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Are wind farms noisy?

Are wind farms noisy? Tony Abbott thinks they are. And if Tony Abbott thinks they’re noisy then I imagine that every right-winger in the country will be using Abbott’s opinion as scientific evidence that your eardrums will be blown out if you dare to venture within two postcodes of the ‘awful’ things.

Mr Abbott forgets that timber mills are noisy, as are roads, which he came to office vowing to build more of.

But back to wind farms . . . was Mr Abbott telling the truth? Are they really noisy?

Instead of sitting here and spending all day summarising studies into the issue, I could best be more effective if I implore you watch this very short video which gives us the answer.

And for those who don’t wish to watch the video I will give you the findings: they are not noisy. Tony Abbott is. He’s making a noise about nothing.

Would it be too much to ask him to remain silent on any issue he knows nothing about? Can we hope that in future he refrains from telling untruths in order to promote government policy and his own personal prejudices?

I think he’s just too noisy.




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  1. Richard Leggatt

    I think this quote from Bernard Keane over at Crikey sums it up!

    “Abbott and his government are not worried about the performance of the economy, good governance or infrastructure investment — just plain partisanship and a particularly dim-witted, anti-science ideology.”

    A line that I hope will spring constantly from every-ones lips as often as possible until an election dismisses these odious clowns! A complete clusterf***k of morons!

  2. roaminruin

    Abbott’s a wind warm that makes far too much noise.

  3. Carol Taylor

    Richard, plus while the rest of the world is moving forward on clean energy/climate change, Australia has not just stagnated but via such comments is actively campaigning against remedies via fear campaigns. It was Hockey who originally got the ball rolling on the anti-clean energy campaign with his “utterly offensive” comment which left one wondering if he finds a wind farm offensive, heaven help him if he ever went within cooee of something such as an abbatoir.

  4. keerti

    The collective sigh of relief when the moron and his accomplices are voted out the collective sigh of relief should be enou8gh to power australia for a month! How to harness the energy?

  5. Jen

    They’re ugly too, apparently. Uglier even than open cut mines on the landscape. Evidence the man’s a dolt. As are all those who slavishly follow and repeat his every word.

  6. stuff me

    All we ever hear from the LNP is noise.

  7. Nigel C

    Who are these dimwits who voted for them?

  8. Florence nee Fedup

    They are not talking about noise so they say. Demanding it must be changed to sound. Sound by the way, the human ear cannot hear. Yes infra sound, that it appears does many funny things. Is louder the further one gets from the turbines, Doesn’t affect those working under turbines ten or twelve hours a day,

    Tests have shown in some cases, the further one moves away, the greater amount of infra sound is to be found.

    Not sure what this infra sound is, but I assume it is caused by many more things in the community than wind turbines.

    Maybe someone can explain what causes infra sound. I seem to think it is caused by movement of wind over solid surfaces, Could have it wrong.

    I will not even try to explain, they dangers they say our bird life face, including the brolga.

    I did hear 2 experts that actually work for Landcare. talk down the risks.

    Please someone enlighten me, to how much infra sound is in the environment that we endure each day.

    Seriously. I do believe some are making themselves very sick, living within five more kilometres from wind farms. They are really worked up. Not sure it is not fear of the turbines, not the turbines themselves.

    I found listening to the Senate select hearings very entertaining if not enlightening.

  9. Clean livin

    For someone who lives on the leafy north shore of Sydney, or the tax payers residence at Kirrabilli, far removed from the giant open cut mines of the Hunter, or their accompanying coal burning electricity generators, hardly puts Captain Australia in the position to talk about “noisy” wind turbines.

    Along with his hapless and hopless Tresurer, he needs to live in the real world before making comparison judgements between noise and landscapes.

    I suggest, PM, that you stick to terrorism, because it is more than obvious you know nought about much else, not that you know much about terrorism, but it is a vote catcher, eh?

  10. bobrafto

    Just love it when peeps say that infrasound is not sound when the last part of the word spells ‘sound’.

    It’s a different type of sound that goes whooomph, whooomph, whooomph, or something like it 24/7 when the wind is blowing.

    Now just imagine having this noise going all day and night. It would be a like a dripping tap, doesn’t make that much noise but enough to drive one mad and you can’t turn a turbine off. Another form of Chinese water torture. Or perhaps the turbines should start and finish at the same time as the saw mills with the weekends off.

    However, there is a simple solution, just as industrial zones are separated from residential zones, these turbines should not be allowed within earshot of human habitation or as mentioned above to operate in the same manner as saw mills.

  11. rabiddingo

    So, my grandkids are hostage to the twisted aesthetics of Hockey and Abbott? “Wind generators are ugly”.
    I think coal burning plants are like a vision of Mordor.
    Will no one rid us of this failed wannabe priest?

  12. corvus boreus

    Having background infrasound as a low ‘whooomph’ would be irritating.
    Having chronic health problem like suffering spontaneous nosebleeds, respiratory problems and chronic migraines from noxious gases, as well as contamination resulting in flammable and totally unusable water, as a result of ‘unconventional’ coal-gas mining activities (things currently being experienced by folk at Tara and Chinchilla in central Queensland) puts the aural inconvenience of a background ‘whooomph’ in perspective.
    Guess which one the PM picks as an issue worth investigating.

  13. Mic the Heretic

    Maybe they’re different designs, or the video sound didn’t go low enough in frequency but my experience, here in Australia (which is the only country in the world with Wind Turbine Syndrome), was being quite close to a single turbine, and there was a definite “WHUMP” as each blade passed the pedestal. Sitting outside a little coffee shop in Little Hartley, it wasn’t a major distraction but, trying to sleep there would have been like Chinese Water Torture. It certainly didn’t dissuade me from considering a new house in the area because if it were built with all the ‘environmental’ insulation etc., the sound would be muted out anyway and at 500m distance (approx.) I don’t recall hearing it all although, I must admit, it was a very quiet area so if the sound were to carry and disturb, that was the one of the potentially worse locations.

    There are so many different options out there like the “Turby” which is virtually silent at 20m and Spain has just developed a bladeless vertical shaft that hardly moves at all (extremely low maintenance costs) and they can be installed at a greater density. Germany’s effort at green energy with turbines and PV is going so well, that it recently crossed a threshold where electricity became so cheap (negative numbers), that people were being PAID to use it. Come on! We’re losing three car manufacturers very soon — let’s retool the factories and become a major exporter of Wind Turbines.

    I stayed two weeks in a flat on Military Road near The Spit. Car engines all night weren’t the problem; the continuous sound of rubber on road was!

    If one wants to complain about noise from electrical distribution, visit Oakes Road in Carlingford. Every High-Tension tower (bar one) crackles and hums all day and night because of decaying insulators. That’s LOST electricity for which we, the consumers, end up paying. The “silent” one is because the person living underneath it rang every day for six months to have the insulators replaced. Last time I visited, I suggested he start ringing again soon, because even in the middle of the day I could hear that particular tower was already in need of new replacements — privatization has destroyed maintenance!

  14. Andreas Bimba

    The Minerals Council don’t like wind power so Tony doesn’t like wind power.

  15. hughwebster2014

    Anyone who doesn’t accept climate change isn’t living in the real world.

  16. stephentardrew

    Well dang sonny those new fangled listening thingies don’t have ears so who are ya kiddin.

    Haven’t you heard of subsonic and super sonic windy blowing turbine penetrating invisible noise that will make ya lose your balance, give ya headaches and eventually lead to brain cancer while puss pours outa ya ears leading towards supporting the L-NP as your Saviour.

    Big bloody fail if ya ask me drongo.

  17. rossleighbrisbane

    Shall we start a petition demanding that all wind farms are replaced by coal fired power stations… In exactly the same place the wind farm was, so that the people living near them don’t have to worry about noise or other side affects to their health.

  18. Florence nee Fedup

    Nothing uglier than an open cut coal; mine or the truck and trains that stream out of them. Many find fracking obscene as well. Haven’t seen a pretty cola fired power station yet.

  19. mmc1949

    I like wind farms. I like the look of the blades turning, like windmills of old. I like the gentle whoosh, whoosh that you can hear when you’re up very close to them.
    Maybe I haven’t seen enough of these but none of the ones I have seen have had dwellings near enough to be bothered by the sound.
    If you’re going to be bothered by sound you can’t hear, you’re also going to be bothered by all the other invisible rays and inaudible sounds and goodness knows what else that affect us (really?) every day. Has anybody told Tony about all these things that he also needs to get paranoid about?

  20. Florence nee Fedup

    It was the hatred in his voice that got me. The boasting that he had prevented more. Would have, if the pesky senate let him. Boasting because he was destroying jobs and industry. Some PM we have.

  21. miriamenglish

    Tony Abbott has the rest of the world concerned.

    Abbott ‘shockingly incompetent’

    A US think tank has labelled Prime Minister Tony Abbott “shockingly incompetent”, comparing him with “unhinged” leaders like North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

    They think he looks crazy from over there. They should see how loony he appears when he’s sharing the same country.

  22. silkworm

    The infrasound theory of wind farm sickness is total bunkum, and Toxic and Fat Boy know it. The real cause of the sickness that wind turbines produce is envy, the fact that some lucky farmer is getting bucks for producing energy, while some other lazy bum is not getting those bucks.

  23. olive

    Ever seen a coal mind scarring the landscape …ever seen the slag heaps ……..ever seen a miners lungs ……ever seen the chimney stacks of a coal fired power station ……….this man is a serious troglodyte and an international embarrassment……can we get the German and Scadinavian governments to publicly say they are insulted by his remarks ?

  24. Anomander

    @bobrafto. I suggest you take the time to look-up the Inverse Square Law, which states that a specified physical quantity or intensity is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source. Effectively, the further the distance away form the source, the sound drops by 1/2 squared.

    Based on this simple equation, any wind turbines noisy enough to physically affect people at a distance of several kilometres, the sound levels within 50 metres would literally make your head explode.

    Call it infrasound all you like – it cannot violate the fundamental laws of physics.

    You’re worried about the levels of sound being 24/7? Try living in a big city some day – I have lived and worked in various inner-city locations 24/7 and I can tell you the background noise simply does not stop, even in the earliest hours of the morning when almost everyone else is asleep, the constant hum of cars and machinery never ceases for a single moment.

    Amusingly, the only people who seem to have these health complaints are those who don’t have turbines situated on their property and, unlike their neighbours, aren’t reaping the financial benefits. All their supposed medical ailments are from jealousy induced psychogenisis.

  25. Mic the Heretic

    @Anomander: I hadn’t read bobrafto’s comment, so my reference to Chinese Water Torture was parallel, not copy. I agree with you regarding the distribution of sound. If they were as bad as being suggested, then I could never have enjoyed an afternoon tea as close to the one that I mentioned.

  26. my say

    I live in a rural area with wind turbines all around,where cattle and sheep graze all day ,the only person that seems to be suffering ill health is ABBOTT ,he is sick in the head ,bloody idiot

  27. Stephen Baggaley

    I’ve holidayed on a farm where there was a wind farm nearby and frankly heard nothing, even at night when there was no other competing noise.

    Compare that with where I live in Brisbane. Here we have constant traffic noise during the day, long, loud goods trains at night, the frequent sound of helicopters taking patients to a nearby hospital, and the occasional plane landing at or taking off from Brisbane’s airport.

    And how about where I once lived in Sydney. That was in Newtown where I was under a flight path to Sydney’s airport, and the noise was deafeningly loud and constant throughout the day and evening. Not forgetting all the trains on the Parramatta line, and the neverending noise of traffic on King Street and Enfield Road.

    So, how Mr Abbott can make his comments and think they have any validity is beyond belief. Clearly it was his attempt at political spruiking.

  28. stephentardrew

    Tony dumb dumb strikes again.

    How foolish can a fool be.

    He seems to be stretching the boundaries.

  29. bobrafto

    First of all, I don’t live near turbines, Secondly I lived in a highrise opp, the Brisbane botanic gardens and you couldn’t open the balcony door without hearing the noise from the SE Freeway and the Story Bridge, True stereophonic noise.

    I like to keep this simple, I am not against turbines and there is a constant noise that is afflicting some people and some here have started to speculate and demonize these people for being envious almost like the LNP leaner and lifter. Maybe they have turbines on their property.

    Mental illness cannot be dismissed as aural inconvenience and the affliction is on par with ailments from fracking. Until someone has experienced mental illness, they shouldn’t speak.

    I’ll restate my position, turbines should not be within earshot of human habitation, whether it be 50 metres or 5ks.

    Anyway, I’m glad I’ve stopped eating cattle and sheep. The turbines could be sending those cows mad and unknowingly the butchers could be selling mad cow diseased meat.

    Enjoy that T-Bone.

  30. bobrafto

    I’ve holidayed on a farm where there was a wind farm nearby and frankly heard nothing, even at night when there was no other competing noise.

    That’s good you weren’t within earshot of the turbines.

  31. stephentardrew

    Where is the empirical evidence.

    Pure speculation until the research is conducted.

    If in doubt do the science and stop the whining.

  32. Wally

    Wind farms are noisy and you cannot stand near a turbine for 10 minutes with a sound meter and make a decisive judgement.

    But before we get into that you first need to understand that the scale of noise measurement, decibels is a logarithmic measurement so an increase of 10 units doubles the volume so to go from 48dB in the gardens to 58dB at the retirement village is double the volume. Then at the wind farm noise increases to 68dB so that is 4 times as loud as the gardens. Obviously traffic at 88dB is 4 times as loud as the wind turbine.

    The issue with so called noise from wind farms is not the noise of a single turbine it is the harmonics that are generated given a particular wind speed and direction combined with the layout of multiple turbines. So there are times when you can hear a low frequency hum or vibration that can be irritating to some people but this is not a noise that persists at a frequency that humans can hear 24/7 like the noise on a freeway or a busy road.

    People on both sides of this argument are making statements that are close to the facts but taken totally out of perspective. I spent a few hours at the Portland Vic. wind farm in April inspecting some of the electrical work, as well as driving around the wind farm I went inside 3 turbines. The diesel ute I was driven around in was louder than any of the turbines on the day. You would have to be a very light sleeper if you couldn’t camp beside a turbine, a cow farting in the next paddock would be more intrusive.

  33. silkworm

    “The turbines could be sending those cows mad…” That has to be one of the most moronic comments made on this site.

  34. bobrafto

    as it was intended to be.

  35. diannaart

    In the long, long list of stupid that Abbott has created, surely his wind turbine syndrome will be the last straw? Next he’ll claim the earth is flat.

  36. bobrafto

    as an aside from my inbox

    The sun always shines on PV
    Despite periodic controversies over its costs and on-off subsidies, modest progress in upping conversion efficiency and general unreliability of sunshine in places where it’s needed, the deployment of solar power systems marches on. A new report from industry association SolarPower Europe says 2014 was “another record year” with 40 GW being connected worldwide beating the previous year’s record of 38.4 GW.
    James Watson, CEO, this week said, “the global solar sector reached a cumulative capacity of 178GW in 2014, multiplying the installed capacity by a factor of 100 in only 14 years of development. China, Japan and the USA lead the world’s solar market, while Europe last year installed 7GW, with the UK leading the way, contributing 2.4GW in 2014.
    “The success of the UK, set to be the largest European market again in 2015, reinforces the evidence that solar power is a versatile and cost-efficient energy source in any climate. Solar power could grow by 80% in Europe by 2020.”
    Further evidence of the growth of solar power comes from other market analysts – IHS citing a “32GW project pipeline”, while Greentech Media Research has reported a “sharp rise in residential installations”. However, it is worth noting the finer details of the funding bodies and funding models; unsurprisingly, commercial viability is the priority rather than any altruistic objective of replacing carbon-based energy sources.
    Solar remains a strong influence on research and development: this week’s Intersolar expo in Munich has heard about significant developments in perovskite, the promising solar cell material. Imec has developed a thin-film perovskite-based PV module offering a conversion efficiency of 8%, while Japan’s National Institute for Materials Science has made stable perovskite cells using “structural simplification”.


  37. jimhaz

    [Sitting outside a little coffee shop in Little Hartley, it wasn’t a major distraction but, trying to sleep there would have been like Chinese Water Torture]

    You learn to turn off such sounds.

    What the problem is with the majority of people who complain about the noise is that they oppose the idea of wind farms in the first place and work themselves up going over and over it in the night until it becomes obsessive and they become super sensitive to the sound. It is akin to a form of body itch that just wont go away. They develop a minor mental illness which in turn can lead to physical illness or it can deepen to hysteria.

  38. Gangey1959

    Sorry Rossleigh. I have to point out a mistake in your very first line.
    tony abbott DOESN’T think. He is just a vocal outlet for ms credlin et al’s morning ablutions.
    I don’t recall the Hazelwood power station being particularly quiet way bac in form three on my school tour, nor was the open cut beside it.
    And it ALL stank.
    The “practice” mine and associated operations in which I acquired my Dump-truck ticket in 2010 were certainly noisy. And dirty, dusty and messy.
    Just a thought, but wouldnt some of the old mine-sites be perfect for wind and solar farms ?
    He is a dickhead. We need him gone. And his moron mates.

  39. bobrafto

    You learn to turn off such sounds.

    I moved to an idyllic location on the ranges of the Sunshine Coast hinterland on acreage in a forest setting, perched on a ridge. Peace at last I thought especially when you couldn’t see the nearest neighbour almost a k away

    What I didn’t know when I moved in is that when one turns on the water, one also turns on a noisy pump. And did it drive me crazy, and I think it took 18 months to learn to mute the noise but not before I got in the neck. A debilitating arthritic pain that still lingers to this day.

    “What the problem is with the majority of people who complain about the noise is that they oppose the idea of wind farms in the first place”

    Not if they weren’t placed next to human habitation, that simple. We look at implementing safeguards for other industries why not for these turbines.

  40. Wally

    @bobrafto making solar panels and inverters more efficient makes very little difference to the usefulness of solar power in the real world. We need to overcome the inherent problem with solar, when the sun doesn’t shine they are useless. Generating more power from a smaller sized array or getting 0.5% more power because the inverter is more efficient doesn’t overcome the problem.

