Open Thread and Keystone XL Cartoon of the Month

A cyber-penny for your thoughts.

Stephanie McMillan has kindly given me permission to reprint her cartoons. So I said I’d post the link to Paypal where you can donate to her if you like her cartoons.  CLICK HERE (then click where it says donate).


56 Responses to Open Thread and Keystone XL Cartoon of the Month

  1. climatehawk1 says:

    Quite a week, what with the release of the IPCC report and straight stories about it from AP and, remarkably, the Washington Post. Let’s hope for more factual reporting in the weeks and months ahead. Also, don’t miss the very concise expose of the denier site Watt’s Up With That by The Way Things Break.

    Citizens’ Climate Lobby is pushing the Save Our Climate Act, H.R. 3242, which would establish an escalating tax on carbon, with the proceeds being returned to all Americans as an annual dividend payment. If you are concerned about global warming, one of the most effective things you can do is urge your Congressperson to cosponsor H.R. 3242. Another good thing to do, of course, is join CCL.

  2. RaulM. says:

    Does being a moderate mean putting a smile on even though being securely caught in the middle?
    Glad he’s not just saying “Oh, look there is a squirrel”.

  3. RaulM. says:

    To explain Securely caught by nature between humanities past and humanities future. Key word I think is nature. Weather ,Climate.

  4. prokaryotes says:

    Yesterday, CP posted about planetary emergency and a new study gives some guess about unknown unknowns…

    Coral links ice to ancient ‘mega flood’
    Coral off Tahiti has linked the collapse of massive ice sheets 14,600 years ago to a dramatic and rapid rise in global sea-levels of around 14 metres.

    We have brought us in a position when we could have irreversible developments such as above . possibly with similar large impacts.

  5. Gail Zawacki says:

    It’s Earth Hour tonight! Turn off your lights between 8:30 and 9:30 – but first, tell the American Enterprise Institute what you think of their greedy “alternative”!

  6. From DeSmogBlog: BREAKING: Tim DeChristopher Moved To Isolated Confinement.

    UPDATE: Tim was returned to the minimum security facility on the night of Wed March 28th “after the prison received thousands of phone calls,” according to a post on the Peaceful Uprising Facebook page. […]

    According to a press release sent from Tim DeChristopher’s organization, Peaceful Uprising, Tim was recently moved from the minimum security camp at Federal Correctional Institute Herlong in California to Herlong’s “special housing unit” which, in the parlance of our times, equals “the hole.”

    Sources report that DeChristopher was moved there at least two weeks ago because of an investigation brought on by an unknown U.S. Congressman.

    This is grave injustice!

    We should be having a full, vigorous investigation into this injustice — not more Obama apologetics.

    — frank

  7. Chris Lock says:

    The Canadian federal budget was tabled last Thursday in Parliament. It doesn’t look good for the environment.

    The budget shortens environmental reviews to 2 years, retroactively. The Northern Gateway Pipeline environmental review could now end sometime by May, instead of another year and a half as originally planned.
    In the budget there is a fund to restrict political activities of charities. This is being perceived as an attack on the environmental movement and the funding from the US environmental groups here in Canada.

    There are proposed changes to the fisheries act. The federal government will be responsible for fish but not their surrounding habitat anymore.

    This is a conservative government that has a total disdain for science and the environment. Their spin is all about jobs and the economy. Harper officially cancelled our commitment to the Kyoto Accord (even though we were far off our intended targets). All government projects regarding efficiency were killed early in the government in 2007, such as the One Tonne Challenge, the Energuide Program was cancelled, new rules were introduced that limit journalists access and interviews with environmental scientists.

  8. Steve says:

    In some cases, being a moderate means you don’t go running to the federal government asking to keep gasoline prices down (and shelter people from the hardship caused by their own stupid personal decisions) when the inevitable effect of peak oil and growing world demand WILL BE to steadily increase that price… all the while knowing that, thankfully, the incidental benefit may be to force lifestyle changes by the lower and middle classes so as to reduce their carbon emissions from driving big, gas-guzzling vehicles to soccer tournaments three counties away.

