© 2017 by Kathy Schulders. Proudly created with Wix.com  

  • Grey Twitter Icon

April 21, 2017

Igniting gas production in Australia..

One of the major surprises of the energy debate in Australia is that both the South Australian Labor Premier, Jay Weatherill, and National Party leader, Barnaby Joyce, managed to agree on a sensible policy. That policy, involving handing farmers a slice of the royalties on gas extracted from underneath their land, may transform the present blame shifting of the debate into a discussion about what to do with all the cheap gas – if it is ever adopted.

March 28, 2017

Taxing times for Australia, Indonesia and the world

International tax - The challenge of companies and individuals shuffling income and assets between jurisdictions - a major issue in the ASEAN region - has come to the fore in both Australia and Indonesia

March 24, 2017

Whacky power schemes

When the Rudd government greatly expanded the Renewable Energy Target in 2009, turning an innocuous Howard government initiative into the raging, grid-destabilising monster that we know today, there was little opposition.

Eight years down the track, with the problems of loading a lot of wind power on a grid not designed for it and unable to adapt quickly to change painfully apparent, state and federal governments are now labouring hard to make things worse, with a range of weird and wonderful policy announcements.

February 09, 2017

Battening down for an environmental war

As previous Republican presidents have discovered, many regulations cannot be changed by the stroke of a pen. Both Ronald Reagan and George W Bush come to office hoping to abolish key EPA regulations but were blocked by the bureaucracy and environmental groups skilled at litigation.

As far as green groups are concerned appointing Oklahoma attorney-general Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA is akin to placing the devil in charge of the Vatican, but he is a devil that still has to follow rules. The administration can dump any rule that has not made it through the legal process, but changes to existing rules require due notification, and even then the changes can be challenged in the courts by activist groups skilled in "lawfare". As Mr Pruitt's own attempts to sue the EPA have shown, the courts usually decide in favor of green groups. Affecting real change promises to be an uphill battle for Trump.   

January 23, 2017

Is automation really kicking goals?

Anyone fearful of robots taking over from humans to the point of causing mass unemployment should watch a game of Robosoccer. This is a league of robots playing soccer which are considerable feats of automation but also underline the difficulties robots have of undertaking even basic tasks such as spotting a black and white ball on a white line. 

Economists often joke that they can see the IT revolution everywhere but in the productivity figures, and Robosoccer may show why.  

November 24, 2016

Trump-sized upheaval in climate movement

The election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States cast a long shadow over the climate conference in Morocco earlier this month. Although he since backtracked a little on claims that teh climate change story is a hoax, possibly an even more unexpected development is that industrial emissions have stopped growing in the past two years, largely due to changes in the Chinese economy that are not connected to any green agenda. Moreover, the US economy is set to substantially decarbonise regardless of what Trump thinks about climate change.

November 20, 2016

The switch to renewables: Lessons from small islands

Those actively pushing for a future where renewables take over electricity generation often point to island grids such as El Hierro in the Spanish Canary Islands, Kodiak Island in Alaska, and King Island in Australia’s Bass Strait. On those islands and others, renewables have proved a satisfactory (if still expensive) solution to the problem of importing diesel for generators – but only if someone other than the islanders pay the astronomical investment required to install them.

November 14, 2016

Lots of steam still left in coal exports but renewable building a head

Coal prices, having slumped, have increased sharply in the latter part of the year. Although the coal industry faces strong market headwinds, the undoubted growth in the renewable market, notably wind and solar, in aggregate remains a small factor in global markets.

 

...About 60 per cent of Australia’s coal exports is coking coal used in smelting iron ore into steel, metallurgical coals, which is unaffected by the surge in the use of alternate energy. Even among thermal coals, there are vastly different markets for different grades of coal.

September 21, 2016

Climate deals are hard to complete

Hammering out an international agreement on limiting carbon emissions is hard enough, as anyone who has attended the succession of conferences on such a treaty since the Copenhagen meeting in 2009 can testify. But as the subsequent history of both the extended Kyoto Protocol agreed at a meeting in Doha in 2012 and the more comprehensive climate agreement signed in Paris late last year have shown, the conference itself is only the start of the political saga for these treaties.

August 04, 2016

Green power has a long way to go

One factor driving energy policies across the world is repeated claims by activists that green energy is gaining substantial market share over its despised fossil fuel competitors.

These claims, made for the likes of the Danish, German, Californian and even Chinese grids, are distorting the energy debate, for they do not stand up to close scrutiny.

Please reload

Note that these are links to articles. If you wish to comment on them please go to the site on which they have been published. There will be no discussion of climate or emissions on this site.