UNSW Climate Activists Urge Businesses to Spend Billions Building Services they Already Have

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

As the flow of free government cash dries up, “Ship of Fools” University of New South Wales is urging businesses to invest billions creating jobs and building unreliable renewable electricity infrastructure, to replace the reliable dispatchable electricity infrastructure which already supplies what business needs.

The case for sustainable communities: three big ideas to future-proof Australia

FEATURE | 9 July 2020

So how can business contribute to sustainable communities? This question was posed to a panel of experts as part of the Future-Proofing Business Series recently hosted by UNSW Business School’s Responsible Business Program. Panelists discussed how businesses could take the lead in managing climate risk in the short and long term, what a sustainable community looks like, and the role of business in achieving this.

1. Support community-led initiatives

Kicking off the panel discussion, Dr Kent said businesses need to be looking at how we can flatten the ‘unsustainability curve’ – the acceleration of unsustainable practices around the world, and the existential challenges that we’re facing as a result.

She also said COVID-19 offered some examples of what is possible. “People went to some interesting partices such as bread making and [planting] vegetable gardens,” Dr Kent explained. “These localised practices are characteristic of sustainability movements around the world.”

2. Create employment by modernising infrastructure

So, job creation plays a vital role in sustainable communities, but to what extent should businesses take part? There is an opportunity for businesses to advance the discussion, creating sustainable communities and sustainable job creation, according to Prof. Peter Sheldon.

The shutting down of these power plants could be utilised as an opportunity for job creation and reskilling the current workforce. “Every time you decommission a coal-fired power station or a coal mine there is work for 10-15 years just in the remediation and potential rehabilitation of the site,” explained Prof. Sheldon.

3. Business must back a reduction in carbon emissions

In Australia, the major obstacles to building more sustainable communities are the policies of the Federal Government, Sheldon explained. However, to some extent, business is also responsible.

There is a huge ecosystem of businesses desperate to get a level of support and consistent messaging because they are completely committed to becoming a part of the new wave,” he said.

Read more: https://www.businessthink.unsw.edu.au/articles/sustainable-communities-future-proof-australia

I can’t help wondering whether there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the difference between business and government at UNSW.

Government is where you have to go if you want someone to waste cash on your random feel good schemes. Businesses tend to expect a return on their investments.

If politicians are not returning your phone calls, it is probably time to move on.

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July 13, 2020 6:15 pm

You would think the good professor would have heard of the broken window fallacy

Reply to  WR2
July 13, 2020 6:25 pm

or at the very least read the news….how stupid and uniformed does someone have to be to keep pushing this

Reply to  WR2
July 13, 2020 7:05 pm

It’s not always a fallacy.

One of the economic theories that makes sense to me is the manure theory of money. If manure is spread around it fertilizes crops and makes things grow. If it’s just piled up in a big heap it only stinks and pollutes.

If the broken window stimulates economic activity by reducing the amount of money festering under some mattress, that’s a good thing. On the other hand, if it means the shop keeper has to choose between keeping his business going or buying medicine for his ailing wife, the broken window is positively evil.

My favorite example of “make work” is from “Bible Bill” Aberhart. When he asked why a project was being done with picks and shovels rather than earth moving equipment he was told the purpose was to employ more people longer. His response was something like, “Well why don’t you give them spoons and forks?” link

Lots of people on the left don’t even get the rudiments of economics. The thing that means we can live the wonderful lives we live is productivity. Thanks to technology each person can create a huge surplus of wealth. The dream of being hippy sustenance farmers just guarantees misery because there’s no surplus. The left thinks that’s fine but it leaves you unable to buy medicine for your ailing spouse. What to do … I know, let’s call the witch doctor.

Reply to  commieBob
July 13, 2020 8:05 pm

The broken window is never a good thing. Money is generally not in a mattress, but deposited in a bank where it is used to make loans for purchases or small businesses, or invested. Even if some guy stupidly had all his money in a matt, his net worth is still lowered by the cost of the window, and he has less money to support himself. His loss is not offset by the marginal gain earned by others, because the profit margin on that window is not 100%.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  WR2
July 13, 2020 8:24 pm

“WR2 July 13, 2020 at 8:05 pm

Money is generally not in a mattress, but deposited in a bank where it is used to make loans for purchases or small businesses, or invested.”

