Cutting CO2 kills plants

Julie Genter

Julie Anne Genter. One-track little mind: “CO2 bad!”

The Greens newsletter this morning from Julie Anne Genter uses the ‘carbon’ argument, which gets no less ridiculous with repetition.

Get this for crazy thinking. KiwiRail are thinking of switching our clean electric trains for polluting diesel engines.

Julie says we should “develop rail infrastructure that’s fit for the 21st Century.” Whatever that means. Let me know if you work it out.

But the punchline for me was:

Investing in electric locomotives is a common-sense way to cut our carbon pollution

Julie, carbon dioxide is not pollution, it’s colourless, odourless plant food. Even marine plants eat it and grow faster and larger with more of it.

Carbon dioxide does not govern the temperature of our climate. Computer models that apparently predict a hot future are wrong. They’ve been predicting high temperatures since the late 1990s, when the temperature completely stopped rising. When the predictions are wrong, the models are wrong. It’s no good trying to argue with it. It’s called scientific proof, like this:

Prediction Wrong ⇒ Model Wrong

The fear of carbon dioxide does not trump economics or sound business sense. It trumps nothing because there’s nothing to fear. More and more Kiwis are awakening to the empty-headed scare-mongering over CO2.

CO2 is our friend. Restricting CO2 kills plants. Know anyone who eats plants?

We all eat plants, or plant eaters, there IS nothing else to eat—yet you want to kill plants. Now THAT’S crazy thinking and it’ll do nothing for the railways.

Views: 106

52 Thoughts on “Cutting CO2 kills plants

  1. Simon on 17/04/2015 at 11:13 am said:

    Still clinging desperately to the discredited ‘no warming since 1998’ mantra? GISTEMP March Anomaly was +0.84C, hottest March and third hottest month on record.
    CO2 is seldom the limiting factor for plant growth. Modern plants evolved in an environment with less CO2 than there is now. It’s amazing that two colourless and odourless gases are the basis for all life on this planet. Once you appreciate how encompassing the carbon cycle is, it’s not surprising that it can affect the climate as well. I’m turning green just thinking about it 😉

  2. Richard Treadgold on 17/04/2015 at 11:15 am said:

    “GISTEMP March Anomaly was +0.84C, hottest March and third hottest month on record.”

    You have a link to that, please, Simon? Oh, and what period are you thinking of here:

    “Modern plants evolved in an environment with less CO2 than there is now.”

  3. Richard Treadgold on 17/04/2015 at 11:30 am said:

    According to the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis web page ( the latest data were for December 2014.

  4. Magoo on 17/04/2015 at 11:44 am said:


    I wouldn’t place much faith in the GISS temperature dataset if I was you, as they stretch recorded temperatures 1200km to fill in the missing data. Would you consider it safe to judge the temperature in Auckland by the temperature in Timaru, which are 1200km apart? No?

    Here’s what the GISS dataset looks like with the temperatures stretched 250km instead of the 1200km that they normally use:

    And here’s what it looks like when stretched 1200km:

    If you place the 2 maps next to each other you’ll see a lot of the ‘warming’ is not recorded temperature but guesswork.

    If you’d like to check the maps yourself go to the link below and change the ‘smoothing radius’ to 250km:

    If you change the ‘projection type to ‘polar orthographic’ you’ll see the heat they say is in the North Pole is a not recorded warming at all. Why people bother with GISS when it’s so inaccurate is beyond me.

  5. Richard Treadgold on 17/04/2015 at 1:38 pm said:

    That’s good, Magoo, thanks for the references; I had lost track of the details of their strange ‘sensing at a distance’ application of weather stations. You might be interested in climate4u (, where Ole Humlum puts five datasets, including GISS, together using a common 30-year mean (1979–2008). Seeing them all splurged together shows their similarities. None really stands out yet this century’s hiatus is clear. If the temperature doesn’t start rising soon, the model predictions will be at increasing risk of failure.

  6. Magoo on 17/04/2015 at 2:35 pm said:

    The temperature has flatlined for sure, even the IPCC admit the ‘hiatus’ in the AR5 (box 9.2, chapter 9, Working Group I, page 769):

    Also, if you look at box 2.8 in the IPCC’s AR5 (Working Group I, chapter 2, page 197), all temperature datasets show the lower troposphere warming faster than the mid/upper troposphere as well – the opposite of what was predicted in the AR4, thereby disproving positive feedback from water vapour:

    It’s got to the point where it’s just a joke now and honest scientists can ignore the empirical evidence no longer. I expect that’s why Obama’s doing the big push at Paris this year, it’s probably the alarmist’s last throw of the dice before the AGW hypothesis is all but discarded by the scientific mainstream.

  7. Mike+Jowsey on 17/04/2015 at 4:35 pm said:

    “Investing in electric locomotives is a common-sense way to cut our carbon pollution”
    Woolly thinking. Electricity generation has no carbon footprint? I think not. Think concrete for dams, steel for power pylons, turbines and cable, and the shipment of all that infrastructure (probably using diesel power). As for “carbon pollution”, is it soot to which she refers? Who knows, but if so today’s diesel engines are much cleaner than they used to be. It is a far more efficient power source than generating and transmitting electricity to drive locomotives.

  8. Simon on 17/04/2015 at 10:15 pm said:

    Electric engines are about 80% efficient, diesel is about 40%. The loss in electrical systems is in getting the power to the engine.

    Spatial interpolation can be done in a statistically valid way. Measuring anomalies mean that you are comparing the difference between periods with little change in measurement stations. The statistical uncertainty of GISTemp measures is published. Other temperature estimates for March will most likely show a similar trend.
    Data is here:

  9. Andy on 18/04/2015 at 10:02 am said:

    Obviously electric trains are better then diesel and the Green are completely correct to spend all their energy on on possible 0.000000001 degree of global warming that might (possibly) be a result of using diesel instead of electric trains.

    We need electric trains .
    All those stupid social justice warriors worrying about school dinners and stuff ( e.g the Greens, on Thursdays) have got their priorities wrong.

  10. Richard C (NZ) on 18/04/2015 at 10:29 am said:

    The KiwiRail decision rests on life-cycle economics of electric vs diesel engines (i.e. maintenance costs). Their electric engines now need reconditioning but it is more economical just to buy replacement diesels than to recondition the electrics.

