Submission on the Draft Report of the Productivity Commission about a Low Emissions Economy for New Zealand

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1 Submission on the Draft Report of the Productivity Commission about a Low Emissions Economy for New Zealand by Russell Z Christensen, About the Author I am a New Zealand citizen who lives in Eltham, Taranaki. In 2012 I began a campaign of letter writing to the New Zealand government about a critical problem in the energy-balance accounting for tidal turbines. At the time this was relevant because a tidal turbine electricity generating plant had been given the go-ahead for Pouto Point, in the Kaipara Harbour. The development had gone through several stages and the website for Crest Energy indicated that the project was well advanced. Today that website does not exist. Hon. Simon Bridges wrote to me explaining that the project would be canned. To quote from his letter of 8 April, 2014:... it is unlikely that a generator would proceed with constructing a tidal energy project such as that proposed for Kaipara Harbour when there are other more cost-effective renewable generation avenues (such as geothermal and wind) available. I understand that while the Kaipara Harbour generation project may be technically feasible, it is not regarded as costcompetitive at the current time. I believe the government and the developer had a wake-up moment. The real cause of anthropogenic climate change is the conversion of the energy of tidal motion. On an industrial scale this dates back to 1966 with the commissioning of a tidal barrage electricity station at St Malo, in France. Contents Preface to this Submission p. 2 Lamenting a Stale Will to Power p. 3 The Reason why a Canard was Probably Necessary p. 3 The Proof Positive p. 4 On Innovation for the Future p. 5 On Transcendence p. 6 1

2 Preface to this Submission Why should I bother with a submission to a group that apparently has already decided that lowering our emissions of greenhouse gases is the way to combat the climate problem? (1) It is fair and sometimes necessary in commerce to withdraw from a contract if one discovers that one has been induced to enter into it by a material misrepresentation of the facts. The first maxim of equity involves a balancing of wrongs and remedies and there is no reason why New Zealand s involvement in greenhouse gas emissions reductions should not be reviewed in the light of the principles of equity. (2) There is also a sort of negligence that accompanies the refusal of the government to test the argument I have prepared. The recent change of government has so far made no difference. Accordingly I am effectively locked in solitary confinement and this means I have to try everything in my power by way of banging on my cell walls and crying for help. (3) New Zealand has become one of the most privileged nations in the world. As more and more nations fall into disorder and madness, New Zealand will increasingly be envied. We accordingly have a duty to take the moral high ground and it may be possible for members of the Climate Commission to enter into the spirit of a fundamentals re-think. (4) Proof that the greenhouse effect is a nada is now so clear cut that every secondary-school science student can see. I will explain this in my submission below. The fact that it is so clear cut means that Climate Commission members who may wish to make passé of emission reductions and promote the correct solution for the globe can now do so knowing that the platform is sound. (5) In the following submission, I will continue with the paragraph numbering by way of a salute to the methods of preparing statements for a court. My intent is to wind through to a concluding observation about the way forward. I do believe that a fundamentals re-think is on the cards for certain spheres of intellectual activity. In the sense that the Climate Commission represents a sphere, it may interpret the Paris Agreement as an indication that the nations are tired of a trend in the climate and in the Northern ice cover. The nations wish to be relieved and that is more fundamental than the addressing of the greenhouse gas emissions. (6) At first one might think my submission to be excluded. To quote from the Terms of Reference: This enquiry should not focus on the suitability of any current or future emissions reduction target. However I am proposing that the Commission looks at the proof I mention at paragraph (4) above and then immediately turns its focus to the fundamentals re-think that can take us forward sanely. Is there a dribble of excluded focus in that? I had to consider this question somewhat at length and then I decided that the answer was not really clear. In fact I decided that I had alighted upon a constitutional question and therefore that my submission could address an existential matter first. 2