    I have lost count of how many solar systems I have inspected over the past 5 years, there have been hundreds and recently it is businesses and factories that are installing solar. Putting solar panels in places with high day time power use is a great idea but on mid winter cloudy days even large systems only provide part of the power consumed. We need a totally different approach if we want to get rid of coal fired power stations without going to nuclear.

    We need to put solar panels in space where the sun always shines, there are no clouds and PV efficiency is many times greater than it is within our atmosphere. You never hear of satellites running out of power. The area we need to develop is how to get the power collected out in space back to earth, in theory a microwave link would work but as far as I am aware no one is even exploring the possibilities.

    Thermal power is another avenue but once again the amount of research on geo thermal power is minimal. All the things a carbon tax could fund left to go begging because we have an over paid narrow minded idiot as PM.

  41. diannaart


    Have you heard of power storage technology? AKA batteries.


    One of the great things about renewable power/energy is that we have a choice of many different types to suit many different applications – no longer do we have to rely on a massive grid – which, once down, effects many people such as hospitals and other essential services.

    Fact is, Wally, big business needs the big grid to hold more power (literally AND figuratively) hence it is in their interest to disparage anything that will change that balance.

    Technical advancement is underway – not even a dickhead like Abbott nor his corporate bosses can’t stop human ingenuity and knowledge from continuing exponentially – the genie is out of the bottle now – thank the universe.

  42. diannaart


    The topic is windfarms not jet contrails.

    If you wish to learn more about the range of human activities which contribute to climate change I suggest the following website:


    I was going to suggest NASA – however you appear to cherry pick information from this august organisation – namely jet contrails are not the major contributing factor of climate change. Every day pollution from coal burning, oil burning, contributes far more.

  43. darrel nay

    reply for diannaart,
    sometimes it’s useful to expand your frame of reference – don’t be afraid to think outside the box. I appreciate your input but I don’t need you to dictate the discussion.


  44. diannaart


    Topic is about windfarms – not dictating anything. however, now that you have mentioned the ‘d’ word, look who’s dictating now:

    “sometimes it’s useful to expand your frame of reference – don’t be afraid to think outside the box”

    Any read though my contributions would put the lie to your command to me.

    Back on topic


    …Julie Lundquist, from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and her colleagues studied wind data from Australia, Canada and the US, to calculate the distance over which weather tends to be correlated. They found that in Canada you had to travel about 550km for the weather to completely change, while in Australia the distance increased to 750km and in the US it was a mere 180km. “We suspect that these differences in correlation length are related to regional differences in microclimate and terrain variability,” says Lundquist, whose findings are published in Environmental Research Letters. By spacing wind turbines out at distances greater than this correlation length, each country can maximise its chances of having turbines turning and keeping the lights switched on.

    Meanwhile, wind-farms are so on the nose (or eyes and ears) of the coalition they prefer to subsidise large scale solar farms:


    Coalition ministers are looking at ways to accelerate the deployment of large scale solar farms under the revised Renewable Energy Target, at the expense of wind energy…..It is understood that Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane and Environment Minister Greg Hunt are facing strong party-room resistance to the cut-down 33,000GWh target agreed with Labor.

    Despite representing a cut of 8,000GWh, or around 3,000MW of new capacity, from the previously agreed target of 41,000GWh, many in the Coalition think the new target is still too much, and are against the idea of more wind farms.

    That feeling extends to the front bench. Prime Minister Tony Abbott told 2GB Radio on Thursday that wind farms were not nice to look at and had health impacts.

    Abbott admitted what has long been clear: that it was the intention of the Federal Government to reduce the number of wind turbines as much as possible. He would rather the RET not exist.

    Treasurer Joe Hockey told the same radio station last year that wind turbines were “utterly offensive”. There are precious few supporters of wind energy in the Coalition.

    Hence the push to find ways of promoting large scale solar in the revised RET. There are a range of views about whether the reduced target will squeeze out large scale solar our not.

    Again our federal government is out of step – we need all forms of sustainable power sources – not just the fave of the day.

  45. Awabakal

    “Are wind farms noisy?”

    What is noisy? – per Oxford Dictionary –
    1.making or given to making a lot of noise: “a noisy, giggling group of children”

    synonyms: rowdy · rackety · clamorous · boisterous · roisterous ·

    2.accompanied by or introducing random fluctuations that obscure the real signal or data.

    My interpretation is – No, they are not noisy, according to The Oxford Dictionary.

    I am noisier, particularly 10 minutes after I have put my head on the pillow. But every morning my loving lady is right there beside me with earplugs in, asleep.

    And for what it is worth and, favouring no one, the topic was on wind farms and their noise which is an extension on the problems we are having adopting alternative energy sources and the problems associated, just as NASA admits that contrails are affecting solar energy sources.

  46. Pingback: Australia’s Prime Minister Is No Fan of ‘Ugly, Noisy’ Wind Farms · Global Voices

  47. diannaart

    Things just got worse for Australia:

    Wind energy the biggest loser as Abbott sweeps to power, we wrote the day after this ultra-conservative Coalition came to power. And we continued with headlines such as Australia’s wind turbine syndrome, why Abbott hates the RET; Abbott’s Achilles Heel – is it ideology or ignorance?: and Tony Abbott’s energy rules: It’s goodies versus baddies.

    Harsh? Turns out we were probably not harsh enough. Our lingering suspicion that the Abbott government’s policy positioning and actions have been designed with one thing in mind – to cripple the clean energy industry in Australia – have been proven to be true … by the Prime Minister himself…..

    …Labor really has to get its act together Despite the compromise on the 33,000GWh renewable energy target, there is now daylight between the Conservative position on renewable energy and Labor’s – which is to increase the renewable target should it get elected (no certain thing, given Bill Shorten’s performances of late). But Labor needs to get its messaging, and its transitional policies clear on this. As seen by the closure of Alinta’s two coal-fired generators in South Australia, jobs are at risk and union pressure, which has neutralised Labor’s climate and clean energy policies in the past, means that Labor needs to plan a clear path for workers to transition to the new industries. Perhaps they should borrow a few ideas from the Labor government in the ACT.


  48. corvus boreus

    Bobrafto (12;04 am),
    I have been medically diagnosed with a form of mental divergence so I guess I am entitled to speak under your stated parameters.
    There is debatable speculation upon the possibly mental of long term exposure to low-level sound. I understand this. I cannot live in cities. The noise drives me batshit and effects my psyche and behavior.
    This is far different from actual physical symptoms manifesting as chronic health problems.
    Step back and consider what you have stated. You compared a light noise that might, over extended periods, exacerbate existing mental health problems, as on par (of equal seriousness), to a process that poisons the very air and water people rely upon for basic survival (as well as causing geological destabilisation) and can lead to potentially life threatening ailments in those who are exposed (as well as often destroying their livelihoods). Then you finish with a ‘joke’.
    You obviously have no idea of the suffering many people are experiencing as a direct result of ‘fracking’, nor do environmental factors seem to enter into your consideration.

  49. corvus boreus

    line 2; ‘possible mental effect’

  50. corvus boreus

    A factor in the blatant stupidity of the comments (and the actions) of Abbott on this matter is the fact that wind-farms are only on land where the owners have volunteered/consented to their presence.
    Many of the people having their (and their childrens’) health and livelihoods destroyed by CSG extraction are subject to compulsory acquisition, against their express wishes.

  51. bobrafto



    I agree with you with the ill effects of fracking. We are talking about health and we as a community should be ensuring that no family is adversely affected whether by fracking, turbine or coal.

    As for my joke, it’s my way of dealing with depressing debates, I have to humour myself to keep sane and in this instance at your discomfort it appears to which I apologize.

  52. corvus boreus

    Apology accepted with thanks for the clarification.
    Something for you to consider, with your proposal for a quarantining of populations from the dangers of turbines et al, is the effects of high voltage powerlines upon nearby populations.
    These emit both infrasound and electro-magnetic discharge. Numerous studies have noted an increase in incidence of both physical and mental health problems with proximity to ‘power-towers’ (including increased incidence of cancers).
    I do not entirely dismiss the possibility of ‘wind turbine syndrome’ (the conclusions of commisioned studies recommended further investigation), I just think it a peripheral priority being pushed politically to promote a different agenda entirely.

  53. Rob031

    As I understand it most of the ailments associated with living near wind farms is psychogenic – mind-caused. So too are the ‘illnesses’ relieved by Homeopathic ‘medicines’.
    Solution: Crank up the cranks to produce a homeopathic treatment for wind farm illness.
    Patients should be warned, however, that these ‘medications’ get stronger the more they have been diluted in water – “Strong Stuff” as Elwood said in “The Blues Brothers”. So, they should be told on the box that missing one or more pills may cause a fatal overdose.

  54. Wally

    @diannaart “Have you heard of power storage technology? AKA batteries” Yes but do you have any concept of the cost involved?

    It costs nearly as much to store and use solar power you have generated yourself as it does to buy power from the grid, last figures I saw was 23 cents per Kw/hour. That figure is based on getting maximum life out of the batteries and not having to prematurely replace an inverter. Most storage systems have a maximum load capability of 5Kw, larger inverters are available but they add to the cost significantly and larger inverters are very inefficient when supplying smaller loads.

    From the link you posted “And there are plenty of other peripheral areas of research that could improve battery storage. One particularly hot area of research is in wide band gap1 semiconducting materials, such as silicon carbide and gallium nitride, which would eliminate a lot of the energy that is wasted whenever electricity is inverted from DC to AC”

    Bottom line is we still have not developed batteries and inverters that are cost effective, efficient and reliable enough to be the sole source of power. At the moment lithium batteries despite lasting longer cannot compete with lead acid on a cost basis and lithium batteries present a fire hazard. If all of the money spent on developing better batteries was spent on better more efficient ways of generating electricity we might be better off.

  55. diannaart


    Remember when mobile phones were the size of house bricks?

    Computer processors took up entire buildings?

    Skype was something from Startrek?

    Flat screen TV’s a mere idea?

    Even the idea of home installation of solar panels was mocked?

    Getting the picture?

    We will find ways to store power. Not when or if or maybe, we will be able to go off-grid and break free from the control hungry big business which is trying, hopelessly, to stop innovation, invention and independence.

    You can remain a naysayer, Wally, me? I’m for the future.

  56. Wally

    @diannaart we will achieve many things in the future but we need solutions now not pipe dreams. Not always but sometimes the first design of a certain device remains as the hallmark because they got it right in the first place. At this point in time lead acid batteries appear to be one of these devices, they have been trying to develop better batteries since I began an apprenticeship as an electrician 40 years ago.

    There have been advances in newer types of batteries such as lithium batteries but success has been limited and lead acid batteries are still the main type used in heavy load applications. A few years ago the merits of Toyota’s Prius environmental benefits was considered to very questionable because the green house gases created to produce the batteries was greater than the green house gases the batteries would save being created during the batteries life cycle.

    The study was a bit comical including the gases emitted from the machinery used to mine the minerals through to the gases emitted by the ship that delivered the batteries to Japan. In an ideal world all of the machinery involved in making and delivering the batteries would be powered by renewable energy stored in batteries but the real world is far from ideal. If we accept that all of the glossy brochures from companies with vested interests in the solar industry are true we will be very disappointed.

    “You can remain a naysayer, Wally, me? I’m for the future.”

    I will stick with the facts diannaart the future of our planet is too important to sit around waiting for pipe dreams to come true AND there are better tried and proven solutions just waiting to be exploited but they are overlooked by big corporations with the funds to develop them because they cannot make huge profits from them. So who is really trapped by the “control hungry big business which is trying, hopelessly, to stop innovation”? NOT ME!

  57. miriamenglish

    Wally, batteries are expensive, yes, but the grid is continuing to become more expensive as time goes on. At some point the big power producers will make battery+solar systems more than economic. As early adopters of the technology increase in numbers the price of batteries, particularly Lithium batteries, should decrease. Solar panels are certainly becoming much cheaper.

    It is true that lithium batteries can explode or burst into flame if charged or discharged too quickly, however recent batteries have included embedded control circuitry to safeguard them, ensuring this already rare event will never happen again. If you still think it is too much of a risk then will you abandon riding around in your petroleum-powered car, sitting above an explosively flammable tank of fuel?

    The main reason we need inverters is because the mains supplies alternating current (AC). That’s because distribution over long distances is far more efficient using AC than direct current (DC). A household running on the DC supplied by solar panels and batteries makes a lot more sense to avoid the expensive inverter altogether the way caravans and boats have done for decades. With large-scale adoption of solar power around the world we may expect DC appliances to become more common and much cheaper.

    The big power companies and a hostile government demonising solar users and wind power and circulating lies about them are unwittingly increasing the attractiveness of defecting from the grid. And as more users defect, electricity will become significantly more expensive increasing still further the attractiveness of local renewable energy.

    Ironically, while typing this reply the first time I had a blackout here. We have solar panels on the house, but because they are grid-tied we could not use them, so I was without electricity in a house with a large enough array that would have comfortably powered everything. This is because the big power companies are incompetent and the grid is flakey (we are frequent targets of blackouts out here in the QLD countryside), and because the government required an inefficient form of grid-tied system in order for householders to get the rebate.

    Research on supercapacitors is continuing to bring very interesting results. Robert Murray Smith, UK inventor, recently made a 10,000 Farad supercapacitor about the size of a hardcover book. He has begun working on a million Farad supercapacitor using even more compact technology because apparently an average suburban home could be powered by 3 million Farads. Capacitors have great advantages over batteries. They can be charged and discharged much more quickly (minutes instead of hours). They have an unlimited lifetime of charge discharge cycles. They can be let discharge completely without damaging their ability to recharge. Graphene-based supercapacitors don’t use exotic, toxic materials and are cheap to make. Once this technology matures it will be much cheaper to run a solar- and/or wind-based home.

  58. Mic the Heretic

    @jimhaz: The turbine that I referenced at Little Hartley wasn’t a stand-alone, it was part of a farm, yet it was the only one that I heard at the time. As I said, it didn’t dissuade from considering purchasing property in the area (other reasons did). Having life-long Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I have an extremely variable sleeping pattern and equally variable tolerance for noise. I can sleep through the most irritating of alarm clocks and smoke alarms. A subtle but unusual sound can have me wide awake in seconds. After a really bad night’s sleep, said alarm clock(s) both suffered physical abuse and I started using a small computer instead — that way a cheap and replaceable keyboard was all that got damaged — it impersonated a ringing telephone so that it drilled through the head and forced one to wake.

    I’ve lived with rail and traffic noise, and made the mistake of moving into a house in St Peters under the airport flight path. The airport was there first, so I had no right to complain. The oddity was, that during the night (when flights were stopped and it was really quiet), there would be an occasional ringing sound that seemed to come from everywhere. Imagine all the fixed wiring over the rail network ringing at once — it would last for about 20 seconds until it faded to inaudible. It was never loud enough to wake me, but I would notice it in the night while visiting the toilet, etc. and, eventually, I reached the conclusion it was all in my head because my flatmate had never heard it. Eventually, when someone else (younger) was staying over, he asked me about the same noise. We never did figure out the source.

    A small town nearby, Uralla, has gone completely “off-grid” in that it is producing more energy through PV and wind than is consumed by the entire town.

    I mentioned above that Germany had temporarily crossed into PAYING people for using electricity, and is well on the way to its target of eliminating all nuclear power by 2020. Is our energy usage patterns changing. A grid of wind power across the country is going to be relatively stable, although unlikely to meet the consumption needs of domestic Australians — too many are still living in low quality fibro houses that lack any useful insulation. The likely usage pattern would be that “off-peak” items like hot water would be switched to the day time when PV is at its peak.

    @Wally: Your argument about energy storage is extremely significant and true. I would love to know what type of technology is inside Tesla batteries. The highest energy density I’ve encountered is Nickel-air, which sounds very enticing from a manufacturing viewpoint. However, the only implementation of this technology is in replacement cells for hearing aids and I haven’t seen a rechargeable version yet.

    There are other storage media that can be used. Here, in Australia, the highest use of energy is heating and cooling. Our schools were fitted with “heat banks” which were attached to the off-peak system. They would heat up over night, and dispense the heat during the day. They did present the problem that on a very cold day they would be exhausted before lunch time.

    France also introduced “cold banks”. The air conditioning could run all day and night at low power, chilling salt-water nodules. During the day, as required, air would flow through being cooled by the accumulation of “cold” in the salt-water. I’ve never read anything about this idea being used elsewhere.

    Again, here, in Australia, a system was developed using Ammonia. Heated during the day with the right catalyst it breaks down into component atoms and stored in a tank. When encountering a different catalyst it recombines into Ammonia releasing the stored heat for cooking, heating, etc., while the same gas and solar power can make Ammonia into a very efficient refrigerant using the exact same principle as kerosene and gas-powered refrigerators.

    We should be considering these other storage options besides the intention to convert back to electricity. The only reason that electricity becomes “attractive” on a large scale is the comparative ease of distribution, e.g., why do mechanical workshops use compressed air to drive their hand tools?

    The reality is that 90% of home electronics from the cell-phone and LED lighting to the Poxtel box and LCD TV can all be run from a 12VDC rail which makes a small bank of “easy to recycle” Lead-Acid batteries viable for each household. This would require additional wiring safety in the house because DC has the tendency to arc if not disconnected properly. High-end gaming computers may still want access to 240VAC because they draw way too much current at 12V.

  59. diannaart


    I don’t deal with “pipedreams” Wally – I deal in probabilities – rather like possibilities but more likely to occur.


    If you believe that our ability to store power will remain stagnant – you are free to do so.

    It is also good to have an alternative view in order to clarify one’s own thinking. Thanks to Miriam I do not have to go into the technicalities – however, it is important in this current world malaise of negativity, denial of facts and pressure to succumb to the lowest common denominator, not to be led astray by the deniers, the naysayers, the ever present blots on the horizon of innovation and enterprise.

    We will find ways to store power – we are making progress right now. Sorry if this upsets you and causes you to make assumptions about my abilities – I could make some about you but would rather you reveal your limitations by the scope of your own comments.

  60. corvus boreus

    Mic the Heretic,
    Go Uralla!
    I was sprogged around there.

  61. Mic the Heretic

    @miriamenglish: Super-capacitors are fun. However, they face a problem in general usage. The voltage is NOT stable. As soon as you commence discharge through use, the voltage begins to drop. Therefore you need to start on a Super-high voltage with Super-electronics to turn it into the level of power required in the home. Chemical cells at least maintain an average voltage over their working cycle.

