Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Instagram picture shows Grace Tame pictured with a very large bong. The then-19-year-old posted the photo along with a small green weed symbol

She is alarmingly good-looking and marijuane use has always been fine to the Left so the rapturous support evoked by the picture below was entirely predictable. And the look on her face tells it all. She was pretty high. I have not once used any drug of abuse but I have been around users often so I know that look.

The literature on the subject is quite mixed but there have been many studies reporting a descent into psychosis by users. I have seen that too. So a reasonable response to the photo might be to question her judgment. That would include her rudeness to the PM

image from

Comedians, musicians, politicians and other high-profile Australians have rallied around Grace Tame after an old photo of her pictured next to a bong went viral online.

The sexual abuse survivor and former Australian of the Year was back in the headlines just hours after she came under fire from Prime Minister Scott Morrison's wife for not showing 'respect or manners' after being welcomed into their home.

Critics delved into Ms Tame's Instagram feed on Monday and unearthed a photo from 2014 of her as a 19-year-old sitting on a couch with a large bong - a water pipe used for smoking cannabis - next to her.


Astonishing list highlighting what's REALLY causing Covid-19 deaths in Australia: 'It wasn't Covid that claimed their lives'

There were 2,639 Covid-related deaths nationally between March 2020 and January 31 - of which 2,556 (96.8 per cent) had an underlying health condition - according to new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

There were 32,000 deaths from heart disease in Australia in that period, with Covid deaths making up only one per cent of all fatalities nationwide.

Another 100,000 died from cancer during those 22 months.

'We're not overplaying the situation and we're not ignoring the victims,' the 2GB host said. 'But these records expose the overblown scare campaign we've witnessed.

'Ninety-two per cent had other underlying health issues - an average of three [underlying health issues] per person. It wasn't Covid that claimed their lives.'

Those underlying health issues ranged from pneumonia to kidney infection or chronic heart illnesses, according to the ABS data.

Fordham said the health advice during Australia's lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 should have focused more on countering one of the worst Covid co-morbities- obesity.

'Why aren't we warning people that one of the biggest risk factors is carrying around too much weight,' he said. 'Were we worried about fat-shaming?'

The US, where 16 states have obesity rates of higher than 35 per cent, has the world's highest Covid death rate with 947,895 fatalities.

The 2GB host said it wasn't 'overplaying the situation' to say the new records expose 'the overblown scare campaign we've witnessed'


Energy minister warns AGL over coal closures

Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor has issued a warning to AGL Energy over its decision to accelerate the closure of its giant coal stations in NSW and Victoria, saying he is concerned the premature exit of so much supply could hit prices and system reliability.

The 2640 megawatt Bayswater coal plant in NSW’s Hunter Valley will shut down up to five years early by 2030 compared with its scheduled closure date of 2035 while the 2210MW Loy Yang A facility in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley faces the axe as early as 2040 from its expected retirement in 2048.

Both are the victims of a fast-paced move to renewable supply and a realisation that the most polluting fossil fuel must be phased out of the energy system sooner than planned to meet climate goals.

AGL has given ample warning of its plans, but Mr Taylor said the loss of 5000 megawatts of supply or roughly 8 per cent of generation in the national electricity market, was cause for concern.

The “exit of such a considerable amount of reliable generation is a concern for the continued reliability and affordability of the system. Delivery of new, timely, replacement dispatchable capacity will be critical in keeping prices low and the lights on,” Mr Taylor said.

AGL’s planned offshoot, Accel Energy, over the long-term plans to develop Loy Yang, Bayswater and Torrens Island into major energy hubs spanning hydrogen through batteries.

Recalling the political dogfight over the closure of AGL’s Liddell coal plant in NSW in 2023, Mr Taylor said he was watching investment plans closely to ensure enough replacement capacity is put in place.

“As we saw with the announced closure of Liddell, proposals for new projects are not enough. It is critical that private sector announcements translate to actual investments,’’ Mr Taylor said.

