Family Feud: The Reality Show.

Reason’s Ron Bailey has an interesting piece on “big solar” and some of the issues involved regarding potential future mandates that will require more renewable energy. Invariably this is leading to a huge land grab in the western part of the US with firms vying for the best spots. I guess not all US land prices are falling ☺

There’s a brief update on the methods being developed that will actually allow solar to produce baseload that is really quite fascinating.

Unfortunately parts of the environmental movement is now showing their true colors.

[A] conflict is brewing between the energy and conservation wings of the environmentalist movement. Why? Because solar plants take up a lot of space. In addition, new power lines will have to be built to transmit the renewable power to growing desert and coastal cities. This means trade-offs. Some desert acreage will have to be sacrificed in order to produce energy.

And what does one side of the environmental family say?

The Desert Protective Council has allies in this fight. “The idea that we’re going to sacrifice critical pieces of our environment to protect other pieces of our environment seems a little ironic,” said Elizabeth Goldstein, president of the nonprofit California Parks Foundation in the Los Angeles Times. “That’s an irony I cannot accept. We have to find a way to do both.” In other words, no trade-offs.…..

Schwarzenegger, the California Governor sounds apoplectic:

“It’s not just businesses that have slowed things down, it’s not just Republicans that have slowed things down, it’s also Democrats and also environmental activists sometimes that slow things down,” declared a frustrated Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) during a speech at Yale University this past spring. “They say that we want renewable energy but we don’t want you to put it anywhere, we don’t want you to use it.” Schwarzenegger added, “I don’t know whether this is ironic or absurd. But, I mean, if we cannot put solar power plants in the Mojave Desert, I don’t know where the hell we can put it.”

So there you have it and what a surprise: elements of the environmental movement don’t want to build large solar complexes in the desert in case it spoils the pristine environment. I guess there is no pleasing all the enviromentalists all of the time.

54 thoughts on “Family Feud: The Reality Show.

  1. Why not chess? Or is the low risk of death a problem. 😉

    This isn’t an entirely new phenomena. Wind farms have faced local opposition for a long time. A lot of so called environmentalists are actually concerned more about asthetics than about environments. For example the difference between a 500 year old tree and an 80 year old tree in terms of ecology or biodiversity is pretty insignificant. However the difference in terms of asthetics is substantial. Likewise a recently harvested forest that is now begining to put up pioneer sapplings between the stumps and logs is not deforestation at all but part of a natural process of renewal, whilst a dairy farm with lush fields of grass generally would be a case of deforestation because saplings can’t grow at all. The later is asethically more pleasing than the former and so it does not evoke the same degree of horror amoungst most of the dark greens. If you care about biodiversity then forestry is generally a more compatible form of land use than dairy farming.

  2. Interesting Terje. The thing i find unsurprising is just how dark some of the dark greens actually are when push comes to shove. They don’t want to see even solar develop. They just see very deep cuts in living standards.

  3. Hey, the greens have a point!
    If you put all those solar collectors in one spot, that will provide shade for trolls to hide behind. A crypto-zoologist called Terry Pratchet has revealed that trolls are composed of superconducting material, making them light-sensitive! We wouldn’t want trolls taking over the place, would we?

  4. And I would be much more impressed if the Liberal party went around fighting this sort of nonsense instead of burning all it’s credibility by joining the faith based crowd that want to pretend global warming doesn’t exist. The extreme right and the extreme left have nothing to be proud of.

  5. I actually agree with you for the first time, Charles.

    I think both sides suck to be honest. But the hard dark left is far more dangerous in its attempts to turn off the lights.

  6. For example the difference between a 500 year old tree and an 80 year old tree in terms of ecology or biodiversity is pretty insignificant.

    Sorry Terje, no longer true. Aus research last week showed that the older and bigger the tree, the much greater absorption of CO2.

  7. Is that to do with it’s physical size, John. I would be very careful with that sort of research as a great of that stuff is advocacy research.