    That’s after accounting for efficiency, fuel costs etc. I don’t know how they account for the delivery of electricity to the electrics, there’s a large KiwiRail electricity distribution infrastructure already in place so seems odd to me that they would abandon that. If that infrastructure is actually included (needs maintenance too) in the economic decision, the diesels must be far more economic all up if it is to be abandoned (i.e. it’s not just engine costs).

  11. Richard C (NZ) on 18/04/2015 at 11:37 am said:

    Logic fail by Simon (non sequitur):

    “Still clinging desperately to the discredited ‘no warming since 1998′ mantra? GISTEMP March Anomaly was +0.84C, hottest March and third hottest month on record.”

  12. Richard C (NZ) on 18/04/2015 at 11:41 am said:

    The real policy problem for every govt and the IPCC (who recognize the hiatus BTW Simon – see below) is the absence of CO2-forced warming this century i.e. the model-observation discrepancy, not hundredths of a degree statistically insignificant “hottest” records in dodgy datasets.

    Gina McCarthy at the US EPA is discovering climate models with the help of some rather better informed members of the EPW committee. McCarthy’s agency has been required by the EPW to produce a graph of models vs observations in the satellite era no later than April 21, 2015 (that’s the beginning of next week note). Should be interesting

    Full Sessions/Inhofe/Wicker/Barrasso/EPW letter to McCarthy/EPA here:

  13. Richard C (NZ) on 18/04/2015 at 11:42 am said:

    The IPCC recognizes the problem it has with the observation discrepancy too. See AR5 (note the word “Hiatus” – and don’t deny it Simon):

    IPCC AR5 Chapter 9: Evaluation of Climate Models

    Box 9.2 | Climate Models and the Hiatus in Global Mean Surface Warming of the Past 15 Years

    “……an analysis of the full suite of CMIP5 historical simulations (augmented for the period 2006–2012 by RCP4.5 simulations, Section 9.3.2) reveals that 111 out of 114 realizations show a GMST trend over 1998–2012 that is higher than the entire HadCRUT4 trend ensemble”

    Hopefully Gina McCarthy will finally “get” how problematic this is for the CO2 conjecture – and for govt policy.

    BTW, the best performing model (INMCM4) has the lowest response to CO2″. INMCM4 (Russian Academy of Sciences) in Judith Curry’s post:

    ‘Climate sensitivity: lopping off the fat tail’

    There is one climate model that falls within the range of the observational estimates: INMCM4 (Russian). I have not looked at this model, but on a previous thread RonC makes the following comments.

    “On a previous thread, I showed how one CMIP5 model produced historical temperature trends closely comparable to HADCRUT4. That same model, INMCM4, was also closest to Berkeley Earth and RSS series.

    Curious about what makes this model different from the others, I consulted several comparative surveys of CMIP5 models. There appear to be 3 features of INMCM4 that differentiate it from the others.”

    1.INMCM4 has the lowest CO2 forcing response at 4.1K for 4XCO2. That is 37% lower than multi-model mean

    2.INMCM4 has by far the highest climate system inertia: Deep ocean heat capacity in INMCM4 is 317 W yr m22 K-1, 200% of the mean (which excluded INMCM4 because it was such an outlier)

    3.INMCM4 exactly matches observed atmospheric H2O content in lower troposphere (215 hPa), and is biased low above that. Most others are biased high.

    So the model that most closely reproduces the temperature history has high inertia from ocean heat capacities, low forcing from CO2 and less water for feedback.

    Definitely worth taking a closer look at this model, it seems genuinely different from the others.

    # # #

    And, I suggest, throw out all the others.

    Just for chuckles, the discrepancy in one of the junk models from Tom Nelson:

    “Ok, so maybe the Canadian Climate Model isn’t quite matching reality”

    See graph

  14. Richard C (NZ) on 18/04/2015 at 11:44 am said:

    RT, had to remove all HTML to comment, like Mike.

  15. Richard C (NZ) on 18/04/2015 at 12:18 pm said:

    ‘Plant responses to low [CO2] of the past’

    Laci M. Gerhart and Joy K. Ward (2010)

    I. Introduction

    Beginning with the rise of vascular land plants through modern times, atmospheric [CO2] reached maximum values of 3300–3600 ppm during the early Devonian (Berner, 2006), possibly dropped as low as 150 ppm during the late Pliocene (Tripati et al., 2009), and consistently ranged between 170 and 190 ppm during glacial maxima of the past million yr (Petit et al., 1999; EPICA, 2004; Brook, 2005; Tripati et al., 2009; Fig. 1). Since CO2 is a major substrate for photosynthesis, such extreme changes in the availability of this resource likely had profound effects on plant productivity, community structure, and evolution through time. The LGM that occurred 18 000–20 000 yr ago represents a fascinating time when low [CO2] likely constrained the physiological functioning of C3 plants (Polley et al., 1993a; Dippery et al., 1995; Sage & Coleman, 2001; Ward et al., 2005; Lewis et al., 2010). During that period, [CO2] dropped to 180–190 ppm (Petit et al., 1999; EPICA, 2004), which is among the lowest concentrations predicted to have occurred during the evolution of land plants (Berner, 2003, 2006; Tripati et al., 2009).

    # # #

    Gee, “3300–3600 ppm” and “170 and 190 ppm” but the latter “low [CO2] likely constrained the physiological functioning of C3 plants”. The former, Devonian Period, producing the first trees and first forests in high [CO2]:

    But Simon thinks – “Modern plants evolved in an environment with less CO2 than there is now”

  16. Richard C (NZ) on 18/04/2015 at 12:39 pm said:

    >”Spatial interpolation can be done in a statistically valid way. ”

    Yes it can. But however statistically valid, it is still making up data i.e. guessing, with constraints at either end.

    But 1200km Arctic and Pacific extrapolation (not interpolation) is absurd. In no way statistically valid i.e. a wild arsed guess (WAG).

    GISTEMP is a WAG dataset both by extrapolation and interpolation. Their 2014 record “hottest” year was due solely to the Central South America anomaly – only 3 stations (adjusted by GISS model simulation) smeared all over.

    A WAG is a WAG is a WAG.