“The government will closely monitor and model the impact of these closures, to hold industry to account on the dispatchable capacity needed to ensure affordable, reliable power for consumers.’’

AGL has given a 2030-2033 range for closing Bayswater depending on market conditions, meaning it could be culled five years early with Loy Yang A given a 2040-2045 range, signalling a shut down eight years faster than expected.

“The readiness of the entire energy system to operate without our critical baseload generation will determine whether the earlier, more ambitious, targets within the range can be achieved,“ AGL said in a statement alongside its half-year results.

“AGL Australia and Accel Energy are committed to working with government, industry and the community in pursuit of this and will be reporting annually on progress towards this ambition.”

Bayswater produces enough power for 2 million Australian households and combined with AGL’s Liddell station, set to close next summer, supplies 35 per cent of NSW power.

Loy Yang A generates 30 per cent of Victoria’s power requirements and its coal mine also supplies Loy Yang B, owned by Alinta and set to close in 2047.

The 180-year old power giant is Australia’s biggest polluter and has set a range of new emissions reduction targets as it looks to wean itself off the fossil fuel and move into a broader set of supply sources including batteries and hydrogen.

AGL’s interim profit dived amid low power prices, although it upgraded its annual earnings guidance due to a stronger trading and generation performance and amid a recovery in wholesale prices.

Its underlying profit after tax fell 41 per cent to $194m while its dividend was slashed to 16c from 41c, underscoring the tough conditions which in part pushed the power giant to forge ahead with a demerger.

The outlook for the 2022 financial year looks brighter however.

Underlying earnings are expected to be between $1.275bn and $1.4bn compared with previous guidance of $1.2bn to $1.4bn. Underlying net profit is seen between $260 and $340m from a prior forecast between $220m and $340m.

“With the rise of energy and commodity prices across the globe, AGL Energy is well positioned to benefit from improving wholesale electricity prices, seen over the past six months, and if it is sustained, we expect to see this reflected in future earnings beyond FY22 as hedging positions roll off,” AGL’s chief executive Graeme Hunt said.

The company’s shares hit a 20-year low of $5.10 in November amid rock bottom power prices and an uncertain earnings outlook.

However, a bounce in wholesale prices in January has seen AGL shares rebound by 48 per cent to $7.53, handing it a stronger platform as it seeks to lock in a historic demerger of its business later this year.

Volatile market conditions in the last few years have routed profits for some of the industry’s biggest names and piled pressure on AGL’s coal-heavy generation portfolio, forcing it to split the company in two amid pressure from investors to act.

Mr Hunt, its former chairman who took the helm in July 2021, will head up its coal-dominated generation arm known as Accel Energy should the split of the company go ahead.

AGL Australia, a green focused energy retailer, will be led by AGL’s current chief customer officer Christine Corbett, with a shareholder vote on the split set to take place in the June quarter.

Emissions from Accel’s electricity generation assets will be reduced by a further 90m tonnes over the period 2023 to 2050, compared to modelled outcomes of its previous commitments.

With Liddell scheduled to close by April 2023, Accel will deliver a reduction in annual emissions of 18-27 per cent between 2025 and 2034, and by 55-60 per cent in annual emissions between 2035 to 2046 compared to an 2019 baseline.


Renewables revolution is revolting

For decades consumers have been promised renewable energy that will be greener, cheaper and more reliable than the power delivered by the derided fossil-fuel generators. Instead, after billions if not trillions of dollars investment in the likes of wind farms and solar panels, consumers worldwide find they must pay much higher energy bills in return for a service that is far less reliable – all for a reduction in emissions that can have no appreciable effect on climate.

A major case in point is the vast increase in the number of times the Australian National Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is being forced to intervene in generator operations, to ensure stability of the east coast grid. In a submission to the Australian Energy Regulator on a focus paper on Wholesale Market Performance Monitoring late last year, the Australian Energy Council (AEC) notes that before 2017 the AEMO rarely issued what are known as intervention orders.

