Rafe’s Roundup Jan 24

Drop in and see what they are up to!

The Energy Realists of Australia Jo Nova Quadrant on line

IPA         Climate and energy program  CIS          The Sydney Institute

Menzies Research Centre  Mannkal Economics Education Foundation          

Advance Australia  Taxpayers Alliance  Australian Inst for Progress

The Conservative Vagabond The Rathouse and The Site of Kilmeny Niland

How Africa defeated COVID so decisively without vaccines

Read this alongside the story posted earlier this month about the Ivermectin scandal!

Part of the African continent’s success is no doubt due to a fortunate accident of microbiology, infectious diseases, pharmacology and immunology.  It so happens that two of the most effective treatments for COVID, ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, are also routine prophylactic weekly medicines throughout equatorial Africa, because they happen to be known for a half-century as the most effective, applicable and safest anti-parasite medications.  So the population, particularly through about 31 countries, the tropical middle rectangle roughly, of Africa already were well-equipped prior to COVID events launching in late 2019 to early 2020.

As fortune would have it, the unpatented and relatively inexpensive half-century old drug ivermectin, whose inventors won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2015, [14] also has been the most effective medicine against COVID, [15] due in part to its specific effect against RNA transcriptase, as well as its blocking effect on all three parts of the trimeric spike protein, and other mechanisms. [16]

Hydroxychloroquine is also used widely throughout at least equatorial regions of Africa as a prophylactic against parasites, but which fortunately has now been studied extensively and used successfully as both prevention and treatment of COVID disease, and as inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 replication and activity.  This is shown in over 380 studies conducted in 55 countries. [17]


A blast from the past

The original Rafe’s Roundup in CIS Policy quarterly. 1989-1991

Catallaxy posts lost in a Great Server Crash in 2005

John Kerry, our savior

“When you start to think about it, it’s pretty extraordinary that we – a select group of human beings, because of whatever touched us at some point in our lives – are able to sit in a room and come together and actually talk about saving the planet,” Kerry told a WEF panel on Tuesday.

“It’s so… almost extra-terrestrial to think about, saving the planet. If you say that to most people most people, they think you’re just a crazy tree hugging and lefty liberal, you know, do-gooder, whatever,” he added.

Read all about it!


A pervasive pathology of government policy and planning

In a discussion of the policy blunder of connecting intermittent energy providers to the grid, I was alerted to an IPA study of 20 state and federal policies. The study used ten criteria including establishing need, setting objectives, identifying options, designing implementation pathways and consultation with stakeholders.

The policies including emergency Covid measures in several states, Jobkeeper and Funding . The results, based on boxes ticked, are very mixed and too many demonstrate the phenomenon that Roger James called solutioneering, based on his observation of the Labor government in Britain after WW2. This is in his introduction to the philosophy of Karl Popper Return to Reason , focussed on departures from reason in the conduct of public affairs and the danger of certain wrong ideas and unquestioned assumptions.

This is not a criticism of the very labour-intensive effort in the IPA study but some of the worst examples of the pathology were not included, like Pink Batts, the NBN and the worst of all, connecting subsidised and mandated intermittent energy to the grid.

Solutioneering means::

Jumping to a solution before clearly formulating what the problem is (or indeed if there is one at all) or how success or failure are to be judged. Achievement of the solution then becomes the goal; and, when opposition develops, the problem becomes how to get the solution accepted, while the question of how best to solve the original problem, if there was one, never gets discussed at all.

Think of a project, estimate (or, rather, underestimate) its cost; estimate (or, rather, overestimate) the revenue it will generate and other benefits. Don’t consult the people who will be most impacted, consult “stakeholders” by all means but these will usually be vested interests that stand to gain from the project. Among them will be bureaucrats with expanded empires, regulators with more power and money movers who get a percentage of the expenditure.

Stress the urgency, it will cost more later if action is delayed, and if all else fails describe all the expense as an investment in the future.

Does that sound familiar?

SA windpower fails, as usual

It is time for the politicians, planners and commentator to face the fact that wind and solar power have failed in South Australia. This is the wind leader, the trail-blazing pioneer of the new age of “clean” power.

It has become the canary in the coal mine, the red flag, a warning to all who would follow the path to become a “renewable energy superpower.”

The illusion of success is achieved by selective reporting.

Practically every week new heights of wind and solar penetration are achieved and this is greeted with wild applause. The same thing is happening in Britain where they have just announced record penetration of wind power in 2022.

People have to realise that the green transition is not being dragged up to follow higher levels of penetration, it is constrained by the lowest level which is zero on windless nights. The convoy moves at the speed of the slowest vessel, the water breaches the levy at the low point, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, the weasels get out of the yard through gaps in the fence even if you build the rest of the fence to the sky.