  17. HemiMck on 18/04/2015 at 12:51 pm said:

    “Get this for crazy thinking. KiwiRail are thinking of switching our clean electric trains for polluting diesel engines.”

    I suspect Julie is a bit young to remember the Stalinist think-big era. The capital cost of electric could of course never be recovered on our freight volumes.

    Outside the commuter rail electric systems the only NZ electrification is from Palmerston North to Hamilton and diesel has to be used everywhere else for freight. The busiest freight line is now Tauranga Auckland which has no electrification and never will.

    The greenies should be in favour of mining the wire from the Main Truck line – eco friendly mining.

  18. Richard C (NZ) on 18/04/2015 at 1:49 pm said:

    Gerry Brownlee, 15 May, 2014

    Further $198m for KiwiRail’s Turnaround Plan

    KiwiRail’s 10-year Turnaround Plan to make its freight business commercially viable continues, with $198 million being invested from the Future Investment Fund.

    This brings total Crown capital investment in the Plan to $1.04 billion.

    Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says KiwiRail will use the new money to invest primarily in:

    Infrastructure renewals and upgrades.
    New wagons and refurbishment of existing wagons and locomotives.
    IT systems.
    Earthquake remediation projects and other safety works.

    “KiwiRail has had a challenging few months, but looking more broadly at the rollout of its Turnaround Plan we can see fundamental improvements in the company’s operations,” Mr Brownlee says.

    “KiwiRail is increasing revenues in its core operations and growing its share of the domestic freight market, and we expect that to continue. It was always clear that taking the business to financial self-sustainability was going to be a huge challenge.”

    Today’s announcement comes on top of $844 million of capital investment appropriated over 2010/11 to 2013/14.

    Since the company was bought by the previous government in 2008, Crown investment in KiwiRail now totals $2.4 billion – excluding investment in metropolitan rail projects. In addition, there have been writedowns totalling $9.8 billion.

    # # #

    All up the govt has blown over $12 billion on KiwiRail. Herein lies the problem, hence “Turnaround Plan to make its freight business commercially viable”. If electrified NIMT is not economic and diesel is then diesel it has to be.

    Cameron Slater’s view:

    ‘Another billion to prop up Kiwirail’

    When is enough going to be enough?

    Remember when Michael Cullen dropped $695 million dollars into the pockets of Toll Holdings in what he described as the deal of the century. It is rumoured that the anniversary of the deal is celebrated still by directors of Toll Holdings, such was the awesomeness of the deal for them.

    It hasn’t proved to be the deal of the century for the government though, with National having to bail out Kiwirail twice already and now set to pump another billion dollars into what surely must actually be a failed business.


    It isn’t worth a billion dollars, it is barely worth a tenth of that so why are we pouring more valuable taxpayers money into a failed business.

    Imagine what could be done if the government instead started ripping up the rails and using the rail corridor for bus and heavy transport corridors.

    The government in direct spending and asset writedowns has blown more than $12 billion on Kiwirail…and set to blow another billy propping up a piece of rubbish failed company that should ahve been sent tot eh knackers yard years ago.

    When is enough, enough? A business that requires constant capital injections for diminishing returns and constant losses isn’t a business it is a failure.

  19. Richard C (NZ) on 18/04/2015 at 2:07 pm said:

    Similar to Cameron Slater’s post, the photo below is of the political people who masterminded the KiwiRail boondoggle (a rogues gallery, Bolger included – his choice):

    From KiwiRail Launch

    The Labour $695m repurchase from Toll has to go down as the dumbest govt transaction ever. Then Clark/Cullen/King launched a boondoggle – $12b consequences and counting

  20. Richard C (NZ) on 18/04/2015 at 2:47 pm said:

    >”The Labour $695m repurchase from Toll has to go down as the dumbest govt transaction ever”

    Closely followed by the $650m Army LAVIII purchase:

    Except the govt isn’t still pouring extra billions into Army light armoured transport.

  21. Richard C (NZ) on 18/04/2015 at 3:38 pm said:

    >”KiwiRail’s 10-year Turnaround Plan to make its freight business commercially viable continues, with $198 million being invested from the Future Investment Fund” [2014]

    ‘BusinessDesk: KiwiRail the main beneficiary of Future Investment Fund proceeds from MightyRiverPower sell-down’ [2012]

    May 24, 2012, By Pattrick Smellie

    The single largest beneficiary of the asset sales programme this year will be the loss-making state-owned railway, with $250 million of the approximately $600 million proceeds from the part-sale of MightyRiverPower earmarked for KiwiRail.

    The Budget forecasts $558.8 million will be available to spend in the so-called Future Investment Fund – the money-pot to be set aside from asset sales to invest in new capital infrastructure – in the 2012/13 fiscal year, almost half of which will help fund KiwiRail’s massive network upgrade project.

    # # #

    Superb governance – sell earning assets, buy losing assets with the proceeds. And keep on buying the biggest loser over and over and over and……..

    >”….to invest in new capital infrastructure”


    1. put (money) into financial schemes, shares, property, or a commercial venture with the expectation of achieving a profit.

    Profit? Expectation? KiwiRail? Oxymoron? Contradiction in terms? Delusion?

  22. Richard C (NZ) on 18/04/2015 at 4:05 pm said:

    Dr. Judith Curry before the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology Hearing on the President’s UN Climate Pledge, April 15th, 2015

    The central issue in the scientific debate on climate change is the extent to which the recent (and future) warming is caused by human-caused greenhouse gas emissions versus natural climate variability that are caused by variations from the sun, volcanic eruptions, and large-scale ocean circulations.

    Recent data and research supports the importance of natural climate variability and calls into question the conclusion that humans are the dominant cause of recent climate change. This includes

    # The slow down in global warming since 1998
    # Reduced estimates of the sensitivity of climate to carbon dioxide
    # Climate models that are predicting much more warming than has been observed so far in the 21st century


  23. Richard C (NZ) on 18/04/2015 at 4:08 pm said:

    ‘Former UN Climate Chief: Coal is Essential’

    by Eric Worrall

    Former UN climate chief Yvo de Boer has defended the use of climate finance to fund the construction of coal generators – a position which reportedly puts de Boer at odds with his successor, Christiana Figueres.

    According to de Boer;

    Coal will be a “necessary part of the energy mix for decades to come,” de Boer said on the sidelines of a sustainable cities conference in Seoul.

