Fossil fuels just love Mike Cannon-Brookes

Via AFR:

Mike Cannon-Brookes’ campaign to reclaim the phrase “fair dinkum power” from Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been swamped with offers of support, and the Atlassian billionaire is in the process of registering a trademark for a logo to promote renewable energy.

Mr Cannon-Brookes said he had had hundreds of tweets and emails expressing support and even offering donations since starting the campaign on Wednesday, but was funding the exercise himself.

He is exploring options for licensing the logo – a green power plug connected to a leaf with the words “FAIR DINKUM POWER” that emerged from an online competition – through the creative commons so people can use it without paying a licence fee.

Bravo Cannon-Bookes. Except you’ve just succeeded in locking us into the very trivialised false binary debate about renewables versus fossil fuels that is embedding the latter. That is the problem with the debate and you’ve made it worse.

Look at these two charts. Here’s Australia’s reduction in carbon output in the energy sector:

Down roughly 10% as we fight tooth and nail for every inch of progress. The projections are disastrous if we remain stuck in the false binary of renewables versus fossil fuels.

Now, check out the horrible USA, where Donald Trump doesn’t even believe in climate change and is doing his best to revive coal:

Down 28%! Why? Because the US has allowed its gas reserves to displace coal.

That’s right, you need gas to offset renewables until the cost of storage catches down enough to stabilise intermittent renewables. Otherwise prices skyrocket and you end up what we have: energy wars that trigger more support for “fair dinkum” coal.

If you want to make a difference, Mr Cannon-Brookes, don’t virtue-signal from your $100m armchair on the very turf laid out by the enemy. Sell the mansion and stick the dough in a bloody great think tank to change the debate. We do not need more renewables versus fossil fuels virtue-signalling. We need gas to support renewables and that can only happen by breaking the gas cartel. Do your research on MB.

Or, even better, we need this:

Billionaires do have the power to change history. So far, Cannon-Brookes is not one of them.

David Llewellyn-Smith


  1. yeah humanity should put it’s destiny in hands of few greedy billionaires who became rich because of completely failed economic system – the same one that cause all of these problems that threaten humanity’s survival

      • Because we don’t need both.

        Seriously, nuclear is not the answer. Reputable analysis shows that if all power generation switched to nuclear, we would just have a uranium shortage. At the moment with 5% nuclear power there is only 200 years of economic uranium deposits.

        The general movement against nuclear comes from a fear of a possible nuclear accident (such as Chernobyl, Fukushima etc), nuclear radiation, nuclear proliferation and nuclear waste, plus destruction of the environment through mining of uranium. We should focus on solar power and wind energy to address the world’s current and future energy needs.

        And don’t talk about “breeder” reactors. International Panel on Fissile Materials said “After six decades and the expenditure of the equivalent of tens of billions of dollars, the promise of breeder reactors remains largely unfulfilled and efforts to commercialize them have been steadily cut back in most countries.”

        Why nuclear power will never supply the world’s energy needs

        PV plant built on nuke site as renewables surpass nuclear

      • You’re killing me, mate. I’ve challenged all of this with reputable data/sources before. We’ve had this argument so many times, all with the same fallacies trotted out. Just watch the video attached to this article, which is a brilliant summary, fully supportable by objective data and scientific consensus.

        That’s why I’m saying why not both? Arguing over this shiz is what leaves a gap for thermal coal to continue it’s existence. The end game is saving our climate, a cause worthy of investment risks and expenditure. Let government led investment open the doors and see what private enterprise does with them after. Either way, we build-up a domestic base of capable engineers and scientists to drive innovation and technology.

      • Does he even discuss solar thermal?

        Skimming through it, I’m thinking No. Which makes his spiel absolutely irrelevant for a solar superpower like Australia.

      • ….it’s about nuclear power, but great to see your dedication to alternative views. I’d like to say I’m surprised, but rigidity of worldviews is a trait of the dogmatic types…

      • So you admit that he has deliberately ignored the one solar option that makes nuclear irrelevant? Figures.

      • It is far to late to go nuclear. We do not have the 25 years that it would take to get it up and running, let alone sort the waste problems.

        This is the larger point, I think.

        Are there any major problems with solar, wind, hydro, and other renewables that aren’t likely to be solved in the 10-20 years it would take to stand up nuclear power in Australia ?

        If the answer to the above is no, then why would you take on the risks, political burden, and massive costs of nuclear ?

        Not to mention the systemic advantages of a distributed, diverse, power generation infrastructure.

        Nuclear’s time was fifty-odd years ago. Heck, even thirty years ago. But the moment has passed.

      • Do it! 100% I’m with you, we should do it! But I don’t believe in putting all our eggs in 1 basket.

      • Uh huh, my bad, I wasn’t aware commercially viable thermal molten salt storage was already a thing. Energy storage crisis solved.

