only that I don’t think there is a real LGBTI community, other than a politically created one.

And that leaves me with dear old Anthropogenic Global Warming. What happened to AGW this past year? The answer is nothing much. We started with an el Nino and are finishing with what is at the moment only a weak la Nina. Everything is much the same. Governments talk about ‘climate change’, but don’t actually do anything about it. The Paris Accord, it seems to be agreed, won’t achieve anything. Some of those who see doom fast approaching have given up on humanity: it just doesn’t have the will to do anything about its self-destruction. Others are furious that people are still talking as though carbon taxes or other regulations are still being proposed, when there is ample evidence that they will neither reduce greenhouse gas emissions nor do any other good. No Minister has as yet pointed to the elephant in the room, though in Germany that moment is getting close because of the difficulty in forming a government that has a single policy on this issue. In the meantime, some banks are refusing to lend money for anything to do with fossil fuels, while the forecasts for the next thirty years all show coal as being still the major source of energy, with oil and gas not far behind. Somebody has got it wrong.

Almost ten years have passed since I wrote my first essay on AGW, and I’ll review those ten years at the appropriate time. For the moment, those who are really worried by all this (that is, the doom-laden) should go to Ole Humlum’s comprehensive www.climate4you website and study the comprehensive data about the last 38 years, along with some older data. At one point (November issue, the December one should be out in a few days) he summarises the data this way:

The average of all five global temperature estimates presently shows an overall stagnation, at least since 2002-2003. There has been no real increase in global air temperature since 1998, which however was affected by the oceanographic El Niño event. Also, the recent (2015-16) El Niño event is probably a relatively short-lived spike on a longer development. Neither has there been a temperature decrease since 2002-2003.

The present temperature stagnation does not exclude the possibility that global temperatures will begin to increase again later. On the other hand, it also remains a possibility that Earth just now is passing a temperature peak, and that global temperatures will begin to decrease during the coming years. Time will show which of these possibilities is correct.

In short, we still dunno, but there’s nothing especially worrying in these data, which come from all five global sets.

This is the last essay for 2017, and I wish all readers a Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year. I’ll be back on deck on 12 January next year.


It is now more than a year since Donald Trump’s electoral victory in the US. Just as The Chicago Herald Tribune was convinced that Governor Dewey, the Republican, would beat Harry Truman in 1948, and said so in a headline (‘Dewey Defeats Truman’), so at least one newspaper, this time in Germany, was convinced that Hillary Clinton had won, and said so, as you can see in the following photo of the page.

Join the discussion 136 Comments

  • JimboR says:

    “Maybe there were all sorts of local nuances that led to the Bennelong result”

    Not the least of which was that a popular local member was re-running; that’s pretty unusual for a by-election. And BTW, his name is John Alexander, not John Anderson.

  • Bryan Roberts says:

    Hi Don, I can’t say 2017 was my best year, either, ending with surgery for melanoma. However, while I am doing little else, a couple of comments on your reflections.

    On the international scene, some commentators have acknowledged that Trump has had successes, despite ferocious opposition. He may not be a likeable individual, but I think it would be inadvisable to conclude that he is stupid.

    Au contraire, I think Turnbull’s ecstasy about the SSM result was totally absurd. He’s a married, heterosexual (?) male, for God’s sake…and I agree, there is no significant alphabetical community. Yes, there is a substantial political movement, exemplified by the ruckus about transphobia, as at Wilfrid Laurier, but this is absurd. There was a recent emotional essay about this issue in Quadrant, in which the young woman said, basically, “if we don’t know what we want, leave us alone until we find out”.

    As for the earth, it will take care of itself. It survived billions of buffalo farts, and didn’t seem to notice when they disappeared (or did it?). Was that the global cooling crisis?

    We have not seen the conventional ABC hysteria about ‘warmest year ever’, so I suspect life will just go on as usual.


  • JimboR says:

    “I didn’t hear any of this detail on the TV.”

    Maybe you need to change channels:


    “One in three Queenslanders sent a message to the major parties directing their vote elsewhere, muddying the waters and leaving the state with the prospect of a hung parliament. The ABC’s election analyst Antony Green labelled the result as “wacky”, saying it was one of the toughest elections to call in his nearly 30-year career. In terms of primary votes, Labor and the LNP have both lost ground this election.”

  • JMO says:

    Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and certainly a better 2018. Thank you Don for all the posts on your blog despite your difficult year.

    On Trump, as a prior climate alarmist my opinion of him vastly improved after he decided to pull the US out of the Paris climate accord as his decision to relocate the US Tel Aviv embassy to Jerusalem.

    Of course the climate doomsters lambasted Trump despite the US has, by far, reduced its CO2 emissions in last decade then any other country, including Germany ( the climate darling). Blind Freddy can see the Paris accord has little to do with the global temperatures and all about wealth distribution. If the climate doomsters are right then if every signatory country does as they pledged the Paris accord will reduce CO2 emission by 1% of what is advocated by the climate doomsters. So my view is CO2 atmospheric concentration will keep rising. So if you are not on the climate gravy train, there are 2 choices – either agree with the alarmist/ doomster’s predictions (despite every prior doomster predictions having failed so far) resulting in being angry, depressed and worried or, the other option is to agree with the climate sceptics/deniers and be happy, contented and relaxed. On that note I welcome Professor Svensmark research finding that solar activity has up to 7 times the impact on climate then climate models suggest. This is something I have been saying for years. People who say the sun is constant and discount it from any climatic influence display utter ignorance of solar astronomy. No doubt the professor will lambasted by the climate doomsters and the climate gravy train passengers.