    The polluting but cheap fuel is a “logical choice” for emerging economies like India, China and South Africa.

    “You really have to be able to offer these countries an economically viable alternative, before you begin to rule out coal,” he said.

    Read more:

  24. Richard C (NZ) on 18/04/2015 at 4:20 pm said:

    ‘Open Letter to U.S. Senators Ted Cruz, James Inhofe and Marco Rubio’

    Bob Tisdale / April 14, 2015

    Subject: Questions about Climate Model-Based Science

    From: Bob Tisdale – Independent Climate Researcher

    To: The Honorable Ted Cruz, James Inhofe and Marco Rubio

    Dear Senators Cruz, Inhofe and Rubio:

    I am writing you as chairs of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and of the Committee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard. I am an independent researcher who studies global warming and climate change, and I am probably best known for my articles at the science weblog WattsUpWithThat, where I would be considered an investigative reporter.

    I have a few very basic questions for you about climate model-based science. They are:

    # Why are taxpayers funding climate model-based research when those models are not simulating Earth’s climate?
    # Why are taxpayers funding climate model-based research when each new generation of climate models provides the same basic answers?
    # Redundancy: why are taxpayers funding 5 climate models in the U.S.?
    # Why aren’t climate models providing the answers we need?
    Example: Why didn’t the consensus of regional climate models predict the timing, extent and duration of the Californian drought?

    I have discussed and provided support for those concerns in the following.

    Note: I began this letter a couple of months ago, back when it was announced that you would be chairs of those committees. Two of you are now running for President. Even with that in mind, I hope that you and your staffs will consider these questions.

    Questions follow>>>>>

  25. Richard C (NZ) on 18/04/2015 at 4:36 pm said:

    [Tisdale] – “In this example [GISS LOTI], we’re illustrating the model-data differences in the monthly surface temperature anomalies.”

    >”Near Record High Levels”

    Heh, good on yer Bob.


  26. Richard C (NZ) on 18/04/2015 at 5:18 pm said:

    >”I don’t know how they account for the delivery of electricity to the electrics, there’s a large KiwiRail electricity distribution infrastructure [NIMT sunk capital] already in place so seems odd to me that they would abandon that. If that infrastructure is actually included (needs [ongoing] maintenance too) in the economic decision, the diesels must be far more economic all up if it is to be abandoned (i.e. it’s not just engine costs).”

    Just realized after the digging above that the capital cost of NIMT electrification is no longer an economic consideration because the electrification value has already been removed by writedown.

    In other words, the electrification was abandoned financially (written down) long ago. It follows that the electrification assets, although still an option, have to compete with all other options in an accept/reject capital investment analysis.

    Appears diesel-electric is the winner.

    Explains why the rail giants in the US use diesel-electric on a commercial basis as a matter of course (where track operators, engine operators, rolling stock operators can all be different entities). If there was a better option they would be using it long ago – there isn’t.

  27. Richard Treadgold on 18/04/2015 at 7:15 pm said:

    “In other words, the electrification was abandoned financially (written down) long ago. It follows that the electrification assets, although still an option, have to compete with all other options in an accept/reject capital investment analysis. Appears diesel-electric is the winner.”

    Illuminating analysis, RC. The effect of our depreciation rules is to render null physical assets far from the end of their natural life. That is, the metals exist, their foundations in the earth are strong and they perform in all material respects as designed, yet they are reckoned to be of no worth. On the face it is a nonsense that demands rational inquiry.

  28. Richard C (NZ) on 19/04/2015 at 10:38 am said:

    >”The effect of our depreciation rules is to render null physical assets far from the end of their natural life”

    In this KiwiRail case though, it’s not the ongoing accounting/taxation depreciation carried out annually. What has happened at KiwiRail has been the need for one-off writedowns in value of assets even after depreciation.

    A writedown in asset value is to make the “book” value of the asset realistic:

    “Reducing the book value of an asset if it is overstated compared to current market values.”

    A writedown is a loss of equity (wealth) to the owner, in this case the NZ govt and citizens. But it’s worse than that in the KiwiRail situation because the wealth was not created by KiwiRail operations in the first place. Additional equity (wealth) had to be poured into the company for it to continue operating, only for the value of that additional equity to be wiped out (lost) almost immediately.

    If NZ rail was modeled on US rail, the track operator tolls the user of the track. This is how NZ electricity transmission and distribution works in NZ which is based on the US rail model and uses some of the rail terms. Also how toll roads work in NZ and elsewhere, not all of which are profitable (e.g. Route K toll road here in Tauranga is not profitable). That was how NZ rail worked when Toll Holdings owned the engines and rolling stock, they were tolled by ONTRACK (see below).

    But Toll moaned and winged that they couldn’t make their rail operations profitable so Labour repurchased the assets originally sold to Toll by National. Toll never owned any land or track (that was ONTRACK – see below, track now owned by KiwiRail, land by NZRC) and no Toll competitors were allowed access to track that I know of (not that any wanted to that I know of either). Compare that to NZ road transport competition (or US rail competition). Difficult to implement in NZ with the Main Trunk network (basically a spline) though.

    But as Hemi pointed out, Auckland – Tauranga is now a major freight route (Port of Tauranga has an inland port in Auckland) and I can attest that the ECMT from Kawerau to Port of Tauranga is a major log route. Both of which are competing with road operators. It’s the Hamilton – Palmerston Nth section where something needs to be done differently according to the reports.

    I skimmed the 2013/14 Annual report:

    Page 10 ($m):
    Revenue 462.0
    Surplus 132.3
    Total Assets 341.2

    $341.2m is the wealth left in KiwiRail after billions have been poured into it by capital (taxpayer wealth) injection. And remember, Labour paid $695m just for the rolling stock. The track was owned by ONTRACK which is now part of KiwiRail.

    See Tranz Rail for the situation prior to Toll and the successors Toll NZ (as railway operator) and ONTRACK (as railway owner):

    See New Zealand Railways Corporation for ownership of the land beneath KiwiRail’s railway network on behalf of the Crown:

  29. Richard C (NZ) on 19/04/2015 at 11:28 am said:

    >”But Toll moaned and winged that they couldn’t make their rail operations profitable so Labour repurchased the assets originally sold to Toll by National. Toll never owned any land or track (that was ONTRACK – see below, track now owned by KiwiRail, land by NZRC) ”

    Not quite right here.

