NZ windfarms blowout

The Herald reports a gigantic increased loss for NZ Windfarms Ltd.

They lost over 700% more money last June year than the year before – $25 million down the gurgler. The directors say the share price dropped 6.3% in the last 12 months, down to just 15 cents each, and the value of their assets fell to $74.6 million at June 30, from $99.2 million a year ago.

Power generation was 25 per cent below budget and the company had “a very poor wind year,” yet sales rose to $9.76 million from about $4.1 million, total electricity generated rose 37 per cent to 114,498 Megawatts [it’s very likely this should read megawatt hours (MWh) or they’ve been generating the equivalent of 114 Huntlys – h/t Richard C] and electricity revenue jumped 156 per cent to $8.25 million, reflecting the first full year that the full complement of 97 turbines were operating.

“The financial position of WTL remains a concern to directors,” NZ Windfarms said today.

A major setback was an impairment charge of $30.7 million against assets. According to Investopedia an impairment charge reduces assets, often to write off worthless goodwill.

Most significantly, the directors confess that, since “early this year” they’ve been trying to sell the company. It’s also developing a new business model to reflect its position “as a single wind farm operator,” not, as originally hoped, a “developer of wind farms.”

Oh dear! Even in Kiwiland, sitting as it is smack in the middle of the Roaring Forties, wind power is not the easy cure for our “addiction” to hydrocarbons that a lot of shiny-eyed people promised us.

Because even if wind power is very expensive, it still might work – but it’ll never work if the operators don’t make a profit.

– h/t Terry Dunleavy

Letter to the editor

Climatists not Fair Dinkum?

quill pen

To the Editor
Climate Conversation

27th August 2012

A “greenhouse gas” is one capable of absorbing infra-red (IR) radiation.

The most common atmospheric gases with such properties are water vapour and carbon dioxide (CO2). Water vapour is far more abundant with an average of 20,000 parts-per-million (ppm) in the atmosphere compared to just 395 ppm of CO2. Moreover water vapour is more effective as a greenhouse gas because it can absorb IR radiation over far more bands of the IR spectrum.

Therefore, if man-made CO2 causes dangerous global warming, (a dubious proposition anyway), then man-made water vapour is far more dangerous. Continue Reading →

Let’s come clean on “dirty” coal

Viv Forbes sent me this a few weeks ago and it got buried under my to-do pile. I don’t know how NZ coal compares with the Australian version he mentions, but there are several coal specialists who visit here – perhaps one of them might enlighten us. – Richard Treadgold

We are winning the war on man-made global warming.

But about half of the population still think that the carbon tax will do some good. Why? Because they think it is all about cleaning up “dirty coal”.

The seeds of public concern were sewn with Penny Wong’s Machiavellian linking of “carbon” and “pollution”. She was assisted by the gross stupidity of the coal industry leadership in promoting nonsense like carbon sequestration as a “clean coal” option. The public naturally assumed “if they need to spend billions to produce clean coal, obviously we are now using dirty coal. Continue Reading →

Electric cars will crash system

the Chevy Volt electric car

Electric cars are a great idea and they’ll save the earth, right? Well, sorry, but it’s going to be a whole lot harder to handle large numbers of electric cars than we hoped.

The whole point of electric cars is that they’re powered by clean, far-away electricity generators instead of petrol engines putting out that dirty carbon dioxide which dangerously heats our planet.

We would prefer to gently erect some pretty windmills or softly lay delicate and lovely solar panels to generate electricity non-intrusively, without antagonism and free of violence to our beloved Mother Earth.

But no matter what we might prefer, if we eliminate all those wonderful, rumbling newtons (known to Jeremy Clarkson as horsepowers) from petrol we must make them up from somewhere else. Ok. Simple question: can we make it up with electricity?

A New Zealand study

A long time ago, in 2008, the CCG published NZ sustainable energy supplies, a paper by local engineer Gary Kendall. Continue Reading →

Maldives drowning peril repudiated

President Waheed of the Maldives

Here is news that should please everyone – no exceptions: the Maldives are not in peril of drowning in rising seas.

The Indian Ocean coral islands are famous icons for the predicted catastrophe from rising seas caused by our CO2 emissions, but their new president now assures us they’re in no danger of sinking beneath the waves.

This is exactly what sceptical commentators have been saying about the Maldives’ scare tactics for years and years: that they were aimed more at extracting funds from gullible western nations than at providing courses in climatology. Continue Reading →

NZ to see Monckton again in 2013

Lord Monckton

Lord Monckton of Brenchley has agreed to visit New Zealand next year for a lecture tour.

The Australians just invited him back, and he has agreed to include NZ. Dates have not been set, but planning is under way, under the expert guidance of Esther Henderson, from Climate Realists.