    As far ssm is concerned we have now reached the 4th stage out of 6 (and a preliminary boost on the way to the 5th). To recap the 6 ssm stages are: taboo, toleration, acceptance, legalisation, encouraged and finally compulsory. As the whole ssm issue to me is unnatural and abhorrent (particularly male ssm) I just hope the 6th stage is after 2053 when all my children will either be married or well passed it and I turn 100 and call it quits.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Maybe 2017 was the first time in Australia that an unreliable Lo Yang coal-fired generator failed to provide baseload power but the situation was saved by the new battery storage system. The coal-fired failure was fixed by the battery in 140 miliseconds.


    2017 was also the year that a real shift in investor appetites away from coal – including China it would seem;


    For the record, as at December 19, Mauna Loa CO2 reading was 403.81 [2016] and now is 406.16.

    The rate of increase is 0.58% per year and, if it continues will result in passing 600 when today’s preschoolers are in their dotage.

    • JimboR says:

      Once it starts getting hot, those coal fired power stations start dropping like flies (4 in the last week alone)…..

      “However, AEMO said that while it can predict the output of renewables with good accuracy, the biggest threats to supply is when fossil fuel generators go offline. ”


      • spangled drongo says:

        “However, AEMO said that while it can predict the output of renewables with good accuracy, the biggest threats to supply is when fossil fuel generators go offline.”

        What they are really saying, jimb, is that any fool knows that renewables have a capacity factor of between 10% and 15% of nameplate so let’s hope and pray the F/Fs keep going in spite of them going broke and not being maintained properly.

        Even though they have a capacity factor of over 90%!

        The output of wind and solar generators varies wildly with weather and the time of day; during most hours they produce a small fraction of their nameplate power—or nothing at all.

        Catastrophic unreliability is a daily reality for wind and solar.

    • spangled drongo says:

      Amazing how blith forgets about the $450 million spent on the battery and the diesel generators whereas they could have fixed up the old Pt Augusta power station for ~ $20 million. Or converted it to gas for a huge saving.

      It’s this virtue-seeking that is pushing up the emission rate.

      And what do you think is going to be emitted from those 1600 extra coal-fireds that China is currently building and planning, blith?

    • Don Aitkin says:

      It’s not really an alternative source of energy, Chris, but a short-term back-up. It has enough stored power to look after 4000 homes for 24 hours. Not much at all. We still need all the traditional forms of electricity generation, and more of them as the number of solar/wind sources increases.


      • Chris Warren says:

        It is more likely it will provide enough for 30,000 homes for the time that is needed. Batteries do not replace solar, wind or anything, but just ensure supply security.

        The 30,000 is a company staement:

        ‘Dispatchable renewable power’

        A portion of the battery will also be dedicated to trading on the electricity market. This capacity will be used to store power from the Hornsdale Wind Farm when demand is low and dispatch it when demand is high, reducing the need for expensive gas ‘peaking plants’ and placing downward pressure on power prices for South Australian consumers.

        At 100MW/129MWh, the Hornsdale Power Reserve is the largest lithium-ion battery in the world. When dispatching at peak output, the battery provides enough electricity to power the equivalent of 30,000 homes.


        The 4,000 figure only applies if South Australia has no other electric power of any type from any source.

    • JimboR says:

      “It has enough stored power to look after 4000 homes for 24 hours.”

      Yes, but it was never intended to be used as a UPS for the state of SA. It can turn on a dime from being a load on the grid to being a generator on the grid, which means it can charge up when prices are low and generate when prices are high, and it can do that regardless of whether the nearby wind turbines are spinning or not. The bid interval for generators is just 5 minutes and you won’t get a more reliable bidder than that battery.

      “We still need all the traditional forms of electricity generation”

      Of course.

      “and more of them as the number of solar/wind sources increases.”

      Don, that statement defies any logical analysis. If a company like AGL decides to invest its shareholders’ money in another windfarm, and if they’re so incompetent that they build the windfarm somewhere where the wind never blows, then that generator (or non-generator in this case) simply never puts in a bid to generate. From the grid’s point of view, it’s a total wash. The only people who even need know about it are the AGL shareholders when they see their reduced dividends.

      • David says:

        I Agree.

        Investment in Snowy 2.0 is not going to make it rain anymore . Its about storage.

      • spangled drongo says:

        When there are so many real world deniers out there, why do you suppose the smarties simply follow the money?:


      • Don Aitkin says:

        Jimbo, the scary thing is that coal does 73 per cent of the work, gas 13 per cent and hydro 9 per cent. Everything else does 5 per cent. Adding wind and solar in little bits doesn’t help much, but taking coal-fired generators out, for whatever reason, and not replacing them, is a form of madness. Perhaps you should read Jo Nova’s piece mentioned by SD. Companies don’t have to plan for the system, but governments do. They aren’t doing it.

        • JimboR says:

          “Adding wind and solar in little bits doesn’t help much”

          It’s a transition. Coal will be around for a while yet, and gas even longer. In the meantime, supplementing them with renewables reduces how much fuel gets shovelled into them, and given the state of some of them, that can only help.

          “and not replacing them, is a form of madness.”

          Madness by whom? Anyone who thinks building a new coal fired powerstation is a winning proposition can go ahead and build one. They’ll need to do it with their own cash, or convince investors it’s a winning proposition and get them to fund it. Everyone thinks a new coal fired power station is a great idea, until they have to cough up the cash. They all want to do it with someone else’s money but the smart money won’t go near it.