OMG! You don’t quite understand how banks work do you? You may make a deposit with cash but the bank will make multiple loans that it does not actually have the funds for. When you sign for a mortgage the money does not actually exit.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 13, 2020 9:14 pm

The money that is loaned exists. It always has and always will.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 13, 2020 9:37 pm

“MarkW July 13, 2020 at 9:14 pm

The money that is loaned exists. It always has and always will.”

You are very wrong. You too don’t know how banks work.

Mark H
Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 13, 2020 10:23 pm

MarkW, I’m afraid that you are incorrect there. The money that banks loan out is created ex-nihilo. Theoretically, they have a reserve that covers a fraction of what they lend out (hence the term fractional reserve banking). However, in practice the reserves (if ever required) are merely borrowed from a central bank, where again, they are conjured out of the void.

The entire banking system is based on possibly the greatest fraud that has ever been perpetrated. Charging people interest on money that the bank didn’t really lend to you (it was not theirs to lend).

If you’re wondering where the value that the lent money has comes from, it’s silently stolen out of yours and my pockets. A little thing they call inflation, which in reality is just the inflation of the money supply through the creation of new money.

Another sobering thought. The money that is required to repay the interest on the loan does not exist. The only way to get that money is for someone else to take out a loan and pay you some of that money. Of course, they will have to pay interest on the money they loaned out too, and so it continues, until eventually it doesn’t.

This is only possible in a fiat money system. If the money was sound, such as physical gold, then the creation of new money out of nothing would require alchemy.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 13, 2020 10:44 pm

“Mark H July 13, 2020 at 10:23 pm

The entire banking system is based on possibly the greatest fraud that has ever been perpetrated. Charging people interest on money that the bank didn’t really lend to you (it was not theirs to lend).”

Good post! It’s an over 300 year old system of interest bearing debt first devised by the Bank of England.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 14, 2020 2:17 pm

OMG! Can you stay on point and not feel the need to show off your “knowledge”? If the bank has less money on deposit, it has less money to lend, full stop. It is of course not a 1:1 relationship, but that money most certainly does exist, either on deposit with a bank, in somebody’s hand physically, or with the fed. The money supply is not infinite. But we aren’t here to discuss the merits of fractional reserve banking. Now do you have anything to say about the broken window fallacy, which the original post was guilty of employing, or is your irrelevant point all you had to contribute?

Reply to  commieBob
July 13, 2020 9:12 pm

It’s always a fallacy. What is a fallacy is the belief by those on the left that somewhere there is a big pile of money, sitting around unused waiting for government to seize it and make it useful again.

There was never money “festering” under a mattress somewhere.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  MarkW
July 14, 2020 8:07 am

Actually there is a lot of money simply laying around available for the government to spend. It is “festering” under a mattress in a vault at the Federal Reserve Bank. When they decide to increase the money supply, they open the vault, reach under the mattress, and extract the billions or trillions of dollars needed.

Leo Morgan
Reply to  commieBob
July 14, 2020 11:34 pm

Productivity is only of value when it is meeting actual needs.
You might decide to spend your entire life savings producing “Vote for Hillary” posters, but all you are doing is manufacturing garbage, not creating economic benefit.
As I understand it, the point of the ‘broken window’ fallacy, is the idea that the money spent to buy the replacement window creates additional economic activity is a fallacy. It’s a fallacy, because that money would actually be directed in other areas. Perhaps to buy a spare tire for your car. Thus the economy is NOT better off by your window breaking.
Instead, the same amount of money is spent, but you personally are better off if the window doesn’t get broken, because you then have both the window and the tire, while the economic stimulus of your spending is exactly the same.

Reply to  WR2
July 13, 2020 9:10 pm

Wasn’t it our own Nick who tried to claim that the broken window fallacy is wrong because it ignored the fact that the glazier bought his materials?

Trust a warmista to know nothing about economics.

