Tuesday, February 22, 2011

UN Econononsense

A report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said that channelling 2%, or $1,3-trillion, of global gross domestic product into greening sectors such as construction, energy and fishing could start a move toward a low-carbon world. The investment would expand the global economy at the same rate, if not higher, as under present economic policies.

This is a typical piece of UN econononsense. Channeling $1.3 trillion of investment into ANYTHING would boost jobs! The question is whether it would be sustainable, i.e. whether there would be a reasonable return on the investment. If there isn't, then destroying wealth on that scale would be criminal - the lost opportunities alone would be sufficient to haul the UN before the tribunal on genocide. There is absolutely no evidence that the investment "would expand the global economy at the same rate." People will invest in greening projects if they are more profitable than other avenues of investment. The problem has been to find profitable ones. Most are only profitable because of Government subsidies - and these are clearly unsustainable.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Carbon taxes

There is growing concern that carbon taxes will make the economy uncompetitive. South Africa seems determined to lead by example in curbing its carbon emissions. This is futile, because its total emissions (about 125Mt carbon a year) are less than the annual increase in China's emissions. The IRP2010 draft could have yielded an excellent result. Instead, it was corrupted by forcing the model to accept expensive wind energy, such that within a few years there was an huge excess of generation capacity. That made little impact on emissions, so then the Department of Energy removed coal-fired power stations from service the moment they reached their nominal end of life - regardless of the fact that they produce the cheapest energy and that refurbishment to extend their life is easily the most cost effective way of meeting the demand. In that way, the cost of electricity increased considerably, all to achieve a target which was set, not by some carefully considered plan, but by a scenario exercise. It all goes to prove that scenarios should never be used for planning - they merely set the bounds on plans

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Telkom gives management marching orders

Today, it is reported that Telkom is finally starting to cut into its overheads. Managers are being offered voluntary retrenchment packages. It can't happen quickly enough, as far as I am concerned. Telkom has been wrapped in a cocoon. We have all suffered appalling deprivation. Telecoms were supposed to have been liberalized back in 2001 - instead this Telkom brand of incompetence has given us the most expensive comms in the world, and of a quality that beggars description. Hurrah that they are finally being shown the door!

Disaster strikes!

Eskom has just destroyed a generator at Duvha. The loss of 600MW of generating capacity for "many months" is a disaster. The reserve margin is already low. Read Eskom's medium term risk mitigation report if you want to understand just what this means. Tighten your belts, and await power cuts. So much for job creation!