  8. John – I thought that research related to forest age not tree age. And if CO2 is your concern then the fast growing young trees are locking up additioal carbon quicker.

  9. Is that to do with it’s physical size, John. I would be very careful with that sort of research as a great of that stuff is advocacy research.

    When people raise such concerns Joe my typical retort is: you are using a general argument in relation to specific instance. Before going down that path you need to empirically demonstrate the relevant of that general argument to that specific instance.

    Terje

    Old trees may not be growing as fast but their sheer mass demands much greater CO2 absorption just to maintain metabolism.

    —-

    In any event I don’t understand that we need to keep cutting down old growth forests. Once gone gone forever. There is plenty of land for forest plantations so why even bother destroying these old growth forests? I do think the Greenies have a point when they suggest we should keep these intact for the enjoyment of future generations.

  10. Unfortunately JC for the greens to remain credible they have to jump on people who rail against building dams for hydro power, windfarms and solar farms. For the liberals to remain credible the have to rail against the extremist who want to pretend global warming isn’t happening, that greenhouse gases don’t cause it or humans didn’t put it their. I can’t begin to comprehend people who claim to be liberal spending their time trying to discredit science.

    To be honest I don’t see that in your previous posts. Your position seems to be “let it happen”.

    As your involved in finance I find your position difficult to understand. Economic activity ( profit) is best when there is activity. The simple truth is a good economy requires investment, be it in war, mines, roads or replacing all our energy generating assets.

  11. And another thing, if you want to discredit the left you need to have them arguing against dams, wind farms and solar farms. At the moment most are busy arguing against the extreme right wing nutters. And what are the right wing nutters going to get out of it, nothing, the ice is going to melt anyway.

    And while I am bitching about extremist, it was the last Liberal minister of the environment that tried to stop a wind farm in Victoria, stopping economic activity for what purpose, he claimed to believed a blasted parrot would fly into the blades.

  12. Charles,

    When it comes to environmental issues the Liberal Party are a bunch of fuckwits. They represent the worst of the right: deny, slander, deny,insult,deny. You’ll see buckets of that on many libertarian forums.

  13. Yes, the orange-breasted parrot has been ‘saved’ by the yellow-bellied minister. You have to watch out for those ministers! Did that minister lose his seat as well as his portfolio? He may have cornered the ‘parrot’ vote, but was that enough?

  14. Charles:

    I have no problem with the science. The association between Co2 and warming is pretty clear science. What isn’t clear is the rate of warming. The science part is the easy part. How we arrange our affairs in way that doesn’t damage living standards in the huge issue. The conservatives have damaged themselves and allowed the economic trogs to frame the debate in terms of the solution where Humphreys’ proposal would have been an excellent relatively painless policy initiative.

    Having said that I am still not sure if mitigation is the way to go or leaving GDP to accumulate unmolested is the best solution and watch the climate carefully.

    Here’s why

    Using Stern’s parameters he says that we will suffer a fall of 20% in GDP by 2100 without mitigation.

    This is where I come out.

    Current GDP is $US 50 trillion

    Unmolested GDP without a problem is US$1,184 attributing a 3.5% growth rate compounding over those years.

    Unmolested GDP with the stern prediction is 1184 *20% = $US 947

    Stern says to apply 1% of GDP to mitigate and we end up with a growth rate of 2.5% and total global GDP of US$ 485 trillion

    So you can see why I am reluctant to suggest mitigation. Unmolested growth rates over the oceans of time really do matter.

  15. JC start thinking about what gross domestic product is, building power station adds to it, building expensive power station adds to it even more.

    Then start thinking about the current crop of Australian powers stations, the whole dam lot of them need replacing, they are old they were built when i was young.

    To argue against something that will generate a lot of economic activity is just crazy if what your after is a rising standard of living.

    It is as crazy as arguing for a 37 hour week. If people want to work more good luck to them. If we as a nation decide to clean up our act good luck to us.

    I’m in business, I want to see it all happen. I want to make money.

  16. JC start thinking about what gross domestic product is, building power station adds to it, building expensive power station adds to it even more.

