Is Australia near the fiscal tipping points of Europe?

Although in Australia the current economic situation may seem bad, it is nothing like as dire are Europe.

There is a new issue. After a long period of surpluses in 2009 the government created significant deficits. These do not seem justified by the small slowdown in economic growth. Any ideas?

Using World Bank Data, many of the Eurozone countries have been running large, structural deficits for years. Australia only went into deficit in 2009.


As a result, Australia’s national debt is small relative to GDP compared with the European nations.


The relative problem can be seen from the growth rates. Australia has yet to go into a full year of recession. That is growth of less than zero.


Neither has growth dipped much below the average for 1998 to 2007.

Wonthaggi Desal plant – Mothball to save Money and the Environment

Jo Nova has posted on the flagrant waste of money involved in the new Desalination Plant to serve the people of Melbourne. Here is my comment

Remember Topher, with his excellent “Forbidden History” video? Well, his earlier videos were on the problems of water shortage in Melbourne, and the Labour Government’s attempts to solve this problem. In his “Unpopular View #3” made in 2010, he looks at a magic solution. Rather than build a 150GL desalination plant, the Victorian Government could have spent $2.6bn on a pipeline from Tasmania producing 350GL of water. Topher further argues it would have helped Tasmanians. Why? the water is currently used for Hydro. Sold as water to the Victorians, the Tasmanians would make loads more money than they get from the electricity. This in turn could
Yet, in a huge report published, the authorities ignored this win-win solution, despite having four submissions that mentioned it.
Spend 15 minutes, and check it out for yourself.


Now for a bit of beancounting.

On these projects, the more you dig, the worse it gets.

Comparing Topher’s costs of the Tasmanian pipe-line (TPL) with your Shiny Desalination Plant (SDP).

Capital Cost – TPL $2.6bn, SDP $3.5bn (+$1.0bn?)

Annual costs – TPL $0.11bn (+up to $0.04bn running/maint costs?), SDP ($1.0bn)

Increase in Victorian Water Bills – TPL <5% (my estimate), SDP 34% (Herald Sun).

But it does not end there. The Tasmanian Pipeline would have nil power to deliver 350GL of water down a 2.5m pipe, as it would be gravity fed. The SDP requires massive amounts of power. The capital cost of wind generators to meet that power (as the project is committed to do) is estimated at $1.2bn. However, to be properly carbon neutral in operation, like the TPL, the desalination plant would require an estimated investment of approximately $6.0bn (See appendix)

Even though there is already at least $3.5bn already spent, there is a serious economic case for mothballing the desalination plant – and still building the Tasmanian Pipe-Line. In finance, one should only look forward, and let bygones-be-bygones. In politics, it is different. There are five possible scenarios.

  1. Mothball the desalination plant, and build the Tasmanian Pipe-line. Additional investment and damages might be $10bn, but is carbon neutral. Over 24 years it will pay around $2.5bn to Tasmania (paying for additional water infrastructure and/or protecting the wilderness), but with huge economic benefits for Victorian farmers with plentiful water supplies. Would require first voting out the Victorian Labor administration. Could recover $1m or so by suing the Labor administration of Victoria for gross negligence. (Financially not worthwhile, but would prevent others from doing similar mad schemes for a generation)
  2. Go ahead with the desalination plant and make it properly carbon neutral. Additional investment, and damages might be $7bn, but with around $10-$24bn of running costs, this “Green and honest” policy is expensive and electoral suicide.
  3. Go ahead with the desalination plant and pretend to carbon neutral by using actual capacity of wind farms. Additional investment, and damages might be $2.2bn, but with around $10-$24bn of running costs, this “Green and pretending to be honest” policy is expensive and would enough votes to guarantee an election would be lost.
  4. Go ahead with the desalination plant and pretend to carbon neutral by using nameplate capacity of wind farms. Additional investment for 100MW is $240m, and damages might be $1.0bn, but with around $10-$24bn of running costs, this “proclaiming to be honest” policy is expensive, but would lose votes for throwing money away.
  5. Go ahead with the desalination plant and forget about the green commitments. Additional investment is nil, and damages might be $1.0bn, but with around $10-$24bn of running costs, and this “ducking the issue” policy is expensive, but would lose less votes than being honest. However, the carbon tax at $10MWH, equates to $360,000 per annum if 150GL is produced. That is a trivial amount on the water bills and when it rises year-on-year, will hardly be noticed in the much bigger costs of the desalination plant.

So, in the interests of Melbourne and Tasmanian citizens, the best policy is to vote out the Labor Administration both nationally and locally. What will actually happen is the worst of options. Politicians will duck the issue, lumbering the Melbourne population with huge extra costs for a generation, going against national Labor policy on the environment, and failing to provide income to Tasmania, that could help Tasmanian farmers and finance the protection of the Tasmanian wilderness.

Appendix – Carbon Offsetting the Desalination Plant

The SDP will require 90-120MW to operate. Further, says Wikipedia, “additional energy will be required to pump the desalinated water from Wonthaggi to Cardinia Reservoir in Melbourne” To make the SDP carbon neutral, I will assume usage of wind power, as it is most popular type of renewable at present. To make the numbers easy I will assume 100MW is required (see below). The most popular type of renewable is wind power at present. Two such recent plants in the State of Victoria are the 192MW Waubra Wind Farm, which cost $600m, and 195MW Portland Wind Farm, projected to cost $330m. So that is $3.1m or $1.7m per megawatt plate capacity. That averages at $2.4m Wind turbines only have, however, an output of around 20% of nameplate. So to produce the average of 100MW, requires 500MW of capacity. However, if you want to be properly carbon neutral in Victoria, you need to allow for the coal-fired power stations running as back-up. True abatement levels are around 4% of nameplate. So for the SDP to be properly carbon neutral in Victoria, to offset the 100MW will require 2500MW of nameplate capacity wind farms To produce the required electricity from wind farms will mean investing $2.4m times 500 = $1.2bn. To be properly carbon neutral means investing $2.4m times 2500 = $6.0bn

Note – Power Requirements.

The figure of 100MW is calculated as follows. To produce 150GL of water assumes the plant is operating at 410 megalites per day 365 days a year. This gives the 90MW usage in normal operation. The extended capacity of 550 megalites per day is extended operation needs 120MW, which will be needed to allow some maintenance downtime. Let us assume 30 days normal downtime. So to produce 150GL in 335 days requires running the plant at 90MW for 224 days and 120MW for 91 days. Assume pumping adds around 10% to this gives and annual requirement of 36168 MWH, or a load of 99MW. Rounded is 100MW. 

Kevin Marshall 

 

 

East Australia High Speed Rail – Opening Comments

Bernd Felsche has been blogging recently on proposals for a High Speed Rail project for Eastern Australia. The details and Phase 1 report are here.

