Disclaimer. After nearly 40 years managing money for some of the largest life offices and investment managers in the world, I think I have something to offer. But I can't by law give you advice, and I do make mistakes. Remember: the unexpected sometimes happens. Oddly enough, the expected does too, but all too often it takes longer than you thought it would, or on the other hand happens more quickly than you expected. The Goddess of Markets punishes (eventually) greed, folly, laziness and arrogance. No matter how many years you've served Her. Take care. Be humble. And don't blame me.

BTW, clicking on most charts will produce the original-sized, i.e., bigger version.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Dotty, dishonest or dumb?

Marco Rubio, one of Florida's two senators, continues to deny climate change even as Miami's streets are flooded by what the US call a "king tide" (what other English speakers call a "spring tide")

Sen. Marco Rubio refused to acknowledge human-caused climate change at a Florida Senate debate Monday even as a foot of water inundated city streets and sewers throughout South Florida, driven by the annual king tide combined with rising seas. 
With the unmistakeable evidence of climate change right before them, 15 Florida mayors—including Republicans—earlier this year requested a meeting with Rubio to discuss the risk faced by their communities. The meeting never took place. 
Asked by CNN's Jake Tapper during a primary debate in March if he would honor the Miami mayor's request to acknowledge climate change, Rubio responded, "There has never been a time when the climate has not changed." He has called the investigation into Exxon Mobil's knowledge about climate change "nothing but a left-wing effort to demonize industries in America." 
According to the website Dirty Energy Money, Marco Rubio, who grew up in West Miami, has accepted $637,273 from oil and coal companies and those who promote carbon-based business.

Read more here

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Arctic sea ice

This shows the 12 month average October to September each year.  (Source)

The data have been estimated back to 1850 by Walsh & Chapman and plotted against the satellite records, using January to December averages:


The red box at the end represents the time span the denialists like to show.

Read more here.

Sunday, October 16, 2016


Alex Jones talking about how Obama and Clinton are demons.

Dotty, demented, batty, loony, crazy, sick, silly, pathetic.

But these ppl vote!

Tesla sales soar

All the way along, since that first quarter when Tesla sold just 321 cars, naysayers have been declaring that the whole project will fold, that no one will want to buy a Tesla, etc, etc.  Yet the latest quarterly sales totalled 24500, or nearly 100,000 per year.   The chart clearly show the classic S-curve flexion point.  And that's before the Tesla 3 starts production in late 2017.  400,000 people have paid $1,000 in (refundable) deposits to put their name down for the new Tesla model.  My guess is that by 2018, Tesla quarterly sales will be 100,000, 4 times what they are now.

EVs will have become mainstream.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Global warming is happening

A Tom Toles cartoon. Note that the cartoon was drawn in 2004. And the denialists are still making these "points", 12 years later.  Still denying and obfuscating and lying.  And meanwhile the world just keeps getting hotter.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Bringing electricity to the poor

Another of the false claims of the dotty denialists is that by discouraging the expansion of coal mining and coal-fired power stations, somehow we are denying poor people the right to the benefits we enjoy of on demand electricity.  The problems with that point of view are, though, that it's not the absence of generation capacity which keeps electricity from poor people, but the absence of a grid; and that the poor and poor countries will be the worst affected by climate change.

So what can be done?  A piece in IEEFA"s blog discusses the roll-out of solar to the poor in Bangladesh.  In Bangladesh, 25% of the population does not have access to the grid.

In rural Bangladesh, especially the coastal southwest, it is common to see tiny solar panels embedded even in humble thatch-roofed huts. This is mostly the work of Infrastructure Development Company Limited (Idcol), a government-backed Bangladeshi energy and infrastructure group that claims more than 90 percent of the country’s booming home solar market. 
Since 2003, Idcol has installed solar panels in 3.95 million off-grid homes, reaching 18 million people. In terms of individual units served (rather than total wattage), 
Bangladesh has become one of the world’s largest markets for home solar systems. 
Since electricity — even in small doses — powers lamps, cellphones, fans, water pumps, health clinics and equipment for businesses, it is critical in improving the lives of the poor. 
Mahmood Malik, chief executive of Idcol in Dhaka, calls its arrival for the rural poor “a silent revolution you can’t feel sitting in the city.”

Read more here.  Of course, the obvious benefit of distributed generation is that you don't need the grid.  Unfortunately, as this article points out, Bangladesh itself is not doing enough to transition to a green grid.

Incidentally, Bangladesh which is situated on the alluvial delta of the Ganges, is the most vulnerable country in the world to rising sea levels.  16% of its land area would disappear into the sea with just a 1.5 metre rise in the sea level.


Lifecycle emissions and electric vehicles

A common theme by denialists is that life-cycle emissions of EVs (electric vehicles) are greater than  those of petrol-engined cars because the power to run the EVs comes from coal-fired power stations.  They're wrong, even if the grid is 100% coal-powered.  The higher emissions of a coal grid are  offset by the greater efficiency of electric motors: petrol engines convert less than 20% of the energy in petrol into kinetic energy (motion), while electric motors convert 60%.  So still better to use EVs instead of ICEs, because coal produces twice as much CO2 per unit of energy as oil.

But what if you fill your EVs batteries from power from your solar panels.  Or from overnight power when demand is low, but base load power stations have to keep going whatever the demand?  Or from a 100% renewable grid.  This chart shows the numbers.  Grey shows conventional ICEs, purple shows hybrids, yellow shows EVs.  With a 100% green grid, EVs produce 1/4 to 1/3 of the life cycle emissions of an ICE car.