    Toll never owned the land but they did own the track initially (2003 – 2004). In 2004 the Government re-acquired the rail track infrastructure from Toll Holdings.


    >”the assets originally sold to Toll by National”

    Wrong here too.

    Tranz Rail listed on 14 June 1996 on the New Zealand Sharemarket and NASDAQ.

    In December 1996, Tranz Rail sold the DFT class of locomotives to the Chicago Freight Car Leasing for $131.5 million. It then leased the locomotives back for a period of 12 years. The lease ended on 19 December 2008 with the locomotives returning to Tranz Rail’s successor, KiwiRail.

    In May 2002 Tranz Rail delisted from the NASDAQ.

    Toll Holdings offer
    In May 2003, the Australian transport firm Toll Holdings purchased a 6.1% share of Tranz Rail, increasing its share to 10.1% by June and 19.9% in July. Toll then launched its own takeover bid, initially offering 75c per share, later increased to 95c.

    In July 2003 the Government announced that it was dropping its bid to buy a 35% stake in Tranz Rail, instead allowing Toll to succeed in its takeover bid. Toll’s bid valued Tranz Rail at $231 million. The Government reached a Heads of Agreement with Toll later that month, and eventually bought the rail network for $1, plus $50 million for property assets including leases and Wellington Railway Station. The deal also established a performance regime creating incentives for Toll if it shifts freight from road to rail, and penalties if freight carriage falls below 70% of current levels. If Toll increases freight volumes by 10% or more on certain lines the Government will grant it a track access charge holiday. The parties agreed the Government would spend $200 million over the next five years upgrading the track via the New Zealand Railways Corporation, operating as ONTRACK.

    Toll did not achieve the 90% stake of Tranz Rail it required to meet the Government’s deal and compulsorily acquire the remaining 10% of shares, despite raising its offer again to $1.10 per share. In 2003, around 3,000 small shareholders held 25% of Tranz Rail’s shares, many of them major institutional shareholders such as AMI and Infratil. After a number of extensions of the deadline set by Toll, it held 84.2% of shares in Tranz Rail after the offer closed in December 2003. By that time, shares were being sold on the New Zealand Sharemarket for $1.65, above even the independent valuation of between $1.34 and $1.62 made in July by merchant bankers Grant Samuel. Despite Toll not achieving the 90% requirement, the Government honoured the Heads of Agreement made in July.

    See Tranz Rail

  30. Alexander+K on 21/04/2015 at 9:23 am said:

    Rail is a fascinating topic, and it is little wonder that the Greens, who have an almost childish notion of the way the world works, don’t understand why rail is now but a debt-ridden historic remnant of a bygone age.
    We need to remember that rail transport was a direct outcome of the Industrial Revolution and that steam power shifted the Western world’s people and freight for a small historical period – during the early part of this period in NZ, large-scale steam-powered road transport had a brief vogue too, before dying as swiftly as it appeared. Even the clearing of our native bush, despite romantic notions of bronzed settlers swinging axes and saws, was largely carried out using steam power, and our early plains-based crop farming was ploughed by enormous steam-powered ploughing engines. The industrial complex that was railroading was built around coal-fired steam power, and piecemeal modernisation of that complex has left parts of that complex, such as coalmining, stranded without a local market I remember the shift from coal to diesel decades ago, which saw many small rural communities located along the Main Runk Line wither and eventually collapse. While many currently view our railroads as a national assett, maybe they are not and should be scrapped and whatever value there is in the scrap ‘cashed in’, allowing our road system to be adequately financed and developed.
    Pouring money taken from taxpayers into periodically restarting a failed and moribund business that was a part of a long-gone period in our history does not seem too smart to me, and arguing the merits of the types of motive power along its tracks smacks of extreme irrelevance to the point of silliness.
    I know there is a huge well of affection for steam-powered vintage trains and associated hardware, so perhaps we might select some sections of the national rail system, such as the Raurimu Spiral, for survival, along with some period rolling stock and we should operate and market them as international tourist attractions of museum quality.
    But this is just MHO!

  31. Mack on 21/04/2015 at 8:23 pm said:

    Quiet, efficient, electric vs inefficient, loud , thrumming, stinking diesals. It seems like only yesterday that we were championing the electrification of the Nth Island main trunk. Electricity in NZ . …just about totally hydro. …free from the heavens and non polluting. Huge infrastructure already in place. But no…in truely short sighted, typical kiwi, mean, money grubbing , small minded fashion, …we find we can’t afford the electric locomotives. …so let’s scrap the lot.
    I agree with the girl greenie, apart from her “fossil fuel = climate change” belief.

  32. Andy on 22/04/2015 at 12:43 am said:

    Don’t knock diesel generators. It is what will power the UK in years to come when there is no wind (like today)

  33. Alexander+K on 22/04/2015 at 8:33 am said:

    Andy, I suspect that the lump in your cheek is your toungue!
    Seriously, my effort above may seem a bit OT and OTT, but it was triggered by the Greens’ customary Malthusian desire to reconstruct the future from a misunderstanding of how stuff actually works. The future is, of course, unknowable.
    My guess at the future, and it can only be a guess, is that our country will run out of the political will to continue expecting our railway system to do a Lazarus if we can only poke enough taxpayer dollars into it’s voracious maw.
    One day, either the railway system of transport will be reorganised in a way that will work and return to us taxpayers a moderate profit, or it will be dismantled and done away with forever.
    I suspect the latter is more likey, but I do have wonderful memories of a ride on the footplate of a KA steam loco in the wee small hours in our local shunting yards by invitation of the Locomotive Supervisor. That was 50 years ago now, but I can still smell the coal smoke and feel the heat from the firebox under the boiler.
    The yards, the engine sheds, almost all of the locos and rolling stock and most of the men and women who made it all work are now long gone, but that end of my old home town still lives on in many hearts and minds.
    But it would be foolish to expect fond memories to be a part of the future.