In Britain there has recently been approved a HSR project from London to Birmingham, costing at least £17.1bn (A$26.7bn) for just 190km of track. The estimated cost of A$61bn to A$108bn for around 1644km looks remarkably good value in comparison. However, it is worth studying the underlying assumptions.

The Taxpayers Alliance has made a number of damming criticisms of the UK project. In particular that the actual costs could be nearly three times the estimated if supporting infrastructure improvements are taken into account. Having also looked at the Manchester Congestion Charging Scheme in 2008, I thought it might be worth a perusal.

The basis for the project is the projected demand, so my first comments are population and demand levels.

Initial Thoughts on Population

The study assumes a high level of population growth for Australia as a whole. From the current 23m, population is forecast to be between 30 and 40m in 2056. That is growth of 30% to 74% over 45 years. Taking the mid-point, that is 52.2% growth to 35m. East Australia is forecast to grow 58.3% from 17.8m to 28.2m, leaving growth in the rest of Australia of 30.7% (5.2 to 6.8m).


Map from page iii of Executive Summary, annotated with city population growth projections for 2011 to 2056.

The highest growth in population (using Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Projections Australia 2006 – 2101, 2008 (Series B forecasts updated)) is projected to be in the Brisbane area. Given that this is the least populated end of the line, these population projections need to be put through a sensitivity analysis. With much lower projections for South East Queensland growth it could be that the northern stretch of the line and one third the estimated cost is not economically justified.

Passenger Growth

From the Executive Summary page iv

The population of the east coast states and territory of Australia is forecast to increase from 18 million people in 2011 to 28 million people by 2056. Over 100 million long distance trips are made on the east coast of Australia each year, and this is forecast to grow to 264 million long-distance trips over the next 45 years.

So population will grow by 58% and long distance trips by 164%. By 2036 (with 35% growth in population), they will have grabbed half the project air market in 2036 for Melbourne to Sydney and Brisbane to Sydney. With such a huge capital outlay how can this be?

Capital Cost

From the Executive Summary

International experience suggests it is unrealistic to expect the capital cost of a HSR network to be recovered.

The reason that the projected fares look so cheap, so that there is not going to be any recovery of the costs in fares. So the

competitive ticket prices, with one way fares (in $2011) from Brisbane to Sydney costing $75–$177; Sydney to Melbourne $99–$197; and $16.50 for daily commuters between Newcastle and Sydney

are no such thing. A quick check on single flights from Melbourne to Sydney reveals prices of $125 economy and $850 business. The HSR will be financed out of taxation to grab market share from air travel.

Kevin Marshall


Climate Change Questionnaire of Univ of Western Australia

This is the climate change questionnaire questions in the survey I answered in early June 2012 and commented upon here.

UPDATE

It has been brought to my attention that this is NOT the questionnaire used in Lewandowsky et al 2012. There are similarities but this appears to be a development of the 2010 survey, and was probably being trailed at Watching the Deniers site. It was located on the University of Western Australia site – try the link.  THE ACTUAL (& shorter) QUESTIONNAIRE is analyzed here.

I believe that this survey is the basis of the recent paper:-

Lewandowsky, Oberauer & GignacNASA faked the moon landing|Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science (in press, Psychological Science)

Note to Professor Lewandowsky of University of Western Australia

If this is not the original survey, but has been doctored in any way, I will happily publish the actual survey. I will also provide details of the researcher and the url for any investigation. I can be contacted through the moderated comments. I am not aware of any copyright restrictions on reposting the questions. I accessed this from “Watching the Deniers” website, where there was no mention of copyright material. Neither was there any mention of copyright on the introductory front page. The doing a search I only came across a link to a 2010 survey. Neither could I find a link within The University of Western Australia Website, though it is on their servers.

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements:

 

 

 

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly Agree

I believe that the climate is always changing and what we are currently observing is just natural fluctuation.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: I believe that the climate is always changing and what we are currently observing is just natural fluctuation. Strongly Disagree

I believe that the climate is always changing and what we are currently observing is just natural fluctuation. Disagree

I believe that the climate is always changing and what we are currently observing is just natural fluctuation. Neutral

I believe that the climate is always changing and what we are currently observing is just natural fluctuation. Agree

I believe that the climate is always changing and what we are currently observing is just natural fluctuation. Strongly Agree

I believe that most of the warming over the last 50 years is due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: I believe that most of the warming over the last 50 years is due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations. Strongly Disagree

I believe that most of the warming over the last 50 years is due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations. Disagree

I believe that most of the warming over the last 50 years is due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations. Neutral

I believe that most of the warming over the last 50 years is due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations. Agree

I believe that most of the warming over the last 50 years is due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations. Strongly Agree

I believe that the burning of fossil fuels over the last 50 years has caused serious damage to the planet’s climate.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: I believe that the burning of fossil fuels over the last 50 years has caused serious damage to the planet’s climate. Strongly Disagree

I believe that the burning of fossil fuels over the last 50 years has caused serious damage to the planet’s climate. Disagree

I believe that the burning of fossil fuels over the last 50 years has caused serious damage to the planet’s climate. Neutral

I believe that the burning of fossil fuels over the last 50 years has caused serious damage to the planet’s climate. Agree

I believe that the burning of fossil fuels over the last 50 years has caused serious damage to the planet’s climate. Strongly Agree

Human CO2 emissions cause climate change.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Human CO2 emissions cause climate change. Strongly Disagree

Human CO2 emissions cause climate change. Disagree

Human CO2 emissions cause climate change. Neutral

Human CO2 emissions cause climate change. Agree

Human CO2 emissions cause climate change. Strongly Agree

Humans are too insignificant to have an appreciable impact on global temperature.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Humans are too insignificant to have an appreciable impact on global temperature. Strongly Disagree

Humans are too insignificant to have an appreciable impact on global temperature. Disagree

Humans are too insignificant to have an appreciable impact on global temperature. Neutral

Humans are too insignificant to have an appreciable impact on global temperature. Agree

Humans are too insignificant to have an appreciable impact on global temperature. Strongly Agree

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements:

 

 

 

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly Agree

I believe that genetic modification is an important and viable contribution to help feed the world’s rapidly growing population.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: I believe that genetic modification is an important and viable contribution to help feed the world’s rapidly growing population. Strongly Disagree

I believe that genetic modification is an important and viable contribution to help feed the world’s rapidly growing population. Disagree

I believe that genetic modification is an important and viable contribution to help feed the world’s rapidly growing population. Neutral

I believe that genetic modification is an important and viable contribution to help feed the world’s rapidly growing population. Agree

I believe that genetic modification is an important and viable contribution to help feed the world’s rapidly growing population. Strongly Agree

