Cartoon Of The Week And Open Thread

A cyber-penny for your thoughts.


By Joel Pett, from the Cartoonist Group.




48 Responses to Cartoon Of The Week And Open Thread

  1. Will Fox says:

    Below is a graph I put together recently, showing the correlation between man-made carbon emissions, atmospheric CO2 levels, and global temperature. The red line shows the average of all the main temperature sets (NOAA, HadCRUT, GISS, RSS, etc).

    How anyone can deny this obvious correlation is beyond me. Btw, my personal website is FutureTimeline which includes an extensive forecast of climate and environment-related events in the years and decades ahead. Comments and feedback are most welcomed!

  2. DRT says:

    There was a tragedy in Colorado this week. Its horrible and tragic and sad. Our hearts go our to those who are suffering. Many people were murdered, evidently by a lone gunman. Murder is a crime. We expect the perpetrator will have his day in court and face his punishment.

    Meanwhile the Koch Bros., Rex Tillerson and their ilk are executing their carefully laid plans to end civilization as we know it, to slowly murder billions, to eradicate entire species, to acidify the oceans, to rid North America of its plague of trees and butterflies and countless other beautiful things. Why is this not a crime?

  3. It is a crime. A crime of epic proportions. I must believe they will be brought to justice eventually.

  4. Tom L says:

    And the MSM couldn’t be having a more delightful orgy of overkill with it to the exclusion of all else. Just imagine what a week of non-stop, saturation coverage of the looming climate calamity with no false balance would do to the public’s perception of right and wrong.

  5. Paul Klinkman says:

    Do you fully trust multinational corporations to stop climate change on your behalf? Do you fully trust your Federal government to support your dreams of alternative energy development? Can you still visualize a world where inventors would develop better and cheaper sustainable technology? Do you think that God’s work must truly be our own?

    Are gifts of invention something that people need to develop? Would you want a world where people develop their gifts of invention?

    Is the fear of economic failure preventing people from being moved to follow the path of innovation? Will this ongoing fear of economic failure tend to annul your vision of an earth restored someday?

  6. Jack Burton says:

    The deniers are really of two types. Those who know they are wrong but are serving the interests of the fossil fuel industry and those who believe what the former folks tell them. I leave it to the reader to determine which class of people is more dangerous at the moment.
    Simply put, denial is now a waste of time. The changes are in full swing, every day the deniers become more and more of a joke. A bad joke that is!
    Thanks for the graph!

  7. Tom L says:

    Sorry, overkill was very poor word choice here.

  8. Lisa Boucher says:

    I haven’t seen it mentioned by Climate Progress yet, so here’s the outstanding new article by Bill McKibben in the August 2 issue of Rolling Stone:

    “Given this hard math, we need to view the fossil-fuel industry in a new light.  It has become a rogue industry, reckless like no other force on Earth.  It is Public Enemy Number One to the survival of our planetary civilization.”  — Bill McKibben

    “With the fossil-fuel industry, wrecking the planet is their business model.  It’s what they do.”  — Naomi Klein

  9. Jeff Huggins says:

    Two Concrete Questions

    First, will CP be covering the Green Party’s (and their candidate Jill Stein’s) platform regarding climate change?

    Second, will CP be covering the recent Pew Global Survey results in which there are very interesting results associated with the world’s views regarding President Obama’s performance in relation to climate change?

    It seems to me that people deeply concerned with climate change — i.e., CP’s readers — would be interested in, and benefit from, these two sets of information.



  10. PAUL DONOHUE says:

    I see YouTube is featuring a denier video over an hr long. I guess they are trying too appeal to the younger set. I wonder if anyone has checked it out? I took a quick look and it seems like the same old thing from Lindzen, Singer and Cristie and others. I wonder if anything is new? I hate to wast the time, but I guess I will have to slog through it. I hope to report back.

  11. Jeff Huggins says:

    Adding to Bill McKibben’s Great Article in Rolling Stone

    People should become familiar with the history of corporations, including (and importantly) the original arguments for, and bases of justification for, the existence of chartered joint stock companies. (Hint: it all rests on the idea and assumption that their existence will ultimately be good for the public and, for example, not destroy the planet.)

    If you consider the underlying bases of the legitimacy of the existence of large corporations, then in light of what the fossil fuel companies are doing, you’ll see that they are undermining the legitimacy of their own continuing existence. (Indeed, in my view some of them have already done so.)

    The point can be understood, and verified, by considering the original justifications for the existence of chartered joint stock companies. (This said, the reasons that individual investors and participants in some of those companies were involved with them were often not the same as the bases upon which governments allowed, blessed, and facilitated them in theory, of course. But that’s a different matter.)