  34. Mack on 22/04/2015 at 9:53 am said:

    The govt. should have got its act together and electrified Tauranga – Auckland long ago. If the country is that much on the bones of our ass, get a couple of good- second hand electric locos from Switzerland or where-ever…shop around.
    70 containers on a train from Tauranga – Auckland vs 35 truck and trailer units on the road…..and all that diesal. Not forgetting the road maintainance and carnage from all the bloody trucks on the road.
    It’s a no-brainer.

  35. Andy on 22/04/2015 at 5:31 pm said:

    By the way, I am currently in the socialist republic of Scotland, which looks like it will return virtually all SNP seats, a party totally committed to ruining this once beautiful country by carpeting it in wind turbines.

    Somewhat depressing.

  36. Richard C (NZ) on 22/04/2015 at 6:35 pm said:

    >”The govt. should have got its act together and electrified Tauranga – Auckland long ago. [……….]
    It’s a no-brainer.”

    Depends on the brain. If non-commercial imperative brain (i.e. political brain) then maybe. But not going to happen now that electric NIMT is uneconomic (not profitable) to operate. But of Tauranga to Hamilton electrification, only Hamilton – Auckland was even at the feasibility stage in 2012 – that’s probably stone dead now.

    ‘Hamilton to Auckland Corridor Study’
    December 2012

    Page 39 pdf:

    The RLTS investment approach for the North Island Main Trunk is to:


    # Plan to complete double tracking between Hamilton and Auckland and investigate electrification
    of the NIMT.

  37. Andy on 22/04/2015 at 7:56 pm said:

    O/T if anyone has the time or will to sign the “save Loch ness” petition, there are 24 hours left

  38. Alexander+K on 23/04/2015 at 9:09 am said:

    I am not given to flights of fancy, but both my wife and I found Loch Ness a very depressing environment despite its wild beauty. If Nessy does exist, we thought that the Loch to be an ideal place for her to hide in. We also found that the battleground of Cullodden is a very eerie place – both of us wondered why anyone but the totally bloodthirsty or suicidal would mount any kind of battle employing large cutlery there.
    My mother’s family were from the Highlands, and having visited the place, I can understand why most of them left. It is wild and very lovely, but must be an awful place to scratch an existence in.
    It did occur to me while visting there that I am incredibly fortunate to be born in New Zealand.

  39. Andy on 23/04/2015 at 9:49 am said:

    Correction Alexander, it WAS wild and lovely.
    Over 400 turbines are planned or built for the Loch Ness great glen area alone.(See video on link I posted)

    The largest wind farm is the same size in area as Inverness.

    The crazy SNP who will probably get most of the seats in Scotland in the election in a couple of weeks are totally committed to the industrialision of the Scottish hills.

    Bye bye tourist industry.

  40. Alexander+K on 23/04/2015 at 12:01 pm said:

    Andy, I am very proud of the Scots part of my genetic heritage, but I fully acknowledge that there is a totally mad streak there. How can the most inventive race on earth do such mad stuff?
    The windmills fill me with horror, as they make no kind of sense at all and do nothing but slice up birds and explode the lungs of bats without generating suficient electricity to justify the pre-subsidy costs in money terms, let alone the environmental costs.

  41. HemiMck on 23/04/2015 at 2:37 pm said:

    Another bit of history our green friend might not remember is that up until 1986 road transport operators could not travel over 150 km without a permit. Rail was built out of artificial regulation.

    Not just in NZ, but world wide, rail freight only works for bulk commodities. The only examples in NZ of the scale required are logs, coal and containers to and from the major ports. The in-efficiencies of trucking a single container to a rail depot, loading onto an occasional train that might be passing and doing the same at the other end are obvious.

    As to whether any particular rail line, be it commuter or freight, should be electrified, will ultimately come back to the number of trains that pass any one point per hour. If the number is high enough then the capital cost of electrification may be warranted. No freight lines could justify it.

    When the variable costs of diesel is below the variable cost of electric on the Palmerston North to Hamilton run surely it is economic sense to switch regardless of the sunk costs. From the greenies point of view there could even be a gain with the surplus hydro displacing gas use at Huntly.

  42. Richard C (NZ) on 23/04/2015 at 5:31 pm said:

    >”When the variable costs of diesel is below the variable cost of electric on the Palmerston North to Hamilton run surely it is economic sense to switch regardless of the sunk costs”

    Yes, that’s “the thing” Hemi. KiwiRail now has a well established diesel-electric cost structure that enables them to attract freight due to the charges. Freight that can switch to road if the rail price is too high i.e. they lose revenue if their charges don’t meet the market. Those costs can be applied to any track section, including the electrified section, because the engine units are universal across the network (as are parts, maintenance, skills etc). Not so electric-only.

    So if there;s a political mandate for electrification, KiwiRail, if need be, would just go to court with their lower cost diesel-electric model that competes with road and say “Hey, if GOVT (taxpayer) wants us to electrify then GOVT (taxpayer) will have to pay the electric premium otherwise we’ll lose customers to road”.

    This is effectively a “green” subsidy. Given the days of govt subsidies are long gone it’s a non-starter unless we have to pay a “green premium” for everything now.

    Rail in the US is highly regulated and already sorted out in regulation and law that KiwiRail has recourse to to make their case. If there is no competition on a US rail section the regulator determines what a hypothetical efficient operator would charge and that is the freight charge the rail operator must accept to offer to its customers.

    Over Hamilton to Palmerston North, the hypothetical efficient operator charge is the diesel-electric cost structure (even if new engines are purchased). Period. Same over any other track section in NZ for freight.

  43. Richard C (NZ) on 23/04/2015 at 6:15 pm said:

    ‘Why Freight Will Never Electrify’ [North America]

    by Paul Druce, Reason & Rail

    Since Conrail tore down its electrification in the 1980s, no major freight railroad in the United States has used electric traction to haul cars, relying instead on diesel locomotives, much to the consternation of environmentally focused railfans. Proposals such as that of the Steel Interstate Coalition, almost as a general rule, include overhead electrification of freight lines either to eliminate environmental emissions or reduce American oil use. The problem, however, is that the freight railroads simply will never electrify.

    As with most things, the primary problem is one of money. With some exceptions, capital investment is made to either increase revenues or decreases costs. As publicly held company responsible to their shareholders, investment is ideally ranked according to return on investment, with those projects having the greatest returns on investment receiving a higher priority and thus more likely to receive the investment. This is also collective rather than singular; a project which may individually have the highest return on investment may have a lesser return on investment than several other projects combined, and so be deferred in their favor.