I believe genetically engineered foods have already damaged the environment.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: I believe genetically engineered foods have already damaged the environment. Strongly Disagree

I believe genetically engineered foods have already damaged the environment. Disagree

I believe genetically engineered foods have already damaged the environment. Neutral

I believe genetically engineered foods have already damaged the environment. Agree

I believe genetically engineered foods have already damaged the environment. Strongly Agree

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: The consequences of genetic modification have been tested exhaustively in the lab, and only foods that have been found safe will be made available to the public. Strongly Disagree

The consequences of genetic modification have been tested exhaustively in the lab, and only foods that have been found safe will be made available to the public. Disagree

The consequences of genetic modification have been tested exhaustively in the lab, and only foods that have been found safe will be made available to the public. Neutral

The consequences of genetic modification have been tested exhaustively in the lab, and only foods that have been found safe will be made available to the public. Agree

The consequences of genetic modification have been tested exhaustively in the lab, and only foods that have been found safe will be made available to the public. Strongly Agree

I believe that because there are so many unknowns, that it is dangerous to manipulate the natural genetic material of foods.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: I believe that because there are so many unknowns, that it is dangerous to manipulate the natural genetic material of foods. Strongly Disagree

I believe that because there are so many unknowns, that it is dangerous to manipulate the natural genetic material of foods. Disagree

I believe that because there are so many unknowns, that it is dangerous to manipulate the natural genetic material of foods. Neutral

I believe that because there are so many unknowns, that it is dangerous to manipulate the natural genetic material of foods. Agree

I believe that because there are so many unknowns, that it is dangerous to manipulate the natural genetic material of foods. Strongly Agree

Genetic modification of foods is a safe and reliable technology.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Genetic modification of foods is a safe and reliable technology. Strongly Disagree

Genetic modification of foods is a safe and reliable technology. Disagree

Genetic modification of foods is a safe and reliable technology. Neutral

Genetic modification of foods is a safe and reliable technology. Agree

Genetic modification of foods is a safe and reliable technology. Strongly Agree

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements:

 

 

 

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly Agree

I believe that vaccines are a safe and reliable way to help avert the spread of preventable diseases.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: I believe that vaccines are a safe and reliable way to help avert the spread of preventable diseases. Strongly Disagree

I believe that vaccines are a safe and reliable way to help avert the spread of preventable diseases. Disagree

I believe that vaccines are a safe and reliable way to help avert the spread of preventable diseases. Neutral

I believe that vaccines are a safe and reliable way to help avert the spread of preventable diseases. Agree

I believe that vaccines are a safe and reliable way to help avert the spread of preventable diseases. Strongly Agree

I believe that vaccines have negative side effects that outweigh the benefits of vaccination for children.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: I believe that vaccines have negative side effects that outweigh the benefits of vaccination for children. Strongly Disagree

I believe that vaccines have negative side effects that outweigh the benefits of vaccination for children. Disagree

I believe that vaccines have negative side effects that outweigh the benefits of vaccination for children. Neutral

I believe that vaccines have negative side effects that outweigh the benefits of vaccination for children. Agree

I believe that vaccines have negative side effects that outweigh the benefits of vaccination for children. Strongly Agree

Vaccines are thoroughly tested in the laboratory and wouldn’t be made available to the public unless it was known that they are safe.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Vaccines are thoroughly tested in the laboratory and wouldn’t be made available to the public unless it was known that they are safe. Strongly Disagree

Vaccines are thoroughly tested in the laboratory and wouldn’t be made available to the public unless it was known that they are safe. Disagree

Vaccines are thoroughly tested in the laboratory and wouldn’t be made available to the public unless it was known that they are safe. Neutral

Vaccines are thoroughly tested in the laboratory and wouldn’t be made available to the public unless it was known that they are safe. Agree

Vaccines are thoroughly tested in the laboratory and wouldn’t be made available to the public unless it was known that they are safe. Strongly Agree

The risk of vaccinations to maim and kill children outweighs their health benefits

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: The risk of vaccinations to maim and kill children outweighs their health benefits Strongly Disagree

The risk of vaccinations to maim and kill children outweighs their health benefits Disagree

The risk of vaccinations to maim and kill children outweighs their health benefits Neutral

The risk of vaccinations to maim and kill children outweighs their health benefits Agree

The risk of vaccinations to maim and kill children outweighs their health benefits Strongly Agree

Vaccinations are one of the most significant contributions to public health.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Vaccinations are one of the most significant contributions to public health. Strongly Disagree

Vaccinations are one of the most significant contributions to public health. Disagree

Vaccinations are one of the most significant contributions to public health. Neutral

Vaccinations are one of the most significant contributions to public health. Agree

Vaccinations are one of the most significant contributions to public health. Strongly Agree

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements:

 

 

 

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly Agree

I am politically more liberal than conservative.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: I am politically more liberal than conservative. Strongly Disagree

I am politically more liberal than conservative. Disagree

I am politically more liberal than conservative. Neutral

I am politically more liberal than conservative. Agree

I am politically more liberal than conservative. Strongly Agree

In any election, given a choice between a Republican and a Democratic candidate, I will select the Republican over the Democrat.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: In any election, given a choice between a Republican and a Democratic candidate, I will select the Republican over the Democrat. Strongly Disagree

In any election, given a choice between a Republican and a Democratic candidate, I will select the Republican over the Democrat. Disagree

In any election, given a choice between a Republican and a Democratic candidate, I will select the Republican over the Democrat. Neutral

In any election, given a choice between a Republican and a Democratic candidate, I will select the Republican over the Democrat. Agree

In any election, given a choice between a Republican and a Democratic candidate, I will select the Republican over the Democrat. Strongly Agree

Communism has been proven to be a failed political ideology.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Communism has been proven to be a failed political ideology. Strongly Disagree

Communism has been proven to be a failed political ideology. Disagree

Communism has been proven to be a failed political ideology. Neutral

Communism has been proven to be a failed political ideology. Agree

Communism has been proven to be a failed political ideology. Strongly Agree

I cannot see myself ever voting to elect conservative candidates.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: I cannot see myself ever voting to elect conservative candidates. Strongly Disagree

I cannot see myself ever voting to elect conservative candidates. Disagree

I cannot see myself ever voting to elect conservative candidates. Neutral

I cannot see myself ever voting to elect conservative candidates. Agree

I cannot see myself ever voting to elect conservative candidates. Strongly Agree

The major national media are too left-wing for my taste.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: The major national media are too left-wing for my taste. Strongly Disagree

The major national media are too left-wing for my taste. Disagree

The major national media are too left-wing for my taste. Neutral

The major national media are too left-wing for my taste. Agree

The major national media are too left-wing for my taste. Strongly Agree

Socialism has many advantages over capitalism.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Socialism has many advantages over capitalism. Strongly Disagree