Forget about solving the problem by installing more wind and solar. And forget about storage, there is effectively none at grid-scale now and none is in sight in the foreseeable future. So-called big batteries are installed to make money out of gaming the system that has been destabilized by injecting intermittent, unreliable, weather-dependent energy. The intermittent energy system is also ruinously expensive and filthy dirty. Fossil power using modern scrubbing technology to eliminate nitrates, sulphides and particulate matter is pristine by comparison.

The conflicting stories describe “a game in two halves” as football commentators say. In the other half of the story in SA almost every day there are periods when they are importing coal power from Victoria or burning gas, and often both. They frequently have recourse to diesel generators, as they did this morning at least up to 10am Sydney time because the wind in SA is only average (CF 30%.)

In Britain and Germany domestic power prices are going through the roof, power-intensive industries are closing down and new coal mines are being opened up.

Has the world gone crazy?

No, just the energy planners, driven by terror of “the breath life”, CO2.

Think about this!  Look at the situation in Britain.

Then ask yourself whether you would invite one of the architects of that power system to come and lead our Energy Market Operator? No?

Meet Daniel Westerman who replaced Audrey Zibelman to become our “energy czar” at the helm of AEMO, the Australian Energy Market Operator.

Mr Westerman managed the electricity network across England and Wales and has led transformation and change programs across multiple business units and geographies.

His significant commercial and regulatory experience in both the UK and the US mean he is well-positioned to lead a key institution like AEMO through this period of significant change in the energy market.

Famous last words?

More details on the British debacle

London, 17 January 2023 – After the much-lauded battery start-up Britishvolt collapsed into administration, Net Zero Watch has reiterated its warning that the Government’s policy of green interventionism and Net Zero dogmatism is a recipe for economic and political disaster. 

Described as a ‘gigafactory’, the collapsed EV battery factory was meant to be a symbol of levelling-up and would show how a green “planned economy” could herald an industrial renaissance.

UK Government ministers had committed £100 million to the battery project, apparently without a sound business plan, because it aligned with official rhetoric on Net Zero. 

The company blamed Britain’s “ballooning energy costs” for its predicament, and its ultimate collapse.

In recent months, BMW has announced it is moving manufacturing of the electric Mini from the UK to China, where manufacturing is powered by cheap coal. Other carmakers plan to slash the number of electric vehicles they manufacture because rising prices and the spiralling cost of electricity makes them increasingly unaffordable for drivers.

Dr Benny Peiser, Net Zero Watch’s director, said:
“This fiasco was utterly foreseeable and was indeed foreseen by us and other analysts — but not by complacent ministers and incompetent civil servants. BMW’s China exodus and Britishvolt’s collapse won’t be the last casualties of the government’s green command and control economy.”

Throwing money at projects without a sound business plan because they align with official rhetoric on Net Zero is a new pandemic, happening in Australia in the private (Sun Cable) and public sectors (hydrogen hubs) and in the US at a much grander scale under the aegis of the Legislation to Increase Inflation and Debt which has the Orwellian label Inflation Reduction (black is white and white is black.)

Meawhile coal surges in Europe and most other places

And Voices intervene to ensure that there is no more gas coming on stream in New South Wales to avert the collapse of the power supply when coal stations go out of business.

Rossetti and the wombat

Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington kindly reminded me that Dante Gabriel Rossetti loved wombats.

The wombat was to become a principal obsession of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and his unofficial trademark. He wrote loving poems about the creature and captured it in paint and pen. He later bought two of them for £8, and added them to his Cheyne Walk menagerie, naming one of them Top after his rival in love, William Morris. The attraction apparently lay in the sheer absurdity of the beast and its funny-sounding name. ‘The Wombat is a Joy, a Triumph, a Delight, a Madness!’ Rossetti declared, and before long his crowd of acolytes embraced the wombat cult as a badge of loyalty to their leader.

Story and pictures.

Karl Popper favoured koala bears. When he was looking for a move from New Zealand in 1945 he wrote to his friend Ernst Gombrich “You kindly advise me to prefer Otago to Perth. But I don’t think you really know enough of Australia. By far the nicest animal there (and perhaps the loveliest animal that exists) is the Koala bear.”

Wombat does energy policy

Real or surreal?

A headline in a daily newspaper recently announced Australia’s “carbon cut challenge just got real.

This is the move to require 215 “big polluters” to cut their emissions by some 5% each year to 2030 to help meet the 43% emission reduction program.

The path to a 43 per cent emission reduction by 2030 appears achievable and economists believe Bowen’s price signal for the industrial sector will help businesses achieve this in a cost-efficient way.

Unbelievably (actually, true to form) the Business Council is fully supportive.

