Australia

Australia's Climate Denialist Senator Malcolm Roberts Fails High School Science in Maiden Speech

Malcolm Roberts

Climate science denialists will often fool people, and sometimes themselves, by cherry-picking the bits of evidence they think fit their argument.

At other times, they’ll construct elaborate conspiracy theories about human-caused climate change being a front for a New World Order, with the United Nations as the Illuminati. 

But often, they just get things badly, horribly, terribly, and embarrassingly wrong.

Australian Senator Malcolm Roberts, of the far-right One Nation party, had all this and more in his maiden speech to parliament this week. It made it all the way to the UK’s BBC.

Morgan Stanley: Battery Storage To Grow Four Times Quicker Than Market Thinks

This is a guest post by Giles Parkinson, crossposted from RenewEconomy.

Leading investment bank Morgan Stanley believes the Australian energy market is seriously underestimating the grow of solar and battery storage, and says the technology will be installed at rates four times quicker than the incumbent energy industry expects.

In a new detailed report, Asia Insight: Solar and batteries, Morgan Stanley expects the market for battery storage to grow from about 2,000 Australian homes now to one million by 2020. But its “high case” suggests the take-up could be double that – up to two million homes by 2020.

We think most incumbent utilities downplay the earnings risks from solar and battery take-up, and the market has not yet priced in the retail and wholesale market effects,” the company analysts write in their report.

South Australia’s Renewable Energy Progress Sets An Example For The World

First-time visitors to Australia are often drawn to the big city attractions of Sydney and Melbourne or the fabulous beaches of Queensland’s Gold Coast. I’ve always had a soft spot for Adelaide in South Australia, a city built more on a human scale, where downtown can be easily navigated on bike, foot or tram. For me, Adelaide’s greatest attraction is a huge market right in the city’s centre.

When I first visited Adelaide in 1993, I met Mike Rann, a young, charismatic aboriginal affairs minister in South Australia’s Labor government. His party lost the election that year, but Rann later became party leader and then state premier in a minority government in 2002. I met him again in 2003 when he outlined ambitious plans to address climate change by aggressively moving South Australia into renewable energy. Wind and solar were the obvious opportunities, but he was also enthusiastic about “hot rocks”, superheated pockets that could create steam to drive turbines for electricity.

Will LNG Exports Save the Shale Gas Drilling Industry's Profitability? Not So Fast

Last year, a wave of bankruptcies swept the oil and gas drilling industry as oil prices collapsed, leading to layoffs, lost revenues for communities, and turning former boomtown-era mancamps into ghost towns in places like North Dakota's Bakken shale.

Even before oil prices plunged, the price of shale gas was already under siege from a domestic supply glut caused by the shale drilling frenzy. All told, prices dropped from its all-time high of over $15/mcf when the shale boom began in 2005 to $1.57/mcf — the lowest levels since 1998 — in March.

For shale exploration and production companies, however, the conventional wisdom has held for years that there is a light at the end of the tunnel — gas exports.

Unlike oil, natural gas is difficult to transport across oceans. To ship gas by tanker, it needs to be cooled to below -256 degrees Fahrenheit, an expensive and technologically challenging process, requiring the construction of multi-billion dollar Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) import and export terminals.

Climate Science Denier Mark Steyn Tours Australia... And Other Reptilian Illuminati David Icke Weirdness

David Icke is a weirdo.

That’s not me saying that, but Canadian Mark Steyn, who has been crowned “world’s greatest conservative commentator and writer” by the Institute of Public Affairs.

Steyn is currently on a speaking tour around Australia, courtesy of the IPA, where the Canadian author and commentator will bless Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Cloncurry (?) with his greatness. He's already been on the ABC and Sky News.

Steyn’s characterization of Icke came during his last IPA-sponsored visit to Australia in 2012. David Icke was a professional footballer, then a sports presenter, and then, after meeting a psychic, an all-seeing son of the “godhead”

Icke is a conspiracy theorist of some repute, who says the world is – and I’m summarising here - run by reptilian illuminati overlords. Icke also has his eyes on a tour of Australia.

Icke also thinks the moon is a “hollowed-out planetoid” and more likely a spaceship. It used to have buildings on it, but NASA got rid of the evidence (I did interview Icke once, many hollowed-out moons ago).

New Report Identifies The Fossil Fuels We Must Keep In The Ground To Avert Catastrophic Climate Change

As the US Senate haggles over a comprehensive energy bill, climate activist groups have identified the global fossil fuel reserves that must be kept in the ground if we’re to limit global warming to the critical 2-degree-Celsius threshold.

This week saw the Senate debating the hotly contested energy bill, which has been criticized by environmentalists for including a number of fossil fuel industry giveaways, including expedited permitting for liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and subsidies for coal technology, among other troublesome provisions.

Democratic Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Ed Markey (MA) and Brian Schatz (HI) responded by introducing an amendment into the energy bill designed to express Congress’s disapproval of the use of industry-funded think tanks and misinformation tactics aimed at sowing doubt about climate change science.

Senate Democrats ultimately stopped the energy bill from moving forward on Thursday over the fact that a $600-million amendment to address the water crisis in Flint, MI was not included.

The US is not the only country that needs to do some soul-searching when it comes to energy policies, however.

Former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon Bringing Fracking to Argentina

Aubrey McClendon, the embattled former CEO and co-founder of Chesapeake Energy, has announced his entrance into Argentina to begin hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the country's Vaca Muerta Shale basin.

Though he retired as Chesapeake Energy's CEO back in 2013 in the aftermath of a shareholder revolt, McClendon wasted little time in creating a new company called American Energy Partners (AEP). AEP, like Chesapeake, has found itself mired since its onset in legal snafus over its treatment of landowners. With AEP not getting a red carpet roll-out in the U.S., McClendon has looked southward for other lucrative business adventures.

Will Australia's New Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull Be A Climate Hawk?

Australia’s new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, is probably the nearest the country’s conservative ranks have to a climate hawk.

During his short ten years in public office as a member of the Liberal Party, Turnbull has been a staunch defender of climate change science and an advocate for tackling rising greenhouse gas emissions as a “risk management” issue for the planet. 

Late Monday, Turnbull challenged Tony Abbott for the leadership of the Liberal Party and within half a day, had been voted the new leader, 54 to 45.

Climate Science Denial Group CFACT Praises Australia’s War on Renewables

wind farm in Victoria, Australia

Bravo Australia,” came the cry earlier this week from one US-based climate science denial group.

The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow was reacting to the latest efforts by the Australian Government to stifle its renewable energy industry.

For a country that claims to be a “good global citizen” on climate change, the support from an organisation that claims human-caused climate change is largely a hoax should be seen as a major embarrassment.

CFACT sent an email to supporters saying “you’ve got to hand it to the Aussies” after conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott ordered a government-backed clean energy funding institution to stop financing wind farms and small-scale solar energy projects.

Australians Tour Pennsylvania’s Gaslands as Fracking Threat Looms Over South Australia

A group of Australians who made a fracking fact-finding trip to the Marcellus Shale region will report to the Australian Parliament before any decisions are made about the future of fracking in South Australia. 

In June, the group of twelve Australians—including members of Parliament, farmers, medical and legal professionals—visited communities in Pennsylvania and New York. They saw evidence of contaminated water as a result of accidents and leaks connected to the fracking industry, and met with people both for and against the process. 

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