    But the point can be understood more easily by means of a simple comparison: If a person commits murder, we put him in jail and he loses many of his freedoms and some of his rights. If a corporation persists in damaging the stability of the world’s climate, with all the harms that will bring about, how can the (conditionally granted) rights and freedoms of that corporation to operate remain legitimate and unconstrained? The answer is, they can’t, and shouldn’t. A person who commits murder goes to jail. A corporation that wrecks the climate undermines its legitimacy and forfeits its right to exist. Period.

    Let’s keep that in mind.



  12. Pennsylvania Bob says:

    The graph by Will Fox in the first response here is outstanding and should be used in all climate change presentations. If you didn’t click through, please go back and do so. Thank you, Will.

  13. Jeff Huggins says:

    And One More Thing (related to corporations, their legitimacy or lack of, the fossil fuel industry, and Bill’s excellent RS article)

    I can’t recall if it was Locke (I think so), or perhaps JS Mill, but one of them — I think Locke — makes the logical and commonsense point that an institution can’t grant a right to another institution unless it has that right (itself), in the first place, to grant.

    In other words, for example, I (Jeff) can’t grant to you (reader) the right to steal the Hope Diamond, because I don’t have the right to do so myself.

    Similarly, the United States cannot correctly and legitimately grant the right to ExxonMobil, for example, to do things that will destabilize the Earth’s climate — causing harms to billions of people, present and future, and other species — BECAUSE the United States does not have the right to do so itself.

    What does this mean? It means, for example, that even if some people conclude that, given the present laws of the U.S., a corporation such as ExxonMobil is a legitimate legal entity, retains (despite its behaviors) a full and legitimate legal right to exist, and a full and legitimate legal right to continue doing what it’s doing; nevertheless, the United States itself — including U.S. Law — does not have the right to grant such a right to ExxonMobil (to despoil the climate) because the U.S. does not have such a right itself.

    Again, read John Locke, please. (The point, of course, is not that these thoughts are correct simply because Locke said so. Instead, it’s because they are valid points, if you understand and think about them.)

    Thus, there are two points (combining this post with my earlier post):

    1. A corporation that persists in activities that will cause immense harm to the world, violates the principles and assumptions upon which the legitimacy of the existence of corporations is based. In other words, it dissolves its own legitimacy to exist.

    2. The argument that the United States, by means of U.S. Law, can grant the right to exist — or to continue to exist — to such corporations, even as they do things that will cause immense harms to the world, is not sound, and is invalid. The United States itself does not have the right — nor do U.S. citizens, nor any people — to destabilize the Earth’s climate, and thus the United States cannot grant such a right to ExxonMobil.

    Again, read Locke. Here, I’m talking about his ‘Two Treatises of Government’, in particular the Second Treatise.

    These are vital contextual arguments as we do battle with ExxonMobil and the others.

    Cheers and Be Well,


  14. Shocking New Climate Math w/ Bill McKibben!

    Bill McKibben on his Rolling Stone article “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” Plus Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack: Worst drought in 25 years

  15. Shell Drilling in the Arctic – S Banerjee “Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point”

  16. If the presidential campaigns continue to be about economic recovery needs growth produces jobs gets votes, then we are all doomed. You select your future by your choice of the problems you try to solve. Solve the wrong problem and you determine the wrong future.

    It will be too easy to justify increased energy demand and fossil fuel production to solve the jobs problem. The result will surely be greater warming. However, if you try to solve the climate problem with a mix of mitigation and accommodation strategies, you are very likely to produce jobs and economic recovery.

  17. Begins at min 21, very interesting since the host is covering the administration’s response and outlines the big picture.

  18. Merrelyn Emery says:

    The last 12 months of American weather is shaping up to provide a valuable lesson for anybody who still harbours any sneaky beliefs that economic health, let alone growth, can be gleaned from a deteriorating ecology. Ecology and economics are not just inextricably entwined, they are two faces of the one phenomenon.

    Another face is the health and vitality of our people. Do we still have strong cohesive communities where people work together with mutual support and respect? As we have persisted with our mistaken belief that we are above the planet so we have become more divorced not only from her but also from each other.

    Now we are beginning to see the three faces converging in self-reinforcing cycles of degradation. As the economy and the biosphere sink, where is the energy going to come from to arrest this cycle? How much productivity do you get from isolated, demoralized people?

    I can see only one way to put a gigantic spanner in his works and that is to start pulling communities together around their own futures. Just working together as equals around common goals is enough to generate energy, hope and more action. I know many of you are already engaged in this so all power to you, ME

  19. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Will – it’s an impressive graph as it stands – yet there is a tweak that would be worth trying, that may make it just stunning.