    Charles, that’s the broken windows theory that first came up for discussion 200 odd years ago. Brake a window and replace it and this adds to income. However there is also a loss of value that we can’t ignore.

    Then start thinking about the current crop of Australian powers stations, the whole dam lot of them need replacing, they are old they were built when i was young.

    It doesn’t matter how old they are if they’re economically efficient in terms of doing what they are supposed to be doing then age doesn’t matter one bit. Scrapping them before their time is a loss of value.

    To argue against something that will generate a lot of economic activity is just crazy if what your after is a rising standard of living.

    I’m not arguing about economic activity Charles. I’m arguing about what brings it about ….if we don’t take loss of value into account. We can have lots of economic activity simply by digging trenches and then closing them up again and repeating the same old exercise over and over. It’s economically productive activity that we want.

    It is as crazy as arguing for a 37 hour week. If people want to work more good luck to them. If we as a nation decide to clean up our act good luck to us.

    Yes that’s right.

    I’m in business, I want to see it all happen. I want to make money.

    Hope you do and lots.

  17. Charles – Not only does breaking a window destroy value it also diverts activity from more useful activities (such as building additional windows). Anybody who thinks that there is benefit in breaking windows may as well believe that destroying the planet is a good economic idea because it would take loads of activity to build a new one. Your economics is wowful.

  18. Terje:

    Go easy on Charles willya. He’s 30% good guy. We’ll eventually get the 70% to move to the dark side. 🙂

  19. Rest assured TerjeP many windows are broken as old resources are destroyed and replaced with the new. In the city it’s called urban renewal. If it’s a car you call it upgrading to a new model. I doubt you will see powers stations heritage listed so rebuild is a viable option.

    I agree JC, you have to take the losses into account. As I see it the balance looks like this.

    -ve
    Old power stations loose value ( those that stand to make a loss make a lot of noise)
    +ve
    Less pollution
    New power stations, new designs.

    My actual view on global warming is it’s all too late, it’s going to happen, the system is going into a new state and there in nothing we can do to stop it, the best we can hope for is we don’t go into whatever state comes after that.

    My big problem with the global warming debate is the Liberal party has made absolute fools of themselves by getting mixed up in the faith based crowd that want to ignore science.

  20. Charles,

    Not quite sure why you keep going on about the Libs here, many of us on this blog find the Libs at least as distasteful as Labor. We’ve already got a big taxing, big spending party that loves to moralise about how we should live, so I fail to see much of a purpose for the Libs continued existence.

    OTOH, many lbertarians have got tangled up with the more extreme “denialists” as we hate granting the government additional power to meddle in the economy, it will almost certainly end in tears before bedtime. The trouble being that for those of us who can’t follow the intricate level of the science debate, but can well understand some of the underhand moves being pulled by the pro-wamers, it’s hard to just lie back and take it.

    Now to launch into my denialist JIVE, It seems to me, from what I can gather, that we are adding a degree or two of warming to a natural oscilation. It is unlikely this will lead to the “runaway greenhouse” or “Venus scenario”, as the planet has warmed and cooled on it’s own, with much higher levels of CO2 in the past, but never ran away before.

    And in 20 years, let alone 50 or 100, we will not only understand what is going on better, but the technical challenges involved in dampening down our impacts will have become trivial in comparison to today. If such action is necessary. And in any case, adaption will prove much cheaper then mitigation.

    We really don’t have any religious obligation not to increase the planet’s temperature by a couple of degrees, it is just an economic case of costs and benefits.

    Finally, to suggest we can radically cut CO2 emissions without nuke powerplants at this point is nonsense. If we must act now, nuke should be on the table. Of course, there may be a massive breakthrough in fusion or something, but I’d prefer to back reactors and develop breeder reactors to reprocess all that “waste” as useful fuel. If I understood that process correctly.

  21. There is nothing wrong with people choosing to throw away their windows if something better comes along. But if we have a kristalnacht and smash all the glass windows in the world in one go, there are going to be a lot of people with boarded up windows for a long time.