    Most “domestic” cells, dry, NiCd, NiMH, LiPo etc., tend to maintain a stable output voltage until they suddenly go flat — that’s why modern phones and laptop batteries have usage tracking chips built in; so that there’s a chance you can be warned in advance that your device is due for a recharge.

    The pathetic Lithium battery on the back of my viddycam is rated at 7.2Volts, 8.5 Watt/hours, i.e., at new it can maintain an output of 8.5 Watts for an hour. As 7.2 and 8.5 are so close, let’s skip the math and call that 1 Amp/hour (working with 0.847… would be messy). By feeding it 7.2V at 1 Amp for an hour, it should be fully charged. To cut that to 1/2 hr requires charging current of 2 Amps, 15 mins – 4 Amps, 1 min – 60Amps, 15 Seconds – 240 Amps! That’s a Super-thick charging cable and a fried cell-phone.

    As much as I despise Lithium-based cells, super-capacitors are an excellent buffer but I don’t see them replacing chemical cells just yet.

    As I suggest above, we should consider HOW to store the energy based on HOW we intend to use it. It doesn’t always have to be converted back to electricity.

  62. diannaart

    As I suggest above, we should consider HOW to store the energy based on HOW we intend to use it. It doesn’t always have to be converted back to electricity.

    I like the way your mind works, Mik.

    Given opportunities we would be foolish indeed to turn our backs on something because it doesn’t quite fit or work right now. Which is why research and development is as much creative as it is practical.

  63. Florence nee Fedup

    Yes, many household appliances and tools are already powered by batteries, not directly to electricity supply

  64. Nigel C

    Hydrogen fuel cells?

  65. Wally

    @miriamenglish Sometimes a little bit of knowledge can be dangerous and trying to explain to an electrician (electrical inspector actually) why we distribute using AC power instead of DC is…. You can fill in the blank.

    Totally wrong. “The main reason we need inverters is because the mains supplies alternating current (AC). That’s because distribution over long distances is far more efficient using AC than direct current (DC).”

    We use AC power because prior to electronics being developed (remember the first TV’s had tubes not transistors) it was easier to change the voltage of AC power than DC power. The wires that we use to supply power are sized according to the current they need to deliver, by increasing the supply voltage the current reduces proportionally so instead of having a big cable to distribute 1000amps at 240volts we increase the voltage to 11,000volts and the current drops to about 22 amps. So instead of using a 600mm2 cable we can use a 4mm2 cable. Better efficiency comes into the topic because of the higher voltage not because it is transmitted as AC but there is an area where AC is more efficient and that is in changing the voltage because a transformer is the most efficient electrical device at 98% or better.

    Another reason we use AC power is that it is much safer to use at a higher voltage than DC power, ask any welder how much better a DC welder is at striking an arc compared to an AC welder. Extinguishing the arc switching DC is much harder than it is when switching ACthat is why the instructions on solar systems state to turn on the DC switch (PV isolator) before turning on the AC switch. This prolongs the life of the DC switch because it is not switching under load and the rate of failure of DC switches is high, several brands have been recalled and the respective importers/distributers have gone broke as a result.

    When we look at inverters there are several different types so without going into details there are some generalisations. It is more efficient to convert DC power to AC with a higher voltage that is why most grid tie inverters work between 350 to 500 volts DC and multiphase units work at up to 900v DC. Inverters can be as low as 50% efficient when working at low loads compared to the inverters size and at best around 90% at full load. The biggest problem with stand alone and hybrid inverters is that a 3Kw inverter can draw up to 20 watts from the batteries when no AC current is being used. And the main reason we use inverters to convert DC power to AC is because our appliances and equipment are designed to run on AC power because AC motors in particular are much cheaper to build than DC motors although that is changing with brushless DC motors becoming more common.

    Incorrect “We have solar panels on the house, but because they are grid-tied we could not use them, so I was without electricity in a house with a large enough array that would have comfortably powered everything. This is because the big power companies are incompetent and the grid is flakey (we are frequent targets of blackouts out here in the QLD countryside), and because the government required an inefficient form of grid-tied system in order for householders to get the rebate”

    You chose to install a grid connect system most probably because of its affordability, you could have installed a hybrid system with battery backup and enjoyed having power during a power failure but it would have cost you an extra $20k to $30k depending on when you installed it and the size of the system. No matter what type of system you installed the government rebate would have been the same according to your latitude and the capacity of the system (number of panels). And the government does not give you the rebate it is paid for by whoever purchases the certificates (were REC’s now STC’s) that are created when your system was installed, even the government get this confused and I had to research 5-6 government websites to work out how the overall system work. The distribution company for my area could not explain where the money come from or why and nor could the industry regulator. I will leave this as it is too complex to write in 5 minutes.

    @Mic the Heretic “Your argument about energy storage is extremely significant and true.” Thankyou.

    As far as I can tell Tesla believe they have made improvements in lithium battery technology but that remains to be seen every manufacturer claims that their product is better than the competitions offerings.

    Sorry if I have bored any of you or seem to be too pedantic but I believe people need to work with facts, if they come to a different conclusion than me on which way is best that is fine.

  66. miriamenglish

    Well Wally, I have no argument with anything you’ve said except one. I said the main reason for our use of AC is because of the distribution system. I could have gone into details about transformers and motors too (yes, I considered it at the time, but it was kinda irrelevant). I didn’t know the stuff about inverter efficiencies at low load. That was interesting, thanks. Bringing in valve devices was kinda irrelevant. We had old valve devices that worked fine on batteries. But the point is, distributing DC is virtually impossible over long distances — the losses would be ridiculous. This really is the main reason we use AC. There are other things that AC is handy for, that’s true, but there are things DC is handy for too, however without a distribution system it all is moot. That really, when you come right down to it is why we use AC.

    I have to admit I didn’t get the solar system put on the house. Julie did. She owns the house. I was pretty certain that she couldn’t get the rebate unless it was grid-tied. You could well be correct here, though I kinda doubt it. Julie is a very smart woman and she would have considered all the angles before getting the panels. I’ll ask her though. I’d be interested to find out.

    You seem very eager to believe you are somehow a winner in some odd battle of wits here. I don’t see this as a competition. I don’t mind admitting when I’ve made a mistake or don’t know something.

  67. Mic the Heretic

    @Wally, thank you for an explanation that I could not have worded so elegantly. My late Father was an electrical inspector and was heavily responsible for many of the safety procedures introduced into Australia prior to the adoption of ISO policies (many of which were significant DOWNGRADES).

    Are you aware that Nordic countries are using High Tension DC? With only one well-buried and insulated wire instead of three, and a stable magnetic field instead of the fluctuations of High Tension AC, it addresses EMF-based health issues as well. The DC is split back into 3-phase for distribution.

    Of further interest, you may like to look up 3-phase electric trains (two pantographs and one live rail) so that they can cope with extreme ascents and descents, including cogging gears under the train that engage with racks to maintain traction.

    As for my proposal that many house-hold appliances could run on 12-24VDC, this is limited to devices that are by their modern nature, lower in power consumption. Cooking on 12V would be a disaster, and so would fridge and aircon compressors. I see no reason why a 12V washing machine could not be introduced. Windscreen wiper motors are powerful enough to perform the necessary functions, and if it takes 10 minutes to build up to the full spin-cycle, you’ve still saved a great deal of energy. Clothes dryers are often a necessary evil. I have my own design that still requires 240VAC. Washer/dryer combos often use vacuum extraction to get most of the water out of the load before reverting to the normal heating element to finish the job. I figured, use the vacuum extraction method, alternated with Microwave heating, the vacuum process removing the steam build up. (Yes, I’ve cheated by drying clothes in the Microwave Oven — tie them tightly into plastic shopping bags and heat them for individual minutes at a time; burn your fingers opening the bags and putting the emergency item into the normal dryer until it’s clear of steam, then repeat. If you fail to bag the item and contain the steam, the Microwaves will concentrate on fabric not water and damage the garment you want to wear in fifteen minutes’ time.) After the Microwave/vacuum process has done it’s best, you now have a domestic air-conditioner attached–the condenser being cooled on the air intake and the evaporator being heated on the exhaust. The compressor has comparatively little work to do because it’s circulating heat instead of trying to pump excess heat out into the scorching sun, or trying to extract heat from a frosted-over evaporator. The biggest safety factor in such a “complicated” design, is that if there’s a blackout and the whole machine dies, you don’t have clothing sitting too close to a heating element and the fire risk is virtually eliminated.

    As for inefficient Inverters, I’m aware that there are some on the market that switch “off” when they detect no load, drawing milliamps while checking to see if a load has been connected.

    Unfortunately, consumers and high-current DC don’t make a good mix!

  68. Mic the Heretic

    PS: Health means I can’t stand and hang washing on a traditional clothes line. So I built a solar-powered clothes tumble dryer. It’s a cleaned out 44-gallon drum, appropriately painted black and sits on rollers out where it gets the best of the sun that I can arrange. It’s driven by a 12 volt motor to tumble powered by PV. It’s slow, has a mains-power fan to keep the air going through to prevent smell, and if it’s not ready until the next day, neither, probably, was I!

  69. Wally

    @Mic the Heretic

    I started my apprenticeship using the red Victorian Wiring Regulations and the AS/NZ standards were adopted part way through. I agree that the AS?NZ standards was a step backwards and it has become a nightmare for the industry, NZ only use Part 1 so not very interested in allowing changes anywhere in the rules and Standards Australia are broke so they don’t want to do anything that might cost them a few bucks.

    I knew that some European countries had DC distribution systems but I don’t think they distribute power over large areas like we do in Australia. Typically they generate power close to where it is consumed, Australia (SECV developed the technology) was the first country to distribute power over the distances we do, the intent being to develop a more efficient system by generating power where the coal was mined. There is a DC power station in Melbourne’s CBD it used to supply power to several lifts and power some of the tram lines, it still exists but the DC is inverted to AC.

    You are correct that some inverters do switch to a standby mode when there is no demand but they can be troublesome, the last one of that type I installed blew up within a short period of time but not had enough exposure to stand alone systems to say if this is typical or not. What I have been told (???) is that with certain loads like motors they are to slow to come online so you effectively get a brownout.

    So true “Unfortunately, consumers and high-current DC don’t make a good mix!”

  70. Wally

    @miriamenglish there is no contest but I cannot help myself when I read something that gives people the wrong information in an area that I am very knowledgeable in. The Internet is full of misinformation making it very difficult for people to learn the facts about things.

    Mentioning valve devices was very relevant because it indicates that electronics were not in existence when the electrical grid was developed and also gives readers some idea of when things changed. “We had old valve devices that worked fine on batteries” We certainly did do you remember how expensive, big and heavy a valve car radio was? I saw some for sale at a market recently and they seemed to have got bigger. You still cannot get a better amplifier than a Class A valve amplifier but they cost thousands.

    “I was pretty certain that she couldn’t get the rebate unless it was grid-tied.” A hybrid system is still grid tied but you have 2 inverters and a battery bank, there are some downfalls such as your total load is limited to the size of your wallet and it costs about 22 to 25 cents per Kwh. And you definitely could (not sure if it has ended) get a rebate for a stand alone off grid solar system if certain conditions were met. The rebates are Australia wide but you get a higher rebate the further north you go because the system is more efficient.

    “You could well be correct here, though I kinda doubt it.” Why would you question information provided by someone who has inspected hundreds of solar systems? That reminds me of a customer back when the feed in terrif was 60 cents in Victoria. I suggested that he change retailers to Origin or AGL because they were paying 66 cents per Kw/hr but he was adamant that Red Energy would pay him more, it was only a week prior I had looked up the latest figures published by the Victorian government but I let it go. A couple of months later he told me that he got 68 cents from Red Energy and that I was wrong so I asked if that was with or without GST included. He replied (I knew the answer) that it was with GST included and was a little bit upset when I informed him that AGL and Origins 66 cents did not have GST included so by comparison they were paying 72.6 cents.

    I think this is up to date – http://www.energymatters.com.au/stand-alone-power/remote-power-rebates/

    “Solar Credits incentive

    On Thursday, June 24 2010, legislation was passed for Australia’s enhanced Renewable Energy Target. As part of this legislation, financial incentives are available for people installing off grid solar power systems.

    Households and businesses installing systems on buildings are eligible to receive the Solar Credits subsidy. The savings can amount to thousands of dollars for large systems. The system is based on Renewable Energy Certificates; more recently referred to as small-scale technology certificates (STCs).

    Solar Credits off grid guidelines
    ◾The system must be an eligible small-scale solar panel system (or wind or hydro)
    ◾The system must be installed at an eligible premises.
    ◾It must be a new and full system

    Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)

    RECs/STCs are issued by the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator; created to ensure that Australian Government meets its Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) of 20% by 2020.

    Renewable Energy Certificates are provided when an eligible off grid wind energy or solar power system is installed. RECs can be cashed in and the value of the certificates vary. Determining eligibility and calculating the value of RECs for your intended off grid equipment purchase can be somewhat of a complex process, so contact our team for free, no-obligation advice

  71. miriamenglish

    Yes, Wally. The internet is full of misinformation, for instance your certainty that we use AC because it has some advantages in transformers and motors, rather than ability to distribute it over distance. Incidentally, I gently remind you that you still haven’t acknowledged your error there.

    Why would I “question information provided by someone who has inspected hundreds of solar systems”? Well, I’m sorry to say, that based on past performance I have pretty good reason to question it. Today I got information back about rebates for off-grid systems. Turns out they are only available to those who are distant from the grid, or have connection costs that exceed $30K. In other words, if you have the grid available then you don’t have the option of off-grid solar power with the rebate, so there was no choice here, nor in nearly 100% of homes.

    It’s all so competitive with you. You say in effect, you’re this super qualified inspector guy who’s “inspected hundreds of solar systems” and knows what he’s talking about. You rather insultingly imply that I only have a little bit of knowledge and that if I don’t believe you then I’m stupid [Sometimes a little bit of knowledge can be dangerous and trying to explain to an electrician (electrical inspector actually) why we distribute using AC power instead of DC is…. You can fill in the blank].

    Why would you come on so strongly? It just makes you look bad, especially when you turn out to be wrong anyway. Is it because I’m a woman that you get so aggressive? How can a silly, uppity woman profess to know about this male stuff? Check out one of my heroes, Jeri Ellsworth, self-taught electronics wizard and president of Technical Illusions, or the amazing Limor Fried president of Adafruit Electronics. You see, we poor feeble-minded women do sometimes have surprisingly detailed technological knowledge.

    I really don’t like tooting my own horn, but to show you that I’m not just some dumb chick who struck it lucky with a few answers, I feel it needs to be explained that I’ve been learning electronics since primary school, I built my first computer with soldering iron and TTL chips on a bare board, and I’ve modified most of my computers ever since. I’ve taught myself more than 20 computer programming languages, several of them low-level machine code (assembly language). I used to work as lead programmer building 3D virtual worlds on the net. I love to read science news and science articles and technical manuals; they comprise most of the several thousand books in my personal library. I’m proud of being a geek, but I’m a bit embarrassed at having to explain this.

  72. Wally

    @miriamenglish You stated “That’s because distribution over long distances is far more efficient using AC than direct current (DC).” and I replied that you were wrong and explained why we use AC.

    DC is actually more efficient (less losses) to distribute over long distances – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-voltage_direct_current
    “A long distance point to point HVDC transmission scheme generally has lower overall investment cost and lower losses than an equivalent AC transmission scheme. HVDC conversion equipment at the terminal stations is costly, but the total DC transmission line costs over long distances are lower than AC line of the same distance. HVDC requires less conductor per unit distance than an AC line, as there is no need to support three phases and there is no skin effect.”

    Now you suggest “for instance your certainty that we use AC because it has some advantages in transformers and motors, rather than ability to distribute it over distance. Incidentally, I gently remind you that you still haven’t acknowledged your error there.”

    Our transmission system was developed well before electronic components were available to build affordable systems to increase/decrease DC voltages, before switch mode power supplies became commonplace DC had to be converted to AC then the voltage was increased or decreased using a transformer and then the AC was rectified back to DC – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-voltage_direct_current
    “The advent of a commercial semiconductor switch in the 1950s represented a major milestone that made SMPSs such as the boost converter possible. The major DC to DC converters were developed in the early 1960s when semiconductor switches had become available.” Australia’s electrical grid was developed in the early 1900’s and the first power station in Yallourn (Victoria) was built in the 1920’s. Back then the only viable way to transmit high voltage was with AC because transformers made this possible. Maybe I failed to get across the historical aspect of why we have an AC distribution system? If you read what I have written within its context I don’t believe I have made an error.

    As for “Today I got information back about rebates for off-grid systems. Turns out they are only available to those who are distant from the grid, or have connection costs that exceed $30K.” That sounds correct but you don’t seem to have understood my comment.

    “You chose to install a grid connect system most probably because of its affordability, you could have installed a hybrid system with battery backup and enjoyed having power during a power failure but it would have cost you an extra $20k to $30k depending on when you installed it and the size of the system. No matter what type of system you installed the government rebate would have been the same according to your latitude and the capacity of the system (number of panels).” And I went on to explain that you did not get a government rebate or subsidy for your grid connected system you generated REC’s and if you had installed the same number of panels in a hybrid system or a stand alone system you would have been entitled to the same number of certificates.

    The government rebate for off-grid systems is a totally different and in a later comment I stated “And you definitely could (not sure if it has ended) get a rebate for a stand alone off grid solar system if certain conditions were met. The rebates are Australia wide but you get a higher rebate the further north you go because the system is more efficient.” And the conditions are what you have posted above “they are only available to those who are distant from the grid, or have connection costs that exceed $30K. In other words, if you have the grid available then you don’t have the option of off-grid solar power with the rebate, so there was no choice here, nor in nearly 100% of homes.”

    Where I live there are a lot of homes with stand alone solar systems but in my earlier post I did suggest that a hybrid solar system would give you the benefit of having power during a power failure. This is a commercial link and I have not read it fully but it should give you a good idea of what I was referring to. https://www.solarquotes.com.au/systems/hybrid/?gclid=CKG1_ZTrkcYCFdh7vQodvV8Apw

    As for qualifications I am not a 1 gig bloke, I have 3 trades electrical, lift mechanic, steam boiler and engine driver. A degree in computer science with a major in information systems, a couple of diplomas and an advanced diploma in network security. The last time I worked for an employer (GEC) was back in the mid 1980’s as a robotics engineer. I don’t do web design I write code to generate dynamic web sites.