Socialism has many advantages over capitalism. Disagree

Socialism has many advantages over capitalism. Neutral

Socialism has many advantages over capitalism. Agree

Socialism has many advantages over capitalism. Strongly Agree

On balance, I lean politically more to the left than to the right.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: On balance, I lean politically more to the left than to the right. Strongly Disagree

On balance, I lean politically more to the left than to the right. Disagree

On balance, I lean politically more to the left than to the right. Neutral

On balance, I lean politically more to the left than to the right. Agree

On balance, I lean politically more to the left than to the right. Strongly Agree

Select ‘neutral’ from the options below

 

 

 

Srongly Disagree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly Agree

 

 

 

Select ‘neutral’ from the options below   Srongly Disagree

  Disagree

  Neutral

  Agree

  Strongly Agree

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements:

 

 

 

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly Agree

An economic system based on free markets unrestrained by government interference automatically works best to meet human needs.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: An economic system based on free markets unrestrained by government interference automatically works best to meet human needs. Strongly Disagree

An economic system based on free markets unrestrained by government interference automatically works best to meet human needs. Disagree

An economic system based on free markets unrestrained by government interference automatically works best to meet human needs. Neutral

An economic system based on free markets unrestrained by government interference automatically works best to meet human needs. Agree

An economic system based on free markets unrestrained by government interference automatically works best to meet human needs. Strongly Agree

The free market system may be efficient for resource allocation but it is limited in its capacity to promote social justice.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: The free market system may be efficient for resource allocation but it is limited in its capacity to promote social justice. Strongly Disagree

The free market system may be efficient for resource allocation but it is limited in its capacity to promote social justice. Disagree

The free market system may be efficient for resource allocation but it is limited in its capacity to promote social justice. Neutral

The free market system may be efficient for resource allocation but it is limited in its capacity to promote social justice. Agree

The free market system may be efficient for resource allocation but it is limited in its capacity to promote social justice. Strongly Agree

The preservation of the free market system is more important than localized environmental concerns.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: The preservation of the free market system is more important than localized environmental concerns. Strongly Disagree

The preservation of the free market system is more important than localized environmental concerns. Disagree

The preservation of the free market system is more important than localized environmental concerns. Neutral

The preservation of the free market system is more important than localized environmental concerns. Agree

The preservation of the free market system is more important than localized environmental concerns. Strongly Agree

Free and unregulated markets pose important threats to sustainable development.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Free and unregulated markets pose important threats to sustainable development. Strongly Disagree

Free and unregulated markets pose important threats to sustainable development. Disagree

Free and unregulated markets pose important threats to sustainable development. Neutral

Free and unregulated markets pose important threats to sustainable development. Agree

Free and unregulated markets pose important threats to sustainable development. Strongly Agree

The free market system is likely to promote unsustainable consumption.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: The free market system is likely to promote unsustainable consumption. Strongly Disagree

The free market system is likely to promote unsustainable consumption. Disagree

The free market system is likely to promote unsustainable consumption. Neutral

The free market system is likely to promote unsustainable consumption. Agree

The free market system is likely to promote unsustainable consumption. Strongly Agree

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements:

 

 

 

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly Agree

A powerful and secretive group known as the New World Order is planning to eventually rule the world through an autonomous world government which would replace sovereign governments.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: A powerful and secretive group known as the New World Order is planning to eventually rule the world through an autonomous world government which would replace sovereign governments. Strongly Disagree

A powerful and secretive group known as the New World Order is planning to eventually rule the world through an autonomous world government which would replace sovereign governments. Disagree

A powerful and secretive group known as the New World Order is planning to eventually rule the world through an autonomous world government which would replace sovereign governments. Neutral

A powerful and secretive group known as the New World Order is planning to eventually rule the world through an autonomous world government which would replace sovereign governments. Agree

A powerful and secretive group known as the New World Order is planning to eventually rule the world through an autonomous world government which would replace sovereign governments. Strongly Agree

The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. was the result of an organized conspiracy by U.S. government agencies such as the CIA and FBI.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. was the result of an organized conspiracy by U.S. government agencies such as the CIA and FBI. Strongly Disagree

The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. was the result of an organized conspiracy by U.S. government agencies such as the CIA and FBI. Disagree

The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. was the result of an organized conspiracy by U.S. government agencies such as the CIA and FBI. Neutral

The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. was the result of an organized conspiracy by U.S. government agencies such as the CIA and FBI. Agree

The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. was the result of an organized conspiracy by U.S. government agencies such as the CIA and FBI. Strongly Agree

The Apollo moon landings never happened and were staged in a Hollywood film studio.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: The Apollo moon landings never happened and were staged in a Hollywood film studio. Strongly Disagree

The Apollo moon landings never happened and were staged in a Hollywood film studio. Disagree

The Apollo moon landings never happened and were staged in a Hollywood film studio. Neutral

The Apollo moon landings never happened and were staged in a Hollywood film studio. Agree

The Apollo moon landings never happened and were staged in a Hollywood film studio. Strongly Agree

The assassination of John F. Kennedy was not committed by the lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald but was rather a detailed organized conspiracy to kill the President.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: The assassination of John F. Kennedy was not committed by the lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald but was rather a detailed organized conspiracy to kill the President. Strongly Disagree

The assassination of John F. Kennedy was not committed by the lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald but was rather a detailed organized conspiracy to kill the President. Disagree

The assassination of John F. Kennedy was not committed by the lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald but was rather a detailed organized conspiracy to kill the President. Neutral

The assassination of John F. Kennedy was not committed by the lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald but was rather a detailed organized conspiracy to kill the President. Agree

The assassination of John F. Kennedy was not committed by the lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald but was rather a detailed organized conspiracy to kill the President. Strongly Agree

The U.S. government allowed the 9-11 attacks to take place so that it would have an excuse to achieve foreign (e.g., wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) and domestic (e.g., attacks on civil liberties) goals that had been determined prior to the attacks.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: The U.S. government allowed the 9-11 attacks to take place so that it would have an excuse to achieve foreign (e.g., wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) and domestic (e.g., attacks on civil liberties) goals that had been determined prior to the attacks. Strongly Disagree

The U.S. government allowed the 9-11 attacks to take place so that it would have an excuse to achieve foreign (e.g., wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) and domestic (e.g., attacks on civil liberties) goals that had been determined prior to the attacks. Disagree

The U.S. government allowed the 9-11 attacks to take place so that it would have an excuse to achieve foreign (e.g., wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) and domestic (e.g., attacks on civil liberties) goals that had been determined prior to the attacks. Neutral

The U.S. government allowed the 9-11 attacks to take place so that it would have an excuse to achieve foreign (e.g., wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) and domestic (e.g., attacks on civil liberties) goals that had been determined prior to the attacks. Agree