  22. Great comments Tim.

    Charles the point you need to understand is that most people here dislike the Libs as much as they dislike the ALP. Trust me the dislike for both parties runs pretty deep here.

    As for me, i tend to dislike the left a lot more than the right simply because I suffer from the battered wives syndrome. I expect the libs to follow their manifesto rather than paying lip service to it. Having said that i get angrier with the libs than i do with the ALP simply because they disappoint so often whereas labor these days rarely ever disappoints me. It’s exactly what i expect.

    Tim has hit the nail on the head. The real question is how do we come out on top. Do we mitigate or adapt and which is more cost effective. It isn’t obvious that we mitigate, in fact it does look like it would be better off adapting.

  23. Tim

    I go on about the Libs because I reckon given their name they should be a liberal party not a bunch of right wing nutters, I’m a person interested in politics with out a home.

    Your point about big government is taken, the size of government grew under Howard and I can’t point to anything worthwhile, however our current structures does create a good standard of living and like it or not all governments are now socialists to some degree. I’ve been thinking about this issue and reflecting on some of my assumptions. Socialism and capitalism fail, the great depression ( capitalism failed) led to society moving towards socialism.

    Australia will not have nuclear reactors, the reasons have more to do with non proliferation treaties than anything else ( the liberals started building a reactor at Jervis Bay in the 70’s and the USA stopped them) so the debate is a waste of time.

    From my point of view, global warming is just an economic question, there is money to be made cleaning the mess up. WorleyParsons aren’t interested in building solar powers stations because they are nice people.

  24. That was interesting reading about the Jervis Bay reactor, never heard of it before. I’ve often thought one reason for the Lucas Hights reactor was to be able to put a bomb together quickly if it was needed.

    The great depression was triggered by government intervention (Smoot-Hawley) and prolonged by government intervention. I fail to see this as an argument in favour of government intervention. Which is not to say that crashes can’t happen in a deregulated economy, but I’d argue that government intervention inevitably makes them worse rather then better, so that instead of the idiots who speculated suffering, everyone does.

  25. I go on about the Libs because I reckon given their name they should be a liberal party not a bunch of right wing nutters, I’m a person interested in politics with out a home.

    I can’t quite figure you thought process here, Charles. What makes the Libs right nuttters in your eyes?

    Your point about big government is taken, the size of government grew under Howard and I can’t point to anything worthwhile, however our current structures does create a good standard of living and like it or not all governments are now socialists to some degree.</i

    So on the one hand you don’t like big government while on the other hand you do like big government. Charles, get grip.

    I’ve been thinking about this issue and reflecting on some of my assumptions. Socialism and capitalism fail, the great depression ( capitalism failed) led to society moving towards socialism.

    Actually capitalism didn’t fail as a result of the great depression, Charles. Socialism did. The depression were the Hoover/ FDR years and both introduced and practiced very strong interventionist programs that in fact worsened a shallow recession and turned it into the great depression. The name, the Great Depression is actually a misnomer as it was a series of rolling deep recessions falling into each other as a result of huge policy miscalculations through the period. Capitalism didn’t fail at all.

    Australia will not have nuclear reactors, the reasons have more to do with non proliferation treaties than anything else ( the liberals started building a reactor at Jervis Bay in the 70’s and the USA stopped them) so the debate is a waste of time.

    I really don’t think the US would have a problem with us having nukes these days. In fact I really don’t think we would even have to ask them.

    From my point of view, global warming is just an economic question, there is money to be made cleaning the mess up.

    What mess is there now as a result of AGW, Charles?

    WorleyParsons aren’t interested in building solar powers stations because they are nice people.

    At the present time though that may change in the future, Solar is woefully economically inefficient.

  26. JC

    “What mess is that charles?”

    Haven’t been watching the Olympics JC. Granted you could see more than a few feet after it rained.

    Hoover started the new deal after the depression started, if your trading you have better go and review the history. Same problem we have to day, same lenders, different defaulters.