    I don’t like sprouting who, what, why and where I have been either. I do not care what sex you are and I don’t care who is right, I find that explaining what I know to others is rewarding and it improves my own knowledge. It is much harder in a forum like this because the written word can seem to be or be taken as being harsher than what is intended and in a conversation you can correct/emphasise/untwist misunderstandings as they occur instead of having to write a paragraph trying to explain what the reader of your comment has overlooked.

    “Why would you come on so strongly? It just makes you look bad, especially when you turn out to be wrong anyway.” I hope the paragraph above explains that it is not my intention to be over bearing and I am positive that if you read all of my comments in context and follow the links I have included I am sure you will find that I am not wrong.

  73. Harquebus

    wind tower being installed


    “How were the cranes, bulldozers and trucks built? What fuels do they run on? How did all those workers get there? Who grew their food and how did they come to eat it? How are the roads they drove on built and maintained? How is concrete made and how did it all get to the job site? What do the factories and foundries run on that built the windmill? How far did each windmill component have to travel before arriving at the site?”

  74. diannaart


    <<<<<“How were the cranes, bulldozers and trucks built? What fuels do they run on? How did all those workers get there? Who grew their food and how did they come to eat it? How are the roads they drove on built and maintained? How is concrete made and how did it all get to the job site? What do the factories and foundries run on that built the coal/nuclear plant? How far did each coal/nuclear plant component have to travel before arriving at the site?”>>>>>

    There are no perfect answers, just some are better than others – before it is too late to do anything.

  75. diannaart


    If I may interrupt your pissing competition….

    I would be wrong if I claimed one day pigs would fly. (Although who knows what turns evolution may take) 😉

    Based on evidence of human invention, creativity and current technology (which is never static) to claim one day we will have practical forms of energy storage is a reasonable claim to make.

    For you to claim otherwise, is simply insulting to everyone’s intelligence.

    Now go back to whatever grandstanding you were about – clearly what you claim to have in qualifications is dwarfed by your lack of vision.

  76. Harquebus

    The point being made is, the energy returned by wind generators does not equal the energy used to manufacture, construct and maintain them. They wear out long before.

  77. diannaart


    My point to Wally, is that we will have a diverse and flexible range of renewable energy (not just wind) and the ability to store unused energy.

  78. Kaye Lee


    You are full of crap and I REALLY resent your ill-informed rot being published here where what we are all after is the truth.

    An evidence review published in the journal Renewable Energy in 2010, which included data from 119 turbines across 50 sites going back 30 years, concluded that the average windfarm produces 20-25 times more energy during its operational life than was used to construct and install its turbines. It also found that the average “energy payback” of a turbine was 3-6 months.


  79. Roswell

    I agree, Kaye, his comment was ridiculous and baseless.

  80. Kaye Lee

    Utility-scale wind turbines return the energy used to create them faster than any other form of generation and have the best ratio of energy generation to use ratio of any form of generation.

  81. Harquebus

    @Kaye Lee
    I could say the same about you. Renewable energy advocates are full of it.

    “construct and install its turbines.” Ha! What about the rest of it.

    As I have said before, advocates either use the economic argument or as you have done, not factored far enough up the supply chain. Wind and solar generators can not replicate themselves and it is only a matter of time before their manufacture ceases.

    Your personal attacks on me are only because you can’t put up a valid argument and is why you resort to censoring me.

    You are making things worse, not better.

  82. Harquebus

    No we won’t and to gamble on the possibility that we might is a dangerous bet that we will lose and with fatal consequences.

  83. Wally

    @diannaart “Based on evidence of human invention, creativity and current technology (which is never static) to claim one day we will have practical forms of energy storage is a reasonable claim to make.”

    I never said that we would NEVER be able to develop better, cheaper storage solutions but they are not available to us right now and considering how long it is taking to develop new storage devices that meet the criteria it would seem to be a long way off. I do not think my comment “we will achieve many things in the future but we need solutions now not pipe dreams” is incorrect but you seem to have taken to offensive from it????????? I don’t understand why, walking on the moon was a pipe dream for my grand parents but it come true.

    The question we all need answered is “Are we doing everything we can to reduce carbon output with what we have available to us right now?” and we all know that we are not because of the LNP head in the sand approach to global warming.

  84. Kaye Lee


    Deep breath Kaye

  85. Harquebus

    I would offer a solution but, I think I’ve rattled Kaye Lee enough for one day.

  86. Kaye Lee

    What a cop out. I have never heard you offer one positive suggestion in any comment you have ever made here. From what I can gather you want all energy production to cease. That would probably be the best solution but it ain’t gonna happen.

    And just to be clear….you don’t have what it takes to rattle me. Try surprising me by a positive suggestion if you have one.

  87. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    deep under water
    obscenities screamed silent.
    Steaming bubbles rise.

  88. Roswell

    You haven’t rattled me, but you’ve bored me shitless. Why don’t you – and how can I put this – shut the hell up for a while. Preferably a long while. A very long while.

  89. Kaye Lee



  90. Roswell

    Whose head are we putting under water? I have a suggestion. 🙄

  91. miriamenglish

    @Harquebus Whoever said that other technologies would never be used in support of renewable energy sources?

    As Kaye pointed out, it is a mistake to say that wind and solar generators require more energy to build than they reap. It is a bit of misinformation fondly propagated by the petroleum lobby.

    When you say that the energy renewable sources produce can’t be used to create more of their kind, I’m sure you’re thinking of iron smelters and copper refineries.

    There are a few aspects to this. I don’t think anybody seriously entertains the idea of closing down all the metal refineries, even though they burn coal. I expect that they will be closed one day, but for now the focus is on closing coal-fired electricity generators. I believe that uses the lion’s share of coal.

    Eventually I’m sure metal refineries will no longer use coal, but will use solar furnaces. Solar furnaces can already reach temperatures far beyond that required to melt steel, and in fact solar metal smelters already exist. They are quiet, clean, and don’t require fuel. However, as I say, nobody is seriously suggesting this be rushed ahead. It will continue to come of age at its own pace. Electricity generation is the immediate worry. And if you think it is unlikely that we will eliminate coal-fired electricity generators, remember that it wasn’t very long ago that almost everybody had wood or coal fires to keep them warm in winter, but concern for all the illness and deaths caused by filthy air has almost eliminated coal and wood heating, especially in England, where the “pea-soup” smogs of London were infamous.

    Looking a little further into the near future, a number of people are working very hard to be able to make space travel reasonably economic so they can mine asteroids. This is not as crazy as it first sounds. It will be a major windfall for humanity because several advantages align at the same time.

    – Moving things in space over vast distances is easy, just point and give a single push, unlike Earth-bound transport where moving things around costs a lot of energy.

    – The Lagrangian points, especially L1 (but L4 and L5 too) are perfect places to set up refineries because they have 24 hour sunlight.

    – Being in space they don’t have the problems of oxygen interfering with the process that we have here on Earth.

    – Sending the results back to Earth is, again, a simple matter of pointing and pushing.

    – The metal can be then delivered anywhere on Earth by gliding it down in a similar way to how the Space Shuttle made unpowered descent, though these could have better aerodynamics than the Space Shuttle because their shape isn’t restricted by needing to be sent up on a rocket; they just need to come down.

    I know this sounds far off, but there are a number of very smart people investing enormous sums into making this happen because the payoff is so huge.

  92. corvus boreus

    On the raised subject of an overall efficiency audit of outlay (initial+ongoing) vs output of methods of energy production (addressing all factors currently classified as externalisations), I would like to see the same parameters applied to, for instance, current coal-fired power supply, particularly considering the ongoing resource attrition needed in the mineral extraction and transport needed to feed their basic functioning (as the windmills quietly turn).
    I do understand that I cannot feasibly ask that this cannot economically, or in energy equation, account for the effect of each (eg; construction, fuel supply, water requirements and consequential outputs like atmospheric pollutants), upon basic biospheric functions.

  93. corvus boreus

    Ps, 5th line down, 11th word in; eliminate that “cannot”.

  94. Kaye Lee

    I heard a young scientist the other day saying they were investigating capturing an asteroid and moving it into orbit between the earth and the moon. The future holds possibilities that an old head like mine cannot even dream of. Rather than lapsing into despair about our current problems and limitations, I am excited to watch the next generation’s solutions.

  95. miriamenglish

    (Of course I meant the Solar-Earth Lagrange points, not the Earth-Moon ones.)

  96. Michael Taylor

    Mining of asteroids has long been considered. But I don’t think I like the idea of having one being in orbit between us and the moon. Obviously it wouldn’t be big enough to block out the sun or have any effect on weather patterns, but I would still feel uneasy about it.

    But who knows? It might be a necessity in the future. We don’t know what it holds.

  97. Michael Taylor

    Besides, Tony might find it ugly and noisy.

  98. Kaye Lee

    The guy who was talking about it was involved with the landing of the probe on a comet that is heading towards the sun (the one that just woke up and started transmitting). He said placing the asteroid in orbit would be much more easily achieved than putting the probe on the comet. I agree Michael that it sounds scary but the confidence of this young man that we could do it was fascinating. They are also sending probes to moons orbiting Saturn and Jupiter.

  99. Kaye Lee

    I find Tony ugly and noisy

  100. Michael Taylor

    I wish we could send Tony into orbit.

  101. miriamenglish

    Kaye, yes. So many cool ideas people have come up with. One that I like, but am not sure how it would be managed is to send ice asteroids to places that are dry. If you broke them up to make the falling lumps just the right size they would melt on the way down and produce clouds of steam, ending in rain. (Of course you’d have to be very careful. Aiming something big at Earth could go wrong in very nasty ways.)

    But my all-time favorite is the space elevator. This is one of those things that looks like it could be just around the corner, but might not happen for ages. My bet is on it happening soon, but that may just be wishful thinking. If we can manufacture indefinitely long carbon nanotubes then they might be used to build sufficiently strong cables that, suspended effectively from a geostationary satellite, let us ride it very cheaply up into space over and over again without needing rockets. It could even conceivably generate lots of electrical power because of the voltage difference along the cable’s length.

  102. bobrafto

    It’s all Labor’s fault!

  103. Kaye Lee


    I so enjoy reading your comments. Your technical knowledge is way out of my league so I rarely comment but I truly appreciate your positive outlook, your technical expertise, and your ability to make a middle-aged woman in jammies excited about our future.

  104. Florence nee Fedup

    I thought Abbott was already in orbit, He is definitely not on this planet.

    The revocation of citizenship bill still not written.

  105. diannaart

    Kaye Lee, I agree.

    Miriam your technical knowledge is quite awesome – but you have not let it blind to the point where you cannot see the forest for the trees…. and you apologise when in error…

    Perhaps a few posters here could learn from your example.

  106. Harquebus

    @Kaye Lee.
    ” I have never heard you offer one positive suggestion in any comment you have ever made here.”
    Again, I could say the same about you.
    You know my solution. Population reduction and control is the only viable option. Unfortunately, due to the likes of you, it is too late to do anything about it and both you and I are going to witness terrible things. We are seeing the beginning of these terrible things already.

    Ask yourself this Kaye Lee, “Are things improving or are they getting worse?”

    While you and the majority who, have no understanding of energy nor its relationship with the economy, continue be conned and adhere to the absurdity of growth, things will continue to deteriorate.
    I blame the likes of you for the terrible state of our world.

    That’s one way to win an argument. Taking lessons from Kaye Lee are we?

    “a bit of misinformation fondly propagated by the petroleum lobby”
    Rubbish. They are physical laws defined by thermodynamics.
    Solar won’t dig and move iron ore. I will investigate further these solar furnaces.

    It’s like this. Any energy produced after returning the energy invested, is free energy.
    So, where is it? Why am I always paying more when free energy is constantly being added to the mix?

  107. Roswell

    Kaye didn’t think for me. I am capable of thinking for myself. My opinion of you is entirely independent to what anybody else thinks.

  108. Kaye Lee

    You really are an objectionable person Harquebus and I will remind you that you are here under sufferance – a condition that can easily be changed.

    You say we need to reduce the population but offer no suggestions on how to achieve that.

    “Are things improving or are they getting worse?”

    Depends what you mean by things. Demonstrably we have improved health, education and shelter. Technological advances have increased our knowledge and capacity. The rule of law, though imperfect, keeps us safer.

    But we do face challenges, as we always have.

    Some people embrace those challenges and devote themselves to finding solutions. Others just sit there going woe is me we are doomed.

    If you agree that we still need energy production then what would you suggest is the best method?

    And I warn you, if you cannot reply civilly then don’t. As you are aware, you have more than used up my tolerance level.

  109. Roswell

    Harquebus, as one of the moderators here I can assure you that we’re all well and truly fed up with your antics.

  110. Roswell

    And another thing, Harquebus, have you noticed that whenever you are here people stay away in droves? We don’t give up our time to run a site just for you to hijack. We’d be much better off without you.

  111. Harquebus

    Kaye Lee.

    Believe it or not but, I do have some respect and admiration for you. I just don’t agree with you.
    I have an opinion but, am open to suggestions on population control.
    What I want is for people to debate me. You on the other hand, will stifle those who disagree with you.
    If you had a valid argument, you should be able to shoot me down in flames. The fact is, you haven’t because you can’t.

    My comments are genuine and not abusive, unlike yours and I am a lot more civil toward you than you are toward me.

    Energy production. There are no realistic alternatives. Reducing consumption and conserving what little is left until populations reduce to sustainable levels, about 1 to 1.5 billion, is what is required. Population growth is turning our world into a cesspit and literally killing us.

    Trees will be the renewable energy and resource of the future, if there are any left and not wind or solar energy generators. Only two large forests left in the world.

    I challenge you to try and change my mind as I am trying to change yours and this is the only place that we can do it so, how ’bout it?

    BTW: Did M.T. pass my email on to you?

  112. Roswell

    So you don’t like the articles. Well I’m sorry we don’t live up to your standards.

    Perhaps you’d like to spend more time on sites that produce articles that meet your expectations.

  113. Harquebus

    I do that already. Would you like to see the list?

  114. miriamenglish

    Thanks Kaye and Dianna. 🙂 I actually think Wally is more technically knowledgeable than I am. I think I merely have a good perspective for how things change and how promising technology (e.g. satellites) can suddenly leap ahead unexpectedly, while other technologies (e.g. fuel cells) can appear to be on the edge of a breakthrough for decades, and yet other technologies (e.g. lasers) come completely out of left-field and solve problems we never even knew existed.

    Harquebus, a few points:

    You say, “Population reduction and control is the only viable option.” Broadly, you are correct, but in essence you are wrong. Population reduction is one of the most important challenges facing humanity, but the difficulty is in how it’s approached. If we use authoritarian methods of suppression and control then history shows us (except in the peculiar case of China) that this will backfire spectacularly. Wars, famine, disease, poverty all increase population growth. The best way to reduce population is by educating people (especially the women) and increasing people’s standard of living. We in the West tend to live embarrassingly wasteful lifestyles. We could actually live in considerably greater luxury with far less cost, much less energy use, and much, much less waste. It’s that kind of efficient lifestyle we ought to raise the poorest, most reproductively active people in the world to. Kaye, and people like her, don’t argue against this; they’re for it.

    You ask Kaye, “Are things improving or are they getting worse?” Clearly you think things are getting worse. But it’s not that simple. Some things are getting worse, it is true, but on the whole it could be argued things are getting much better. The elite used to be able to do whatever they wanted, but almost for the first time in history the megawealthy are being tripped up in their plans to take over completely. There are even increasing numbers of megawealthy individuals who are siding with the people against the most outrageously greedy and rapacious of their kind. Coal is being defeated, and renewable energy is growing at an unprecedented rate. Rates of crime and violence are falling world-wide. Things are improving on the whole. It will be interesting to see if we can stop the slide into massive global warming in time to prevent the worst. I actually think we can. The divestment movement has grown incredibly quickly. Even the Rothschilds have divested from fossil fuels!

    I don’t think Kaye is in favor of the exponentially growing economy that most politicians believe in. I think you’re making a mistake to assume she is. Most of us here understand that exponential growth at all costs is the morality of a cancer cell.

    You are over-reacting a bit about renewable energy. As I said, nobody expects to eliminate fossil fuels in all things immediately. The highest priority is electricity generation. Renewable energy has shown it can be ramped up to take care of that, especially if we improve efficiency in our use, which we already are. Next will be transportation. Electric cars are already here and becoming cheaper. It will probably be a while before mining will be conducted entirely using renewable energy, but I fully expect it will eventually. Already I believe many mines use electric engines rather than diesel, especially in mineshafts, where air control is important, but even other mining equipment is seeing electric engines encroaching. Google for “mining electric engine”. One of the results is a link to a Hitachi electric mining truck, where the problems of internal combustion engines increase as the machines get bigger, and that electric engines are a good solution for extending the lifetime of machines as well as saving money.

    Are you always paying more for renewable energy? Julie, who owns this house no longer has any electricity costs since putting solar PV panels on the roof. It will take a while for the panels to pay themselves off at the price she bought them, but that time is reducing as the cost of electricity from the grid continually rises. The panels would be cheaper today and will be much cheaper in the future. A year or two ago I laughed when I read that the head of the nuclear energy programme in Germany was complaining that wind energy was reducing the price of electricity below what the nuclear power plants could afford to sell it at. He saw this as a terrible thing. 🙂

    Hon, I think you are letting despair get the better of you. My advice is to stop watching TV, or listening to the radio, and most especially don’t read those godamn horrible newspapers. If you must read a newspaper, read New Scientist. You’ll find your outlook will change to a much more optimistic and hopeful one.

  115. Kaye Lee

    It is most definitely hijacking because, whatever the article is about, you make it a discussion about peak oil, limits to growth, and population reduction – none of which you ever discuss, you just say we are doomed. You show total disregard for the author, their article, or the other commenters and just push your own three topic mantra over and over and over again with links, at times, to some very dubious articles. There are sites where this would be welcomed. This isn’t one of them. I have invited you several times to write an article to submit to Michael for consideration. Either you didn’t bother or it didn’t pass muster.