          What is your solution Don? Do you want governments to get back into the business of building and owning coal fired power stations? Which level, state or federal? The SA govt. is the closest one we have to doing that, it’s commissioned its own gas fired peaking plant.

          • spangled drongo says:

            Oh, it’s a transition, is it jimb?

            You possibly already know what the transition is into but you don’t wish to admit it.

            But when you are suffering combined power deprivation awa power-caused poverty you might cast aside the PC and study the actual [non] problem.

          • Don Aitkin says:

            Jimbo, where have you been this past decade? The reason coal is not profitable is that the State Governments have greatly increased the royalties to be paid from its extraction, plus the subsidies that we the taxpayers provide for renewables. There would be no difficulty at all in funding a new coal-fired power station were we out of this RET madness.

            Have you looked at all at the EIA’s projections for coal? It will still be the major source of electricity when I am 110 or so. Renewables CANNOT make up the difference in Australia. Work out for yourself how many square kilometres of land will be needed for solar and wind farms. Work out for yourself the loss in transmission. There is no ‘transition’ remotely sensible.

            Nuclear, yes. That would do, again if we hadn’t stifled nuclear power generation with metres high rules and regulations.

            You live in a fanciful world, Jimbo. The one I live in has problems that we have created for ourselves, and no government seems willing to bite the bullet on it. There are reports that electricity prices will double again in the next two or three years. If that happens you will probably say, smilingly, ‘Yes, you see this is a transition period…’

          • JimboR says:

            Ask AGL why they’re getting out of coal!

            Don you’re an old policy geek from way back. If the PM appointed you as Energy Tzar what would you do? I hear a lot whining but I don’t hear many solutions. You could legislate a cap on state coal royalties and see if AGL change their mind? You could legislate that AGL must build x coal fired power stations per decade? You could start building state owned coal fired power stations with tax revenue? Do any of those appeal? They’re all serious government interventions in industry, but might be what’s needed. It was the conservatives who decided all this was best left to private industry but now they seem to be having regrets.

          • JimboR says:

            … having regrets because they’re discovering private industry believes in science. Their shareholders believe in science. Their customers believe in science. Their boardrooms believe in science. Their bankers believe in science. Their insurers believe in science.

            BHP recently announced it’s cutting ties with a bunch of industry lobby groups including the World Coal Association because of their position on climate change. It’s put the Minerals Council of Australia on notice too, to green up or they’ll pull out of them too. These lobby groups that you skeptics have been so effectively conned by are about to lose one of their major members/backers.

          • JimboR says:

            “It will still be the major source of electricity when I am 110 or so”

            I’m sorry the transition isn’t happening as fast as you’d like. Sometimes technology advances slowly, sometimes there are major leaps, so who knows. In any case, building more coal fired power stations now will only slow it down further. AGL have come up with a perfectly reasonable business plan for how they plan to replace Liddell without any new coal and it’ll be cheaper. That’s what private enterprise does best right? Let the market decide… if you want to build a coal fired power station and compete with them, go for it!

          • Don Aitkin says:

            Jimbo, perhaps your superior skills have located the business case, but I could only find a summary written by someone who is an enthusiast for alternative energy.

            No matter. Liddell currently supplies 2Gw, and most of the replacement seems intended to be gas, with batteries to deal with very short-run demand problems. So, 2Gw becomes 750 Mw from gas and 500Mw from alternative energy, or 1.25Gw. Not much of a replacement. And where the gas is coming from is not stated. We seem to be short of it, and its price is going up.

            Now, lets consider the 500Mw of wind. The original Lake George wind farm we do know about. It was intended to supply back-up power for the Sydney desal plant, and it occupies 6,000 hectares. Its plate capacity is 140.7Mw, which means it really provides between 20 and 30 per cent of that, or between 28 and 42 Mw. (see \https://docs.wind-watch.org/Boccard-Capacity-Factor-Of-Wind.pdf)

            To replace 2Gw of coal with wind, and just using the Lake George figures (at the average, say 35 Mw), you would need something like 57 Lake George wind farms, occupying 334,200 ha, or 3,342 square kilometres. For a quarter of Liddell (500Mw) you would need a quarter of all that. That’s non-trivial land, Jimbo, 60 km by 56 km, for 2Gw. And you do need to allow a lot of land between turbines. Yes, you can gaze sheep under them. Liddell is only one of our many coal-fired generators.

            Yes, the company has to think about its bottom line and its shareholders. But we citizens are much more interested in cheap, reliable energy, which is the foundation of our present civilisation. We expect our governments to ensure that this is the case. It isn’t, and the situation is getting worse. My own sense of it is that the company is thinking much too much in the short term. As are our governments.

          • spangled drongo says:

            “… having regrets because they’re discovering private industry believes in science. Their shareholders believe in science. Their customers believe in science. Their boardrooms believe in science. Their bankers believe in science. Their insurers believe in science.”

            Poor deluded jimb thinks that groupthink is science.

            Groupthink is brainwashing, jimb! Pure and simple.

            And when you resort to “consensus” as a rational argument you’re as brainwashed as the worst of them.

            If they did a survey of their shareholders they would find more than 50% would be sceptics.

            Even blith has some scepticism still in him.

            Don’t you blith?


          • JimboR says:

            “Liddell currently supplies 2Gw”

            Liddell has been operating at about 40% capacity for years.

            “My own sense of it is that the company is thinking much too much in the short term. As are our governments.”