The AEC, which represents the biggest operators in the energy market, says that now these orders are almost commonplace and have become seemingly the default way of managing the market. These orders may involve directing a gas generator to remain in the market, or a diesel generator to continue operating because the AEMO has realised that there is not enough reserve capacity. The safety net if something goes wrong has become too thin, and more firm generation has to be made available.

Although the AEC does not say so, the cause of this instability is the shift away from reliable coal-fired generations towards weather-dependent renewable energy, particularly in the wind farm capital state of South Australia which is the subject of many of the notices, not to mention a number of wholesale price spikes in excess of $5,000 a megawatt hour. Instead, understandably, the AEC’s focus is on the cost of all these interventions, and that no one seems to be ensuring that the underlying problem is fixed through commercial arrangements – that is by power providers being paid to make additional firm power generation available when required.

As matters stand, Australian consumers may be in a bad way when it comes to paying for energy, but at least their lot has improved in recent years. A graph in the annual retail markets report produced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for 2020-21 shows that power prices spiked in 2018 at about 80 per cent plus above 2005 prices in real terms. At last count they were about 60 per cent or so above 2005 prices, which is better but still far above the 20 per cent increase in real incomes over the same period, with much of the recent reduction being due to a surge in investment in networks working its way through the system.

The increasing level of intermittent renewables on the system – an AEMO interactive site shows that about three per cent of power came from solar in the past 12 months and ten per cent from wind – has certainly not reduced consumer bills, despite the blather from activists. But they also have not added much to costs directly. The main effect of renewables in Australia has been to help drive the old, efficient, reliable brown coal plants out of business. The closure of so much reliable capacity has driven up wholesale power prices.

However, the Australian experience with power prices remains rosy compared with that of European consumers, particular when much colder winter temperatures mean that consumers have to pay higher energy bills or freeze in their own homes.

In the UK, a price cap on power bills has shielded consumers from the worst of a spike in wholesale prices, although that cap has been still set high enough for them to complain bitterly. Another major effect of the cap has been to push a lot of smaller power suppliers out of business, as they are unable to pass on price increases to consumers. The price cap is expected to be increased by perhaps 50 per cent in the northern spring.

This European-wide spike in wholesale electricity prices increasing consumer distress is, in turn, the result of Russia putting Europe low on the list of customers for its gas – and the gas that does make it through the connecting pipelines will vanish if Russia invades the Ukraine. However, European countries have also gone out of their way to block development of other sources of gas such as through fracking, and even to close still viable nuclear and coal power plants all due to often marginal if not imaginary green concerns.

The major LNG producers, Australia, Qatar and the US, are potential sources of gas, but LNG sold overseas in the fast-expanding market for the fuel are typically purchased under long-term supply arrangements. As prices have been high for many months LNG production trains are operating at full capacity, with all production sold forward. There is little to spare for European consumers.

One fact noticeably absent in all of this is the immense renewable energy assets which the UK and Germany in particular have built up over years of screaming by green activists that doom is just around the corner. This is in part because solar power does not count for much in the dead of winter in Europe and wind farms have been affected by a wind drought. UK academics have noted that 2021 was an unusually still one, with UK power company SSE reporting that its renewable assets produced 32 per cent less power than expected.

Although last year was unusual, calm periods, or wind droughts as they are now called, associated with high pressure systems are a feature of European weather – a feature that has not been a factor in economic life since the days of sailing ships.

With less wind than expected and gas at a premium, both Germany and Britain have restarted coal plants – although coal remains a small part of the UK’s generating capacity – and the roller coaster ride of coal prices continues with a major upswing in price.

An assessment of electricity prices for EU countries by the union’s statistical body Eurostat for the first half of last year found that green-mad Germany had the region’s highest electricity prices, followed by Denmark which has been boasting about its use of renewables. Renewables-mad Spain is in fifth place.

All of this is a world away from the airy confidence of activists that the adoption of renewable energy adds up to a new industrial revolution of clean, cheap energy while coal is consigned to the rubbish bind of history. Instead, renewables are increasingly likely to be seen as a footnote in coal’s grand march through history.




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