    As for trees being our energy source, this is utterly impractical and would have a devastating affect on air quality. Deforestation is contributing to climate change. You just aren’t realistic.

  116. Harquebus

    Not hijacking. Wind farms are not the solution. theAimn is hijacking the real sustainability debate by putting up articles like this one and then stifling alternative views.

    Plant lots and lots of trees. Massive scale reforestation will help the climate, rainfall and be a valuable renewable resource for future generations.

    I will read your comment a bit later.

  117. The AIM Network

    theAimn is hijacking the real sustainability debate by putting up articles like this one and then stifling alternative views.

    That’s rubbish. The only thing we are attempting (ad in your case failing) to stifle is the same alternative being shoved down our throats by the same person on post after post, day after day.

  118. The AIM Network

    I fail to see how this article by Roswell hijacked the sustainability debate. Roswell simply put up this article to show that Tony Abbott’s claim that wind farms are noisy was a load of crap. Meanwhile the mainstream media are generally happy to echo Abbott’s claim.

    But just for you we will offer Roswell some counseling before having the minister strip him of his citizenship.

  119. Möbius Ecko

    How much energy does it take to undertake massive scale reforestation? I remember Hawke attempting it at huge cost and failing plus Abbott has promised it as part of DAP and hasn’t even started yet. By the way where is his Green Army?

  120. Roswell

    You say we stifle debate yet in the same breath you are critical of me for posting an article that offers an objection to the government’s opinion.

    That’s weird.

  121. Harquebus

    And theAimn doesn’t shove down our throats the same things, day after day?

    Those who have solar Pv on their houses have stolen precious fossil fuel energy from the future. Productivity is declining due to energy resource depletion and population growth. All these techno alternatives are only going to harder and harder to produce as productivity continues to decline along with our own share of precious resources and energy.

    How much energy does it take to undertake massive scale reforestation? Now you’re starting to think. How much energy does it undertake to produce massive scale wind farms.

    Have to go now. Hit me with what you can I’ll throw it back at ya later. If I haven’t been banned that is.


  122. Roswell

    That’s our privilege and we are entitled to do it. I think you’ll find that any other site also have their preferred slant.

    Our regular readers are happy with what we provide.

    We’re not here to satisfy you. The thousands of other readers take preference.

    I will again stress that if you’re not happy with us then feel free to leave. You are never going to change us. We’re doing something right in spite of you.

  123. Wally

    @Harquebus I must say that I think you are wrong in you assumptions about renewable energy for many reasons but I will start with two simple question. How many mega Watts of power will a 1.5Kw solar system generate during its life cycle? What is the life cycle of a typical grid connected solar array?

    When you have answered the above maybe we can move forward but from your previous posts it is pointless other people providing answers you seem to have difficulty seeing beyond the square you a fixated in so I will let you kick this off.

    @miriamenglish thanks for the compliment and I do admire your vision. As a grumpy old man I want to see changes made to make the most of what we have at hand, when we have exhausted the technical capabilities we already have (our immediate power supply problems can be solved with existing technology and some common sense) there will be plenty of time and ample money to do further research and development. I really do want to leave a clean prosperous world so my grandkids can live life with the same opportunities my generation has enjoyed and they can if we get our priorities right.

    P.S. And dump the dickhead posing as our PM.

  124. corvus boreus

    “Plant lots of trees in massive scale reforestation.”.
    Better yet, we should stop cutting down existing areas of intact canopy vegetation. It is shitloads harder to regrow forest from scratch than retain it, and reforestation is easiest working out from existing remnants (ie existing natural seed sources).

    As for human population control, increasing female access to education and contraception statistically works to reduce birthrates, and does not infringe upon precious liberties. It has also previously been derided as too difficult to implement and slow to manifest results, so I am open to better ideas.

    Finally, on topic, how does the process of manufacture and (constant-feed) maintenance of coal-fired power generation stack up in the energy/economy equation when all related ‘externalities’ surrounding the processes (as previously said, I realise inclusion of biospheric costs are an infeasible ask) are taken into account?

  125. Kaye Lee

    Growing trees is water-intensive added to which, one bushfire can wipe out a forest.

    I have read about people putting electrodes into trees and then using a voltage boost converter to obtain a usable voltage but it certainly isn’t of a scale to be a viable energy source.

    If you are talking about burning trees for fuel then you get the associated health problems. Woodsmoke contains particles so small that, when inhaled, they can cross the lung lining and end up in the blood stream. It also contains other chemicals that can affect our health. The health problems associated with woodsmoke include asthma, chronic lung disease, heart problems and premature births and deaths. Some of the toxic chemicals in woodsmoke are known to cause cancer.

    Do you seriously believe that we can use trees as our only energy source or are you suggesting it as part of the mix? And if it is part of the mix, then we get back to the question of which sources of energy are least destructive, which brings us back to solar, wind, bio-fuels, nuclear etc.

    And could I say, “Hit me with what you can I’ll throw it back at ya later” is hardly indicative of someone being open to discussion.

  126. Harquebus

    Not stopping. Just popped in to drop these off which I came across today. I will be back later.

    The Myth of Technology and Sustainable Development – Prof Dennis Meadows

    “When people talk about decarbonisation, they tend to make the mistake of thinking about energy only in terms of electricity. If you ask how to wean us from fossil fuels, they will say build more solar power, more wind farms and so forth. There are several problems with this.”
    “And while it’s easy to see how you can store kilowatts and megawatts of green power in the batteries of the future, getting up to gigawatts is another matter. The huge engineering requirement makes it almost impossible to get the costs to a point where this is viable.”

    Good luck G7 leaders – we won’t be off fossil fuels by 2100

    Haven’t seen the video yet. Still downloading,

  127. Harquebus

    Kaye Lee.
    I’m busy right now and I’ll get back to you.
    Did you read my email?

  128. diannaart


    Aww, Miriam is so kind to you. Now everyone has hugged and made up perhaps you would demonstrate that you have practical abilities and imagination beyond your technical knowledge.

    I would love to read an exchange between you and Elon Musk – although my wish is for greater independence and flexibility OFF the main grid, Tesla’s man wants to work WITH utilities:

    Tesla is actually working closely with utilities on the home battery product. “There’s a lot of interest, and a lot of utilities working in this space, and we’re talking to almost all of them,” chief technology officer JB Straubel said on the conference call. More likely, the batteries will help people sell excess energy back into the grid, and save money on their electric bills.

    Rive envisages a scenario where batteries with storage capacity were optimized across the grid, allowing utilities to direct clean solar electricity more efficiently, lowering costs for everyone and helping the environment. “We can do so much more working together than we can working alone.”


    He is quite correct about “working together” – beats a pissing competition any day.


  129. corvus boreus

    Rather than dumping supportive evidence for nay-saying and dooms-daying, how about you use your absence to rustle up some suggestions for alternatives to the proposed alternatives to maintaining the obviously unsustainable status quo.
    Ps, I mean actual practicable ‘policy’ ideas beyond generic statements (eg; reduce population; exactly how?).

  130. Harquebus

    How do we reduce populations? A good bloody question. Warfare, famine and/or disease or a combination of, is going to happen. It is too late for a one child policy which, was my preferred option.

    For the umpteenth time:

    Population reduction is the only viable solution to pollution, scarcity (water), resource depletion (oil, etc), climate change, the sterilization of our oceans and the destruction of our environment. The pursuit of all other solutions, including renewable energy, are not going to do it and are a complete waste of time and precious resources.

    Here is the problem that mainstream is trying to solve:
    Increase energy production, grow populations, grow the economy, build massive amounts of energy guzzling infrastructure and pay off debt all while trying to reduce greenhouse gasses and the budget deficit…. Ha!

    This is the problem:
    It is the ideology of compound growth and the absurd pursuit of it that is the problem.

    Here is my solution and so what if few billionaires go broke:
    1: Forget economics. It is “fatally” flawed. It has polluted the planet, poisoned us all, does not factor physics nor the environment and is what has got us into this mess in the first place.
    2: Implement national and encourage international population reduction strategies. One way or another, nature will drag us back to sustainable levels and it won’t be pretty.
    3: Properly manage our finite resources which, are currently being pillaged.
    4: Reduce consumption using quotas and not with unfair taxation. We can not shop our way to sustainability.
    5: Plant lots and lots of trees. Massive scale reforestation will help the climate, rainfall and be a valuable renewable resource for future generations.
    6: Restore the liberties and freedoms stolen from us by corporate serving politicians.

    Do I really need to break down each of these? I’ll be here all night. Without the backing of the likes of all of you, we can forget about these suggestions as well.

    Renewable generators do not return the energy used in their manufacture, construction and maintenance. Things to consider when factoring energy invested include the transport of everything throughout the extensive supply chain, the smelting of ores and silicon, the manufacture of consumables, plant and machinery, sustaining a workforce and the building and maintenance of associated infrastructure as well as all the electricity used in said supply chain etc. Without the still relatively cheap fossil fuels available to us, these devices would never be built. I say “still relatively cheap” because, a litre of fuel is approximately the energy equivalent of two weeks manual labour.

    I will chase that up. Here’s your homework.
    What is the grand total in joules, the amount of energy required to manufacture, construct and maintain a 1.5Kw solar system. Don’t forget to include all the things stated above.

    @Corvus Boreas
    I have to admit, I don’t quite understand your question. Here’s a stab.
    Coal fired power stations consume millions of years worth of concentrated and stored solar energy. I do not advocate coal as an energy source. It is this concentrated energy source, including oil, that enables the economic justification for the construction of wind and solar energy generators. Economics does not factor finite energy supplies in its equations.

    @Kaye Lee.
    Large forest actually improve rainfall. I don’t see any renewable energy sources other than trees and at much lower population levels, smoke will not be a problem. Cooking food is essential for us to survive. If we ate raw food, we would starve. Our intestines have evolved to be smaller because of the use of fire to cook food. We have been breathing smoke and living with bushfires for tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of years.

    In the future, we will be living much simpler lives simply because, there will not be the resources for us to do otherwise.

  131. Harquebus

    Okay. I have seen the video. A few technical glitches but, in my opinion, well worth it. Please watch. I would love to discuss this with all of you.
    If you do watch it, you will know exactly where I am coming from. Nothing new in it for me. It sums up pretty much everything that I am trying to get across.

    The Myth of Technology and Sustainable Development – Prof Dennis Meadows

  132. Harquebus

    Telsa batteries, like all manufactured products, require transport and that requires crude oil. Solar panels will not power trucks nor cargo ships.

  133. Wally

    @Harquebus you cannot convert watts to joules so that is a totally irrelevant question seeing that most of the energy used in manufacturing solar systems is electricity. We want to compare apples to apples so the obvious question is how much electricity and fuel is consumed to manufacture a 1.5Kw solar system. Manufacturing input is a very small percentage of the electricity the system will generate over its life cycle and if this wasn’t the case it would not be economically viable to install solar at all.

    The same applies to wind farms, they are installed by companies to make a profit, if the total energy consumed to build a wind farm was greater than the output over its life cycle. Fuel, electricity and other energy consumed in manufacturing and construction are not cheap, by the time you add labour the output has from a wind farm has to be substantial or it would be a financial disaster.

    I agree that we need to reduce the worlds population, increase forestry in particular sustainable productive forests and it is unrealistic to base (or shackle) the global economy on continual growth. But I don’t want to see my family shrink in size or disappear and I am certain others feel the same, somewhere along the line we have to find a balance.

    You are more biased in your views than how entrenched our society is in capitalism.

  134. corvus boreus

    Nomenclature corvus boreus (‘raven of woods’)
    I have long since ceased to address you incorrectly.
    You, tube of iron and timber, oft fire projectiles, and sometimes hit with relative accuracy and intended effect.
    I, bird dark plumed, sometimes swoop and peck with hard point and hook, and much prefer living in forest.

    Ps, I don’t mind windmills, relatively speaking 😉

  135. Harquebus

    Calculating in joules is perfectly valid. I am not asking for the power required, I am asking for the total energy used. You ask for watts, I ask for joules.


    As I keep saying, economic argument does not count when calculating energy. Profit can only come about with surplus energy which, I keep saying, wind and solar generators do not provide.

    I am quite willing to change my mind as soon as someone convinces otherwise. So far, no valid arguments. You all make the same mistakes. You use economic or financial argument or do not factor energy use far enough up the supply chain.

    What did you think of the video?

    @corvus boreus
    You are very perceptive. Well done.

  136. Wally

    @diannaart I would ask Elon Musk how and why Tesla batteries are any better than other manufacturers products. From everything I have read about the Tesla battery it is just another lithium-iron battery and I suspect the design makes it simpler/easier/more suitable to install in a home but is this in comparison to other manufacturers products or compared to Tesla existing batteries? The link you posted confirms the battery type “progressing with plans to sell a lithium-ion battery for energy storage in homes and businesses” and I think the biggest aspect of the new design is Tesla diversifying their business.

    This article tells the story of why Tesla want to diversify http://www.solarchoice.net.au/blog/news/attractive-economics-could-mean-half-aussie-solar-homes-install-batteries-morgan-stanley-250515 The home battery market could potentially be huge and Tesla have begun a massive campaign to capture a big chunk of the emerging market and they will do well because they have already hyped up the market into believing there battery will be better than existing products and because it is not yet in the market place competitors cannot dispute Teslas claims. By the time the product is released they will be a prominent supplier and they will most probably be very successful.

    Ultimately Tesla could be pissing in our pockets??????

  137. miriamenglish

    Harquebus, you don’t appear to have read my careful, extensive reply to most of your points.

    One thing I didn’t address was growing forests. Kaye’s reply there stands well, I think. When she said that growing forests is water intensive, and you said that large forests improve rainfall, you are both right. Starting a forest off can be very water intensive, but once you have one it certainly improves rainfall. Also, because it acts as a sponge, releasing water slowly to moderate heavy rainfall, allowing it to seep out gently to the waterways and preventing floods and droughts.

    Kaye is correct about the bad health effects of burning wood. It truly is a terrible energy source in that respect. Solar water heaters are much more effective, and cleaner. Solar photovoltaics can operate a microwave oven more cleanly than a wood stove. I have heard that induction heaters work well too, though I have no experience with them.

    You are right that cooking is pretty-much a necessity for humans, with our specialised digestive tract, but choosing wood burners for cooking is a terrible idea. Perhaps one day, centuries hence, it might be okay for some of us to return to some kind of wood stove for cooking, but while our numbers are so high it is totally out of the question. Strangely, you understand that our numbers need to be reduced because of our frightening impact on the planet, but then in the next breath you say we need to do things which make no sense at all until we actually have reduced our population numbers to sane levels. In our current situation, renewable energy is the only thing that makes any sense.

    As I said before, war, famine, disease, and so on all end up increasing population numbers instead of decreasing them. I know this particularly well, being a member of the baby-boom generation — part of the explosion of baby-making that resulted from World War II. Look at the most over-populated places in the world and you’ll see war, poverty, famine, and disease there. While overpopulation can produce those things (though not always), that suffering and uncertainty definitely creates massive population growth. The “one-child solution” worked (kind-of) in China. I can’t really imagine it working anywhere else in the world, but even there it backfired really badly. Because males are more highly valued than females they now have a massive sex imbalance and we can expect to see social problems from this in the future.

    The only genuine, long-lasting, workable way to reduce population growth is by raising the education and standard of living of poor people, especially the women. Yes, it takes a generation to really kick in, but it works. Plus raising those people out of poverty and getting them knowledge makes available billions more human minds to work on cracking the problems confronting us.

  138. Kaye Lee

    “The Abbott government has agreed to consider new noise restrictions and monitoring of windfarms to win crucial crossbench votes for the inclusion of wood waste in the renewable energy deal now before parliament.

    The prime minister, who last week said he found windfarms noisy and “visually awful”, met the Liberal Democratic party senator David Leyonhjelm on Wednesday and discussed noise monitoring and regulation of windfarms.

    Last night Leyonhjelm and other crossbench senators concerned about the growth of the wind industry – including the Family First senator, Bob Day, and independent senators John Madigan and Jacqui Lambie – were waiting for a letter from the environment minister, Greg Hunt, setting out the measures the government had agreed to.”


    I just love the fact that David Leyonhjelm is concerned about the health effects of wind farms but not of tobacco companies from whom he proudly accepts donations.

    “Liberal Democratic senator gives speech praising smokers but it emerges party accepted tens of thousands of dollars from tobacco giant in 2013 election”


  139. corvus boreus

    On improving the current practical aspects of wind-turbines, I would love to see preferential subsidies going towards those displaying audited efficiencies in construction/installation, energy output, longevity, durability and easy repair/replacability of parts.
    Discourage design towards obsolescence.

  140. corvus boreus

    Hydro-tumescence in canopy vegetation often sits at well over 60% of mass(not counting water holding capacity of sub-soil mycorrhizae). Lots of stored water, oft discounted.
    In the right conditions you can even see the rain being drawn from the tree-tops.

    I think I like your brain, it seems to work very well.

  141. The AIM Network

    I just love the fact that David Leyonhjelm is concerned about the health effects of wind farms but not of tobacco companies from whom he proudly accepts donations.


  142. miriamenglish

    Corvus, 🙂 thank you. The feeling is mutual.

    Good point about subsidies and auditing wind turbines.

    I spent a lot of my childhood in forests and remember how damp the air can be in them, and I’ve seen that mist being produced.

    Many years ago my parents retired and bought a dead ex-pineapple farm where decades of farming had wrecked the soil and only grass grew on it. In just 25 years they had created a rainforest there, full of flowers and fruit and birds, with thick, damp leaf-mulch on the floor. It’s now more than 30 years and I can see the forest maturing with the understory opening out to make a luxurious space.

  143. Wally


    “As I keep saying, economic argument does not count when calculating energy.”

    Before capitalism and money existed people bartered their wares so I doubt there has ever been a time when economics didn’t exist in some form or another and economics has everything to do with how all societies exist wether we like it or not.

    As for your question, energy measures the total quantity of work done, it doesn’t say how fast the work is done so it is extremely difficult to calculate the specific amount of energy consumed to manufacture a single product. How do you calculate how much energy an employee expended to build a solar panel? I don’t know if the worker ate Coco pops or Rice Bubbles for breakfast and how many teaspoons of sugar were put on top. Maybe they had full cream milk instead of skinny milk! The only way to realistically compare input to output is on a financial basis.

