Open Thread Plus Dust-Bowlification Cartoon

Opine away.

33 Responses to Open Thread Plus Dust-Bowlification Cartoon

  1. Chris says:

    Always looking on the bright side

  2. Dan Miller says:

    Well, this is certainly appropriate for this thread!:

    “The (Canadian) Harper government was accused Thursday of trying to avoid a reckoning on the science of climate change by pulling Canada out of a United Nations convention that fights the spread of droughts.

    But Prime Minister Stephen Harper insisted Canada was withdrawing from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification because the program has proven too bureaucratic.”

  3. Chris Winter says:

    According to news accounts, “too bureaucratic” means that only 18 percent of the $350,000 Canada contributed went to programming. Although their membership runs through 2013, the Harper government withdrew just one month before a conference on the Convention.

    Canada ratified the Convention in 1995.

    All this makes the official reason seem a rationalization.

  4. prokaryotes says:

    Spike posted this in last March news… i repost it now here …

    What the Papers Won’t Say

    I’m not given to paranoia – I should say that first.

    But in the past few months there have been a succession of ‘think tank’ reports, press articles and TV programs – all with the same theme – wind energy costs too much and it doesn’t work very well.

    The picture being painted – is that green energy policies are responsible for huge hikes in energy bills, now and in the future – and that onshore wind in particular is a big cost and big waste of money. It’s a tune that much of our media are happy to dance to.

    The timing of all of this is probably not coincidental as the government prepares to make the most radical changes to the electricity market in perhaps a generation (no pun intended). There’s a lot at stake.

    What we have here, IMO, is special interest group lobbying – using dodgy (often very shoddy) think tank reports as the basis for press coverage – which itself masquerades as fact to the unwary. It’s a dirty tricks campaign.

    Meanwhile – OFGEM have just published their latest report into the cost of the Renewables Obligation (for 2010 – 2011) – the main policy to stimulate and support green energy in the UK.

    It’s a startling reality check for anyone sucked in by this campaign.

    The actual cost per household that year, for green energy support was just £15.15. And that was for all technologies.

    The part of that which went to onshore wind energy – was just £4.68.

    Yes, less than a fiver.

  5. Martin Gisser says:

    Oops, $350,000, what a sum. From the article linked above:

    … Robert Fowler, a former Canadian ambassador to the UN, said Canada’s abandonment of the convention amounted to a “departure from global citizenship.”

    … The Conservative government has repeatedly criticized UN institutions, and has been a vocal critic of the inaction of the Security Council, particularly in dealing with Syria.

    Oops, Syria… Desertification anybody?

    Sometimes it’s nice to have another rouge state and harbor of superstition (any science denial is superstition) next to the crazy U.S.A. Lovely Canada, excelling in destruction, greed, and reality denial.

  6. Chris Winter says:

    Yesterday, in a bookstore, I noticed that Richard Muller has another book out. It’s titled Energy for Future Presidents. I only took a quick look, but it seems to minimize the subject of climate change in much the same way as his previous book did.

    The new book I bought is Earthmasters by Clive Hamilton. The subject is geoengineering. So far it looks good; I’ll report on it soon.

    One interesting thing I noted is the dedication:

    “I would like to dedicate this book to Joe Romm of Climate Progress for his indefatigable, comprehensive and committed reporting on the science and politics of climate change.”


  7. Joan Savage says:

    In 1936 during the first Dust Bowl farmers planted more corn than ever before, hoping to take a profit.

    In this week’s news:

    “.. As expected with corn prices as high as they are, farmers intend to seed a lot of acres to corn – 97.3 million acres by USDA’s survey-based estimates. That estimate is up slightly from last year’s corn acreage and would represent the highest U.S. planted acreage since 1936.”

  8. Paul Magnus says:

    ‘The North Korea Of Environmental Law’

    Green Party leader Elizabeth May is calling out the Harper government after it was revealed this week that Canada has withdrawn from a United Nations …

  9. Paul Magnus says:

    We really are struggling here… Fun n (Olympic) Games

    2014 Winter Olympics Host City Fears Snow Shortage
    Organizers of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, have created seven storage areas to store 450,000 cubic meters of snow.

  10. catman306 says:

    Dust storm hastens snowmelt in Idaho mountains

    BOISE — A wind storm earlier this month covered a southwestern Idaho mountain range with dust from Oregon and Nevada and accelerated snowmelt due to the darker surface absorbing heat from the sun as opposed to being reflected by pristine white snow, scientists say.

    “Nobody on our staff has ever witnessed anything similar,” said research hydrologist Adam Winstral.

  11. Joe Romm says:

    I am speechless.

  12. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Hope, and debt repayments, spring eternal.

  13. Last year, they planted a record amount of corn to take advantage of ethanol mandates and subsidies. Then the drought hit. But instead of backing politicians who will do something about global warming — or modifying their farm practices — the midwestern farmers simply demanded more crop relief from the feds.

    The corn ethanol subsidies are pretty much gone, but the mandate is still in place, so there is still some motive to seek profit by planting more corn than ever.