July 13, 2020 6:28 pm

Three big ideas to future-proof Australia …

1) Shut down the University of New South Wales
2) Shut down the University of Queensland
3 ) Shut down Melbourne University

That should take care of most of the ultra loony leftists “ideas” in Australia, apart from the ABC of course.

Reply to  DPP
July 13, 2020 7:22 pm

University of Queensland is about to end up in court again with Hong Kong activist Drew Pavlou seeking damages for being suspended for anti china protests and stunts. There is large financial support from china to UQ including it has co-funded four courses so it is very sensitive to anti china activism.

Reply to  DPP
July 13, 2020 7:41 pm

Australia, as far as I can tell with a quick web search, doesn’t have a system of community colleges like the ones in Canada.

The vast majority of citizens do not need education beyond what is available at a Canadian community college.

When I was a pup, our version of a non-rigorous, useless education was a degree in basket weaving at some college in a distant state. (At least teachers’ college, which we also derided, promised some hope of a job.) These days a Women’s Studies degree obtained at an accredited university in our own back yards has far outstripped basket weaving because it goes beyond useless into positively evil territory.

So, replace 3/4 of the universities in Australia with something that looks a lot like a Canadian community college. The magic bullet appears to be the requirement that the majority of graduates must be employed within six months of graduation and the majority of those should be in the field they studied. Not meeting those requirements eventually means the loss of government funding.

Lest you think community colleges are glorified business schools which push out graduates in a few weeks … some Ontario colleges now offer four year programs in Engineering that are fully accredited in the same manner as the university programs. The majority of full time students are enrolled in two and three year programs. In addition, the community colleges offer a vast number of part time continuing education programs directed toward the needs of local employers and professional organizations.

What’s the problem with community colleges? Most people, parents and students, see a university degree as the only valid currency. So, commieBob did you send your own kids to a community college? Nope. In hind sight, should you have done so? Nope. Some folks actually want to be scholars. Universities, with actual rigor, should be available for the students who actually want to work hard in the pursuit of knowledge.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 13, 2020 8:32 pm

Yes, TAFE does sound similar. Unfortunately, TAFE colleges produce people with real-world, marketable skills. The other Unis in the list don’t hence we have thousands of people leaving Uni with thousands of $$’s student debt and “qualifications” that they then find is useless in the real world.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 13, 2020 9:37 pm

They are qualified to be Climate Scientists … plenty there already :-).

Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 14, 2020 4:35 am

Tafes tend to provide useful and employable people at the end, expensive but manageable with assistance to students usually HEX
as for WEA they were ok but very expensive
don know if they even exist now?

hassle was they took funding from TAFES to hand to the overpaid unis quite a lot of campuses closed

Reply to  DPP
July 13, 2020 8:50 pm

Add the ANU to that list as it answers to the Chicoms.

Reply to  DPP
July 13, 2020 10:22 pm

Latrobe University In Melbourne…

The home of Roz Ward and The Safe Spaces and Gender Questioning Toxic philosophy infecting Kindies…yes Kindies, Primary Schools and High schools in Victoria.

Naturally a product of the Postmodern and Gender Studies establishment rubbish.

Reply to  DPP
July 14, 2020 4:31 am

excellent start to the list;-)
after covid the unis are in the shitter(couldnt happen to a more deserving bunch)
big biz is bleeding badly
and the avg homeowner paying huge powerbills for cooking that sourdough and trying to stay warm as theyre not getting 8hrs “free” heat while at work etc
has hit home
and into second lockdown now…
theres going to be a change of outlook alright
just not what the ignorant overeducated at uninsw imagine it to be

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  DPP
July 14, 2020 10:12 am

DPP <===

I think the proposals from UNSW will actually do the job of future-proofing Australia very nicely.

What I don't understand is why they want Australia to have no future…

Paul Johnson
July 13, 2020 6:37 pm

These comments perfectly illustrate Weiler’s Law:
“Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn’t have to do it himself.”
As well as Gabor’s Corollary: (Zsa Zsa)
“If you’re not paying for it, money is no object.”

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Paul Johnson
July 14, 2020 5:15 am

Zsa Zsa Gabor was a unique character. Thanks for the reminder.