The U.S. government allowed the 9-11 attacks to take place so that it would have an excuse to achieve foreign (e.g., wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) and domestic (e.g., attacks on civil liberties) goals that had been determined prior to the attacks. Strongly Agree

Princess Diana’s death was not an accident but rather an organised assassination by members of the British royal family who disliked her.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Princess Diana’s death was not an accident but rather an organised assassination by members of the British royal family who disliked her. Strongly Disagree

Princess Diana’s death was not an accident but rather an organised assassination by members of the British royal family who disliked her. Disagree

Princess Diana’s death was not an accident but rather an organised assassination by members of the British royal family who disliked her. Neutral

Princess Diana’s death was not an accident but rather an organised assassination by members of the British royal family who disliked her. Agree

Princess Diana’s death was not an accident but rather an organised assassination by members of the British royal family who disliked her. Strongly Agree

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements:

 

 

 

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly Agree

The claim that the climate is changing due to emissions from fossil fuels is a hoax perpetrated by corrupt scientists who wish to spend more taxpayer money on climate research.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: The claim that the climate is changing due to emissions from fossil fuels is a hoax perpetrated by corrupt scientists who wish to spend more taxpayer money on climate research. Strongly Disagree

The claim that the climate is changing due to emissions from fossil fuels is a hoax perpetrated by corrupt scientists who wish to spend more taxpayer money on climate research. Disagree

The claim that the climate is changing due to emissions from fossil fuels is a hoax perpetrated by corrupt scientists who wish to spend more taxpayer money on climate research. Neutral

The claim that the climate is changing due to emissions from fossil fuels is a hoax perpetrated by corrupt scientists who wish to spend more taxpayer money on climate research. Agree

The claim that the climate is changing due to emissions from fossil fuels is a hoax perpetrated by corrupt scientists who wish to spend more taxpayer money on climate research. Strongly Agree

U.S. agencies intentionally created the AIDS epidemic and administered it to Black and gay men in the 1970s.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: U.S. agencies intentionally created the AIDS epidemic and administered it to Black and gay men in the 1970s. Strongly Disagree

U.S. agencies intentionally created the AIDS epidemic and administered it to Black and gay men in the 1970s. Disagree

U.S. agencies intentionally created the AIDS epidemic and administered it to Black and gay men in the 1970s. Neutral

U.S. agencies intentionally created the AIDS epidemic and administered it to Black and gay men in the 1970s. Agree

U.S. agencies intentionally created the AIDS epidemic and administered it to Black and gay men in the 1970s. Strongly Agree

The alleged link between second-hand tobacco smoke and ill health is based on bogus science and is an attempt by a corrupt cartel of medical researchers to replace rational science with dogma.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: The alleged link between second-hand tobacco smoke and ill health is based on bogus science and is an attempt by a corrupt cartel of medical researchers to replace rational science with dogma. Strongly Disagree

The alleged link between second-hand tobacco smoke and ill health is based on bogus science and is an attempt by a corrupt cartel of medical researchers to replace rational science with dogma. Disagree

The alleged link between second-hand tobacco smoke and ill health is based on bogus science and is an attempt by a corrupt cartel of medical researchers to replace rational science with dogma. Neutral

The alleged link between second-hand tobacco smoke and ill health is based on bogus science and is an attempt by a corrupt cartel of medical researchers to replace rational science with dogma. Agree

The alleged link between second-hand tobacco smoke and ill health is based on bogus science and is an attempt by a corrupt cartel of medical researchers to replace rational science with dogma. Strongly Agree

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements:

 

 

 

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly Agree

The HIV virus causes AIDS.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: The HIV virus causes AIDS. Strongly Disagree

The HIV virus causes AIDS. Disagree

The HIV virus causes AIDS. Neutral

The HIV virus causes AIDS. Agree

The HIV virus causes AIDS. Strongly Agree

Smoking causes lung cancer.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Smoking causes lung cancer. Strongly Disagree

Smoking causes lung cancer. Disagree

Smoking causes lung cancer. Neutral

Smoking causes lung cancer. Agree

Smoking causes lung cancer. Strongly Agree

Lead in drinking water poses a serious long-term health risk.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Lead in drinking water poses a serious long-term health risk. Strongly Disagree

Lead in drinking water poses a serious long-term health risk. Disagree

Lead in drinking water poses a serious long-term health risk. Neutral

Lead in drinking water poses a serious long-term health risk. Agree

Lead in drinking water poses a serious long-term health risk. Strongly Agree

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements:

 

 

 

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly Agree

The HIV virus causes AIDS.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: The HIV virus causes AIDS. Strongly Disagree

The HIV virus causes AIDS. Disagree

The HIV virus causes AIDS. Neutral

The HIV virus causes AIDS. Agree

The HIV virus causes AIDS. Strongly Agree

Smoking causes lung cancer.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Smoking causes lung cancer. Strongly Disagree

Smoking causes lung cancer. Disagree

Smoking causes lung cancer. Neutral

Smoking causes lung cancer. Agree

Smoking causes lung cancer. Strongly Agree

Lead in drinking water poses a serious long-term health risk.

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Lead in drinking water poses a serious long-term health risk. Strongly Disagree

Lead in drinking water poses a serious long-term health risk. Disagree

Lead in drinking water poses a serious long-term health risk. Neutral

Lead in drinking water poses a serious long-term health risk. Agree

Lead in drinking water poses a serious long-term health risk. Strongly Agree


Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements:

 

 

 

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly Agree

God is important in my life

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: God is important in my life Strongly Disagree

God is important in my life Disagree

God is important in my life Neutral

God is important in my life Agree

God is important in my life Strongly Agree

I believe there is a life after death

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: I believe there is a life after death Strongly Disagree

I believe there is a life after death Disagree

I believe there is a life after death Neutral

I believe there is a life after death Agree

I believe there is a life after death Strongly Agree

I get comfort or strength from religion

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: I get comfort or strength from religion Strongly Disagree

I get comfort or strength from religion Disagree

I get comfort or strength from religion Neutral

I get comfort or strength from religion Agree

I get comfort or strength from religion Strongly Agree

There is no proof of God: if there is a God, he would have shown himself by now

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: There is no proof of God: if there is a God, he would have shown himself by now Strongly Disagree

There is no proof of God: if there is a God, he would have shown himself by now Disagree

There is no proof of God: if there is a God, he would have shown himself by now Neutral

There is no proof of God: if there is a God, he would have shown himself by now Agree

There is no proof of God: if there is a God, he would have shown himself by now Strongly Agree

I think of myself as a religious person

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: I think of myself as a religious person Strongly Disagree

