Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Feeling vaguely depressed

Columnists like talking about aluminium as "congealed electricity":  all the better for some of them to huff and puff about how pricing carbon makes that industry uncompetitive in the long run in Australia (if you keep carbon pricing.)

Funny how then they can keep blaming carbon pricing for Alcoa closing down a smelter now, when there is a government that says it is determined to end it, and even Judith Sloan has to admit that it was sheltered from its full effects for years yet.

A broader picture of what has happened with aluminium comes from (surprise) the Fairfax press, which notes:
 Four decades ago, the United States, the USSR and Japan accounted for almost 60 per cent of aluminium production. Today, China accounts for more than half the global total. The big four producers from 40 years ago have a share of just over 10 per cent.
China is in effect subsidising its aluminium production. The industry is a means to an end: smelters and electricity generating capacity have been developed in tandem, locking in cheap power for the smelters, but also extending China's power grid, and opening up new parts of the economy for industrialisation and economic development.
The shift in aluminium production away from the developed world to the developing world and to China and particular kept a lid on aluminium prices as energy costs rose, however. Profits on aluminium smelting have been squeezed, forcing smelter closures around the developed world: Point Henry is only the latest, and it will not be the last.
Anyhow, I figure a good name for the Tea Party-ish Right, both in the US and Australia is "congealed stupidity".

Honest to God, I have never known the Right of politics to contain so many annoying, rude, over-simplying and intellectually vacuous people as it does at the moment.   What on earth has caused this?  (And no, it's not me moving to the Left - it's a large part of the Right positively moving towards anti-intellectualism and ignoring evidence for ideological reasons, both on science and economics.)  Is it because a fair slab of the Left has moved somewhat to the centre, compared to (say) the decades of the 60's to the 80's?   I honestly do not understand what has gone on here culturally, but something has.

So, to cheer me up, here's something you don't see every day (found via Rabbett Run):

Update:   Alcoa specifically denies the carbon tax was behind its decision to close Point Henry. 

Why should they disbelieved when they may have profited from the free permits?

Now, to make me happier:  rat tricks.  (I never knew they were as trainable as they obviously are.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What's then impact on marginal costs when china raises its economies of scale and we reduce ours by lowering it?

What's the impact on global emission through this swap?

You retard.