July 13, 2020 6:49 pm

Dispatchable electricity GW in NSW for last 24 hours
Peak total 11.4 GW of which 0.4GW was wind, solar 0.0GW and 9.1GW was coal.

Over the same 24 hour period wind varied from 0.2 to 1.0GW, while coal varied from 6.2 to 9.2GW.
In NSW coal is still providing the heavy lifting for both base load and variation within each day.

Mike Lowe
Reply to  Waza
July 13, 2020 7:12 pm

Surely you don’t expect these University academics to check data?

Reply to  Waza
July 13, 2020 7:27 pm

And the majority of every place else in the world!

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Waza
July 13, 2020 8:34 pm

And some of that may be going down the inter-connectors to other states.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 13, 2020 9:33 pm

Rarely, NSW has been regularly dependent on the QLD interconnector (also coal powered) for quite a while now. The whole “renewables” saga is a fantasy, the have no plan, they dont understand the mess they are building one glossy project at a time. Repeating the whole SA fiasco as if it never happened, and they will be suprised when the house of cards crashes down at some stage.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  yarpos
July 13, 2020 10:08 pm

OT. Talking about Queensland, Australia. Yesterday, Qld started trialling a human vaccine for COVID-19. I am sure I posted this in another thread. A bunch of 30-something scientists “worked really hard” to develop it.

I think a pup is being sold.

Reply to  Waza
July 14, 2020 4:39 am

87k winds in that near cyclonic storm swirling off lower nsw coast tonight
turbines be shut down or broken soon
have an inexpireienced mate crewing a tiny sailboat with basically a tinny motor as backup somewhere along that coastline;-(
hope they got to a harbour already

July 13, 2020 7:24 pm

Unfortunately challenges to these types of “green new deals” go unanswered by those that have the power to enact them. If they ever take the time to read or hear them.

July 13, 2020 8:56 pm

“The case for sustainable communities: three big ideas to future-proof Australia”

Future proof?

Yet another global warming buzzword? Also how is it possible to address a global issue just by future proofing oz? Or maybe the program is not to attenuate warming but to let it roll and then to make sure that oz can survive the impacts. As in Noah’s Ark.


July 13, 2020 9:09 pm

“2. Create employment by modernising infrastructure”

We modernize infrastructure by adopting a technology that was abandoned 200 years ago because it didn’t work?

Adam Gallon
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2020 11:39 pm

It did work, which is why the windmill came into being, across the world.
Then steam & electrical power replaced them.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Adam Gallon
July 14, 2020 12:15 am

Using wind to do work is 4th – 6th century technology. Coal and steam are a lot more recent in comparison.

Heck why would anyone want to build steam engines (Assuming not the real high pressure stuff)? Two reasons;

1). You can burn pretty much anything in the firebox.
2). The only other thing you need is water. (Oh and oil from whales).

Rod Evans
July 13, 2020 11:17 pm

Finding people work without economic gain is easy. The down side is, it is unsustainable and always stops when the availability of funding runs out. Collectively it’s described as Socialism/Communism where finding people work, any work, is the prime policy objective.
Unfortunately, finding people positive work that generates wealth, i.e. has economic gain is hard, if it was easy everyone would do it. The upside is, it is self sustainable, it’s called Capitalism. Some good news, though creating wealth is hard, everyone can have a try at it. In the capitalist system, equality of opportunity is normal, some fail some succeed. In socialism equality of outcome is normal, resulting in lots of work, often hard work, unfortunately without wealth creation, everyone fails
The choice is out there.
One has certainty and guarantees baked into it, one has risk and uncertainty.
Socialism; Its ideology is, condemn the wealthy and wealth, create jobs for everyone but do not create wealth. run out of money. Equality of opportunity guaranteed, it’s zero, opportunity of outcome also guaranteed, everyone is unemployed and without wealth. Ideological objective achieved.
Capitalism; Its ideology is to create wealth, create commercial businesses and activities that generate wealth, use that increasing wealth to fund supply and support services, creating more jobs (more wealth) that are sustainable. Equality of opportunity is guaranteed, equality of outcomes is not guaranteed.
Make a choice, the options are mutually exclusive.