    If you raised the focus of the temperature anomaly plot, i.e. start from -0.8 right at the bottom and have 0.4 right at the top, the data shown will mesh with CO2ppm & MtC outputs significantly better.

    I’ll be tracking your site – it looks interesting.



  20. Austria: Firemen walk through mud after a landslide destroyed the centre of the village of Sankt Lorenzen

  21. There’s Still Hope for the Planet

    Article spreads misinformation on natural gas.

  22. Generation X ambivalent about climate change, study shows

    Out of the 2,924 people that responded, 41 percent said they were “disengaged” when it came to matters of climate change. Ten percent of them said they were dismissive or doubtful about the climate issue as a whole.

  23. Jon Koomey on climate change mitigation, corporate power, social responsibility, and the role of the market

    “I’m becoming more and more convinced that the real problem doesn’t have to do with economics or technology, but with governance.” What he meant was that the challenges we face, whether climate change or financial meltdowns, have in common the failure of government or corporate governance to align private incentives with the public good.

    Regulators and elected officials are “captured” by the industries they ostensibly control, and either fail or refuse to see the need for structural reform. The news industry has been reduced to entertainment, with little real analysis in all but a few news shows (some comedy shows even do better analysis than the best of the real “news” shows). And the lack of accountability for truly colossal mistakes (like the financial meltdown) breeds a depth of public cynicism that virtually ensures that further disasters lie ahead.

    The challenge is to create the right kind of check on corporate power, keeping the spirit of innovation alive while curtailing corporate excesses. In the US, at least until recently, we seem to have been moving away from limiting corporate action in any form. Somehow the pendulum needs to swing back, but some systemic problems prevent it, including people who worry greatly about excess government power but not about excess corporate power, and vice-versa. If you worry about both, I get it, but if you only care about one or the other, I think you’re missing the boat.

    One important purpose of government is to promote what the US Constitution calls “the general welfare”. This means designing systems that result in economic efficiency and social justice, minimizing perverse incentives.

    I do wonder if all great countries reach a point where they can’t reform themselves, because they are too rich, the entrenched interests are too powerful, and the people grow self congratulatory and self indulgent. I’m hopeful we haven’t reached that point, and I don’t see why it has to be that way. We live in a democracy, after all, and the American ability to reinvent ourselves has been proven time and time again. We just need to figure out how to get things moving in the right direction.

  24. Greatgrandma Kat says:

    I am of an age that I have seen a great many changes in my life. I get teased by the grandkids for being a blogger. But if there is one thing I have made sure they know it’s that Climate Change is here right now and they are the ones whose lives it will affect the most. I e-mail information on the changes we are already seeing and the ones they will see in the future, because they are the future (I quiz them once a week on what I send too). We as a family do our part and it makes me so mad that their future is in the hands of people who can’t see past the ends of their noses or the money in their bank accounts. The changes here where we live in just the last 3 years have been really scarey, you just can’t count even on the seasons anymore. If I am around in ten years it’s hard to get my mind around what it will be like. Teach them young to respect the planet, it’s the only home we have.

  25. CLIMATE CHANGE: Himalayan glaciers melting more rapidly

    The scientists studied 30 years of data from the field, and satellite and weather records to examine the retreat of 82 glaciers, the area reduction of 7,090 glaciers, and mass-balance change – the difference between the accumulation and loss of ice of 15 glaciers in the seven larger regions of the Himalayas, the Tibetan Plateau and the Pamir Mountains. Glaciers in this region give birth to major rivers across Southeast Asia and the Far East, from the Ganges to the Mekong, the Yellow and the Yangtze, which provide water to 20 percent of the world’s population.

    “For the glaciers studied, approximately nine percent of the area of ice that was present in the early 1970s had disappeared by the early 2000s. Where we had decadal information, we could show that the rate of retreat had accelerated,” Thompson said.

    “Potential consequences of glacier changes would be unsustainable water supplies from major rivers, and geohazards (glacier-lake expansion, glacier-lake outbursts and flooding), which might threaten the livelihoods and wellbeing of those in the downstream regions,” the study warned.

    “We were surprised to find that at 6,050 metres [the height at which the glacier is located] there had been no net accumulation [of ice] since the late 1940s,” he told IRIN. “Also in 2006, we observed cyoconite holes in the glacier all the way to the summit. The holes form when dust accumulates on the surface and absorbs solar radiation, causing melting. The dust actually collects in depressions on the glacier surface and then melts into the glacier. Some of these holes are two metres deep and filled with water, indicating that melting is occurring at the highest elevations of this glacier,” Thompson said.