    I think we will get through it this time because the central banks are supporting and expansionary monetary policy, that was not the case at the start of the great depression.

  27. JC asks

    “Why do I think the Liberal party is controlled by right wing nutters?”

    Putting conservative social policy ahead of running the economy. Putting control ahead of the costs involved. Dog whistling. Policy that puts faith ahead of science.

    To my mind Libertarian is about being free to do as you wish as long as they don’t step on the rights of others.

    So lets look at specifics:

    Abbot: Trying to re-open the abortion debate. What right has the state got to be involved. If the church wants to carry on good luck to them, if a women wants an abortion good luck to her, however it should be available at whatever standard the society can offer.

    Gay rights: If same sex couples want to carry on good luck to them, what has it to do with the state.

    Detention centers: Orderly immigration is required to maintain economic structures, locking people up costs money and destroys them, far better to let them work.

    Children overboard: Deceit, destroys the social fabric.

    The sad fact of the matter is the only prime minister to reduce the size of the public service in my lifetime was Keating.

    I could go on.

  28. Hoover started the new deal after the depression started, if your trading you have better go and review the history. Same problem we have to day, same lenders, different defaulters.

    It was a mild recession at the time. Hoover made it worse by implementing very destructive policies, such as employment schemes where they strong armed firms not to fire and hold up high wage levels. Farms support schemes…. Price support. They were doing almost everything to prevent the system from clearing. Smoot Hawley…. finagling around with gold backing.

    I think we will get through it this time because the central banks are supporting and expansionary monetary policy, that was not the case at the start of the great depression.

    It’s not true that they ran a hard monetary policy all the way through though. There were periods when the Fed loosened policy. The biggest problem was a failure to allow the market to clear. Anyways there’s no point in looking back to that time from a traders perspective simply because of the gold standard.

    I divide the world up between before Nixon break with gold and floating exchange rates and before. Also Volkers time at the Fed was different too. There was a time the Volker Fed ran a quantitative monetary policy where they simply targeted reserves allowing the market to set interest rates. That changed after interest rate targeting which is what we have now unfortunately.

  29. If unemployment greater than 15% is a mild recession then I suppose it was. Yes government was expanded and Hoover initiated an expansionary policy.

    I am no fan of the gold standard, money supply should have nothing to do with the supply and demand of a scarce commodity, it really isn’t worth having an argument over that, the truth of the matter is the economy is a complex non linear system and no one really understands it.

  30. the truth of the matter is the economy is a complex non linear system and no one really understands it.

    Which is why I am a libertarian. Run a sound monetary policy if not private money, reduce spending to the bare knuckles and stay the hell away.

  31. Charles – there is an old coal fired power station near my parents place that has been retired from service for many years. It is heritage listed.

  32. TerjeP, after I wrote that I thought, if things go well and they all get replaced, someone will actually try and heritage list one, bit like steam trains. Hopefully what we have here is forward thinking people, thanks for the info.

  33. Charles

    You’re still on that old chestnut of out with the old and in with the new. I hope you live in a modern house, Charles.

  34. Charles….the greens must jump on all alternative and renewable forms of energy to remain credible?

    Hang on.. I thought their credibility came from the idea that they cared about the earth because it affects us, not because they are deep greens…

    That or the green marketing failed miserably with you.

  35. Mark, In my view yes, if the Greens want to have significant influence on the future.

    JC, nothing wrong with the old, it’s just that if you want economic activity you have to build the new.

  36. Yes Charles that’s happening all the time. However you want the “new” entering the market when demand calls for new efficiencies.

    Our coal fired plants may “old” but I bet the incremental changes made would make them appear unrecognizable to the past.

    You don’t change plant and equipment simply because a new version appears. You want to know or reasonably estimate that the new plant will create efficiency gains.

    The Greens may have significant influence on the future, but unless their policies changed it would be a far left party gaining influence.