I think of myself as a religious person Disagree

I think of myself as a religious person Neutral

I think of myself as a religious person Agree

I think of myself as a religious person Strongly Agree

I have made a personal commitment to live my life for God

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: I have made a personal commitment to live my life for God Strongly Disagree

I have made a personal commitment to live my life for God Disagree

I have made a personal commitment to live my life for God Neutral

I have made a personal commitment to live my life for God Agree

I have made a personal commitment to live my life for God Strongly Agree

I have had an experience of spiritual worship that was very moving and powerful

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: I have had an experience of spiritual worship that was very moving and powerful Strongly Disagree

I have had an experience of spiritual worship that was very moving and powerful Disagree

I have had an experience of spiritual worship that was very moving and powerful Neutral

I have had an experience of spiritual worship that was very moving and powerful Agree

I have had an experience of spiritual worship that was very moving and powerful Strongly Agree

I have experienced a definite answer to prayer or specific guidance from God

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: I have experienced a definite answer to prayer or specific guidance from God Strongly Disagree

I have experienced a definite answer to prayer or specific guidance from God Disagree

I have experienced a definite answer to prayer or specific guidance from God Neutral

I have experienced a definite answer to prayer or specific guidance from God Agree

I have experienced a definite answer to prayer or specific guidance from God Strongly Agree

Select option ‘C’ from below:

 

 

 

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

 

 

 

Select option ‘C’ from below:   A

  B

  C

  D

  E

  F

  G

  H

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements:

 

 

 

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly Agree

Modern humans are the product of evolutionary processes that have occurred over millions of years

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Modern humans are the product of evolutionary processes that have occurred over millions of years Strongly Disagree

Modern humans are the product of evolutionary processes that have occurred over millions of years Disagree

Modern humans are the product of evolutionary processes that have occurred over millions of years Neutral

Modern humans are the product of evolutionary processes that have occurred over millions of years Agree

Modern humans are the product of evolutionary processes that have occurred over millions of years Strongly Agree

The theory of evolution is based on speculation and not valid scientific observation and testing

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: The theory of evolution is based on speculation and not valid scientific observation and testing Strongly Disagree

The theory of evolution is based on speculation and not valid scientific observation and testing Disagree

The theory of evolution is based on speculation and not valid scientific observation and testing Neutral

The theory of evolution is based on speculation and not valid scientific observation and testing Agree

The theory of evolution is based on speculation and not valid scientific observation and testing Strongly Agree

Most scientists accept evolutionary theory to be a scientifically valid theory

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Most scientists accept evolutionary theory to be a scientifically valid theory Strongly Disagree

Most scientists accept evolutionary theory to be a scientifically valid theory Disagree

Most scientists accept evolutionary theory to be a scientifically valid theory Neutral

Most scientists accept evolutionary theory to be a scientifically valid theory Agree

Most scientists accept evolutionary theory to be a scientifically valid theory Strongly Agree

There is a significant body of data that supports evolutionary theory

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: There is a significant body of data that supports evolutionary theory Strongly Disagree

There is a significant body of data that supports evolutionary theory Disagree

There is a significant body of data that supports evolutionary theory Neutral

There is a significant body of data that supports evolutionary theory Agree

There is a significant body of data that supports evolutionary theory Strongly Agree

Humans exist today in essentially the same form in which they always have

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Humans exist today in essentially the same form in which they always have Strongly Disagree

Humans exist today in essentially the same form in which they always have Disagree

Humans exist today in essentially the same form in which they always have Neutral

Humans exist today in essentially the same form in which they always have Agree

Humans exist today in essentially the same form in which they always have Strongly Agree

Evolution is a scientifically valid theory

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Evolution is a scientifically valid theory Strongly Disagree

Evolution is a scientifically valid theory Disagree

Evolution is a scientifically valid theory Neutral

Evolution is a scientifically valid theory Agree

Evolution is a scientifically valid theory Strongly Agree

Current evolutionary theory is the result of sound scientific research and methodology

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Current evolutionary theory is the result of sound scientific research and methodology Strongly Disagree

Current evolutionary theory is the result of sound scientific research and methodology Disagree

Current evolutionary theory is the result of sound scientific research and methodology Neutral

Current evolutionary theory is the result of sound scientific research and methodology Agree

Current evolutionary theory is the result of sound scientific research and methodology Strongly Agree

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements:

 

 

 

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly Agree

Corporations are not respectful of laws

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Corporations are not respectful of laws Strongly Disagree

Corporations are not respectful of laws Disagree

Corporations are not respectful of laws Neutral

Corporations are not respectful of laws Agree

Corporations are not respectful of laws Strongly Agree

Corporations do not accept accountability for their actions

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Corporations do not accept accountability for their actions Strongly Disagree

Corporations do not accept accountability for their actions Disagree

Corporations do not accept accountability for their actions Neutral

Corporations do not accept accountability for their actions Agree

Corporations do not accept accountability for their actions Strongly Agree

People who run corporations will lie if doing so will increase company profits

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: People who run corporations will lie if doing so will increase company profits Strongly Disagree

People who run corporations will lie if doing so will increase company profits Disagree

People who run corporations will lie if doing so will increase company profits Neutral

People who run corporations will lie if doing so will increase company profits Agree

People who run corporations will lie if doing so will increase company profits Strongly Agree

Corporations do not care about acting ethically

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Corporations do not care about acting ethically Strongly Disagree

Corporations do not care about acting ethically Disagree

Corporations do not care about acting ethically Neutral

Corporations do not care about acting ethically Agree

Corporations do not care about acting ethically Strongly Agree

Corporations will break laws if they can make more money from it

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Corporations will break laws if they can make more money from it Strongly Disagree

Corporations will break laws if they can make more money from it Disagree

Corporations will break laws if they can make more money from it Neutral

Corporations will break laws if they can make more money from it Agree

Corporations will break laws if they can make more money from it Strongly Agree

Corporations put their own interests above the public’s interests

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Corporations put their own interests above the public’s interests Strongly Disagree

Corporations put their own interests above the public’s interests Disagree

Corporations put their own interests above the public’s interests Neutral

Corporations put their own interests above the public’s interests Agree

Corporations put their own interests above the public’s interests Strongly Agree

Corporations are driven by greed

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Corporations are driven by greed Strongly Disagree

Corporations are driven by greed Disagree

Corporations are driven by greed Neutral

Corporations are driven by greed Agree

Corporations are driven by greed Strongly Agree

Corporations care only about money

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Corporations care only about money Strongly Disagree

Corporations care only about money Disagree

Corporations care only about money Neutral

Corporations care only about money Agree

Corporations care only about money Strongly Agree

Corporations want power at any cost

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Corporations want power at any cost Strongly Disagree