David John Charles
July 14, 2020 1:15 am

Just appoint Adam Bandt to run our energy system and all will be super! /sarc

Tom Abbott
July 14, 2020 5:02 am

From the article: ““Every time you decommission a coal-fired power station or a coal mine there is work for 10-15 years just in the remediation and potential rehabilitation of the site,” explained Prof. Sheldon.”

Yeah, and then after 15 years, there will be work (jobs) needed to replace all the worn-out windmills, that were installed to replace the coal-fired power plants.

I guess “sustainable” in this context means it’s sustainable for about 15 years.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 14, 2020 6:59 am

So, you have a power station providing power for local homes and factories , which is a cost to be borne by that local community. Then, under the encouragement of prof sheldon, the power station is dismantled and the local community then has to pay for energy from elsewhere AND pay workers , almost certainly more than were hired to produce power, to demolish and clear the site. Only if the demolition of the power station was absolutely necessary because of end of working life does it make sense. But of course I am forgetting, as I always do, that Australia is an incredibly rich country brimming over with disposable income so factors that inhibit less fortunate countries , factors such as cost/ benefit or productivity are irrelevant.

Tom Abbott
July 14, 2020 6:10 am

From the article: “We looked at the basis for their claims and realized that their analysis was scientifically flawed for multiple reasons. For instance, they apparently hadn’t realized that while the Arctic has warmed since the 1970s, it followed a period of Arctic cooling from the 1940s-1970s, and there was a similar warm period to present during the early 20th century. If their theory was correct, then the polar bear populations should have responded accordingly during those pre-1970s periods. They didn’t. Instead, we found that the local polar bear populations appear to be more influenced by other factors, such as the numbers of bears that are allowed to be hunted.”

Yes, I’ll bet the BBC knows nothing about the Early Twentieth Century Warming (ETCW), where it was just as warm in the decade of the 1930’s as it is today.

Then, as Willie says, the temperatures cooled from the 1940’s to the 1970’s, to the point that some climate scientists were worrying that the Earth was headed into a new Ice Age, and then it started warming in the 1980’s to the present, but the present warming never exceeded the warming of the ETC.

Therefore, CO2 is a minor player in the Earth’s climate since it was just as warm in the ETC as it is today, and the ETC warming is considered mostly natural, even by the UN IPCC. So it is not necessary to invoke CO2 as the cause of modern-day warming when the warming in the ETC was of the same magnitude but without CO2 being a major factor. The same thing (Mother Nature) could be happening today as happened in the ETC, no CO2 required.

Mickey Reno
July 14, 2020 11:00 am

All I see in this is that government ought to use it’s coercive police powers to force people to become subsistence farmers. Hell, we could make these small farms into holistic collectives while we’re at it. What a great “Mother Jones” type idea. Maybe in another 100 years or so, we could even have another rural electrification project. Of course, some of the “gains” will be lost to more horses and oxen used in agriculture, belching and farting away. And my folks have a barn, we could build a stage and put on a show for the parents.

God they are stupid.

July 14, 2020 9:56 pm

I wonder whether these academics know how much Australia relies on fossil fuels?
In the AEMO grid, coal and gas currently supply 76% of all electricity generation.
To meet a peak grid demand of about 35,000 MW on hot summer evenings, nameplate capacity includes:
Coal and Gas 34,300 MW
Hydro 7,700 MW
Wind 7,700 MW (average 30% capacity factor)
Large Solar 3,800 MW (average capacity factor 20%)
Rooftop Solar 10,000 MW
Of course in the evening all that solar is idle, and often times there is little wind, so reliable generation relies on fossil fuels and hydro.
All that wasted investment in intermittent wind and solar.

July 15, 2020 6:14 am

“Dr Kent said businesses need to be looking at how we can flatten the ‘unsustainability curve’ – the acceleration of unsustainable practices around the world, and the existential challenges that we’re facing as a result.”

Oh I think flattening the unsustainability curve is about to get under way big time doc and you can get right into bread making and the vege garden-

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