  37. The Greens have done their job and heavens help us if they gain any economic influence.

    If the economy is a “complex non-linear system” then how can anyone put forward an economic philosophy that proffers the best way to run an economy? Surely such a definition requires a “moment by moment” approach to economic management rather than relying on some grand over arching ideas about economics.

  38. John: In the end we just do the best we can, sometimes we stuff up sometimes we don’t. But doing the best we can involves looking at the real data, not what we would like to to be. The truth is none of us have a sure fire solution which is probably why all economies are moving towards a mixed approach.

    I can’t understand why your so angry with the greens, some really are stating he bleeding obvious, the ice is melting, oil is not unlimited and once you cut down all the trees there will be no more to cut.

    The next economic boom (perhaps even a bubble) is going to be a “green” one, money to be made, things to do.

    JC: your not going to try and tell me markets are rational are you; I have heard there a still misguided souls that believe this.

  39. Not angry with the Greens, grateful for what they have done. Economists and business community have been enemies of the environment but Greens will be destructive of our economy.

  40. Enemies of the environment? John, do they carry RPG’s?

    Green’s are enemies of the economy. They are what I call declinists… people who want to see material decline in the standard of living.

  41. Surly the greens are a mixed bunch just like any other grouping, some want to send us back to the caves, others just want us to do things properly instead of making money out of rape and pillage.

    Green is going to become a very important force going forward, giving the greens a golden opportunity to have same say. Just as the mad right have pretty much destroyed the Liberal party the extreme greens will destroy the green party, both outcomes will be a bit sad. To work well democracy has to have alternate points of view represented well.

    I actually have nothing against the mad right, I just think they should form their own party and face the electorate, Pauline Hanson has proved they will get about 10% of the vote. I just object to them taking over the Liberal party and destroying it as th electorate slowly realized what has happened.

  42. I’m not sure your analysis of the Libs is correct. While we read that at least in NSW the religious right has been taking over the party, (and I suspect they are generally more hardline social conservatives, not religious as in the US sense), you go too far to call then the “mad right”. Hansonites and their ilk represent fringe groups that exists mostly outside the main parties. Plus I wouldn’t call them right wing. One Nation was a national socialist party. They differed from the international socialist fringe groups only by the appeal to nationalism.

    Economically they tend to be all for nationalising banks and punishing evil profiteers. Look at the CEC. You could only call them left wing. In any case, the hard left wing has also tradionally been socially conservative.

    A “small l” liberal doesn’t have much of a home in Aus politics today. With the demise of the soft left democrats you can choose either the extremist greens with their (sometimes) socially permissive but always scorched earth economic policies or else the LDP with our platform of individual choice.

  43. Charles:

    If you hate the Libs so much and wanna vote for a small l liberal party , you can’t go past the LDP as a first preference, so are you whining about the libs all the time. I used to, took out membership of the LDP and never looked back

    The dark side isn’t bad, Charles once you get used to the heat and toil. It all depends on which circle of Dante’s hell you end up 🙂

    In any event any real greenie would vote LDP if they “reary reary” cared about the environment as it has the best environmental policy of any party in the country.

  44. JC
    Did the little quiz, scored higher on the social freedom (let people be what they want to be) and lower on the economic freedom (the economy matters).

    The question is with one percent of the vote will they matter.

  45. Who’s suggesting we close them down, Charles? As a libertarian i couldn’t care if people walked around in Polar bear suits all day…. in parliament for that matter.

    However that doesn’t mean I can’t have an opinion when I encounter idiocy.

  46. With 1% of the vote, the LDP is irrelevant. With 2% and some good preference deals (plus lots of luck) you are talking about senate seats. 4% and we’d be a relevant minor party. You’ll note we polled over 4% in that recent by-election. Minor parties from micro-acorns grow and all that…

  47. I would be great to see Humphreys and Terje (even though I bicker with him) in the senate. These two dudes would really make a difference I think.

    The problem is, Tim, that the party only seems to get noticed for it’s gun policy and even though the LPD platform is to bring gun laws back to 1996 we still get characterized as a party of gun nuts. For instance I’ve never owned or even have a desire to own a gun.

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