In the harsh light of engineering reality this move is simply surreal, like the whole “decarbonisation” process itself. Face the facts, spelled out by Mark Mills, worldwide the transition has hit the wall – decades of time and trillions of spending have reduced the fossil fuel component of total energy use from 84% to 82%. See here for a short and graphic account.

In Australia, we are one coal station closure from the brink of disaster, demonstrated by the crisis in June which will become chronic.

As for getting tough with the “big polluters”, this will undermine the productivity of industry just when we most need to increase it. It will inflate costs and put an end to unsubsidized investment in new industries that depend on affordable power.

The report ended with a comment that the net zero aspiration would appear to be impossible with existing technology . This should have been the headline, not an afterthought in the past para. This looks like an insurance policy to cover himself when the ponzi scheme collapses. Does he have inside information?

What will his editor say? More research required.

To be clear about the lunacy of the net zero ambition, check out the Basic Information Package from the Energy Realists of Australia.

South Australia does it again

Not to mention Victoria.

At sunrise this morning SA was importing 40% of their power and two thirds of local generation came from gas. They are “independent” when the Capacity Factor of the wind is 40 or 50% or more, well above the average of 29%. This morning it was 12%.

Victoria and Tasmania (the battery of the nation) were in trouble as well, deep in a wind drought at CF 5%.

The interstate flows.

This is the live displayt

The Fuel Mix in Victoria

Support for the new energy narrative

According to the new narrative, flagged here on the New Catallaxy, wind and solar power are unsustainable, dirty, expensive and catastrophic for the environment. The root of the problem is the fake science news that is put about by the collection of vested interests that apparently hate the western world and everything that makes for peace, freedom and prosperity in it.

This article refers to a publication by a heavyweight scientist, not really news for people around here but valuable as an uncompromising statement backed by the best science.

The author notes that the emphasis on a false climate crisis is becoming a “tragedy for modern civilisation”, which depends on reliable, affordable and environmentally viable energy. “The windmills, solar panels and backup batteries have none of these qualities,” he states. This falsehood has been pushed by what has been termed a climate industrial complex, comprising some scientists, most media, industrialists and legislators. Furthermore, he continues, this grouping has “somehow” managed to convince many that CO2 in the atmosphere, a gas necessary for life on Earth, one which we exhale with every breath, is an environmental poison.

In Manheimer’s view, the partnership among self-interested businesses, grandstanding politicians and alarmist campaigners, “truly is an unholy alliance”.



Pressing on with the new energy story that was sketched here not long ago.

The so-called green energy transition has hit the wall. Worldwide, trillions of dollars of investment have shifted the contribution of organic (hydrocarbon or fossil) fuel from about 82% of total energy use to 80 or 81%.  In Australia we are one coal station closure from crisis in the power supply every night when the wind is low.

According to the old narrative, South Australia is showing the way. Lately we read a tweet:  

South Australia does it again!

70.7% of SA’s electricity was generated from renewable in 2022. A new record and up from 65.7% in calendar year 2021.  By comparison the International Energy Agency estimates Denmark 68.9%, Ireland 33%, Germany 26%, USA 12%, China 11%.

As for the performance of South Australia, simply observing the balance of power at sunrise and sunset demonstrates that the state is importing power and burning gas almost every day. The exceptions are when the wind is a long way above the average Capacity Factor of 29%. This has been reported many times before and it is a message that has to spread wider, as indeed it will as the National Information Network is rolled out.

This morning at 7am Sydney time SA was importing  15% of the demand while 20% of local generation was gas. The wind was well above average at CF 40!

Incidentally Tasmania (the battery of the nation) was importing 40% of demand, drawing (mostly) coal power from Victoria. At the time 73% of Victoria’s power came from coal, so you can see that both SA and Tasmania will be in trouble when Daniel Andrews closes the coal stations.

Wind literacy is fundamental to explaining the death of the old narrative. This note contains an appendix on wind-watching. But be warned, wind-watching can be time-consuming and habit forming, so Watch Responsibly!

Fake Weather News

Climate alarm sustained by fake news that ignores the clear evidence of public records of previous fires, floods, droughts and storms. Chris Kenny recently published a good article on this. Our colleague Peter Smith is active in this space as well. Graham Lloyd in The Australian wrote well on this today.

The Ivermectin scandal

For 35 years, Ivermectin was hailed as a miracle drug.  It had an incredible impact on millions of people’s lives around the world who suffered from diseases like river blindness, scabies, and elephantiasis, without side effects and at an affordable price.

The scientists who discovered it won the Nobel Prize:


Mountains of data have emerged showing the miraculous effectiveness of Ivermectin in preventing and transmitting Covid. But governments either prohibited or severely restricted its use.  Why?   

This video very recently produced by The Epoch Times answers the question:



More people are taking notice!