    However, I’m not 100% certain about this, but I believe that more crop insurance has been stuffed into one of the farm bills — meaning that when the drought continues or deepens during this growing season — even if the corn crop fails — and a great deal of it probably will — the taxpayers will be covering Archer Daniels Midland’s profit margin.

  14. Mark E says:

    If I was publishing a book, I might very well do the same thing. I’m convinced, Joe, that your blog is keeping many of us sane…..errrr, relatively sane, anyway. Thanks!

  15. DRT says:

    Maybe that’s Inhofe in the cartoon. Oh wait, that’s not where he keeps his head.

    See “James Inhofe ‘Proud’ To Be A Target In Climate Change Documentary”,

  16. Brian R Smith says:

    @Mugla & Merrelyn Emery: with everything going on in OZ, and me having never been, I need a crash course. Do either of you have some favorite links for explaining current & recent Aussie politics, including what the parties stand for, & especially as regards climate/environmental politics? I often don’t get parliamentary dynamics, though my impression is that they are potentially more democratic than in our two-party/corporate blend.

  17. Brian R Smith says:

    …and of course your own observations would be great.

    Did either of you catch Stephen Schneider at the U of New South Wales in 2010? it’s here on youtube:

    Stephen Schneider talks to 52 Climate Change Skeptics [PART 1]

  18. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Hi Brian. The only news I half trust I get from the ABC radio and ABC24 which is TV, and international from SBS ( and ( There are other pretty good sources like and and You can get good climate stuff from the Climate Commission, Australian Conservation Foundation, Greenpeace Australia etc. They all have websites.

    Our politics is pretty lively, particularly now that we have a hung parliament with the Australian Labor Party (ALP) in govt through negotiated agreements with the Greens and some Independents. Many ALP politicians have a history in the union movement. The Opposition is a coalition between the misnamed Liberal (private enterprise oriented) party and the National party which was originally a party for farmers and regional Oz. Both have gone radically Right in the usual terminology, especially since Tony Abbott took over. We also have an ever changing array of small parties that come and go in the parliament. Mulga and I don’t always see eye to eye but I think we agree that if you want anything reliable, stay away from anything published by the Murdoch press, ME

  19. Brian R Smith says:

    Thanks Merrelyn. Your explanations help (though how these coalitions are wrought is still a mystery) and I will have a look at the sources you give & put it together.

  20. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Thank you. Yes, I first saw it when it was replayed on SBS, ME

  21. Martin Gisser says:


  22. rollin says:

    The bio-fuel industries are eco-destructive and do not provide relief from global warming. Corn-ethanol and palm oil are two of the worst with governments providing the impetus to further these programs.

  23. Spike says:

    I had missed the news about a rift in Pine Island glacier:

    “Pine Island glacier, which flows into the Amundsen Sea, is one of the main outlets for West Antarctic ice. A rift now stretches 29 kilometers across the glacier’s ice shelf, threatening to release an iceberg 14 times the size of Manhattan. Warm deep ocean water has penetrated beneath it, causing an astounding rate of retreat. In the past 20 years, the grounding line where the bottom of the glacier meets the ocean retreated by 25 kilometers, whereas over the previous 10,000 years it only moved back by 90 kilometers.”

  24. Spike says:

    Icelandic glaciers in unprecedented retreat due to warmer summers:

  25. Spike says:

    Landslides due to high precipitation show a marked increase in the UK:

    “We are still receiving new landslide reports and processing the data, but initial figures indicate that there was a four- to five-fold increase in the number of landslides for July and December when compared with previous years.”

  26. Spike says:

    New Zealand hit by worst drought for 30 years:

  27. Brian R Smith says:

    Wait a sec.. this unsigned cartoon; could it be a Romm original?

  28. Joe Romm says:

    No. Can’t find the author on the ‘net.

  29. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Brian, I am considerably more cynical than ME (I come from a family of journalists, real journalists, now as extinct in the MSM here as the dinosaurs)but I concur, with a variation, on her observation re. Murdoch. Read the Murdoch excrescences, then invert everything they say and you will have a close approximation to the truth. The opinion pages and editorials are master-classes in the end-stages of Rightwing paranoia and generalised misanthropy.

  30. Brian R Smith says:

    Fear not. I have been on to Mr Murdoch & his toxic empire for some years. Only more galling than the murder of courageous journalism at the hands of the merely wealthy who wish it so, is that there is apparently nothing to be done about it, short of enough silver to buy them out. So @#!% them; we have the internet, and if we can’t figure out how to configure its advantages to make a revolution out of a revolution waiting to happen.. well we’ll just have to keep at it. Anyway, if you haven’t already, I hope you will consider putting up your own blog somewhere. I vote that it would be helpful

  31. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Brian & Mulga, you may see some genuine investigative journalism on Four Corners tonight (abc, fed by real people doing the right thing, ME

  32. Joan Savage says:

    Colored cartoon with more clothing detail is by Chris Madden, UK cartoonist

  33. Matt Owens says:

    Gearing up for the melt season, Greenland looks to be in a sorry state – see these enhanced satellite images comparing 2013 to 2010

    Also, anyone interested in walkable cities/neighborhoods/car-free development (tired of spending thousands of dollars a year on your car? …)check out these pieces I’ve been working on and please feel free to give your 2 cents (or more):