            What would you have the governments do? Turnbull begged AGL to keep Liddell open past 2020 to which they responded “thanks, but no thanks”. It sounds like you’re calling for some major government intervention into electricity generation, a bit like Jay Weatherhill has done in SA?

          • Don Aitkin says:

            Why is AGL getting out of coal? I’ve answered that already. It is not profitable because of royalties and the subsidies to wind and solar.

            What would I do if I were responsible? Scrap the RET at once. No more subsidies to alternative energy providers (transition to a level playing field in the shortest possible run). End demonisation of coal. Pull out of Paris Accord. Set up a Red Team to look hard at the science supposedly supporting all those ridiculous schemes. Point out to the electorate that they are paying much too much for energy anyway and why that is happening. Tell the PM that properly organised, this policy will lead to a major electoral win, perhaps even in Balmain.

            Oh, if you think there are subsidies to fossil fuels you need to show (i) that this is so and where, and (ii) show also that these ‘subsidies’ are not available to any other large corporation in a similar situation (depreciation and the like).

            OK, you like things they way they are and the way they are going.I don’t at all, and am appalled that our governments don’t say ‘We wuz wrong about some of that, but we’re ending it right now.’

            Who should run utilities? Even in the heartland of business, the USA, private companies run the utilities, and are subject to State government regulation. I’m happy to see that here, and indeed we have something of it already, if you get rid of the RET and its outliers.

          • JimboR says:

            “Why is AGL getting out of coal? I’ve answered that already. It is not profitable because of royalties and the subsidies to wind and solar.”

            But it’s not the reason they give:


            Do all the things you suggested and they’ll still be getting out of coal.

            “the USA, private companies run the utilities, and are subject to State government regulation. I’m happy to see that here”

            Like these?


            Clean Energy & Pollution Reduction Act
            SB 350 Overview

            On October 7, 2015, Senate Bill 350: Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act (de León, Chapter 547, Statutes of 2015) (SB 350) was signed into law, establishing new clean energy, clean air and greenhouse gas reduction goals for 2030 and beyond.

            SB 350 established California’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target of 40 percent below 1990 levels. To achieve this goal, SB 350 sets ambitious 2030 targets for energy efficiency and renewable electricity, among other actions aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the energy and transportation sectors. SB 350 will greatly enhance the state’s ability to meet its long-term climate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

          • spangled drongo says:

            When the left progressive [think Obama] govt pass an act based on junk science that puts 50,000 coal miners out of work overnight with huge numbers to follow it sets the stupid in almost irreversible motion.

            As is in clear evidence.

  • Good to hear you are on the road to recovery Don, actually I didn’t realise you were ill. You might like to do a post sometime on pneumonia, prevalence, how to recognise it and what to do. I used to think it was just a complication from some other illness so a bit of public education would be good.

    Re Trump, I was over there for the last months of the campaign and was gobsmacked after all the negative media coverage to accidentally pick up the broadcast of a 20 minute speech somewhere on the campaign trail. It was a revelation to hear his own words delivered in sensible and well-considered sentences to a group of sentient beings gathered in front of him.

    The high point of my year was a trip to China with my new partner who is Chinese. She came here in 1994 to teach Chinese to business folk and stayed to do a Maths degree and teach high school Maths. She is writing an account of here experiences in the Cultural Revolution including 8 years in a remote village. This is the story of her return for the first time after 40+ years. http://www.criticalrationalism.net/2017/05/09/road-middle-kingdom/

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Rafe, thanks for your message. I was in China shortly in 1977 after the death of Chairman Mao. Big-character posters told the nation that ‘With you in charge I feel secure’ — the words that a surprisingly robust looking Mao was uttering to the current leader, if only for the short term leader.

      Re Trump, most Australians only know of Trump through what the see on TV. And they get alarmed when he does things, even when they are the things he campaigned on. I think every President since George Bush the elder has proclaimed that the USA will recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but none of that actually made sure it was done. Will Trump actually do it. His record suggests that he will. He is much smarter and much more successful, at least thus far, than people seem to think.

  • JimboR says:

    Maybe 2017 will be remembered as the start of the end of sexual harassment in the workplace thanks to metoo, Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump.

  • Neville says:

    I hope you continue to steadily improve Don and let’s hope we all have a better 2018. All the best to everyone for the season and a happy and safe new year.
    BTW the driver of the car who mowed down the poor people in Melbourne yesterday was an Afghan who is supposed to suffers from mental health issues, but also mentioned the mistreatment of Muslims to the arresting police officer.


    • margaret says:

      Oh, thanks for that Neville – Christmas goodwill to all.

    • spangled drongo says:

      Merry Christmas too, Neville, and to everyone here.

      Likewise, Don, all the best in your recovery.

      Pat Condell said it all in that video I posted, about what happened yesterday in Melbourne but marg couldn’t bear to watch it.

      What’s that condition called, marg?

    • spangled drongo says:

      As a New Year surprise, maybe all those catastrophic climate change believers who somehow, incidentally, seem also to be Muslim terrorist sceptics will receive a Damascene conversion as the summer progresses and they warm to wisdom.

  • Chris Warren says:

    2017 may also go down in history as the year climate change became clearer as presumably for the first time we seem to be experiencing El Nino heat without El Nino conditions.

    As the BOM says:

    Abnormally high temperatures throughout spring occurred in the absence of Australia’s most important large-scale climate drivers; El Niño–Southern Oscillation and the Indian Ocean Dipole were both neutral. Towards the end of the season the Pacific Ocean showed signs of moving towards a more La Niña-like state. The long-term increasing trend in global air and ocean temperatures also contributes to influences upon Australia’s climate.