Corporations want power at any cost Disagree

Corporations want power at any cost Neutral

Corporations want power at any cost Agree

Corporations want power at any cost Strongly Agree

Corporations take a lot more than they give

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Corporations take a lot more than they give Strongly Disagree

Corporations take a lot more than they give Disagree

Corporations take a lot more than they give Neutral

Corporations take a lot more than they give Agree

Corporations take a lot more than they give Strongly Agree

Corporations intentionally deceive the public

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Corporations intentionally deceive the public Strongly Disagree

Corporations intentionally deceive the public Disagree

Corporations intentionally deceive the public Neutral

Corporations intentionally deceive the public Agree

Corporations intentionally deceive the public Strongly Agree

Corporations do not consider the needs of their employees when making business decisions

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Corporations do not consider the needs of their employees when making business decisions Strongly Disagree

Corporations do not consider the needs of their employees when making business decisions Disagree

Corporations do not consider the needs of their employees when making business decisions Neutral

Corporations do not consider the needs of their employees when making business decisions Agree

Corporations do not consider the needs of their employees when making business decisions Strongly Agree

Corporations exploit their workers

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Corporations exploit their workers Strongly Disagree

Corporations exploit their workers Disagree

Corporations exploit their workers Neutral

Corporations exploit their workers Agree

Corporations exploit their workers Strongly Agree

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements:

 

 

 

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly Agree

I have so much in life to be thankful for

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: I have so much in life to be thankful for Strongly Disagree

I have so much in life to be thankful for Disagree

I have so much in life to be thankful for Neutral

I have so much in life to be thankful for Agree

I have so much in life to be thankful for Strongly Agree

If I had to list everything that I felt grateful for, it would be a very long list

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: If I had to list everything that I felt grateful for, it would be a very long list Strongly Disagree

If I had to list everything that I felt grateful for, it would be a very long list Disagree

If I had to list everything that I felt grateful for, it would be a very long list Neutral

If I had to list everything that I felt grateful for, it would be a very long list Agree

If I had to list everything that I felt grateful for, it would be a very long list Strongly Agree

When I look at the world, I don’t see much to be grateful for

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: When I look at the world, I don’t see much to be grateful for Strongly Disagree

When I look at the world, I don’t see much to be grateful for Disagree

When I look at the world, I don’t see much to be grateful for Neutral

When I look at the world, I don’t see much to be grateful for Agree

When I look at the world, I don’t see much to be grateful for Strongly Agree

I am grateful to a wide variety of people

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: I am grateful to a wide variety of people Strongly Disagree

I am grateful to a wide variety of people Disagree

I am grateful to a wide variety of people Neutral

I am grateful to a wide variety of people Agree

I am grateful to a wide variety of people Strongly Agree

As I get older I find myself more able to appreciate the people, events, and situations that have been part of my life history

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: As I get older I find myself more able to appreciate the people, events, and situations that have been part of my life history Strongly Disagree

As I get older I find myself more able to appreciate the people, events, and situations that have been part of my life history Disagree

As I get older I find myself more able to appreciate the people, events, and situations that have been part of my life history Neutral

As I get older I find myself more able to appreciate the people, events, and situations that have been part of my life history Agree

As I get older I find myself more able to appreciate the people, events, and situations that have been part of my life history Strongly Agree

Long amounts of time can go by before I feel grateful to something or someone

 

 

Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements: Long amounts of time can go by before I feel grateful to something or someone Strongly Disagree

Long amounts of time can go by before I feel grateful to something or someone Disagree

Long amounts of time can go by before I feel grateful to something or someone Neutral

Long amounts of time can go by before I feel grateful to something or someone Agree

Long amounts of time can go by before I feel grateful to something or someone Strongly Agree

What is your age?


What is your gender?

Did Wivenhoe dam operators SEQwater swallow the CAGW hype on Australian Droughts?

The Australian “The Climate Sceptics Blog” takes a look at the Wivenhoe dam’s involvement in the catastrophic Queensland flood. I disagreed with the opinion that it might be sufficient to show that operators SEQwater did not undertake a proper, impartial risk assessment.


The question of having to prove the “AGW is not true” in the Wivenhoe case may be a little extreme.

Rather, they would need to show that the operators had a revised policy that gave due weighting to the Australian Government’s Report. I have only read the results. It says here quite clearly

“Observed trends in exceptionally low rainfall years are highly dependent on the period of analysis due to large variability between decades.”

In other words the results are not robust. This is not surprising. The report only looked at period of 40 years, so could say little about the frequency of once-in-a-generation extreme events. It does not say that floods will never occur again, like they have in the area since time immemorial.

If the authorities did not undertake a proper risk assessment of future scenarios based upon a balance of existing knowledge, and the report, then the change of purpose from flood management to reserve storage facility is flawed. This is unless there is near certainty that a climatic shift has occurred in a definite way. This was because

  1. The Report clearly stated that its results were not robust, AND did not predict that extreme rainfall would never happen again.
  2. There is a further complication that may hold. If there is not an extreme climatic shift (or only a partial one, or are in a slow transition from one state to another), then an area with extreme floods in the past will still likely have extreme floods in the future.
  3. Further, the lack of extreme floods for an extended period might pose a greater risk of extreme flooding in the immediate future.

This whole thing becomes a complex matter of balance of risks. That is why they should have solicited expert opinion on risk management from different perspectives, and tried to eliminate any corporate or individual biases. Furthermore, a risk management body should have publicly stated this change of use of the Wivenhoe Dam, so that householders could make adjustments to their risk portfolios.



These conclusions are based analysis of unfolding news reports hype on droughts and floods; the hype that exists for Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming; and my developing analysis of Climate Change (see here, here and here) This comment is not intended as a legal opinion on the case, nor should it be taken as such.

Julia Gillard’s Carbon Taxes– An ineffective policy

Jo Nova claims the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, lied to the Australian public by being circumspect about a carbon taxes, then when in office to introduce a carbon tax to be followed by cap and trade.

Betrayal of promises is to be expected and welcomed if to meet changed circumstances. For instance new taxes to close a deficit brought on by a recession. But in this case nothing has changed. However, there is a much better reason for Australian’s to oppose the policy – it will inflict economic pain and hardship for little or no returns.

The political argument for the introduction of the policy is that we should meet international obligations. OECD countries “need” to cut CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 to constrain CO2 levels to around 550-600ppm. It is claimed by the IPCC & the Stern Review that this can be achieved by at a cost much less than the costly consequences of global warming. My example below suggests that a gasoline tax of 6.5 cents a litre would be almost totally ineffective. It would only serve to reduce living standards. Yet this is the start of CO2 reduction policies, when there should be some easy wins. It is as bigger inroads are made that reductions in CO2 should become more costly. Unless more effective policies can be devised, the CO2 reduction policies will leave us and future generations worse off than if nothing was done. Therefore, those who believe in the impending climate catastrophe, but are policy realists should join the climate sceptics in opposing the introduction in Australia of a carbon tax and carbon trading.