    Right now, even Progressives who sponsor this blog are apparently worried about rising gasoline prices, which many of us don’t get. I am willing to “understand” this position only if it is a short-term strategy to avoid blame on Obama putting the GOP in office in November since gasoline prices are such a lightning rod political issue right now. I would suggest telling the humbled masses — as part of their preparation for the future — that gasoline and oil are going up and everyone has to break the habit, for their own good and the good of the planet.

    Moderates aren’t afraid to tell people the government won’t protect them from the big bad oil companies. People have to take personal responsibility; don’t buy so much of their products.


  9. Sasparilla says:

    I have to throw this up since it would seem to be a big deal (but nobody is talking about it) – I don’t think we’ve had former IPCC & UNFCCC leaders publicly say this before.

    On the sideline of the Planet under Pressure conference the former head of the IPCC (Bob Watson) and former head of the UNFCCC (Yvo de Boer) both publicly said 2C is out of reach at this point and 3C is a 50/50 proposition at this point.

    Every government and large (carbon intensive) business does not want that being said – since it puts into simple and stark relief the fact that we are truly loosing ground (instead of pretending to be doing stuff), courtesy of them (and would increase pressure to actually do something).

    Other than this one article, the mainstream press appears to just be ignoring it (it doesn’t support the narrative either side of the political spectrum in the US is trying to portray to the public – Dem’s saying we’re doing stuff, Repubs saying we’re not sure climate change is real and need to wait).

    I’ll bet the blowback (through governmental and other channels) on these two guys just coming out and saying this has been intense.

    As Lou said over on his blog about it, we’ve known the limit was probably too high anyways and we were probably not going to come close to making it (with our accelerating increases of CO2 emissions and it taking 30 years for the warming to stop after CO2 cutoff), but there is something wind knocking about it when the former IPCC and UNFCCC heads just come out and basically say – “we’ve blown it for 2C”.

    Here’s a link to Lou’s article which is a very good read.

  10. Sasparilla says:

    I truly feel for our Canadian brothers and sisters up north – talk about being moved into the dark times.

    We experienced much of the same in the U.S. with the last Republican administration down here (2001 – 2009) experiencing many of the same types of things.

    We’re thinking of you folks up there…this too shall pass (although alot of damage can be done in that time).

  11. fj says:

    Yep, when you’re on your little net zero bicycle and a 10-ton oil truck comes barreling down the street honking dangerously — and illegally — common sense dictates that you get out of the way and continue dedicating your life to positive change rather than losing it.

    The fossil fuel industry is the 50-ton 30-trillion dollar gorilla in the room and until the people realize what’s going on and how to deal with it our leaders — even our true leaders — have to deal with the power structure as best they can.

    (As we keep their feet to the accelerating fire.)

  12. fj, let me correct that analogy for you:

    There’s a 10-ton oil truck driving dangerously. Someone sees this and quickly calls the friggin’ traffic police.

    But what happens next?

    Well, the few cops who are sent down there simply run away and leave the truck totally free to mow down and kill more and more passengers. WOOHOO!!!!!

    A statement from the police superintendent’s office says, ‘We are committed to protecting the safety of citizens, but we must also create jobs, blah blah blah’.

    Journalists ask, ‘How will this incident affect the superintendent’s chances of re-nomination’? No words are devoted to examining how the deaths of the road accident victims could have been prevented, or how future deaths can be averted.

    Certain blog commenters write lots of blog commenters giving a 10-ton barrage of excuses for the police’s inaction, such as ‘the superintendent’s hands are tied’, ‘we must wait for the general public to realize that reckless driving can kill before we can do anything’, ‘politics is very complex’, etc. etc. etc.

    And this is the kind of absurd situation the US is in.

    — frank

  13. Corrections:


    s/blog commenters giving/blog comments giving/

  14. whpztstyje says:
  15. John Tucker says:

    It doesn’t seem possible a congressman could anonymously influence someones treatment like that.