  144. Kaye Lee

    I am hesitant to re-enter this debate but it occurs to me that it is like the Greens voting against an ETS because it didn’t go far enough. We have to start somewhere. If wind and solar are less destructive than fossil fuels then let’s start there. There is nothing more annoying when heading off on a long trip and before you are out of the driveway the kids are whining are we there yet. Much as we may like to, we cannot change the world overnight but we have to make a start.

  145. Harquebus

    I have had a quick look at your problem.
    The lifetime of a Pv panel is yet to be determined. Degradation rates vary but .5%pa is about normal. Panels can still be useful after 30 years however, most are not that old yet and time will tell. So, it depends on how long one hangs on to the panels.
    The biggest factor seems to be the environment and UV. that degrade the materials. Batteries and inverters, from what I have read, need to be replaced about every 5 years. (Energy used in maintenance.)

    I have come up with a figure of about 200Mw, energy equivalent of about 118 barrels of oil but, am not confident as to the accuracy.



    As for your homework, now you see the problem.

    You’re next.

  146. Wally

    @Harquebus it was a trick question because unless you know the latitude where the panels are installed you cannot calculate how many megawatts the system will generate. The best guide is how many renewable energy certificates the system would generate if installed at a particular location, if identical systems were installed in Queensland and Victoria the Queensland installation would receive more certificates because it would generate more power in its life span. Basically the closer a PV cell is to the equator the closer it is to the sun and as such it is more efficient.

    The point of the question was to show how the figures quoted for solar systems can vary significantly depending on what vested interests are at stake. Once again the only real measure consumers have is the cost of a system versus the return on investment and with the reduction in feed in tariffs (Victoria 6 cents per Kw/h) unless you are at home to use the power when the sun is shining or you install a hybrid system and store power to batteries to use in the evening a solar system is unlikely to par for itself. I believe it should be a 1 for 1 basis, for every Kw/hr put saved to the grid you should be able to get the equivalent back. They claim that 6 cents is the wholesale price of electricity from a coal fired power station so I am buggered why we pay retailers close to 30 cents.

    Solar power is realistically worth much more than coal fired power because maximum production occurs when there is maximum demand for power, you cannot flick a switch to turn on another coal fired alternator to provide for peak loads on unexpected hot days. Without grid connected solar systems Victoria would need to build another large coal power station and run it wether needed or not to avoid massive power outages on hot days. The cost of power outages to business is massive and other states would be in a very similar position.

    Your estimate of 200Mw is in the ball park and I will take your word on the comparison of 118 barrels of oil.

    A typical grid connect system does not have batteries that need replacement and the life cycle of inverters can vary enormously from brand a to brand b. The better brand inverters have a warranty period of 5 years and like most consumer products life expectancy is typically double the warranty period. Not sure if that rule of thumb can be applied to solar panels that typically have a 20 year warranty period to produce 95% of their rated output. Copper, silicone and aluminium are the main raw materials used in inverters and panels all of which can be recycled.

    On face value a humble 1.5Kw solar system doesn’t appear to be of any considerable value in reducing green house gases but when the benefit of not running a power station just in case it is needed is taken into consideration the benefits are massive. I think the same can be said for wind power as well, many of the benefits are not very obvious, you really need to look closer at the power networks intricacies to fully appreciate them. For instance inverters have massive capacitors in them that can help improve the power factor in AC power systems, and the short version is that we have to generate more power to overcome the effects of power factor.

  147. Harquebus


    We don’t have time to educate people and increasing standards of living requires more energy. We are already in overshoot.
    I dispute that things are getting better overall. The biggest global debt bubble in history and years of zirp and nirp is my evidence. (Zero interest rate policy, negative interest rate policy) A sure sign that things ain’t right.
    The elites are divesting themselves of a lot of things and are establishing their shelters and hideaways.


    Repeat: All these techno alternatives are only going to harder and harder to produce as productivity continues to decline along with our own share of precious resources and energy.
    Using water to grow forests is, in my opinion, a good investment.
    Solar for water heating yes, photovoltaics for cooking no. As you know, it is my opinion that wind and solar will not be available after the oil crunch, the economic crash or WWIII, whichever comes first and neither will much else.
    Cooking with wood is carbon neutral, cooking with microwave is not.

    As you can see, most do not see the world as I see it. The best that I can figure, it is only about 1 in 1000 and most who agree with me are academics of some sort. Scientist and geologists etc. See my link to Prof Dennis Meadows above. I myself am a computer scientist / systems analyst.

    Who do most others listen to? Politicians and economists and they are winning and our world is dying as a result. For the last 10 years, life under peak oil, sorry Kaye Lee, I have been trying to wake people up and it has been a complete waste of time. Our ecosystems are in terminal decline and the decline is accelerating. Our climate is changing and the change is accelerating. Oceans are rising and the increase is accelerating. Poverty, inequality, substandard housing (slums), overcrowding, congestion, depletion, population etc. All accelerating.

    I honestly believe that humanity is not going to make it. So do a lot of the elites and they are already prepared. The damage is too severe and there are too many and now too few resources so, I hope you’ll excuse me if sometimes I appear a little angry and terse.

    Our world is the Titanic heading full speed toward a flotilla of icebergs and the arguments I hear around here are about deck chairs.

    Cheers. You seem like a nice person.

    @Kaye Lee.
    Did you read the email that I asked M.T. to forward to you?

  148. Harquebus

    “Wind energy is not nearly as “clean” and “good for the environment” as the wind lobbyists want you to believe.”

    Big Wind’s Dirty Little Secret: Toxic Lakes and Radioactive Waste

    “Right now, solar panel recycling suffers from a chicken-or-egg problem: There aren’t enough places to recycle old solar panels, and there aren’t enough defunct solar panels to make recycling them economically attractive.”

    “Fueled partly by billions in government incentives, the industry is creating millions of solar panels each year and, in the process, millions of pounds of polluted sludge and contaminated water.”

  149. Harquebus

    155 comments. People staying away in droves?

  150. darrel nay

    “In the beginning of change, the Patriot is a scarce man; brave, hated and

    scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him, for then it

    costs nothing to be a patriot”

    Mark Twain

    “Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying civilization.” – Aristotle

  151. corvus boreus

    “Every day in every way, I am getting better a and better”.
    Positive affirmation/motivational platitude popularised by Frank Spencer(Michael Crawford).

    “Tis dangerous to jet”.
    Will Shakepeare on safety in aviation/pressurised discharges.

  152. miriamenglish

    Darrel, I have some quotes as response:

    “Why is a mouse when it spins? Because the higher, the fewer.”


    “What’s the difference between a duck? Because one leg’s both the same as the other.”

  153. miriamenglish

    Please note that although I was being facetious in my selection of nonsense quotes, I didn’t intend it to be insulting. I was merely trying to show how quotes can be quite meaningless, even if they sound like they mean something.

    I’m sure people who use that Twain quote will be emphasising the word “patriot” whereas I’m sure that for him that was the least important word in the quote. He was merely talking about peer pressure. And if Aristotle really said that and meant what it sounds like he was saying then he was a real dick, which wouldn’t be a big surprise. Back in those days people believed some really stupid things. For instance Aristotle believed you could reason your way into understanding everything and there was no need to “dirty” one’s hands with actual experimentation to find out what things were really like.

  154. diannaart

    There is no magic bullet/single solution to mitigate climate change.

    We need to wean off polluting non-renewables while investing in sustainable energy sources.

    We will also have to plan for the fact that it is very unlikely we will keep global temperature under the 2 degree that is bandied about – we needed to start decades ago for that.

    Reduction in population is just one small part, economic energy storage another tiny component and, yes, we will continue to produce carbon and other greenhouses gases, the best we can do reduce reliance on polluting factors and factor in the environment as the basis for any economic solution. We don’t just need a price on carbon we need a foundation value for our environment. Bean counters need to wake up. Populate-or-perishers need to get real. Deniers of AGW to be ignored completely.

    Mitigation efforts INCLUDE the following:

    Climate Change Mitigation refers to efforts to reduce or prevent emission of greenhouse gases. Mitigation can mean using new technologies and renewable energies, making older equipment more energy efficient, or changing management practices or consumer behavior. It can be as complex as a plan for a new city, or as a simple as improvements to a cook stove design. Efforts underway around the world range from high-tech subway systems to bicycling paths and walkways. Protecting natural carbon sinks like forests and oceans, or creating new sinks through silviculture or green agriculture are also elements of mitigation. UNEP takes a multifaceted approach towards climate change mitigation in its efforts to help countries move towards a low-carbon society.


    Along with mitigation we need to adapt – as the climate changes so too, must we:

    The terms “adaptation” and “mitigation” are two important terms that are fundamental in the climate change debate. The IPCC defined adaptation as adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderate harm or exploits beneficial opportunities. Similarly, Mitchell and Tanner (2006) defined adaptation as an understanding of how individuals, groups and natural systems can prepare for and respond to changes in climate or their environment. According to them, it is crucial to reducing vulnerability to climate change. While mitigation tackles the causes of climate change, adaptation tackles the effects of the phenomenon. The potential to adjust in order to minimize negative impact and maximize any benefits from changes in climate is known as adaptive capacity. A successful adaptation can reduce vulnerability by building on and strengthening existing coping strategies.

    In general the more mitigation there is, the less will be the impacts to which we will have to adjust, and the less the risks for which we will have to try and prepare. Conversely, the greater the degree of preparatory adaptation, the less may be the impacts associated with any given degree of climate change.


    Petty argument over single issues is a waste of time.

    ‘Winning’ an argument on a blog site is just school yard behaviour – not creating anything worthwhile, just further muddying a problem so vast very few people can look at it in its entirety.

    Big Picture – too big for small minds like Abbott and, unfortunately far too many people.

    We don’t have to return to the stone-age, but…

  155. stephentardrew

    I feel the discussion has been very fruitful and I agree with Miriam that in the long term we should explore as many alternatives as possible not knowing what the science is going to produce.

    Exponential growth in technology is driving innovations and we cannot predict which areas are going to have the greatest effect. I takes one revolutionary epiphany experience by a scientist to completely re-frame a particular field and, as philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn demonstrated, true scientific revolutions are incommensurable with past conceptions. The new can only be explained partially with the old. A scientific skeptic will not rule out any possibility per say they will simply go for the one with the best potential, however that may well not be the most productive in the long run. Science is never fixed truth it is a body of accumulated proofs that open the ground to further discoveries. Kuhn offers a raft of examples that support his thesis.

    Resources should not be expended on obvious failures however no one can predict how, when, where or why the next major breakthrough is going to occur and that is why scientist should have a free hand in public institutions to do fundamental research.

    Just don’t tell our dumb science troglodyte that.

  156. Harquebus


    You are just another dreamer and a dangerous person whose ideas are nonsense. Your world is going to collapse around you and you’re not going to see it coming.


    “Even as a waste disposal site, the world is finite.” — William R. Catton Jr.

  157. miriamenglish

    Harquebus, that response to Dianna was wrongheaded and pitifully shortsighted. Unless you can demonstrate why the things she said are nonsense (and I don’t mean just reiterating your cries of doom, I mean genuine checkable facts) then you’ll find the shit you threw at her will have actually become plastered all over you.

  158. stephentardrew

    Harquebus what a crap unintelligent half-wit of a response.

    You are sounding more and more like an Abbott clone of intolerance and absolutism every day.

  159. Kaye Lee

    And that is how every discussion with Harquebus ends

  160. The AIM Network

    And that is how every discussion with Harquebus ends

    And begins.

  161. Harquebus

    We are all going to die premature deaths. That is how it is going to end.
    Thank you all.

    And as for shit, we’re all in it.

    Hit me with your best facts.

  162. miriamenglish

    There is an interesting effect where two people with quite different views on a topic watch a video or read an article relating to the topic. Most times both people will come away from the experience more certain of their view than before, regardless of whether the information presented actually supports their preconceptions or not. The more emotional a person’s beliefs, the stronger this effect appears to be. Depressing, huh?

    In this way someone (for example Harquebus) can watch a video (such as the one of Dennis Meadows talking about “The Myth of Technology and Sustainable Development”) and be certain that it is reinforcing his view that the world is screwed no matter what we do, and that technology is not ever sustainable. It becomes virtually impossible for him to see that the video’s message isn’t what he thinks it is.

    In the example video, Meadows talks about the danger of continued increase in consumption of non-renewable energy and materials. Unfortunately Harquebus thinks Meadows means that all technology is at fault, whereas Meadows actually says that “technology is needed, it will be very helpful to us”. Meadows’ main worry about technology is that it shouldn’t be considered alone without taking into account social behavior. Meadows also believes that the market and democracy are not sufficient to make correct technological choices because they will pretty-much always choose short-term solutions instead of seeing how that can often be the wrong long-term choice. Meadows also believes growth in real wealth is no longer possible; that in order for the poor to become more well-off the rich must lose some wealth. I think few commenters here would take issue with any of Meadows’ statements. (I would quarrel with the last point, as I think it depends upon your definition of wealth. In my opinion knowledge is the greatest form of wealth, and we can obviously keep growing that almost without limit.)

    The fact that people can come away from a talk or article and have their beliefs strengthened even if the information presented disconfirms what they believe is worrying. It turns out that the solution to this is not merely presenting more plain facts, but embedding those facts in an emotional camouflage. This is one reason why I write stories about various social/technological problems. For example, in chapter 16 of my book Prescription I use what is essentially a standalone short story to talk about refugees, but I use emotion to get people to understand the problem instead of merely presenting bare facts. Likewise in chapter 7 of the same book I show why allowing the police or security groups to get away with torture is such a terrible idea. Another of my stories, a short play called Love, Honour, and Obey, shows why slavery is also bad for the slave-owner because it so easily turns a good person into a monster. (It would be easy to conclude from these examples that my stories are generally pretty dark, but in fact they are mostly upbeat and optimistic — deliberately so.)

    Here is an article that had a big effect on me when I read it some time ago. It talks about people becoming more certain despite contrary evidence (the 4-page version):
    or the single page version:

  163. stephentardrew


    John Cook of Skeptical Science has produced a book on called the Debunking handbook.

    To quote John: ” Although there is a great deal of psychological research on misinformation, there’s no summary of the literature that offers practical guidelines on the most effective ways of reducing the influence of myths. The Debunking Handbook boils the research down into a short, simple summary, intended as a guide for communicators in all areas (not just climate) who encounter misinformation.”

    Below is the link for downloading this handbook.


  164. DanDark

    Miriam geeezuz so the world has to have the same view as you and you only
    No one else can have a say because Miriam knows all, and whilst you promote your crap on here
    everyone elses opinion that disagrees with you is supposedly a figment of their imagination
    There is no positive without negative, its called juxtaposition , a car battery has a positive and negative and it starts a car
    Life is not all positive and rosy, and to deny the negative is a really dumb thing to do in our life,
    Balance is the key to life, get out of your head Miriam and into your heart for a change,
    we are humans and have emotions, something you don’t seem to recognize……

  165. Harquebus


    You are putting words in my mouth and I think you had better watch the video again.
    The video I posted is only one of many along with countless articles on both sides of the argument that I have seen and read. My daily reading list is large and includes many subjects.

    My peers are scientists, geologists, IT professionals etc. That is who I listen to and get my information from.

    I am quite willing to change my mind if, someone can convince me that we are not doomed.
    The link that you provided could just as easily apply to yourself. The minds that gather here are more set in concrete than mine is. No one wants to believe that it’s all over. We are already in the end game.

    The changes that are happening are accelerating at an exponential rate and very soon, the problems that we are facing are going to overtake us.

    “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” — Prof. Albert Bartlett

    If you want to learn something, look this man up.

  166. Harquebus

    Debunk: Used to mean proving that perceived bunkem is actually true. How the meaning got changed, I don’t know.

  167. miriamenglish

    Stephen, thanks. I must read it. Thanks for the pointer.

    DanDark, no, I don’t expect that everybody should have the same views as I do. You will notice during the exchanges here that I often change when I am shown I’m wrong, and I try to always thank people for making me realise my error or for pointing me to new information. I’m rather puzzled at how you came to the conclusion that I expect everyone to agree with me. Yes, I agree with you that life is not all rosy. That’s exactly why the three examples I linked to of my writing are, unfortunately, rather depressing. I am basically an optimist, but firmly feel that it is important to remain aware of the problems threatening us. Those story examples I linked to are good examples of some quite terrible problems that I examine. Most of my stories attempt to provide solutions. Unwittingly, the examples I gave presented no solutions. So, you see? I agree with you.

    As for getting out of my head and into my heart, I can see from what I write here that you might think that of me (though I have made some emotional blunders here). If you read one of the stories on my site http://miriam-english.org (for example what I think probably really happened in the legend of Medusa) or if you looked at some of my pictures I hope you’d see someone who is able to feel their heart.

    Harquebus. In what way am I putting words in your mouth? I often point people to the excellent video of the talk by Albert Bartlett on Arithmetic, Population, Energy. The inability of people to intuitively understand exponential change is definitely one of our worst faults.

  168. Harquebus

    My mistake. I should have said something like “assume to know what I am thinking”.
    The video does not reinforce my view, it confirms it.

  169. diannaart


    Do you even stop to think before you attempt to disparage someone’s considered opinion?

    What part of we need a diverse range of efforts (cooperation, research & development, investing in sustainable technology) to aid us in mitigating the worst effects of climate change? How does stating the bleeding obvious make me dangerous?

    Don’t answer, my questions are merely rhetorical – all you have are insults and cries of doom – pathetic.

  170. darrel nay

    Is this some sort of record for comments?

    It’s great to see people get things off their chest without having to resort to violence. A few ‘edgy’ words, or an alternative view, need not offend and will often catalyse a consensus. My guess is that every commenter on this site cares about the environment (to the point of action) and cares about our shared future.


  171. miriamenglish

    There were three little mice. They were Alice, Betty, Carol, and Daffodil.

    Alice was always happy and skipped everywhere she went. “Life is wonderful,” she would sing endearingly in her little mousy voice, “Nothing is wrong with the world. Everything is as it should be.”