      • Glad you agree. Combined with HVDC lines, our interior could very easily power us forever. And without the depletion issues of nuclear, or the incredible cost blowouts and project overruns. It’s a no-brainer.

        Elon Musk: “We Have This Handy Fusion Reactor In The Sky Called The Sun. You don’t have to do anything, it just works. It shows up everyday and produces ridiculous amounts of power. “

      • To the tread above….

        Nuclear was never viable, hence the need for massive government underwriting, not to mention the only reason it got going, say in the US, was to produce weapons grade material.

    • Strange lets do the economicsMEMBER

      +1 – Yes, if you do some research and as this is an economics website, do some calculations yourself you can easily confirm “eputable analysis shows that if all power generation switched to nuclear, we would just have a uranium shortage.” . Why push a high cost, and some risk uranium barrow? – and don’t forget cost per MWH is now higher than solar.

  2. you are fighting a good fight H&H but this is wrong approach. why don’t you reach out to Mike and a have a chat. Explain your view and who knows you may end up influencing him on making decision on how to move forward with his idea. At the end of the day he is doing what he is doing because he believes in renewables and agrees Scomo is a f.. dckhd.
    After all he is a big influencer at home and who knows this might be what is needed to tip the scales.

      • PolarBearMEMBER

        I think Mike deserves the criticism. HnH critique might be a bit withering, but it is equally accurate. Mike’s a billionaire – he should be better than this. He’s stuck his big ego out into the public domain. Does he expect only adulation? Doesn’t he do 360 degree feedback with his staff? And these guys have form: their commentary on the immigration debate was either boneheaded or selfish or both.

      • Never understood the propensity for some to equate high net worth with broad knowlage or intellectual capacity, especially from the IT sector. Lmmao high fail rate on big projects and a penchant for wonky ideology does not actually fill one with confidence.

      • “Mike’s a billionaire – he should be better than this.”

        Exhibit A = R – O – F – L – O – L ~~~~~~

      • Not me personally Skippy. I was appealing to a common expectation and the Atlassian founders’ apparent expectation that because they are tech billionaires their opinions on everything are somehow more informed and valuable. See my comments on Hnh other post.

  3. Nuclear power is not renewable and it is still a finite resource with devastating consequences when things go wrong, which will happen especially more in a place like Australia where you cannot even find an honest banker.

    Oh yes but we know so much more today about Nuclear power and it is so much safer. Really? Well if we really did know so much more, how about at every inspection of old Nuclear plants we highlight all the safety issues ( because we know so much more now) and fix them (because we are SO much safer now). Obviously did not happen in Japan. Wont happen anywhere as the world is full of greedy, selfish, arrogant bastards who do not care about anyone else but themselves and we are a long way off fixing even that which is the root cause of our problems.

    Also I do not think you need to improve efficiencies in energy use very much to wipe out all current Nuclear power stations, and given we are SO wasteful as a society with energy, this should be the first step. Oh wait, that wont work as that is less consumption which the busYness world hates. We have way too many funda’Mental’ problems which need fixing first but probably wont happen.

    • It’s always the people who complain about how we can’t build a road tunnel for reasonable money who think that nuclear power infrastructure in Australia will be a doddle too.

    • Nuclear power is Baseload power, it’s even worse than Coal when it comes to responding quickly to changing load dynamics. If one can’t make a sensible / viable business argument for constructing a Super-Critical Coal power plant (in the Hunter) than proposing Nuclear Power in Australia is just a really bad joke’ll never happen. Truth is, the emerging midday electricity demand trough from PV will seal Nuclear’s fate long before the ink even dries on the plans.
      Less than 20 years from now, you need to be thinking about a typical sunny Midday where installed PV is capable of generating many GW’s more power than is consumed (at that time)…the Net National Grid load is not zero, it’s actually negative There’ll be many GW’s of unused capacity bidding to come on line at close to zero Cents/Kwh. Logically in this operating environment Baseload power will be actually paying anyone to consume for something like 4 hours per day.
      With that in mind is Nuclear still viable?

    • Why is no nation running on renewables alone? If the scalability, the economics and the convenience is so much in the favour of PV, why after decades of investment/subsidies/economies of scale are we still not able to wean ourselves off fossil fuels?

      There is a fundamental disconnect between the rosy picture being painted about solar’s limitless utility and real world realities. Seriously, I’d love to be convinced otherwise, but I just look around the world and can’t see it. Anywhere. Even the nations that appear to be going down this route are still dependent on energy imports due to gaps in the mix; see Germany importing French nuclear power.