    Also this heat emerged when there was no sunspot activity which is significant as there is a camp of denialists who have spun webs of confusion claiming that sunspots cause rising temperatures and even claimed that sunspots will cool the Earth in the future.

    • spangled drongo says:

      Don’t forget the thousands of dead birds and bats at Parramatta in 1791, blith.

      Seen plenty of that lately, too?

      Or do you still prefer to deny Nat Var?

      The BoM can delete, ignore and adjust all the old records but there is always those lingering, inconvenient facts that require outright denial to overcome.

    • spangled drongo says:

      And as a matter of interest, the highest astronomical tide is on the Wednesday, 3rd of January in about two and a half weeks time at the Brisbane Bar if anyone would like to meet me and check for any sea level rise.

      If global warming is becoming clearer then SLR is the best indicator.

      • dlb says:

        Which Brisbane bar SD?

        The Brekkie Ck, The Regatta, The Sandgate Pub?
        They are all close to a bit of tidal influence.

        • spangled drongo says:

          Dlb, maybe when we get some SLR those bars will work. In the meantime we gotta use the BoM tide predictions at the old bar:

          Wed 3 Jan

          4:02 am
          0.16 m

          10:30 am
          2.75 m

          It’s a while since ships couldn’t get in the Brisbane Bar and they were going to use Cleveland Point as the Port of Brisbane.

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Actually, we don’t seem to be experiencing particular heat, and seem to be in a weak la Nina. There is always a lag when these ENSO conditions change.

  • Don Aitkin says:

    Ole Humlum’s November data are in (www.climate4you), with little change, and none at all in his comments on the lack of movement in this century given at the end of my essay above.

    • Chris Warren says:


      Humlum’s comment suggesting stagnation was his theme since January 2011. He even suggested then that temperatures will begin to decrease in the coming 5-10 years.

      The opposite occurred, and his 37 month average has been increasing relatively rapidly since 2014.

      This extra global warming, unexpected by Humlum, may well explain the massive drop in Antarctic sea ice shown at page 31 of his latest update at:


      and increase in ARGO sea temperatures shown elsewhere.

      If there was “stagnation”, “pause”, “hiatus”, in the past this has not applied for some time now.

      • spangled drongo says:

        Blith, you forgot to mention that he also showed less Arctic sea ice in 1769 than in 1995 from detailed written records in ships log books.

        Nat Var strikes again.

        Or was that from those early model SUVs?

      • Don Aitkin says:

        He is talking about temperature, and I can’t see how he is wrong, given the data he has supplied, all of it official. If you think he is wrong, by all means demonstrate it, and perhaps take it up with him. Good luck!

        • Chris Warren says:


          If you look at pages 5,6,9,11,12,14,16 and others you will see clearly a rapid increase in temperature – a take off – after 2013-14.

          If you use the data and calculate the 37 month average, you can corroborate the increase in temperatures.

          The resulting data is (37 av. mnth.) lower troposphere:

          0.073 – December 2013
          0.121 – December 2014
          0.192 – December 2015
          0.314 – December 2016
          0.375 – November 2017

          This is verfiable increase – so Humlum’s earlier suggestion that temperatures could cool must have been wrong and based on a misunderstanding of cause and effect.

          • Don Aitkin says:

            Chris, are you seriously suggesting that a 37-month trend will apply to the rest of the century? What Humlum said was this:

            The present temperature stagnation does not exclude the possibility that global temperatures will begin to increase again later. On the other hand, it also remains a possibility that Earth just now is passing a temperature peak, and that global temperatures will begin to decrease during the coming years. Time will show which of these possibilities is correct.

            Are you suggesting that there is not probability at all that temperatures will cool in the future? He’s saying that time will tell… but you are sure…?

          • Chris Warren says:


            Humlum’s vague possibility of cooling is uncorroborated, is not based on science, and is therefore extraneous. It is a political statement at best. Any global cooling is natural cyclical variation and has occurred in the past. However it appears to have exhausted itself this time around to produce nothing but a so-called “hiatus, “pause”, or “stagnation”.

            In the future, a massive volcano may produce cooling but otherwise any other underlying natural cooling tendency will be over-ridden by the heat being trapped increasingly between the troposphere and stratosphere.

            If there is no disruption such as a volcano or nuclear winter, then you have to wait for some additional cooling to come from Milancovitch cycles. We don’t have time for this.

            If you want cooling – reduce GHG concentration in the atmosphere.


  • Neville says:

    It seems that some people here will never understand REAL data and evidence from the REAL planet earth.. Don tries to use logic and reason about the fra-dulent S&W idiocy and receives replies that are ridiculous at best.
    Here’s my reply to Chris a few days ago and YES I do stand by my data (from IEA and EIA) that proves that there will be NO MEASURABLE change to temp at all.
    In fact the EIA expects much higher co2 emissions for decades to come. (90% of that increase will be emitted by the non OECD countries) Why are people so ignorant and stupid? Here’s my reply to Chris AGAIN.

    “Chris, the pop of polar bears are booming, so much for your ridiculous comments and yes top predators do sometimes die from sickness or injury, so stop believing your silly fairy stories.
    And it seems like I’ll have to repeat the data and evidence for you again. The US only produces 10% more co2 emissions than they did in 1973 and their pop today is 50% higher than 1973.
    Also the US generates just 17.1% of their total energy from coal while the world generates about 28% and China 66.7%. Very simple maths and data/evidence that you seem to either ignore or can’t understand. Which is it?
    Oh and coal use is booming among the non OECD countries ( 1600 new coal plants) while the OECD countries take up- more of your S&W idiocy. BTW that idiocy still requires backup most of the time.
    And no measurable change to temp at all. What is it you find so hard to understand about these very simple sums?”