    For no disclosed reason.

    Hopefully we will learn the lawmaker’s and reasoning soon.

  16. John Tucker says:

    Its probably not going to be a popular opinion around here but I think all the way from the far right wing down to the populist progressives no one was ever really up to making the kind of commitments and sacrifice that the situation dictated.

    Even the ones pushing action usually had a vehement antinuclear or some kind of almost anachronistic and naive approach to a future dystopia.

    The movement to act was pre-undermined. Not so simply by a particular faction but by a combination of the methods and motivators accumulated along the way.

    But thats just my opinion.

    Anyway, here is a rather informal assessment from huffpost that if nothing else is rather shocking in the timing of its informality as well as the “locked out” atmosphere it conveys:

    Michael Mann ‘Disappointed’ In Obama’s Global Warming Record ( )

  17. fj says:

    yep, something like 40,000 killed on this nation’s roads every year.

    the pathology of power

    structural violence.

    name it what you will.

    1 billion killed by cigarettes by 2050.

  18. fj says:

    and, forget the police. they are the lowest rung on the ladder and do not write the rules of law no matter how bad they might be; which has been described as saving a billion lives in the last century despite two world wars and countless others . . .

    yes, we should all run out into the street and say we are mad as hell and will not take it anymore . . . and stand out in the streets and stop traffic . . . and somehow manage not to get killed . . . cause this won’t solve anything . . . simple indeed.

  19. Paul Magnus says:

    Reality 101!

  20. Sasparilla says:

    That is an awesome interview with Mann.

    Thanks for putting that link up John.

    I encourage everyone who has a couple of minutes to go read it, just good stuff.

  21. Yet more Obama apologetics from Steve:

    Moderates aren’t afraid to tell people the government won’t protect them from the big bad oil companies.

    The pen that Obama uses to sign away people’s health and ecosystem to oil companies doesn’t belong to “people”. It belongs to President Obama.

    Why do you keep giving excuses for Obama’s actions and inactions?

    — frank

  22. fj, please reread your own comment in the light of what I just said:

    No words are devoted to examining how the deaths of the road accident victims could have been prevented, or how future deaths can be averted.

    Do you not see the friggin’ problem here?

    — frank

  23. Paul Magnus says:

    Interesting angle….

    How large is warming effect of North Sea gas leak? – environment – 30 March 2012 – New Scientist
    The global warming impact of a major offshore gas leak could be equivalent to the emissions associated with 3 per cent of the UK’s electricity demand
    Like · · Share
    Climate Portals

    North Sea gas leak venting from newly disturbed source – environment – 27 March 2012 – New Scientist
    The gas pouring out of the Elgin wellhead off Aberdeen isn’t coming from the gas reservoir itself, but from a previously unknown source in the rock above
    a few seconds ago · Like ·

  24. SteveEl says:

    I disagree because what it means to be a “moderate” is a moving target defined by the mass on either end of the political spectrum. Think of that scale with the little sliding weights at the doc’s office, but make the weights go both ways.

    Right now, the center of that mass is ‘way right of center. And so the people at the center, unafraid to bash big oil, are pretty far left relative to the majority, and the scale is tipping right.

    The only way people at the center will again be the moderates is if enough folks on the left move left – ‘way ‘way left. God help ’em if they do. God help us all if they don’t.

  25. Raul M. says:

    Yes, there are driving forces and feedbacks to public opinion as well.
    Still seems weather will triumph.
    Mom’s advice was wear a raincoat when it’s cold and wet.

  26. prokaryotes says:

    Very powerful and constructive – problem solving, because it offers feasible solutions.

  27. prokaryotes says:

    First off, there are so many news lately and real record breaking observations, that most people seem somewhat overwhelmed by the information provided. And then warning about 2C degrees more doesn’t sound to bad – is an abstract messaging kind of.