    This is the problem which freight electrification faces. While electrification would represent a lessening in fuel expenses, especially as the price of oil is expected to rise another 20-30% over the long-term, this is a fairly minor savings for the railroads. Take, for example, Union Pacific, the largest freight railroad in the United States. Fuel expenses in 2011 came to 3.5 billion dollars, about one quarter of total expenses. At 6.5 gallons to the mile (a back calculation from 480-ton miles to the gallon and typical 3100 ton train) and $3.25 per gallon for a typical train vs 80 kilowatts per train mile (2 Class 92 locomotives) and 12 cents per kilowatt (LA Metro’s cost of electricity), the cost would be halved, from $21.125 per train-mile to $9.6 per train-mile, resulting in a total annual savings of $2 billion, trending upwards as the price of oil rises faster than the price of electricity. However, this is actually less than the $2.243 billion which Union Pacific charged in freight surcharges. So long as the freight railroads are permitted to charge fuel surcharges, they have no economic incentive to electrify.

    Even should we presume that the impediment of fuel surcharges is in some way overcome, the cost to electrify is a daunting one. The California High Speed Rail Authority estimates approximately 5.5 million dollars per route-mile for electric traction, a 30% premium over European examples of electrification, but this is normal for American infrastructure projects. Applying this to Union Pacific’s 757-mile long Sunset Route, which they are finishing the process of double tracking, results in a cost of 4.1 billion dollars. For this, forty-nine trains per day would have reduced fuel expenses 156 million dollars annually. A twenty-six year period before financially breaking even does not endear a project to analysts.

    Of course, the cost of electric traction supply is essentially a fixed cost and the Sunset Route is not the most highly trafficked route in America or even amongst Union Pacific’s routes. BNSF’s nearby Southern Transcon sees 120 trains per day, for instance, and is expected to reach 150 in the near future. Such corridors would see a relatively quicker break-even point. However, all of this is ignoring one crucial cost element: The locomotives themselves.

    Electric traction is only of any use if there are electric motors available to utilize it and, as they are not possessed, they too must be purchased. For each daily train between Los Angeles and the Midwest, this means as many as sixteen locomotives would be required depending on the number of locomotives required per individual train, assuming in this case four days from initial departure until a locomotive has been “recycled” to make the journey in reverse. Although the freight railroads order in sufficiently large quantities that, unlike Amtrak, there is unlikely to be a price premium over the $2 million average currently paid for locomotives, this still adds a substantial additional burden to the price, further increasing the amount of time before the investment is paid back.

    There are also major operational issues with the use of electric locomotives. Though a diesel locomotive may go wherever it wish, an electric locomotive must necessarily remain under wire. Not only does this necessitate the expense of electrifying branch lines or maintaining a diesel fleet in electrified areas to handle traffic not originating or terminating on the mainline, but it also points to the problem that electric locomotives are power limited based on external factors to a degree that diesel locomotives are not. While any number of diesel locomotives may use up to their full ratings in a given area, subject only to the physical capabilities of drawbars and car couplings, a given substation can only provide a certain amount of power, providing an additional constraint on train capacity which requires additional or larger substations to overcome, increasing the expense still further.

    This leads to the one of the biggest issues with electrification for freight: It is a single point of failure for busy routes. Currently, severe weather and earthquakes resulting in washouts and landslides covering the line are the only significant single point of failure for the lines. Failure of electric traction, due to inclement weather, mechanical or electric failure, represents an additional single point of failure. As this would preferentially be installed upon the busiest and most critical routes, failure of the overhead catenary system has the potential to cause extremely severe and expensive congestion throughout the American rail network.

    Congestion, as it happens, is the final reason why the freight railroads will not adopt mainline electrification. Electrification is a major endeavor which would soak up the available capital investment of any given railroad for some years. The opportunity cost involved here is major expansion of existing capacity upon American railroads, whether through double and triple tracking major routes as is the case with the Sunset and Southern Transcon, or major projects like the Crescent and Heartland Corridors. A study by the American Association of Railroads indicated that 148 billion dollars, 135 billion of which would come from the seven Class I railroads, is needed in upgrades to deal with expected gains in rail traffic by 2035, a figure nearly double the expected actual investment that can be afforded, and presuming that there is no mode shift, a dubious assumption in light of higher oil prices and a shortage of truck drivers. Money spent on electrifying, which we noted earlier doesn’t have a revenue advantage due to fuel surcharges, forgoes all the potential revenue and cost savings that additional track capacity provides. There is, as a result, no economic or operational justification for a major freight railroad to invest in electrification today.

    All of this is why, today, only one common carrier railroad hauls freight with electric traction and that is the Iowa Traction Railroad, using the remnant of an old interurban to perform interchange work with 90 year old locomotives. Potentially one or two small Class III railroads may electrify with restored locomotives, but the major freight railroads will not electrify in the foreseeable future.

    # # #

    Note 1) Diesel costs have come down, Obama is actually increasing the cost of electricity by “green” polocies.

    Note 2) The economies of scale in the US to justify electrification e.g. Sunset Route – “forty-nine trains per day would have reduced fuel expenses 156 million dollars annually. A twenty-six year period before financially breaking even”

    Note 3) NIMT approximately 30 freight trains per day.

    Note 3) Some contention in comments.

  44. Richard C (NZ) on 23/04/2015 at 6:40 pm said:

    >”Note 3) NIMT approximately 30 freight trains per day”

    Fact check reqd. I think this is over Hamilton to Auckland which includes Auckland tp Tauranga i.e. not necessarily the same for Hamilton to Palmerston Nth.

    Have to look at this tomorrow, gotta work all night now.

  45. Richard C (NZ) on 25/04/2015 at 10:21 am said:

    Finally some climate realism in the MSM:

    ‘Judith Curry and other eco-realists say climate change action can wait’

    by: Graham Lloyd
    From: The Australian
    April 25, 2015 12:00AM

  46. Richard C (NZ) on 25/04/2015 at 10:41 am said:

    And looks like the Pope and Vatican are going to hear some climate realism too:

    Climate Skeptics Descend on Vatican – Seek to Influence Pope on ‘Global Warming’

    Thar’s if he and they will listen of course.