    • Chris Warren says:


      Statements such as:

      “And no measurable change to temp at all. What is it you find so hard to understand about these very simple sums?”

      are dogma. Humlum has charted a strong increase in temperature measurements.

      What is it you are finding it hard to understand about these very simple charts?

  • Neville says:

    Here’s the IEA pie graph for TOTAL ENERGY generation for China AGAIN. And USA AGAIN.



  • Neville says:

    Here’s the total energy graph for the world.


    And the total graph for the OECD ( 35)


  • Neville says:

    The total for the non OECD and note much higher coal and FF percentage. And already the developing countries generate 52% more energy than the OECD, but most have a long way to catch up. And much more reliant on fossil fuels and 1600 new Coal stations to come.

    Their mitigation of their so called CAGW is a total fra-d and con. Ditto Paris COP 21, thanks to Dr Hansen,Dr Ridley, Dr Lomborg etc.


  • spangled drongo says:

    Considering how little climate science understands natural climate variability, when [if ever] they can do a comprehensive review just think of the money we’ll save:


  • spangled drongo says:

    Climate experts say Middle Eastern refugees are becoming climate refugees.

    Look what ACO2 is doing to them:


  • Don Aitkin says:

    And a little Boxing Day reminder of the victory of Donald Trump a little more than a year ago, which you will see at the end of the essay above.

  • JimboR says:

    “so at least one newspaper, this time in Germany, was convinced that Hillary Clinton had won, and said so, as you can see in the following photo of the page.”

    Not exactly. At the time of going to print, the result was still unclear, so they did a double cover:


  • Bryan Roberts says:

    2017 might also go down in history as the year the US finally got sick of the UN. Australia should follow its example, and stop the parade of bureaucrats telling us how poorly we treat aborigines, migrants, etc, etc. Time the finger-waving tourist trade stopped for good.

    • Bryan Roberts says:

      We tend to forget that, in comparison to the rest of the civilised world, we have very little for which we need to apologise, and much of which we can rightly be proud.

    • Chris Warren says:

      Or maybe 2017 will go down in history, given the antics of billionaire Trump, as the year the world finally got sick of the United States with its global spread of assassinations, wars and terror – ever since the 1950’s.

      • Don Aitkin says:

        And what would the world do then, Chris? Show the US to the door, and say ‘Don’t come back’?

      • spangled drongo says:

        Poor ol’ blith just can’t help himself.

        In complete denial of the ’40s and the cold war which an earlier Trumper won without firing a shot.

        How many millions did the govts of your preferred philosophies murder during that same period?

        You don’t know you’re alive, blith.

        Man, you’d be painful to listen to you if your bum was on fire.

      • Bryan Roberts says:

        If the US was as skilled as the Islamists at spreading “assassinations, wars and terror” we wouldn’t have to worry about Islamists. They would have to worry about us.

        • Bryan Roberts says:

          There wouldn’t be any boys plotting terror attacks in Melbourne. They would be dead.

        • Bryan Roberts says:

          … and I suggest that if some professional US snipers were let loose, with a group of marines, no ISIS commander would poke his head out of a manhole. The Russians, if they were interested, would have wiped ISIS of the face of the earth years ago. They have dealt with Islam in the past, and if it came to a bet, I would wager that they would win in any future confrontation.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Interesting how anti-US, pro-Marxist, pro climate catastrophe philosophies go hand in hand.

    These “climate scientists” are people who share the same pov as our blith. Jeff Harvey, the lead author, used to comment regularly at Deltoid and is on par with Mann and Lew.

    Dr Richard Toll explains:


  • spangled drongo says:

    This could do with a serious review:

    “China’s Great Climate Joke: Switching to Gas, Made from Coal

    Why is coal gasification so carbon intensive compared to simply burning coal?

    To produce gas from coal, more than half the coal has to be converted into CO2 just to produce the gas. More coal may have to be burned to maintain the extreme pressures and temperatures required for this chemical process. This wasteful conversion process effectively doubles the amount of coal required to deliver the same energy.

    More coal will be burned, far greater quantities of CO2 will be emitted, but the pollution from burning that coal will be shifted away from heavily populated cities to remote coal mining regions.”


  • spangled drongo says:

    One review that’s going to be interesting is the protest committee on Wild Oats 11 this afternoon.

    I find it fascinating that Australian engineer Jim Cooney just bought Comanche with his ill-gotten millions from taxpayer subsidised wind farms that he has been building in the UK.

    Just like his wind farms the wind crumped out when you most need it but unlike his taxpayer-funded fake wind energy world there was no one to hold his hand in the real world of sailing and the best performer got the gun.

    Having said that, I think Richards on Wild Oats 11 was definitely in the wrong but these days they get a time penalty instead of complete disqualification and he seems to think it won’t be as big as his 26 minute winning margin and he can still pull it off.

    • margaret says:

      Spangled Drongo – who really cares about rich bored billionaires and their hobbies. Not me … yawn, as the Commodore intones his verdict. Perfectly lovely chaps ooh the drama, the intrigue the sheer indulgence of old and not as old white male billionaires.

      • spangled drongo says:

        Marg, I’ve been interested, all my life, in the poetry and performance of wind power, and how to extract the max out of it.

        It obsesses many people throughout their lives from their penniless youth to their often wealthy old age but regardless of the incredible improvement in the technology and the fierce passion by all involved it still remains an impractical indulgence.