3 Lamenting a Stale Will to Power (7) On p. 195 of the Draft Report, a reader is entitled to draw a deep breath. In the first sentence, a declaration of government interference is inherent, of such like that one is inclined to recall the New Mathematics era. It stormed upon the nation in 1969 and left behind a crisis that still lingers on. To quote from the (section) entitled Leading the government response to the Climate Commission's Advice: "Developing the government response to the Climate Commission's advice will be a substantive policy process, with agencies assessing the Commission's proposals, selecting alternative priorities or pathways, identifying the impacts on affected sectors and communities, and designing suitable policy, regulatory and fiscal responses." (8) What is foretold in the sentence I quote above is an exercise in wax-molding like Zarathustra. For virtue's sake, shall nation be confused with a superman's goat? Let us not forget that our nation's constitution should involve more than a mere correctness at the voting booth. (9) In the case of New Mathematics there was a rad canon on the make. Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory was not just a new method in mathematics education. It was a new fundamental canon that required every primary school teacher to undergo retraining. It just so happened that the canon was not very appropriate and yet also at once rather virtuous. It had the classic signs of a lovable oaf. For nearly a dozen years, the nation wore quite religiously its rather esperanto-style precepts. Then we fell into the now famous state of the shipwreck and crisis. (10) Behind the New Mathematics march on our curriculum was the thought that the state was paying the wages and salaries of the teachers. The state had power and therefore it had responsibility. Who would not love to be led by the best of Oxford minds? Right. So we got busy with some wax-molding only the money primarily went to group of apologists who saw an opportunity to toast the state in an irreverent way. (Irreverent? Or would the state become a sort of nouveau religious entity? Of course, one must not be cruel. It would be too easy in hindsight.) (11) The canard of the pyrgeometer has been much more virtuous than the Zemelo canon in mathematics. Historians of the future may uphold the illusionist's instrument as having been quite necessary for the advance of Man. However it must have a finite season. Otherwise the virtue will go stale. (12) The virtue is going stale already. The crisis that lies around the corner is going to be much more harrowing than the taste of lean porridge in mathematics education or the invasion of Poland. The Reason why a Canard was Probably Necessary (13) Someone once said that a lie can go much further than a truth in the news. Whoever it was can now toast the Paris Agreement as proof positive. Yes, it has 3

4 been a very sophisticated lie and, yes, the erstwhile World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) appears to have been involved in contriving it. (14) On the one hand, the question is: How could Man be brought to confront the miscalculation behind the use of tidal energy for electricity production? (See the above in relation to an energy-balance accounting for turbines.) If there is no illeffect from ignoring the energy-balance accounting then surely the relevant natural law in physics is just an abstract idea. If there is an ill-effect, Man could probably not come to know it as something distinct from nature s own calamity unless first primed into a suitable state of mind. (15) On the other hand, the question is: Why not demonise the burning of fossil fuels? It is highly likely that Man will need to find alternative sources of energy for the long term. If it should turn out that a true anthropogenic cause is lurking in the shadows for climate change, then surely one day it can make itself known. As it were, it could trump the greenhouse effect. (16) All things considered, although the canard of the pyrgeometer is, by a strict moral code, very naughty, it likely has been necessary. Today the world stands waiting for a moment of transcendence. We can admit the canard, yet forgive its perpetrators. To an extent we should be thankful for the opportunity we have been given to come to terms. (17) The canard was probably a thing waiting to happen not only for the reasons outlined above. Man has very little use for the mid-to-far infrared wavelengths. Who would know an illusionist s prop from a measure true? The pyrgeometer is supposed to be a device for measuring the abundant back radiation of the atmospheric greenhouse gases, in the mid-to-far infrared. (18) The atmosphere is a warming blanket for the Earth quite without any reliance on atmospheric back radiation. In fact it is precisely because the atmosphere does not leak energy by radiation (at least no more than a piddle) that it can hold heat in store for Earth at its surface where heat will radiate away at night. The Proof Positive (19) National Geographic s Climate Change Issue of November There is a graphical depiction of the Earth s surface warming near the bottom of the page, showing an uneven geographical pattern. (20) NASA s Global Climate Change Write-up - Surface Temperature Section See the graph at the right of the page and the time series below the graph. When the selector control is moved to the right under the time series, one sees the current situation wherein the warming is much more pronounced in the Northern hemisphere, similar to the situation portrayed 4