  47. Richard C (NZ) on 25/04/2015 at 10:58 am said:

    What? Even MORE climate realism in the MSM:

    Our climate models are WRONG: Global warming has slowed – and recent changes are down to ‘natural variability’, says study

    # Duke University study looked at 1,000 years of temperature records
    # It compared it to the most severe emissions scenarios by the IPCC
    # Found that natural variability can slow or speed the rate of warming
    # These ‘climate wiggles’ were not properly accounted for in IPCC report

    By Ellie Zolfagharifard For

    Published: 20:56 GMT, 23 April 2015 | Updated: 23:31 GMT, 23 April 2015

    Read more:

    Wow, two big articles, one big day.

  48. Richard C (NZ) on 25/04/2015 at 11:37 am said:

    Anthony Watts on the England paper”

    ‘Climate modeler Matthew England still ignoring reality – claims IPCC models will eventually win’


    Note: as is typical with these jokers, they don’t bother to give the name of the paper in the press release, so I looked it up. The short abstract reads more like an opinion than science, especially since that favorite buzzword “robust” can’t possibly apply to any future prediction, be it climate 85 years from now, tomorrow’s weather forecast, or the stock market.

    ‘Robust warming projections despite the recent hiatus’

    Matthew H. England, Jules B. Kajtar & Nicola Maher


    Published online23 April 2015

    See abstract>>>>

    # # #

    Yes, “robust” warming projections. Okey dokey.

  49. Richard C (NZ) on 25/04/2015 at 11:47 am said:

    Warmists who denied the pause now claim to explain it

    Andrew Bolt, April 24 2015 (7:15am)

    I guess just the acknowledgement is progress, but I do think Matthew England at least owes an apology.

    Matthew England contradicting former Senator Nick Minchin in April 2012:

    NICK MINCHIN: …Basically we’ve had a plateauing of temperature rise. I mean we are in a warming phase. The world is either warming or cooling. It never stops doing nothing. It’s either warming or cooling. We’ve had a warming phase since the end of the little ice age, 150 years ago. In terms of global average temperature it peaked 1998 and it is effectively stable now, despite the increase in CO2. So there is a major problem with the warmist argument because we have had rising CO2 but we haven’t had the commensurate rise in temperature that the IPCC predicted.

    ANNA ROSE: That’s just not true, Nick…

    MATTHEW ENGLAND: What Nick just said is actually not true. The IPCC projections of 1990 have borne out very accurately…

    Matthew England in December 2012:

    … we’re halfway through this projected period. And the warming to date is consistent with that [IPCC] projection.

    And so anybody out there lying that the IPCC projections are overstatements or that the observations haven’t kept pace with the projections is completely offline with this. And so anybody out there lying that the IPCC projections are overstatements or that the observations haven’t kept pace with the projections is completely offline with this. The analysis is very clear that the IPCC projections are coming true.

    But Matthew England today:

    The near two-decade long “pause” in rising average global surface temperatures was a “distraction” that did not change long-term model predictions of a much ­hotter world this century, according to new research.

    Climate scientists at University of NSW said “natural variability” could explain the slowdown or “hiatus” despite strongly rising ­levels of carbon ­dioxide in the ­atmosphere…

    Research leader Matthew ­England said … “It is simply due to decadal variability. Greenhouse gases will eventually overwhelm this natural fluctuation,” he said…

    “Our research shows that while there may be short-term fluctuations … long-term warming of the planet is an inevitable consequence of ­increasing greenhouse gas concentrations,” he said.

    “This much-hyped global warming slowdown is just a distraction to the task at hand”.

    Maybe, maybe not. But this concession is interesting:

    The paper also suggests that decadal climate oscillations were not pushing heat into the deep oceans, another explanation for the “missing heat” and absence of surface warming.

    Also published now in Nature Climate Change, another paper trying to explain the pause that England once denied:

    Despite a steady increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs), global-mean surface temperature (T) has shown no discernible warming since about 2000, in sharp contrast to model simulations, which on average project strong warming.

  50. Richard C (NZ) on 25/04/2015 at 8:15 pm said:

    scienceofdoom’s knowledge gap:

    “Let’s compare [holocaust denial] with the evidence behind the science of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and the inevitability of a 2-6ºC rise in temperature if we continue to add CO2 and other GHGs to the atmosphere.”


    “I wrote The “Greenhouse” Effect Explained in Simple Terms to make it simple, yet not too simple. But that article relies on (and references) many basics – radiation, absorption and emission of radiation through gases, heat transfer and convection. All of those are necessary to understand the greenhouse effect.”


    “understanding climate means understanding maths, physics and statistics. This is hard, very hard. It’s time consuming, requires some training (although people can be self-taught), actually requires academic access to be able to follow the thread of an argument through papers over a few decades – and lots and lots of dedication.”


    “The worst you could say is people who don’t accept ‘consensus climate science’ are likely finding basic – or advanced – thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer and statistics a little difficult and might have misunderstood, or missed, a step somewhere.”

    # # #

    Yes SOD, “missed a step somewhere”. You describe yourself perfectly – a self-epithet.

    SOD’s missing step? Radiative heating effect on surface materials – every radiation-material interaction yields a different effect for the different radiation wavelength and material combinations. In the case of DLR, a negligible effect on surface materials, actually a cooling effect on water for example (evaporative effect).

    So no SOD, there is no “inevitability of a 2-6ºC rise in temperature if we continue to add CO2 and other GHGs to the atmosphere”.

  51. Richard C (NZ) on 25/04/2015 at 8:26 pm said:

    >So no SOD, there is no “inevitability of a 2-6ºC rise in temperature if we continue to add CO2 and other GHGs to the atmosphere”.

    I would add that CO2 is the minor component of DLR, 6 W/m-2 in the US standard atmosphere 1976.

    For perspective, DLR is around 400 W.m-2 in the tropics and the decadal rate of CO2 forcing is about 0.3 W.m-2 (assuming the IPCC’s forcing expression is valid – it isn’t).

  52. Richard C (NZ) on 27/04/2015 at 8:24 pm said:

    Tim Ball nails it:

    ‘CO2 is the Demon Because Malthus and Ehrlich Were Wrong About Overpopulation’

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