        It’s trying to tell us something but most people aren’t paying attention.

  • Bryan Roberts says:

    In the aftermath of the St Petersburg bombing, I note that the one thing Putin did not immediately say, (axiomatic in the West), was that it “had nothing to do with Islam”.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Happy New Year for all our polar bears ?


  • Bryan Roberts says:

    For 2018, can we drop all the climate crap? We’ve heard it all, innumerable times, before. Let’s just talk about some issues that might actually affect us. What do you think?

  • Don Aitkin says:

    Judith Curry finished her year with a fine essay on where she sits, politically, scientifically and elsewhere. I might do something like that myself in the New Year. In the essay there is an excellent little summary of what makes an ‘ideologue’:

    There are five attributes of ideologues:
    1. Absence of doubt
    2. Intolerance of debate
    3. Appeal to authority
    4. A desire to convince others of the ideological “truth”
    5. A willingness to punish those that don’t concur

    The whole essay is worth reading (it isn’t long). https://judithcurry.com/2017/12/28/jcs-unmotivated-reasoning/#more-23718

    • David says:

      Don these scientific tenants from JC , with the exception of Point 6 (the quality of your arguments have been consistent), bring your writings to mind.

      “1.Do not overstate the power of your argument.
      2. Show a willingness to publicly acknowledge that reasonable alternative viewpoints exist.
      3. Be willing to publicly acknowledge and question one’s own assumptions and biases.
      4. Be willing to publicly acknowledge where your argument is weak.
      5. Be willing to publicly acknowledge when you are wrong.
      6. Demonstrate consistency
      7. Address the argument instead of attacking the person making the argument.
      8. When addressing an argument, do not misrepresent it.
      9. Show a commitment to critical thinking.
      10. Be willing to publicly acknowledge when a point or criticism is good.”

  • Peter Sommerville says:

    Loved your review Don. Here is a little bit of recent history (1977) which you may remember. I certainly do.


    Enjoy and smile. Science is never settled.

  • margaret says:

    Lovely is not the word, but brilliant and unflinching about primal desire and futile attempts to corral it within the confines of the religious institution of marriage, small towns, inhabitants who leave or stay, become ‘successful’ or remain ordinary but whose families always fuck them up because human parents are fundamentally inept.
    Published in 2017 – what’s to review.


  • spangled drongo says:

    I wonder if western govts will be smart enough to review the throwing of their citizens to the wolves in 2018 as Trump is trying to do?:


  • Peter Trandafilovic says:

    Don, a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year to you and yours. Also similar good wishes to the many other erudite responders.
    There is such an alignment between your thoughts and mine on many of the subjects you’ve traversed, I often thought we might be twins!!
    Finding your site was one of the better things I did in 2017, and I look forward to sharing thoughts and ideas going forward.
    I am comforted by the thought that, at least in Brisbane, the chances of a blackout over the summer period will be somewhere between zero and nil. Good luck down south – Malcolm’s going to push water back up hill to keep your lights and aircons on…

  • Neville says:

    Bjorn Lomborg looks at the claims about so called CAGW and finds that idiocy like S&W energy will have no measurable impact by the end of the century. PS to Chris NO MEASURABLE ( via mitigation) change by 2100 is just simple maths. Dr Hansen the father of their CAGW agrees that COP 21 is just more BS and fraud and believing in S&W is like believing in fairy stories.


    And Dr Patrick Moore looks at trees as being a renewable answer to some of our future problems.


    A happy and safe New year to all.

    • spangled drongo says:

      Same to you with bells on, Neville.

    • Chris Warren says:


      There may be no measurable impact. I never argued there would be. Paris may well have been a failure and Trump may well be a disaster. Chinese, Indian and African growth may produce the final nails in the coffin.

      CO2 will continue and may accelerate, guaranteeing a catastrophic outcome unless some new technology or dramatic carbon sequestration initiative emerges.

      Are you aware that CO2 absorbs infrared radiation?

      Do you think we can increase CO2 levels – FOREVER???????????????

      • spangled drongo says:

        Ah! blith, the cli-sci blitherers and botherers had a few setbacks in 2017 so it wasn’t all bad:

        “2017, in short, was a year of green crap. But it was also a year in which the torrent of green crap that had become the norm started to encounter the obstacles of greens’ own making. Green crap has always been a desperate struggle to rescue politicians from their own political crises and democratic deficits. Now, in the post-Trump, post-Brexit and increasingly multi-polar world, global and domestic political landscapes are altogether different, and the green crap agenda doesn’t work like it used to. That’s something to celebrate.”


        • Bryan Roberts says:

          I am sorry to tell you that in the local left-wing echo chamber, they’re still doing well.


          • spangled drongo says:

            Thanks, Bryan. You can tell what a balanced, rational and scientifically sceptical site it is by the number of comments that are removed when the consensus gospel is preached.

            The usual alarmist, climate-religious suspects that have been there for years are the only ones allowed to speak.

            What a bunch of wankers.

          • Chris Warren says:

            Thanks Bryan

            Excellent facts. I hope others digest them.

            Another sign of global warming is the increased global bleaching we have been witnessing since CO2 increased through 300 ppm.

            It is now passing through the 400’s.

            All our knuckle-dragging rednecks can do now is:

            Drink more beer … !

          • spangled drongo says:

            Bryan, when the sundry blitherers choose to ignore history, fake the data, tell less than half the story and ban sceptical comments, it sure proclaims the integrity of the “science”.