Letter to the editor

Greens rediscover hydrogen car

quill pen

To the Editor
Climate Conversation

19th August 2012

I saw my first and only hydrogen car in Brisbane City Square in the 1960’s. No one saw it work, but now, fifty years later, the “hydrogen economy” has become green gospel.

Hydrogen combines readily with oxygen to produce energy via combustion engines, gas welders or fuel cells – there is nothing new about this process. And the sole exhaust product is pure water, another greenhouse gas.

Hydrogen is an abundant element. However, pure hydrogen gas is very rare on earth – it is almost always combined with other elements, commonly oxygen or carbon.

Hydrogen is not a primary source of energy. Continue Reading →

Fracking right

It hasn’t happened for a while, but today I agree with Nick Smith.

What he says about fracking confirms my impression that his position on global warming since the Nats took power has been constrained more by his cabinet obligations publicly to support government policy than by his lack of understanding of the scientific facts, for he shows himself perfectly capable of examining these, and on the topic of global warming surely he has examined them. But I digress.

Smith has an article in last Monday’s Herald, Fracking the sensible choice for NZ, in which he destroys the Green’s jittery arguments against fracking in the extraction of underground resources.

It’s a pleasure to read and, giving information about the true extent of both fracking and minor earth tremors caused by human activity, puts the absurd fracking “controversy” into perspective.

The Greens, with their emotionally-charged attack on the “new” environmental evil of fracking, have elevated the technique into our national consciousness. But this campaign, though as well funded as their other campaigns, has been just as distorted and free of objective content and once again plucks mercilessly at the public uninformed fear nerve. Continue Reading →

NZ tells Tokelau to burn their food

At WUWT the ever-practical Willis Eschenbach refuses to bet on the long-term success of a New Zealand-funded development project to entirely convert the power supply in Tokelau to solar panels and coconut oil and explains exactly why he won’t.

I mention this story for the benefit of the many people in New Zealand and overseas who continue to consider coral islands at risk from DAGW*-driven sea level rise.

But at the same time Willis has pertinent lessons for Kiwi policy wonks who love renewable energy to bits and are working steadily to destroy our ability to do without the other reliable kind Continue Reading →

WUWT breaks NOAA record

Anthony Watts has done it again and given the big boys a bloody nose – this time over the US temperature record.

NOAA announced today:

The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during July was 77.6°F, 3.3°F above the 20th century average, marking the hottest July and the hottest month on record for the nation. The previous warmest July for the nation was July 1936 when the average U.S. temperature was 77.4°F. The warm July temperatures contributed to a record-warm first seven months of the year and the warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since recordkeeping began in 1895.

Anthony had always wondered why NOAA didn’t provide data from the brand-spanking-new United States Climate Reference Network (USCRN). So he did it himself. Continue Reading →

Letter to the editor

Why Bury the Essentials of Life
in Carbon Cemeteries?

quill pen

To the Editor
Climate Conversation

3rd August 2012

We are told that carbon dioxide is such a dangerous gas that we must capture and “bury it deep down below”.

Carbon is the building block for every bit of organic matter on earth – bread, butter and bitumen; coal, cauliflowers and cows; men, microbes and mulberries.

When oxidised by combustion in fires and engines, or digested in stomachs, or decayed in soil or compost, every bit of organic matter is recycled into the harmless natural atmospheric gas, carbon dioxide. Plants extract this plant food from the atmosphere, reuse the carbon, and recycle the oxygen for use by all forms of animal life.

Every tonne of coal burnt produces about three tonnes of carbon dioxide containing over two tonnes of oxygen and under one tonne of carbon. Thus with every tonne of carbon buried, more than twice as much life-sustaining oxygen must also be sacrificed. Continue Reading →

Future Greenland doom

The author of the paper that prompted Scientific American’s alarming claim of a “meltdown” sounds caution over predicting the demise of the Greenland ice sheet.

Is it a turnaround? No, because in the abstract we read:

“Our results suggest that the ice mass changes in this sector were primarily caused by short-lived dynamic ice loss events rather than changes in the surface mass balance. This finding challenges predictions about the future response of the Greenland Ice Sheet to increasing global temperatures.”

It’s just that “Scientific” American didn’t mention it. Continue Reading →

Ice cap scare – just 67 millennia left

Inside the Greenland ice cap

Yes, that’s right, only 67,000 years to go.

David Biello wrote an unlovely piece of non-science a few days ago which Scientific American was happy to publish.

It seems the once-reliable journal doesn’t care about standards now. The headline was uncompromising: Greenland Meltdown Driven by Collapse of Glaciers at Ocean Outlets.