5 in the National Geographic magazine. (21) There appears to be an ample quantity of first-hand accounts available about the changes that have been taking place in the Northern ice-mass. This weighs in if we compare it to the tameness of the situation in Antarctica. (22) The pattern is inconsistent with the theory of back radiation. If the theory were true, the surface-warming would follow the flux intensity of Earth s thermal radiation - the more thermal flux going up would be the more to catch and re-emit (by the greenhouse gases) whence to heat the Earth. On Innovation for the Future (23) When we are thinking about the energy future, we must remember that businesses typically require a much larger head of power than homes. For example, Carac Couplings, an engineering firm in Eltham, employing around 35, requires around 100 kilowatts of electrical power. This must be available at the flick of a switch. To boot, when and if we have significant numbers of electric motor-cars and trucks on the road, the filling-up stations will also require substantial heads of power. Such demands are quite consistent with a productive nation but require a distribution grid. (24) It is thus that we may alight upon the idea of nuclear fusion. Of course New Zealand would probably not take a plasma chemistry vessel until several varieties had already been invented and manufactured overseas. Therefore in one way because the technology is still over the horizon for us, we can discount it. However it is, in the long term, probably a key for global peace and prosperity. (25) We have learnt from Hiroshima and Nagasaki that the atom contains an enormous reserve of energy. Every nucleus other than the hydrogen nucleus has a mass defect. It weighs less than the sum of the weights of its component particles considered separately. Plasma chemistry in principle then may create a nucleus from smaller component parts. As the reaction would happen, the energy corresponding to the net mass defect would be released. Several ventures, in the United States and France at least, are aiming to do it with magnetic means of confining the plasma. The plasma needs to be held at temperatures something like 50 million degrees Celcius. (26) Scary? The temperature is scary but we only need to have a rather small quantity of reactants in the reaction vessel. If there is a breach of containment, we re not talking ton-loads of fiery stuff for the secondary containment system to have to handle. (27) Radio-active materials on site? Who knows? In principle neither the reactants nor the reaction product needs to be radio-active. The big problem to overcome in plasma chemistry is the problem that magnetic means of plasma confinement is unlikely on its own to be sufficient. What the world is waiting for is the advent of a means tidal in nature. 5

6 (28) How does the force of gravity get applied to a mass? Surely it goes to work on the level of a very small particle. Following the recent discovery of the Higgs mechanism, we can posit indeed that all mass particles not corresponding to the mechanism (loosely the non-higgsian particles - this includes neutrons) have a working relationship with the gravitational potential. While it would be too much to imagine that we might have an artificial address to this on a large scale, in plasma chemistry it is the independent, fast-moving small particle, approaching vessel wall, that must be turned away by a tidal action. (29) The tidal means will put back into the reaction zone a particle that has been slowed down for energy extraction purposes and turned around for the purposes of keeping the solid and liquid underlying wall components protected from adverse reactions. (30) In the long term view of New Zealand s future, there is a time when plasma chemistry vessels using tidal containment means will be the preferred additional source of electricity for the distribution grid. Then we will be looking at specific manufacturers, their specifications and procedures, deciding that our safety concerns have been taken care of. In the meantime, why not consider that the nation has plentiful reserves of coal? (31) Coal does not have to be burnt in a dirty reaction. Clean-burning systems are already quite advanced. On Transcendence (32) The advent of Generative Anthropology, around about the same time as we may posit there was a canard-inventing in atmospheric physics, suggests that university campuses are to an extent already transcending old orders. However there must be more than campuses involved in the recognition of gravitational potential. An item of major significance has been left off the inventory of heritage items and the heritage must be re-discovered. (33) Inherently this motion is joyous. Therefore we may let wills be open to it despite that the thought of it has not originated from an office on campus. The strong geographic skewing of the Earth s surface warming to date is too loud for science to ignore. It is too much in conflict with the theory that is currently dominant on campus for the theory to last and, if recognition of our global heritage in gravitational potential suggests a different theory may apply, we should be delighted with a canon-purging. (34) The fundamentals re-think of the Climate Commission may of course alight upon the question of how well a theory of gravitational potential collapse would explain the anomalous heating of the Northern ice-mass. In relation to this question and following my recent correspondence with Television One and the Broadcasting Complaints Authority I believe journalists may be already very ready to embrace a certain simplistic cause-and-effect scenario. It goes roughly that gravity acts as a clearing agent for freckles in the sensible heat of the atmosphere. The freckles may include the release of the latent heat of evaporation or the result 6

7 of the absorption of thermal radiation by greenhouse gases. If we impair the clearing agent - and surely a draining of the potential energy represents impairment - we should expect it to become less efficacious over time. (35) The simplistic scenario outlined above would fully explain why there is a strong geographic skewing in the anthropogenic surface-heating of the Earth. It is hard to see how the lobby for tidal energy could rustle up an answer because indeed a good cycles analysis, pertaining to an energy-balance accounting for tidal turbines, due to the conservative nature of the force of gravity, strongly suggests that tidal turbines make a unique and unfortunate class. (36) The journalists are waiting for a signal and we may lament their tardiness. In the meantime those of us who find themselves in positions of influence may start to imagine the overcoming ahead. We may need to make some connections with centres of thought around the globe. Turning to an overcoming and transcendence is surely however preferable than turning to a stale wax-molding exercise. 7