  4. As a much younger man I’d never miss a good poker game, it didn’t concern me too much if I won or lost, I just loved the game. Eventually a very experienced player took me under his arm and helped me to improve my game. The best advice I received.
    – Play the hand you’re dealt
    – Use the first few hands to figure out who is today’s mark
    Applying these poker rules to our Electricity sector I’d conclude that the card deck we’re playing with is missing the NG cards, they’ve been stolen or shoved up someones sleeve….therefore any game play that requires these cards is probably a loosing proposition.
    Sometimes all that’s needed is to accept that these cards are missing, it’s foolish to keep trying to make a wining hand that requires missing cards.
    If you can accept that it is not by accident that these cards are missing than you can probably use this information to figure out exactly who the real mark is (he/she probably doesn’t know or suspect that the cards are missing). Examine everyone else’s play and you’ll quickly figure out which players know exactly what cards are missing.

    • If all you a dealt is dud cards you can;t win. I;m no enemy of the good in favour of the perfect. Cripes. But if you don’t fix gas then Labor’s renewables push will be slaughtered on price and unreliability. It’s the most basic proposition that there is.

      • If all you a dealt is dud cards you can;t win
        au contraire mon frère that's precisely the point at which a real poker game gets really interesting, Anyone can win with great hands but it takes skill to win with a dud hand. In a strange sort of way that's Australia's bigger problem: we only play great hands so every other player knows immediately that it's a round they should sit out. End result we win a hand but there's no money on the table. While we're busy congratulating ourselves for winning a hand the real players are getting on with the task of fleecing the marks.

    • – Use the first few hands to figure out who is today’s mark

      Don’t forget the bit in brackets after this:
      (If you can’t figure out who today’s mark is, it’s you.)

      • That goes without saying, but if you’ve played enough it’s easy to spot when you are the mark.
        Truth is collusive behavior is easy to spot, there are a bunch of general rules regarding when to fold and when to play on so any folding when they should have played is a dead give away. I have my own set of rules / metrics In a way it’s sort of like “leading digit theory” in Fraud accounting because with a given set of show cards there’s a certain probabilistic action expected from all skilled players. When a players actions are substantially outside the random bounds than they’re not random. That’s the thing most people don’t understand random so it’s just like leading digits wrt fraud in that the other players will at best invent a pattern of actions that are very transparent if you’re looking for these play patterns or more often they’ll resort to some completely obvious form of signalling.

  5. I’m a little undecided on where I stand with Nuclear Power.

    Of course it is super clean (ignoring the waste aspect), but only when it runs without issue.
    As others above have stated, the consequences of nuclear power are absolutely disastrous. (Those Chernobyl statistics in the TedX video are incorrect also.)

    We have had quite a few serious nuclear accidents, Kyshtym, Windscale, Three Mile, Chernobyl and Fukushima. Numerous near misses too, especially in the USSR.

    Of course, the most advanced of those reactors was at Fukushima, a Gen II design, where the latest is now Gen III+ which incorporate passive safety systems. Many other Gen II reactors have since had significant safety upgrades since Fukushima (to filter air if venting is required and to reduce the risk of hydrogen explosions).

    A Gen III+ reactor is likely to be extremely safe, but I can’t help but think that unforeseen events are the biggest risk to a serious disaster.

  6. need gas to offset renewables until the cost of storage catches down

    Yep. Batteries have actually gone up in price recently. We need gas because batteries are not cheap enough yet. The big battery in SA is only profitable because Adelaide has the most expensive electricity in the world.

    Yesterday, I saw a billboard of Matthew Guy with the phrase “lower energy bills”. That shows the insanity of Australia – we have ScoMo making a video saying “I will get electricity prices down” and we have a state opposition leader implying “I will get electricity prices down” on the same day!

    The 3 layers of government is the gift that keeps on confusing.

  7. Instead of confronting him, maybe reach out to him on twitter, you are a good communicator with a decent following and he is someone with some reach and quite a bit of capital, try to help each other. Obviously energy economics is not his strong point, so educate him with these very arguments…
    Change comes from those that unite against what the government is proposing/ telling us, and you have that in common….

      • PolarBearMEMBER

        Don’t worry I don’t think the nuclear symbol would look very nice next to his leaf with a plug symbol 😉 BTW I agree that Australia doesn’t need nuclear to solve it’s share of the climate change problem at lowest cost (even if you only consider $ cost). Was HnH really touting nuke power or just defence? I suppose they go together.

      • R2M….

        As noted above nuclear was never viable from an economic stand point e.g. externalities out the wazoo, massive government underwriting, total suck hole that makes pink bats look brilliant due to private looting, more to do with creating weapons grade material for the cold war than energy, huge water consumer, and no one has figured out how to depose of the waste other than ship it somewhere with low regulatory forbearance, etc, etc.

      • Yup skippy, you are right on this one. Lots of people on the internet in the pay of the long list of corporations that profit from this boondoggle. You’ll find them commenting on every darned article that appears about nuke power.

      • R2M….

        I don’t think Brenton is a payed FF industry tool, one might consider the spray and pray method has certain down sides to it.

      • I shoot first, ask questions later. It’s usually accurate. Motivations are murky, money is changing hands under the table. There are not many innocent climate deniers or nuke power advocates, IMO (possibly James Hansen is an exception)