            Isn’t it interesting that while global ACE is around normal, they somehow forget to mention that Accumulated Cyclone Energy in the southern hemisphere is at record lows:


  • Neville says:

    Alex Epstein looks at the fra-dulent S&W idiocy promoted by nearly every pollie and nearly every govt in the world.

    BTW his pathetic percentages for S&W are wrong and are far too optimistic. See the EU IEA data base that I’ve linked to before. This is very easy to understand yet nearly all pollies/govts and the world’s media seem to prefer to feed us on BS and keep us in the dark. Why is this the case?


    And Lomborg looks at the reality of their so called climate change using real world data.

  • Neville says:

    We know that the Paris COP21 agreement is just BS and fra-d and yet the taxpayers in western countries are expected to fund this fra-d and corrupti-on for decades to come.

    According to Lomborg this fra-d will cost endless trillions $ until 2100 and will have no measurable impact at all. So why don’t more people speak out and try and bring an end to this waste of time and money? Just where are the investigative journalists who would normally expose this type of fra_d and corruption?

    Well maths whiz Harry Markopolos took just 5 minutes to understand the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme fra-d but had to fight for years to expose it. In the end the GFC brought about Madoff’s end and his family also furnished more info to the FBI. The biggest private Ponzi scheme fra-d in history folded and Madoff will spend the rest of his life in the boob. And good riddance.

    But his scheme is a mere flea-bite compared to the Paris COP 21 fra-d and con that involves nearly every govt/ pollies on the planet and most of the world’s media. So what hope have we got, although the sums/data involved are very easy to add up and understand? But I wouldn’t hold my breath expecting an honest assessment anytime soon. Who knows? Here’s a summary of Markopolos’s efforts to expose Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Unbelievable but true.


  • Bryan Roberts says:

    I would like to end 2017 by saying I find the concept of caring for the earth, completely absurd. Humans are animals, and as such, are primarily interested in their own survival. Beavers are not going to stop building dams because they might endanger the survival of some local fish.

    There is not a snowball’s chance in hell of us altering the progress of whatever climate change may be underway. Does anyone seriously believe evolution is going to stop? Assertions to the contrary should be left to the sky fairies.

    Species have gone extinct before. We may be one of them. No doubt the dinosaurs also railed against their fate.

    Best (or at least polite) wishes for 2018 to all.

  • Don Aitkin says:

    As with other, I wish all readers a safe, creative and enjoyable 2018.

  • Neville says:

    Here’s Harry Markopolos’s testimony before the US senate explaining the failure of the US SEC to properly investigate Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.
    He gift wrapped it for them but they refused to heed his warnings for 9 years and this saw the fra-d blow out from 7 billion $ to over 50 billion $. Of course many more innocent people suffered because of the SEC’s neglect and lack of action.
    What a pity we can’t call time on the multi trillion $ Paris COP 21 BS and fra-d and instead fund more R&D and use adaptation etc as the principal action to cope with future climate change.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Keith Windschuttle defends a truly progressive Australia from the hypocrisy of the Aboriginal Industry:


  • spangled drongo says:

    “Hollywood tries to save the Earth, but moviegoers aren’t buying eco-messages anymore:

    The timing, in theory, couldn’t be better for Hollywood bean counters: Three major hurricanes. Massive fires in the West. Record-setting chills. Media reports routinely connected the disasters with a warming planet.

    Yet audiences stayed away from films influenced by eco-concerns. Far, far away.

    Think “Blade Runner 2049,” “Geostorm,” “Downsizing,” “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” and “mother!” They all flopped, some in spectacular fashion.”


  • John says:

    Sorry – I’m a bit late to this party. As a Queensland resident, I was amazed by the performance of the LNP who brought boxing gloves to a gunfight. They had over a year to anticipate what Labor would do yet seemed completely unprepared for the massive negative attacks which were a replica of 2015. The main tactic of the leader appeared to be to apologise for what had been done the last time the LNP was in Government. As would have been expected, this alienated traditional LNP supporters and left Labor supporters with no reason to change their vote. If Corey’s party had run, they would have collected big time. And now we have Labor for another three years.

    It raises the broader issue that our federation is dysfunctional with the Commonwealth collecting most of the revenues and the states doing much of the spending. I believe this is called “Vertical Fiscal Imbalance”. It provides the states with serious disincentive to reform their expenses since most of the revenue is out of their control anyway. In the longer term, the states will no doubt continue to accumulate more and more debt until the interest rates rise and the debt cannot be supported. The Commonwealth will step in and pay out the state’s debt on the condition that the state Government becomes a branch of the Commonwealth. It is a sad thing to contemplate when the intent of Federation was that our states would be as independent as those of the United States. What a shame.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Another year has passed
    And we’re all a little older.
    Last summer felt hotter
    And winter seems much colder.

    There was a time not long ago
    When life was quite a blast.
    Now I fully understand
    About ‘Living in the Past’

    We used to go to weddings,
    Football games and lunches..
    Now we go to funeral homes
    And after-funeral brunches.

    We used to have hangovers,
    From parties that were gay.
    Now we suffer body aches
    And while the night away.

    We used to go out dining,
    And couldn’t get our fill.
    Now we ask for doggie bags,
    Come home and take a pill.

    We used to often travel
    To places near and far.
    Now we get sore arses
    From riding in the car.

    We used to go to cabarets
    And drink a little booze.
    Now we stay home at night
    And watch the evening news.

    That, my friend is how life is,
    And now my tale is told.
    So, enjoy each day and live it up…
    Before you’re too damned old!

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