    It must be said that we going to lose most of the ice on this planet – disintegration of largest ice sheets on earth – probably with sudden abrupt large scale impacts, which means sudden sea level rise. Then on another layer this affects the entire atmospheric circulations (jet stream and pole oscillations) and vis versa the ocean currents.

    All this in turn affects local hemispheric weather set ups, in the most profound ways.

    A better messaging would probably mean to break all this down in bits and visualize the big picture.

  28. prokaryotes says:

    A new study examining nearly 40 years of satellite imagery has revealed that the floating ice shelves of a critical portion of West Antarctica are steadily losing their grip on adjacent bay walls, potentially amplifying an already accelerating loss of ice to the sea.

    Reporting in the Journal of Glaciology, the UTIG team found that the extent of ice shelves in the Amundsen Sea Embayment changed substantially between the beginning of the Landsat satellite record in 1972 and late 2011. These changes were especially rapid during the past decade. The affected ice shelves include the floating extensions of the rapidly thinning Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers.

  29. prokaryotes says:

    Scientists Find Sick Dolphins and Deep-Water Corals in Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Zone

    Two groups of scientists say they have identified signs of poor health in dolphins and in deep-sea corals due to exposure to polluted water in the northern Gulf of Mexico where the Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred nearly two years ago.—144670345.html

  30. prokaryotes says:

    Here’s a huge subsidy to the oil, gas, and coal industry that we are paying for with our lives. Incredibly, this estimate doesn’t include damages from climate change, harm to ecosystems, effects of some air pollutants such as mercury, and larger risks to national security.

    LIKE and SHARE if its time to make the polluters pay.

  31. prokaryotes says:

    Tackling belief is the key to overcoming climate change scepticism
    Without belief in climate change, repeating the scientific case for manmade global warming simply bounces off

  32. Raul M. says:

    Things we can see happening- or not.
    Hawiyee makes it to the extreme level in the UV index.
    Farm workers necessary to grow and harvest foods have a reason to invest in UV protection for their eyes and their bosses and families have reason to tell them to do so.
    Don’t know what vacationers and world class surfers do?
    UV rated at 12 and above is extreme. They picked that word for a reason.

  33. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    The gist of what de Boer and Watson said is that the 2.0C goal is out of reach by means of emissions controls alone.

    The fact that they are respectively the former heads of the UNFCCC and the IPCC, and that they’ve chosen to speak in concert on this imperative issue, might perhaps cause people to consider the options ? Or maybe not ?



  34. SteveEl says:

    I disagree with this part from the column…
    “Do you “believe” in climate change might not be the scientifically rational question to ask, but it is the most essential one to address if we are to understand – and ultimately get beyond – climate change scepticism.”

    The better question is to ask whether people “believe”

    … that the economy is capable of growing for ever and ever and ever?

    … if not, what will the collapse look like?

    … and whether they would rather explore the possibility of a free and democratic society that does not depend on nonstop economic growth?

    Then after that sinks in, we can ask whether they would prefer democratic socialism to unmitigated societal collapse?

    Asking whether people “believe” in climate change is like asking them their favorite color. So what? We gotta take it to the center of things. Capitalism requires nonstop growth, and is therefore fatally defective. No clean energy tech can solve the problem, because nothing can grow forever. So its not a question about the climate or climate science. Its the oldest question of human communities: how are we going to share and use our resources? Whether people believe in nonstop perpetual growth, and would they prefer democratic socialism over unmitigated collapse of the global ponzi scheme is a much better question than “do you believe in climate change”?

  35. Spike says:

    Good editorial on warming and Arctic exploitation.

    “An example of this dangerous disregard for regulation is provided by the US which has yet to ratify the UN Law of the Sea convention. Until it does, it cannot play a proper role in controlling affairs on Arctic sea routes. The problem is not confined to the US, of course. The world is obsessed with its current economic woes. Yet the planet will continue to warm with or without a financial crisis.

    Last week, member nations of the Arctic Council – Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the US – met to try to set some minimum rules to protect the region against pollution. The fact that such considerations are only now taking place reveals a dangerous lack of urgency among politicians in their reactions to the vast changes that are sweeping our planet.”