    Betty was scared of her own shadow. “Don’t go out there. The cat will get you. We’re doomed. The humans are going to use poison gas on us. And if they don’t, the carpet snake will come back and eat us.”

    Carol was less extreme than either of her two sisters. She told Alice to be more careful and to watch out for the cat, but she reassured Betty that the humans were not likely to use gas, and that if the carpet snake returned she knew of a hole that was too small for it, that they could use to evade it. “We just have to be careful and think ahead. Yes, there are dangers, but I think we can survive them.”

    Daffodil didn’t like any of her sisters. She thought Alice was too happy, Betty was plain depressing. And Carol was too wishy washy because she was never firmly for or against anything. Daffodil wanted the cheese in the trap just outside their home. She tried to convince Alice to go out and set the trap off. This would allow greedy little Daffodil to get all the cheese she wanted.

    When Carol heard this she was aghast. She told Alice not to listen to Daffodil, and reprimanded Daffodil severely. “She’s your sister! How could you send her out there to be killed by the trap just so you could steal all that cheese?”

    Daffodil grumbled, “She’s an idiot. She deserves what she gets.”

    Betty overheard this and renewed her moaning. “We’re all doomed. Even Daffodil wants us to die.”

    Carol had her hands full trying to find ways to ensure her sisters had enough to live on. Alice was always skipping off, trusting to her optimism that all would be well, in spite of many close shaves with the cat and the owl outside at night. Betty stayed in the dark of the burrow, never budging, and terrified of every noise around her. Carol tried to point out the futility of just believing in doom, but she was never able to make an impression on her. And Daffodil seemed never to care about anybody except herself.

    Eventually Alice was caught and eaten by the cat. A bit later the carpet snake visited and found Betty. Just before the snake caught and swallowed her Betty squealed in a surprisingly gratified voice, “See? I told you it would end like this!”

    Carol said to Daffodil, “We should leave. It’s too dangerous here. I’ve explored out in the field behind the house and there is a shed. The only entry is too small for the snake or the cat to get in, and there are some bags of grain there to eat.”

    Daffodil sneered, “What? And leave all this gorgeous food? Cheese on the traps, cake crumbs in the kitchen, milk in the cat’s bowl, sometimes meat leftovers on the kitchen bench. Go if you want. I’m staying here.”


    Alice is a hippy.
    Betty is a gloom and doom dystopian.
    Carol is a scientist.
    Daffodil is a right-wing conservative.

  172. miriamenglish

    Actually, thinking more about it… Alice is better described as a contented consumer.

  173. miriamenglish

    Oops. Four little mice. It started off as three mice, but I added Daffodil.

  174. miriamenglish

    I wrote the four little mice story in an attempt to illustrate why doom and gloom is not a good strategy, however I screwed up. It didn’t really convey the point that I wanted. I kinda got led astray by the story. Sorry. :/

    What I originally wanted to say is that there’s nothing to be gained by the “end is nigh” viewpoint. If you’re correct you are doomed, and if you’re wrong you haven’t planned for surviving. But it’s worse than that, because it can actually bring about the very calamity you’re already convinced will happen. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy if sufficient numbers of people despair and give up, thinking there’s no point in trying to fix things, but instead live for the present, with no care for the future.

    On the other hand, using optimism, but with a recognition of the dangers, is a much better strategy. If you’re wrong and you are doomed, well, you tried, but if you’re correct then you’ve planned on how to survive the challenges.

  175. corvus boreus

    I think the most commented-upon article I have seen since following this site was the ‘zombie Lazarus’ thread on Larry ‘the lounge lizard’, the conman who draws dicks and slings slanders. It said much upon the value of narrow opinions offered as facts.

    Ps, miriamenglish,
    I think simple rodent analogies were forever spoiled by “Who moved my cheese”(Spencer Johnson), a platitudinal corporate retrenchment primer scribbled in patronising Cretinese.
    Pps(+bad pun), Since I raised him, here’s a poem offered on behalf of Lazarus;

  176. Harquebus


    cooperation, research & development, investing in sustainable technology

    First up, the only thing we are cooperating in is the destruction of our world. Research and development is a gamble and can not be counted on. Sustainable technology: As a tech head myself, I can assure you, there is no such thing.

    There is techno utopian future for us. It is wishful thinking and a distraction from the dangers and the reality of our very serious situation. No one wants to have their dreams of inexhaustible plenty shattered and is why they cling to these false hopes and dreams.

  177. Harquebus

    Correction: There is no techno utopian future for us.

  178. diannaart


    Name one person here who has claimed that there IS a technological based utopian future waiting for us.

    You don’t bother actually reading what others have to say, do you?

    Speaking for myself, I recently posted

    There is no magic bullet/single solution to mitigate climate change.

    We need to wean off polluting non-renewables while investing in sustainable energy sources.

    We will also have to plan for the fact that it is very unlikely we will keep global temperature under the 2 degree that is bandied about – we needed to start decades ago for that.

    Go back to your box, Betty.

  179. The AIM Network

    diannart, Harquebus won’t be able to answer that.

  180. miriamenglish

    Wow, Corvus, that video short was AMAZING! Thanks.
    😀 heheheh “Since I raised him” heheheh

    Dianna, yeah. I’ve come to the conclusion you’re right. I don’t think he actually read much of what people said. Briefly scanned to confirm his prejudices perhaps, but not read with comprehension. I kinda feel sorry for him, trapped inside his scary fears, defeated, defeatist, giving up before the hard part even begins, alienating all around him by telling them they’ll all die horribly. There’s something of the fire-and-brimstone preacher there, I think. Sad.

  181. stephentardrew

    Great Video Corvus.

    God is such a bastard.

  182. miriamenglish

    Stephen, yeah. 🙂 As Richard Dawkins said so well:

    “God is arguably the most unpleasant character in all of fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak; a vindictive bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

    It is unlikely there are any gods, but if any did exist I’m sure they’d consider the bible, koran, and other “holy” books terribly insulting. They depict gods made small to fit the ignorance of ancient early Iron Age goat herders who were so stunningly arrogant they considered themselves “the chosen”.

  183. darrel nay

    Such certainty of the unknown miriamenglish,

    Richard Dawkins sounds like the life of the party. He talks about misogyny but not a mention of misandry – I guess he has a perspective.

  184. corvus boreus

    darrel nay,
    Richard Dawkins has a penis (and a perspective).
    The ‘Yahweh’ of Abrahamic monotheism that his comment refers to also (allegedly) has a penis.
    Misandry is a relative contextual external when discussing Biblical texts (apart from the recommended dick-mutilations).

  185. stephentardrew

    darrel nay:

    There are many ways to skin a cat concerning the grand domain of unknowns and, as Kurt Godel effectively demonstrated, unknowables that leave us with a sense of mystery, awe and wonder. To think that any primitive sentient being has absolute knowledge is absurd. God’s don’t cut it but the paradoxes of physics and cosmology certainly leave us wondering.

    Infinity is another profound mystery that is deeply embedded in maths, physics and calculus. Block time and Minkowski space demonstrate that every moment in time exist for every moment in time for all time. Einstein most certainly accepted block time. Dawkins is too infatuated with his self-importance when humility is demanded. This does not devalue scientific facts or proofs it is simply demonstrates that those proofs are partial and infinitely incomplete.

    Whatever it is that is flowing through this existence has not yet been defined in terms of the flowing through of the thing-in-itself which remains a deep mystery. It is the unknowns that make life interesting while beauty, joy, compassion and love lead us beyond material certainty into domains of subjective generative and creativity.

    You can never claim to know what you don’t, and cannot yet, know so often the doyens of both ideology and atheistic determinism best remain silent until they have demonstrated absolute knowledge and truth. Science does not provide truth it only deals with probabilities and verifiable proofs. Claiming to much too soon is in effect self-defeating.

    The psyche evidence demonstrates that to remain stable people, in general, need a sense of mystery, awe and wonder so the challenge is to embrace scientific methodology and logic while not killing off a sense of profound otherness. After all life and death are heard taskmasters.

    Humility also has its psychological rewards which provides a mode of detached witness and non-judgment when one understands the causal nature of existence.

  186. darrel nay

    He who binds to himself a joy
    Does the winged life destroy;
    But he who kisses the joy as it flies
    Lives in eternity’s sun rise.
    William Blake

  187. corvus boreus

    “Man is the ultimate manifestation of the cosmos’ desire to express itself”.
    Graffiti I once read in a public dunny.

    “I am good, I am bad,
    sometimes in between.
    I get happy, I get sad,
    too much lager makes me green.”
    My biological brother (in fine poetic form).

  188. miriamenglish

    Darrel, you’ll notice I didn’t say I was certain no gods exist. I said they were unlikely, and after that I said if they do exist…

    I will say I’m absolutely certain the biblical god doesn’t exist, nor the koranic god, nor any of the others from human religious texts, because they are all absurd cartoon-figures. As written, they are all impossible, schizophrenic monstrosities. They could not possibly exist.

  189. miriamenglish

    Darrel, something about what you said just hit me.

    I’ve often had people tell me that I’m wrong to be so certain of the unknown. But I just realised, they have it exactly backwards. I try to always couch my language in a degree of uncertainty, precisely because I can imagine (remote though the possibility may be) circumstances where there could be creators of the universe (not least because that used to be my day job — building 3D virtual worlds on the internet). What I suddenly realised was that the people who told me I was wrong to be certain (when actually I’m not) were themselves utterly convinced and totally certain about this supposed “unknown”. They believe this god exists and have no doubt at all. They should be criticising themselves, not me.

    Hilarious, huh? For some reason that connection never occurred to me before… probably because I immediately become busy scrutinising what I said to see if I made any stupid gaffes.

  190. miriamenglish

    We are a way for the universe to know itself.
    — Carl Sagan

  191. silkworm

    A dead giveaway that a poster is a religious believer is when they start attacking Richard Dawkins.

  192. corvus boreus

    I say “hurrah” for the injection of an element of curious “agnosticism” (Greek for ‘dunno’), whatever the belief or subject.
    Even science says we should, with open mind, repeat experiments again and again, checking parameters and methodology (just to be sure the results were not erroneous or extraordinary).
    Along with “introspection”, (attempting to honestly examine and thus know thyself), this is a concept that is currently broadly misunderstood and neglected, which I think is to the detriment of so much of our individual and collective promise and potential.
    A certain smug certainty in Richard Dawkin’s absolute denial of the possibility of any metaphysical properties in unexplained elements of universal existence (as well as a personal jealousy that he married Lalla Ward [‘Romana II from Dr Who, a childhood crush]), do diminish my respect for him, despite his obvious intellectual merits.

    Having said that, I am reasonably sure that a singular anthropomorphic deity with male genitalia is not the absolute truth.
    I think if ‘god’ be, It is likely amorphous, asexual, hermaphroditic or a poly-gender collective.

  193. silkworm

    Another attack on Dawkins. Corveus, you have lost my respect.

  194. silkworm

    “you pussies” … that’s a bannable offence.

  195. Roswell

    Silkworm, I deleted it. 🙂

  196. stephentardrew

    Grow up silkworm.

    No being critical of Dawkins does not make you a Christian or a God bod.

    Only in your narrow dogmatic perspective.

    If your respect depends upon supporting Dawkins then, I for one, could not give a shit.

    Arrogance is really unbecoming.

  197. stephentardrew

    Corvus there are plenty of insightful philosophies that are logically consistent accepting the implications of duality and paradox from a non-dual perspective that have no requirement for a God but accept a profound underlying connection between self, observation and universe including time, block time, anti-time, incompleteness, uncertainty mathematical and conceptual infinity and the pure philosophical schools of non-dualism underscored by the work of Nagarjuna.

    True philosophy explores the boundaries between the known and unknown accepting there are large holes in how we conceive consciouses and its relation to space, time, mass energy and the paradoxical laws of physics.

    I just dislike any type of dogmatism or absolutism whether religious or scientifically derived.

    Have his books and admire his work however Dawkins is an absolutist bully.

  198. stephentardrew

    Who said anything about a force and what is a force?

    Do you really know?

    As usual empty assumptions.

  199. Wally

    @Harkobus If you are correct we will all be dead so it won’t bother us at all but while we are still alive if for no other reason than the fact that with hope comes inspiration, respect, admiration and intestinal fortitude (just to name a few), the strength to forge ahead.

    Bottom line is if we believe there is no hope we may as well be dead now because we would all be so bloody pathetically miserable there would be nothing in our lives to look forward to. Living like that is called depression, so many people do live like that and when you analyse it you can understand why some people take their own lives.

  200. Roswell

    Wally, I don’t think he cares. Judging by the personal attacks he had made towards people here I’d suggest he completely lacks compassion. He is intent, and content, with delivering abuse.

  201. Harkobus

    So, why am I trying to save our world? Just for li’l ol’ me?

    I don’t recall any abuse in my previous comment. Why was it pulled?

  202. silkworm

    Harquebus is in denial of his own abusive actions. He suffers from a severe mental disorder.

  203. corvus boreus

    Silkworm (10:34),
    I shrug.
    For me, respect has many facets and layers, complexities with graduations.
    I do not see it as a simple binary switch (on/off).

  204. miriamenglish

    Harkobus, your statements are perfectly clear: you are not trying to save the world. You merely attempt to spread despair and the belief that it is too late to save anything.

    I’ll pretty-much guarantee that everybody here recognises the dangerous knife-edge the planet and all civilisation is resting on. We understand it could go terribly wrong. This is why we are so horrified at Australian politics today. But we are invested in trying to fix things, not just running around yelling, “Give up, give up. We’re all doomed.”

    You say you haven’t given up, but everything you’ve said indicates that you have. You offer no solutions. The only thing you haven’t given up on is spreading your message that it’s all futile, that nothing we can do will help. No matter how you view it, there is no sense in propagating such a pointless message. If you do convince people of it, then they give up trying to fix the world. This is a dangerous thing to do if there is still time to fix things and you manage to convince some pivotal people to give up who might have been able to actually rescue some or all of the world (for example, by developing an energy-saving invention, or finding an inspiring way to get people to fix things similar to the divestment campaign).

    You challenge people to respond with facts or logic, but when they do, you simply ignore them, or the bulk of their message… or insult them… as, unfortunately, I expect you will this and me.

  205. miriamenglish

    Corvus, a small correction: Richard Dawkins doesn’t maintain absolute certainty that no god exists. He’s discussed a number of times a sliding scale from absolute and total atheism on one end and absolute belief in a god at the other end. He has been quite clear that he places himself on the scale toward the pure atheist end, but not right at the end. He does allow the extremely unlikely possibility of gods.

    He applies the label “atheist” to himself because people generally misinterpret “agnostic” as someone who has no position of the human-created gods, and in that sense “atheist” is more accurate, even though as an absolute term it is still wrong.

    Just as I do, he absolutely rejects the religious versions of gods as dangerous rubbish. It always mystifies me how people overlook the fact that almost everybody on Earth does this, not just atheists or agnostics — all religions reject as absurd all the countless gods of human invention, except for their own. As Richard Dawkins is fond of pointing out, he merely rejects one god more.

    Stephen, I’m puzzled. I don’t understand why you would characterise Richard Dawkins as an absolutist bully. I can’t think of anything he’s ever said that would warrant that description.

  206. diannaart

    As predicted, harkie-woteva unable to supply the name of anyone at AIMN who has claimed we will be living in a “techno utopia”.


    I don’t get the entire Dawkins ‘backlash’ at all – compared to Pell, Fred Nile, assorted Christian and other religious fundamental extremists, Richard Dawkins is remarkably restrained.

  207. stephentardrew

    Mirriam bit long but some things are not simple.

    Miriam his public persona is annoying to me personally. He talks about other possibilities but never defines the unknowns and downright counterintuitives and paradoxes that limit any type of surety. People are well aware of what atheist means and it does him no favours to play the game between religious ideologue, agnostic and atheist. What I am trying to point out is there is a huge domain of potentiality and possibility that maps out through millions of years. We are simply a primitive species with very limited understanding of the complexities of relationship between mind and reality. If you are not willingly and explicitly open to other alternatives then you are misleading those who, psyche evidence demonstrates, need a sense of mystery awe and wonder. We do not fabricate needs and ideas evolution does that for us. To claim to know better than the known facts of reality is a fool’s errand. Because he couldn’t cope with the inconsistencies Daniel Dennet, who to my mind is a brilliant philosopher, has moved from a deterministic to a compatibilist on free will which he pretends does not undermine his hardnosed atheism. This game of pretence, while the knowledge is wide open to revisionary insights, closes the door to many people who would hope that science leaves some room for the profound and unknown. So we have a universe of logically consistent laws underscored by paradoxes which philosophers label counterintuitives to avoid the bare faced contradictions. I have listed these before.

    The average person who Dawkins appeals too sees him as what he claims which is, in the respect you point out, an intellectual double play without a coherent frame of reference. Most clearly recognise Dawkins as an atheist. As you can see I am well versed in science and philosophy yet I have had profound personal experiences that I need to make sense of from within my understanding of science and logically based framework. The thing about creative and alternative thinkers is they are vilified by the science and religion lobby for not conforming to the conventional divides of religious ideologue, agnostic or atheist. I can assure you I am none of these. So what does that leave? If one does not ask the question one will not be open to the domain of infinite possibility and dynamic change alongside the occurrence of absolute necessity as well as the dynamic play in subjective space and recognition of the perfection of each necessary moment. To go there you must give up every assumption and simply witness, without judgment what is. Just because Dawkins’ experiences are tightly bound to his expectations, which is a type of psychological ossification, does not mean there are not vast pathways of potentiality written onto existence to which, in general, we are not proxy.

    I don’t want to convince anyone to believe anything but to question how and what they believe from a type of openness that may generate new insights and understandings. The problem is the new and revisionary are not explicable in the language and metaphors of the old or even current symbolism. Symbols are not the thing-in-itself. And of that trans-linguistic and trans-verbal domain we have not intellectual idea yet there is a felt moment of depth and wonder that stretches beyond the limited constraints of any absolutist ideology; religious, agnostic or atheist.

    And that is what the paradoxes and counterintuitives of physics, cosmology and consciousness are presenting us. Art and beauty may well be the window to a different realm of insight that cannot be reduced to our primitive assumptions. The new and unknown must be that thing-in-itself that cannot be possessed by the absolutist referential mind of duality. So somehow the thing is immediately perfect yet boundless especially if one accepts the implications of infinity, set theory and subjective generativity. And this is the very foundation of no-dualism.