    “It means that the glaciers are wasting much faster than just the loss of area, but they are also wasting from the top down, which means they are losing ice volume rapidly. Thus, we expect to see the area of ice loss to accelerate in the near future if these conditions hold, so it is very hard to predict when the glacier will actually disappear. In this case, the past behaviour of the glacier is not likely a good indicator of the future.”

    The study, led by Yao Tandong, director of the Institute of Tibetan Research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, and eminent glaciologist and paleo-climatologist Lonnie Thompson of Ohio State University, is the most comprehensive examination so far of the region’s glaciers.

    The study found that the Himalayan glaciers, which are fed by the Indian monsoons, were shrinking more rapidly than those in Pamir Mountains, which were influenced by the westerlies, the prevailing winds. These glaciers gain from winter snow and are less affected by warming, while in the Himalayas it snows during the monsoon season, in summer, and temperature increases can have a dramatic effect.

    Rainfall records from the region indicate that the Indian monsoon is getting weaker while the westerlies are strengthening. “Under the present warming conditions, glacier shrinkage might further accelerate in the Himalayas, whereas glaciers might advance in the eastern Pamir regions,” said the study.

  26. Scientists to State Department: Climate Change Must Be Considered in New Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Review

  27. Mond from Oz says:

    Great graph, Will Fox. But while we all nod our heads in sombre agreement, could we please note that the message doesn’t seem to be getting out there. Here in Australia, it seems highly probable that we will elect a populist right wing government around the end of the year: its putative leader (Abbott)has just addressed the Heartland Foundation. He has made what he calls a “pledge written in blood” to repeal our very tepid carbon tax.

    And it might be an idea to check out the comments to the Anne Arbor survey report linked to Chris Machen’s comment #18, above.

    It may not be quite that bad, here, although the shock jocks and people like Sen Bernardi are working on it. But consider: Sydney Morning Herald, July 20 (p6) “The Boggabri coalmine…will involve digging an open cut pit about five kilometeres wide, to remove 7 million tons of coal a year until 2033. The process will also involve the clearing of 1300 hectares of native forests, much of which have been shown to be rich in rare animal and plant life…”

    So in my mind we face an issue of communication: not just with each other, not with those who read the NYT or the SMH or the Guardian, but with the consumers of popular telly and the News Ltd tabloids. OK, they are carefully anaesthetised by commercial football and the adulteries of Hollywood starlets, but there has to be a way through. Doesn’t there?

  28. ColoradoBob says:

    Joe – Saw the hearing on C-Span at 4 A.M. “you’re a pebble on a beach”.

    “:Here’s yer “Atta Boy”

  29. ColoradoBob says:

    43 million acres of pine beetles. The right has no idea how many chain saws it will take “trim” all this . But that’s their answer.

  30. It was so hot last week, a twin-unit nuclear plant in northeastern Illinois had to get special permission to continue operating after the temperature of the water in its cooling pond rose to 102 degrees.

    It was the second such request from the plant, Braidwood, which opened 26 years ago. When it was new, the plant had permission to run as long as the temperature of its cooling water pond, a 2,500-acre lake in a former strip mine, remained below 98 degrees; in 2000 it got permission to raise the limit to 100 degrees.

    The problem, said Craig Nesbit, a spokesman for Exelon, which owns the plant, is not only the hot days, but the hot nights. In normal weather, the water in the lake heats up during the day but cools down at night; lately, nighttime temperatures have been in the 90s, so the water does not cool.

    Asked whether he viewed Braidwood’s difficulties as a byproduct of global warming, Mr. Nesbit said: “I’m not a climatologist. But clearly the calculations when the plant was first operated in 1986 are not what is sufficient today, not all the time.”

  31. Major finding…

    ..surprising, was how much warmer things were – up to 11ºC (20ºF) warmer at the Antarctic coast! We expected to see polar amplification, i.e. greater changes towards the poles as the planet warms. This study found those coastal temperatures to be as warm as 7ºC or 45ºF during the summer months. This is a surprise because conventional wisdom has tended to think of Antarctica being getting progressively colder

  32. The army of the future

    Africa’s Great Green Wall Against Climate Change Begins
    French soldiers plant some of the first trees intended to form the Great Green Wall.

  33. catman306 says:

    10 dead, 30,000 evacuated in Beijing downpour
    • The heaviest rain in six decades in Beijing has left 10 people dead, Beijing authorities said Sunday.
    • As of 4 a.m. Sunday, more than 30,000 residents were relocated.
    • More than 12,000 people worked for draining 1 million cubic meters of water from streets

  34. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Bob – some numbers resulting from those 43 million acres of pine beetles.