I try to explore demonstrate the case for climate change mitigation policies graphically here and which the policy will never link

A Carbon Tax on Gasoline

Consider a motorist in Australia who travels high distances in an old, inefficient truck. He travels 30000km a year and consumes a litre every 6km (6km/l or 17mpg in British terms). So the cost of 5000 litres used will increase the fuel bill by AU$325. If there are no gasoline taxes in Australia, fuel prices will be around $1.20 per litre, so the motorist will already be paying $6000 per year for fuel and (if he is lucky) $2000 for insurance, other taxes, maintenance and depreciation. So the tax will add 4% to his motoring costs.

At a more moderate level, consider a British example (in Australian dollars). Somebody has a medium sized car that is three years old, travelling 10,000 miles (16,000km) per year at 40mpg (14km/l). Fuel is $2 (£1.30) per litre , so costs $2280 for 1140 litres. With no serious maintenance issues, tax, depreciation, insurance and servicing cost around $4500 per annum. Total costs (rounded) are $7000 per year. A 6.5 cent carbon tax will add $71.25, or 1% to this bill.

For a newer car the percentage increase will be lower. Upgrade the specification and the percentage will be lower.

As real incomes rise people are able to afford more luxury. Compare the typical car in Australia with say Brazil, or Brazil with an African nation. In Brazil the best-selling cars have mostly one litre capacity and low specification. Many cars new cars still do not have air conditioning or electric windows. A carbon tax will take people in the reverse direction a long way before they will give up the utility of a private vehicle.

Betraying Socialist Principles to Combat Climate Change

Jo Nova reports that a Carbon Tax is coming to Australia. This is to be followed by carbon trading. Comment submitted

In economic theory, in a closed economy and zero transaction costs, with all other things being equal, a carbon trading should work quite well to reduce carbon emissions. In the real world consider these points.

1. The oil price has more than tripled in the past decade. There are enough incentives to improve energy efficiencies from this alone. The marginal impact of carbon trading will be much lower than if the oil price had been static.

2. Those businesses which can most easily pass on the extra costs to the customer are those with no competition from abroad. Supermarkets, which consume huge amounts of energy, are a good example. Australians cannot hop over to New Zealand or Singapore for their weekly groceries. The biggest burden relatively, will be borne by the poor. Manufacturing businesses will be incentivised by the profits from selling carbon credits to ship production abroad to China. High polluting, old production processes will gain a new income stream. New, efficient, competing ventures will have to pay the incumbents to enter the market.

3. The energy trading schemes are highly complex and need experts to set up the rules. Or rather people who read up on the theory, and know more than the naive punters the elected representatives of the people. Enron was bidding to be a big player, before it went bust. Lehman Brothers was bidding to be a big player, before it went bust. With mortgage securitisation now so out of fashion, this presents a new way for the masters of the universe to make extraordinary profits.

I do not keep up with politics much, especially on t’other side of globe like. (I am from Manchester, England). So have I got this reet? A socialist government in Australia is bringing in a regressive policy that could cause consumers to subsidise the movement of manufacturing jobs abroad, and help a return to the multi-million dollar bonuses in the financial services industry. All this, in the name of a policy that will be near impotent in constraining CO2 emissions.

If you follow the UNIPCC or Stern Review line, the policies to combat climate change are highly cost effective. But that requires correctly identifying the low-cost alternatives and successfully pursuing those options. Politicians have not the skill-sets, the incentives, the staying power, the knowledge, the longevity, the power, or the incentives to achieve these aims. They may inadvertently undermine the very things in which they originally believed.

Antony Watts in addition reports that whilst the socialist government in Australia is taking on carbon trading, the Republicans of New Hampshire are ditching the same policy. I commented

I do not keep up with politics too much, so Anthony, are you sure that you have things the right way round? A socialist government in Australia is bringing in a regressive policy that could cause consumers to subsidise manufacturing jobs abroad, and help a return to the multi-million dollar bonuses in the financial services industry. All this, in the name of a policy that will be near impotent in constraining CO2 emissions. The Republican Party (who represent business interests) in New Hampshire is proposing binning a policy that would help their real constituents.

Revision on 25th February.

  1. Having slept on the issue, I would like to put a perspective on my comments above. Carbon trading will have some early successes over and above rises in the oil price, as it gives a cost-bias to non-GHG energy sources. However, given that

    1. Regulation is making it difficult to build high-carbon power-stations, particularly coal. So the movement away from high fossil-fuel power is happening anyway.
    2. High carbon-emitting manufacturing has been moving away from the developed countries for years. For instance, steel, shipbuilding and bulk chemicals are goods examples, along with labour-intensive low-carbon options.
    3. Government subsidies for clean energy sources.

    So even with a well-designed and well-run policy, the impact will be limited to start off with. That is the cost per unit of CO2 saved will already be high. Then as the policy is progressed, diminishing returns will set in.

     

        

Climate Change – Evaluating the Evidence

Roger Pielke Jr. reports here that the Australian Prime Minister proposes to form a citizens’s assembly on climate change. She says

And so today I announce that if we are re-elected, I will develop a dedicated process – a Citizens’ Assembly – to examine over 12 months the evidence on climate change, the case for action and the possible consequences of introducing a market-based approach to limiting and reducing carbon emissions.

 

Pielke finds problems with the last part. My problem is with examining the evidence on climate change. Given that the climate science is highly polarised, with a lot of complex arguments, this is not something that your average citizen can pronounce upon. Also, given that on one side you have a consensus of experts pronouncing the science is settled, with it being widely promoted that the opposition are just spokespeople for the fossil fuel lobby, there will be a vast majority in support of action and a small minority of dogged skeptics.

The only way for a consensus to be formed objectively is for the panel to act as a jury, with

  1. Clear guidelines as to what constitutes evidence, and levels of evidence to sort out the facts and strongly-verified science, from the, weak circumstantial evidence, and hearsay.*
  2. For a clearly defined barrier to establish the need for action. Like in a criminal trial under English common law, where you have to establish beyond reasonable doubt. The barrier may be set lower (like in civil cases), but it still needs to be there.
  3. To clearly separate the science from the policy. That is to clearly take into account the costs, benefits and risks of policy changes.

 

*To be clearer, the levels of evidence in decreasing order are.

  1. Facts
  2. Established or independently verified (& not rebutted) science.
  3. Peer-reviewed statistically verified science.
  4. Other peer-reviewed science based on circumstantial evidence.
  5. Papers by advocacy groups.
  6. Hearsay. E.g. “The vast majority accept…..”
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 30 other followers