    So the door is wide open to the unknown if we can give up dogmatism and absolutism.

  208. miriamenglish

    Stephen, I’m having a little difficulty following what you wrote.

    As far as I can make out, you basically said that there are lots of unknowns. Richard Dawkins would be the first to agree. That is the greatest thrill of science: discovering the answers to things previously unknown.

    You also said that “people are well aware of what atheist means”. In fact, it is very rare for people to understand the shades of that term. It can refer to disbelief in one particular god (e.g. someone might be atheist with respect to the Abrahamic gods, but agnostic about the animist gods), rejection of all human-created gods, or disdain for the more generalised concept of any makers of the universe, or disbelief in just more limited builders of some smaller part of the universe. Dawkins is aware of this mistaken common perception of “atheist” as an absolute. Unfortunately, people have an even worse misinterpretation of what “agnostic” means. They usually think it means someone who has suspended all judgement on the matter. Therefore, inexact though it is, he feels the common understanding of “atheist” as someone who explicitly denies gods is a closer fit to his viewpoint, even though he only denies the human-created gods.

    Another thing you said is that you find Richard Dawkins’ personality annoying. That’s fine. I find Buckminster Fuller annoying, but I acknowledge him as having been a forward thinker who came up with lots of cool ideas.

    None of what you said would seem to be a good reason to characterise him as an absolutist bully.

  209. stephentardrew


    I suppose it gets down to personal opinion though there are experiences I would expect that Dawkins has not had which is reflected in his writing. I still think that the use of the terms religious, agnostic and atheist are unnecessary and misleading therefore a new frame of reference is required that is open and unequivocally original in form and context. Really the battle is for hearts not minds and that is the oxymoron.

    What are the limitations of language and when does direct insight and experience supersede language? These are questions we need to ask by getting away from traditional narratives.

    The problem is to define the clear limitations of material objective reality and the dynamic creative capacity of subjective space. I think everything we think we know is going to be challenge by artificial intelligence and neuro-computational interface that is not constrained by our primitive emotional fight/flight responses which can lead the way to dampening of fear based autonomic reactivity. What emerges will be completely at odds with all of our conventions and assumptions religious and scientific.

    The new and revisionary, as Kuhn demonstrated, are incommensurable with the past and it is this type of plasticity which will keep us in good stead for he challenges aead.

    Just a bit of fun and really.

    I don’t think we see things that differently just a matter or personal preference.

  210. darrel nay

    miriam english and diannaart’

    I can’t believe you two are still trying to hen-peck Harquebus – talk about flogging a dead horse. Probably not your finest work. OK, so you disagree with the guy on some issues but that doesn’t mean you have to jump down his throat day after day after day. I would like to challenge you to be a little more gracious. The way a small group of commentators ganged-up on Harquebus reminded me of the tragic cyber-bullying cases we have all seen on the news. I must say that I respect the guy for not acquiescing to your attacks. In fact, I’ll bet that you wouldn’t have the guts to say half the things you said to his face. Disagreements can be healthy but when multiple commentators incessantly criticise the guy (and his views) it seems weak and nasty to some onlookers.

    You pointed out that you felt Harquebus was depressed – is this really how you think someone with depression should be handled? If this is how you treat people who disagree with you then it bodes poorly for those of us who don’t agree with you if the likes of you ever get into power.

    Thankfully, for the rest of us, the world is not defined by your beliefs.

    Play nice

  211. DanDark

    Darrell said “The way a small group of commentators ganged-up on Harquebus reminded me of the tragic cyber-bullying cases we have all seen on the news.”

    I agree Darrell it was sad and disturbing to see some people just couldn’t stop, they were feeding off each other, and backing up each others attacks on Harqebus to justify their behavior, it was a group mentality at its worst, thats we see in this Gov daily.
    Yeah Harby can be a pain but it was a full on attack and yes its been going on for too long, but it gets like a shark feeding frenzy and it wont stop till its victim is dead.

    I was not expecting it on here, but when I declared I was a psychic, I was howled down and then ridiculed by a few, the same mentality
    if people don’t understand something or someone they then will go on to destroy it, its easier to attack than educate themselves and it boosts their ego and self esteem up whilst they knock someone else down, its a nasty business and I just stayed away last night except for Johns memories article, and then Corvus had to come over there and call anyone who liked sport an idiot, not in those words but because we have different views we are less of a person than him, it surely opened my eyes up to a few commentators on AIMN and it wasn’t pretty.

  212. darrel nay

    A psychic eh -now that is interesting. I didn’t see that post. I guess psychics are sidelined with our elderly and our youth – we don’t realise the value offered by sectors of society we marginalise.


  213. DanDark

    Oh Thanks Darrell, same to you…Respect
    Yep I know all about being marginalized, my work trivialized and ridiculed, it goes with the job, hey I am used to it now,
    but I live a very isolated life that is my sacrifice for being a psychic because I am judged and then pidgeon holed very quick as a loony, a nutter by society and people then we hear “there is no such thing as a psychic”, “the brain hasn’t the capacity to see, hear or feel for anything other than what we see on Earth”, yeah I have heard it all before from the “experts ” the flat earthers I call them….
    no I only joking, they have their view and take on the world and life and that’s fine, if we were all the same it would be a feckin boring world, we are not all on this earth for the same purpose and we should respect each others lives and views even if they differ from ours,
    its called Tolerance for another human whether they are black, white , gay, disabled, old, young,before that we are humans all the same…HUMANS, which seem to be struggling with humanity at this point in time

  214. darrel nay

    I am convinced that we would change our country for the better if we developed proportional and independent representation for people under 18 years old. – they are worth it.


  215. DanDark

    Darrel I agree, our youth are our future, they will be living in the future and if they are not allowed into the discussion they will live in a world
    that is out of kilter for their needs, and their future generations needs, and the planets needs,
    You have to plant the seed to grow a big Oak tree, this tree will take years to grow and mature if it is nurtured, but the end result is why we plant the seed, so we can receive shade, it protects us from the rain, trees are good for the planet, so it will have multiple useful purposes that are a benefit to many, our youth need to be planting more seeds, they will be the one that benefits from the results in the future,,
    but instead we have a pack of old men, who are living for today, they have only weeds to show from their seeds so far,
    short term thinking, living for the now, getting what we can and quickly is the mindset of this gov at the expense of our youth
    and planet and anyone else who happens gets in their way….

  216. miriamenglish

    DanDark, you were not howled down here.

    I was really the only one who said anything directly about it (though one or two others made vague, oblique references to it). All I did was to carefully point out that the structure of the brain is incompatible with being psychic. I tried to make it very clear I was not attacking you. I said “please don’t read my following comment as being intended as snarky — it isn’t” and “I hope you take this in the honest manner I intend it. I don’t wish to upset you” and I ended with a plea to you, “Please remember how easily we can be misled by our beliefs and wishful thinking.”

    Your response was frankly vicious, but I didn’t respond in kind. In fact I apologised for having upset you.

    You are seriously rewriting history here.

  217. corvus boreus

    Please reread what I posted on John’s article on sport and nostalgia, and try not to project your assumptions into what I said.

  218. DanDark

    Miriam here we go again, back on the merry go round, give it up,
    I am not interested in a back and forth one on one winner takes all argument with you, nor anyone else on AIMN,
    I have better things to do with my time, I was talking to Darrel after he addressed my comment first, so excuse us for speaking without being stalked by you…..I have knitting to do for the homeless in Melbourne, you know taking practical steps to help humanity like I do at any opportunity I can, not just sitting back typing platitudes of stuff about stuff that gets repetitious sometimes…. Cheers Miriam….. 🙂

  219. darrel nay

    Ahhhh, seeds and oak trees – happy days.

    You say’ homeless’ people in australia – that’s probably why they’re signing all these free trade agreements – or not.


  220. DanDark

    Corvus you go and re read Johns article again, I have better things to do 🙂

  221. corvus boreus

    Dan Dark,
    Fair enough, your choice.
    Please do not, in future, misrepresent my phraseology or go making incorrect assumption of my intentions.
    I am quite careful with my words and tend to both say what I mean and mean what I say.

  222. miriamenglish

    darrel nay, I challenge you to find any instance where I attacked Harquebus/Harkbus. I didn’t stand by and let what I felt were his wild claims fly unchallenged, but I was always careful and reasoned in my response. I know a few other people were angry with him, but I believe there is a history behind that, which I don’t know anything of, so I was careful not to let their anger color my replies.

  223. Mic the Heretic

    Arguing about the existence or non-existence of “God” does nothing to enhance the discussion on the viability of Wind Turbines (HAWT & VAWT) to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.

    Our environment is changing significantly. Whether or not we have caused this change or it is a natural progression of the planet becomes irrelevant. If the predicted carnage to come is real, we will become MORE energy-dependent than we are now (extremes of heat and cold) and it behooves as all to co-operate in being prepared for such a future.

    If it turns out that the predictions are wrong, then we’ve still done something positive about cleaning up the planet.

  224. Harkobus

    My comments keep disappearing. I am going to have to go back and see which questions are unanswered.

    I am not claiming that someone here said anything about a sustainable utopian future. I made a statement is all.

    I am defeated so far in my quest, not defeatist. I haven’t given up. I regularly write to politicians, some of whom know me personally as Harquebus, journalists and others about our dire situation. How many here do that? I know that they receive them because, they respond. I have even been quoted, without recognition of course. I have a reputation and am well known in Canberra, North Tce, the ABC and other media outlets. Some of the stuff that I send is actually making onto the news, finally.

    Does that sound like someone who is defeated. The defeated are those that know our situation and do nothing.

    Admittedly, until last night, I didn’t think that there was any hope at all of us reversing growth. The Pope’s statement surprised me. If there is now a big enough groundswell, we might actually have one last chance to save ourselves.

    Here is something that I read this afternoon.

    This article is quite long and suited to the economic types. It has one flaw, economists think that fiat currencies have value. Fiat currencies only have worth. What someone willing to trade for them is what they are worth. Intrinsically, they do not have any value.
    “In the empty world, the economy was small relative to the containing ecosystem, our technologies of extraction and harvesting were not very powerful, and our numbers were small. Fish reproduced faster than we could catch them, trees grew faster than we could harvest them, and minerals in the Earth’s crust were abundant.”
    “But the empty world has rapidly turned into a “full” world thanks to growth”
    “The concept of metabolic throughput in economics brings with it the laws of thermodynamics, which are inconvenient to growthist ideology.”
    “In the past, the fish catch was limited by the number of fishing boats and fishermen. Now, it is limited by the number of fish and their capacity to reproduce.”
    “Our vision and policies should be based on an integrated view of the economy as a subsystem of the finite and non-growing ecosphere.”
    “Economic imperialism seeks to expand the boundary of the economic subsystem until it encompasses the entire ecosphere.”
    “This question of optimal macro scale is neither answered nor even asked by either neoclassical or Keynesian economics in their blind quest for growth.
    Ecological reductionism begins with the true insight that humans and markets are not exempt from the laws of nature.”
    “The Ultimate End, whatever it may be, cannot be growth.”

  225. Roswell

    That was my fault last night. It was my intention to delete the whole post. You were not intentionally singled out.

  226. Harkobus

    I, like Carol, am a scientist.
    If a few more joined in the good fight, I would be more optimistic.
    How many here attended the last climate change rally?

    There is only one solution: Population reduction and control. How? I am open to suggestions. If we do nothing, it will happen all by itself.

    Good to see a few open minds hanging out in here.


  227. Harkobus

    From bobrafto’s link

    “We already know that the average wind turbine must be in operation for a minimum of two years to pay back the carbon cost of construction,”

    I don’t believe this statement for a second. They do not state how far up the supply chain and other supporting industries they factored. Not very far I’d say. Neither was any mention of the carbon produced by society and infrastructure that is also required.

  228. miriamenglish

    Bob, I think the article is probably bollocks. It is old (2012) and there are more recent articles that put the lifespan of wind turbines at much greater than what that article suggests.

    Here is an article from last year:
    It puts the lifespan at 25 years and higher.

    The idea that windmills would be badly limited in lifespan is, I think, a ploy by fossil fuel forces to scare people away from the energy source that threatens them most. We’ve known how to over-engineer rotating bearings for a long, long time. It’s not new technology. It is not inconceivable that they could be made to last a hundred years. For example, hydropower turbines last between 50 and 100 years and thay deal with tremendous forces.

  229. Manny Salmingo

    Heh. Still waiting for our 50 Megabits per second Tony Abbott!

  230. Michael Taylor

    Keep waiting, Manny. In the meantime you’re lucky f you get half that.

  231. diannaart

    @darrel nay

    I have not ever attacked, nor to use your sexist description, hen-pecked Harquebus or Harkobus or whatever moniker he is using.

    I have responded to his comments – which is the point of this blog-site – we choose those to whom we reply – sometimes we come away better informed, other times we feel treated like idiots. When we are continually insulted we either stay away – which is often the intent of some people, or try to establish an actual conversation where BOTH sides give and take.

    That’s what conversations or debates are – giving as well as taking – not avenues for lectures or opportunities to display anachronistic and bigoted behaviour such as calling any comments made by women, “hen-pecking”.

    This is why, darrrel, I no longer respond to you at all – even when you do make polite, informed comments.

  232. Wally

    I am in SW Queensland tonight and I spent an evening beside a campfire with a gentleman who I doubt can sit and write and even if he can he has no interest to do so because as he put it “nowadays the world is full of wankers who are more interested in their own importance than what is best for the rest of us”.

    To hear how much money is paid for Aboriginals to attend a 2 day course on how to use pesticides and the money spent to fix a car so a girl could travel to do 3 weeks work is enough to make you want to put your own hand out. Then to hear that the government paid $54,000 to have the local police station residence painted BUT we cannot afford to address global warming.

    There has been the odd flame or 2 in the responses here but in general we have put forward ideas/options/things to consider that indicate there is hope that we can overcome the immediate problems that we face and even Harquebus in his last post agrees but the LNP still have their blessed little heads in the sand OR is that snouts deep in the trough?

    In any case they are not hearing the message and until we have both sides of politics, the greens and the independents all agreeing that we must tackle climate change, reduce carbon emissions Harquebus predictions of doom and gloom could become reality. We need to find a way to make our politicians listen!

  233. Harquebus

    Something I just posted over on John Lord’s page.

    “Manufacturing wind turbines is a resource-intensive process. A typical wind turbine contains more than 8,000 different components, many of which are made from steel, cast iron, and concrete.
    One such component are magnets made from neodymium and dysprosium, rare earth minerals mined almost exclusively in China, which controls 95 percent of the world’s supply of rare earth minerals.”
    “There’s not one step of the rare earth mining process that is not disastrous for the environment.”

    Big Wind’s Dirty Little Secret: Toxic Lakes and Radioactive Waste

  234. Roswell

    May I please ask why it was necessary to post it twice?

  235. Harquebus

    Someone on J.L’s. page mentioned them but, it is more appropriate here.
    I am assuming that not everyone reads every page.

    BTW: 243 comments. Is that a record?

  236. Roswell

    Oh, I see. Fair enough, but we don’t like to encourage it.

    By memory one of Victoria Rollison’s posts had over 400 comments. It also had over 400,000 views.

  237. Harquebus

    Okay. Noted.
    Still, 243 is pretty good.

    Just in case you’re wondering, I’m on probation.


  238. Respect Silence

    It’s been established (by certain people) that wind farms are clean and green, so they can’t possibly make unsettling noise, nor can they blight scenery, as shown in this article photo. That row of gigantic machines obviously beautified a nice hill near water. It was a boring vista before they industrialized it. We should hope to see this beauty spread everywhere, including national parks!

    The Wind Emperor can’t possibly be a white, ungainly giant who cuts down trees, blasts ridges, kills airborne animals and annoys ground-based ones. If you believe any of that you’re a climate-denying rich NIMBY who hates “the environment” (whatever that term has morphed into). Today’s environmental progress is all about shrinking carbon footprints while stomping all over scenery as if it never mattered. Blight is the new green.

    Notice the exclusionary zeal with which wind power advocates defend their machines. You’ll see a strong resemblance between it and the propaganda of most industries that take over land and profit from it. People are only honest to the point of their income stream being questioned. They tend to favor whatever cause or paycheck they’ve taken sides on, though a few get fed up with the hypocrisy and can’t sleep at night.

    This Page Has Moved >>>

  239. Miriam English

    “Respect Silence”, it would be wonderful not to have any machinery on the hills generating power for our incredibly wasteful culture, but unfortunately, until we have extreme energy efficiency, all this power has to come from somewhere. So in the meantime we have a choice. We can get our power from coal power stations that constantly spew out pollution and are fed by the enormous filthy scars of open-cut coal mines wiping out vast tracts of land — often rich, fertile farmland. Or we can use gas power stations, which are only slightly less bad as the gas harvesting often poisons water over vast regions. Or we can use nuclear power and create unbelieveably dangerous materials that have to be stored safely for hundreds of thousands of years and which add to the dangers of nuclear weapons. Or dam rivers and cause ecological catastrophes for hydroelectric power. Or we can choose almost silent, non-polluting windmills. Or totally silent solar electric or totally silent solar thermal. Hmmm… I know which I prefer: the latter three.

    You’re right that windmills don’t look as nice as forests, but you’re wrong in suggesting that forests are cut down to make windfarms. All windfarms I’ve heard of use existing cleared land, usually farmland. Many windmills now are being built offshore, not taking up any land.

    I’ve stood at the base of a one of those enormous windmills and I have to say I don’t understand what people are pissing on about with the noise. I had no trouble conversing with a friend there. (Try doing that near the turbines of a coal power station.) When I walked a distance away about twice the height of the windmill the sound was unremarkable. The noise of the prevailing winds in my ears easily drowned it out.

    I’d prefer we didn’t clutter up the land with power stations. If someone wants power then I think they should have panels on their roof and generate it themself. I think we will end up going that way, but we’re not there yet. In the meantime we have to concentrate on getting rid of poisonous coal, gas, and nuclear power stations. Windfarms can help with that. Later, when we’re all much more efficient, the windfarms can be dismantled too. I look forward to that day.

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