    Taking a conservative estimate of 200Ts wood per acre, that’s 8.6 billion tonnes in total (8.6GTs).
    Which implies about 4.3GTs of carbon now due to burn or rot in the next few years.
    If it all goes up as CO2, that’s 4.3 x 3.664 = 15.755 GTs CO2. Which is about half of annual global anthro-CO2 emissions.

    However, it won’t all go up as CO2; some would rot down and some of the wood within the trunks will rot anaerobically, and so release its carbon as methane [CH4] with over 100 times the warming potency of CO2 over the critical 20 year time horizon.

    If 90% of the total carbon goes up as CO2 and just 10% as CH4, that’s about 14.18GTs CO2 plus 1.576 GTs CH4, with the latter having a value of 157.55 GTs CO2e (CO2 equivalent). The total CO2e output is then:
    14.18GTS + 157.55GTs = 171.73GTs CO2e.

    To put this number into context, it’s worth noting that it not only makes a mockery of the notion of America’s ‘within-borders’ emissions having peaked, it is actually equal to about 5.37 years-worth of current global anthro-CO2 outputs.

    Thus if the present 43 million acres is left to burn or rot down over the next decade, it would massively raise global anthropogenic GHG emissions. And that would be on America’s tab for having failed to provide a commensurate preventive response.

    It will indeed take a hell of a lot of chainsaws to resolve this threat, and a huge number of people employed using them. More than that, it demands a means of sequestering as much as possible of the harvested deadwood’s carbon. The logical approach is to put trailers carrying charcoal-retorts and methanol-stills along forest tracks as mobile local converter plants. (About 28% of the wood’s energy potential is held in the coproduct woodgas, which is best retained as the versatile liquid fuel, methanol).

    The establishment of this widespread production of charcoal would offer economically and agriculturally valuable benefits by its use as ‘biochar’, which not only sequesters its carbon within farm soils, it also raises soil-moisture retention and fertility, thereby helping to drought-proof farm yields.

    By offering a valuable end-use for the processed deadwood, this approach could, given the political effort, also help with the funding of the immediate replanting of areas harvested with better than normal care given to establishing sustainable forestry.

    While the Right’s response is nothing like commensurate with the problem, it is at least attempting to address it – if only for the deficient motivations of profit. From the Left I’ve yet to hear just what could and should be done about the 43 million acres hit thus far. Allocating blame (erroneously) for the lack of national action on AGW that has generated the problem, and dismissing the Right’s deficient response proposals, is not an effective response. It looks more like an expression of the Left’s long confusion with the ecologically incompetent ‘preservationist’ approach to ecosystem management (i.e. none-at-best), at the expense of its support of the respectful ‘integrationist’ approach toward sustainable productive intervention.

    Maybe the US Left has yet to see either the scale of the threat or the massive opportunity for demonstrating a globally climate-significant new industry – that the bark beetle crisis has imposed ?



  35. Paul Magnus says:

    Climate Chaos shared a link.
    4 minutes ago

    Food price crisis feared as erratic weather wreaks havoc on crops
    ‘What the world economy really needs right now is a break’, one economist says, but instead it appears headed toward upheaval
    1Like · · Share

    Climate Chaos ‎” Two-thirds said ethanol and biodiesel plants were cutting back or shutting down completely, ” and we thought we were going to be rescued by biofuels…. not.

  36. Brian R Smith says:

    Bravo Lewis. We need to think in terms of integrated solutions, whatever the scale, and generate the projects that accomplish them. For the 43M acres posing a further threat to the climate, your outline of carbon sequestration in bio-char that also creates jobs, produces energy, improves farm yields and deals with replanting is exactly the kind of design oriented thinking we need more of. Along with about 10 thousand chainsaws that run on methane.

  37. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    We must urge lawyers and ethicists to gather together and draft model laws against crimes against humanity and life through deliberate ecological destruction. They must be retrospective and like all laws concerning crimes against humanity, have no Statute of Limitations. We can refine them until a jurisdiction, national or, hopefully, international, brings them into effect. It will at least give the genocidists something to think about-it might even force them to stop their criminal behaviour. As with other crimes, those perpetrators who recant and testify against their co-conspirators can expect a mitigation of sentence.

  38. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Dunning-Krugerites are not all senile, alas.

  39. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Mao Ze-dong, in his blunt, peasant style, expressed precisely where these people get the ‘right’ to engage in a conspiracy to destroy humanity in search of profit. ‘Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun’, as we shall learn when terror drives people to desperate measure to overthrow the genocidal system.

  40. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Who pays Obama’s campaign expenses and who will see him richly rewarded ‘for services rendered’ after politics?