To call what follows a “meltdown” is a hoax, a fraud, a betrayal, a cheat, a perfidy, a sham and a swindle. Not to mention several dozen other words in the thesaurus which all mean deceit.

The subheading gives voice to the first prevarication: The interactions between the island’s glaciers and the surrounding seas may be driving ice loss, according to aerial photographs.

Global weirding

But the opening paragraph got down to brass tacks: “the ice sheet as a whole has lost some 36 billion metric tons of ice each year in recent years.” We shall look at what that means. First, though, consider the next comment: “Thanks to weird weather, nearly the entire ice-covered surface of the world’s largest island melted for a period this year.”

The word “weather” is a hyperlink, as though they have some scientific explanation of weird weather, but they mislead us again. Continue Reading →

Ava is very cute

It was Ava’s birthday yesterday (she’s one year old). There is a party tonight at Diana’s place. Afterwards some of us – probably not including Ava – will watch the Super Rugby 14 final.

Go the Chiefs!

I’ll see you tomorrow some time.

UPDATE: Some time tomorrow today

How were you to know that Ava is alleged to be my grand-daughter, one of an alleged six such lucky children. It was great to be hosted so well at our daughter Diana’s place in Pakuranga, with her fiance Carl, and staying overnight let me imbibe an extra glass of wine and tankard of ale while watching the climax of the Super Rugby competition.

And it was of course terrific to celebrate Ava’s birthday – go the Chiefs!

To prove beyond doubt Ava’s extremely high cuteness factor, here’s one of the pics I clicked yesterday.

Ava's first birthday party

With friends like these we need no enemies

John O’Sullivan expressed interest in our court project against NIWA. But some of his comments describe more hope than fact, possibly through a misunderstanding of NZ law and the nature of our court case, and perhaps my inadequate reporting has contributed to that.

This morning my inbox was filling up with requests to explain and I could sense some people becoming distinctly over-stimulated by the imaginary achievements of the brave Kiwi sceptics.

The problem is that the judge hasn’t even made his decision, which my recent posts have made clear. We run a distinct risk of contempt of court if we appear to endorse the wild claims about the state of the case, of legal moves, even of victory, that are beginning to sound around the world.

It’s a shame, for the case contains enough of genuine merit; it can do without being overshadowed by needless exaggeration.

In an attempt to calm emotions, I’ve left a comment at John’s blog Continue Reading →

Hear the alarm

Here’s good sceptical climate information all wrapped up in a lovely example of how to deliver it.

My good friend Bryan Leyland, engineer, sent this exchange. He gives us an admirable example of the best practicality and erudition, conjoined as only Kiwis do it, leavened with a charming humanity.

Some while ago Bryan gave an address to IPENZ (Institute of Professional Engineers NZ) members in Whangarei and one of his audience has been thinking carefully about what he said. Bryan just received a letter from this colleague, who describes himself as an environmental engineer, and Bryan replied. Below, the letter writer, with his name and details withheld to preserve his privacy, is quoted in the green text.

In his responses, Bryan listens to the anxiety and the honest intent of a person who looks like an opponent, keeps a level head and gives informed answers that address the substance of the opposing view. It’s an object lesson for us all, on both sides of the great climate divide. Continue Reading →

Permission granted to view Court file

Here’s some good news: Mr Justice Venning said today that he intends granting my request to view the Court documents.

The other party to gain access is APNZ News Service, through Matthew Theunissen – that’s the Herald’s agency.

Because the file is in his Chambers and is the subject of a reserved decision, we must wait until the decision is delivered before we get access to it. I’m looking forward to studying the transcript because I missed a lot by not attending all the hearing. I’m not sure there’s much of interest in the other exhibits, but of course I haven’t seen them yet!

The Registrar’s office told me none of the material exists in electronic form. So that’s a shame – it means anything I want to post online I’ll have to type or convert with an OCR program. So let’s hope the quality is good.

It sounds as though I’ll get access to the whole suitcase full but I might have to be selective in posting only the juicy pieces online. And I won’t see the file for perhaps two or three months anyway.

Affidavits are for ever

High Court at Auckland, 1869

Today we bring you more details of the High Court hearing from two weeks ago, including a surprising admission by NIWA, who practically discard the “peer review” provided for them by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM).

In various previous posts (NZ sceptics v. NIWA – summary of case, More about the NZ temperature record, What warming, Incredible sham from NIWA and others) we summarise the *Coalition’s case against the Seven-Station Series (7SS).

Since 1999 this temperature series has been providing the basis for New Zealand’s climate change policies, but its major role has been to be presented whenever a public body needs official evidence of the country’s temperature history.

Until we investigated, NIWA’s web site did not disclose that the temperature readings had been adjusted. We only found out when we went to graph the data they provided – our graph was wildly different from theirs and showed no warming. Continue Reading →