  36. prokaryotes says:

    If you ask me, i think this is irrelevant if the individual believes “whatever”. We do not think much when we “Consume”, in the today’s consumer styled world. And “because nothing can grow forever”, this is maybe also a philosophical question – but i would not rule out the opposite. It’s a bit like asking, if the universe will keep growing forever, but the difference is that the universe growth operates in defined physical constrains, which we for our “horizon” break. You have to live by the rules of our environmental set up, otherwise the “system” will make you go extinct.

  37. SteveEl says:

    Of course it’s a philosophical question! It’s the oldest one we know!

    If you’ve never seen the classic and very easy to read “The Worldly Philosopher’s” in suggest you check it out.

  38. Joan Savage says:

    ABC News is running a climate change piece as its lead topic on its web page at present.

    By Bill Blakemore
    Apr 1, 2012 12:15pm
    Global Warming Denialism ‘Just Foolishness,’ Scientist Peter Raven Says’

  39. prokaryotes says:

    Kerry: ‘We have lost the notion of responsible capitalism’
    Venting frustration at the lack of progress on environmental issues, U.S. Sen. John Kerry voices the exasperation of a core constituency in President Obama’s re-election bid.

  40. Now that you point out the absurdity of being “moderate”, I think a more important thing to note is that what’s politically “moderate” has no proven relation with how the laws of physics work.

    Given that the laws of physics can’t actually be violated, spun, or ignored — unlike so-called political alignments — I’d take the laws of physics over being “moderate” any time.

    — frank

  41. prokaryotes says:

    Flooded Fiji braces for tropical cyclone‎

    Flood-ravaged Fiji is bracing for more bad weather as a tropical depression tracking towards the main island of Viti Levu is expected to intensify and turn into a cyclone.

    A state of natural disaster has been declared for most of Fiji’s Western Division after heavy flooding killed four people and forced thousands into evacuation centres.

  42. Kota says:

    My Google feed hasn’t updated since March 29 for this site – the one about Conservatives is the last one.

  43. SteveEl says:

    You can’t lose what you never had. Because capitalism requires (but can not have) perpetual growth, the idea of “responsible capitalism” is an oxymoron.

    For example, assume overnight we replace all fossil fuel use with perfectly clean solar and hydrogen (or other tech of your choice). Problem solved? Not if we have to double the current economy, and then double it again and again and again. The damn thing is a bubble. “Responsible capitalists” are lemmings headed for the cliff a little slower than the galloping ones. But they’ll all go over in the end, because NOTHING grows forever.

    To me, this is the essential message. Global warming is a symptom, and an incredibly bad one, but it does not lie at the root of the problem.

  44. prokaryotes says:

    Coast Guard nears damaged race yacht for rescue, weather interferes

    Bad weather has hampered plans to rescue injured sailors aboard a 67-foot yacht that was damaged by high seas off California during a round-the-world race, the Coast Guard said Sunday.

    “The weather is the weather. We can’t control it,” Crutchfield said. “We’re working very hard to line ourselves up with the conditions and get the helo launched, so we can medevac the injured boaters and get them to safety.”

  45. prokaryotes says:

    A power plant, cancer and a small town’s fears

    The problem, Maddox explains, is now he and his neighbors are getting sick. For Maddox, the first signs of trouble would come in the middle of the night, when he would wake up with nose bleeds mixed with clear mucus. Then his muscles started twitching, and then he got kidney disease, and then sclerosis of the liver.
    His doctor wondered whether Maddox was an alcoholic.
    “I don’t drink,” Maddox says dismissively before ticking off his other health problems:
    “I also had a gallbladder that had to be removed, and they give me a one in six chance of surviving that. And right now I could walk from here to my mailbox and I’m out of breath.”

    The neighbor who used to live in the now-empty house has abdominal cancer. In the house two doors over, a once healthy woman has a form of dementia that’s left her “unrecognizable,” according to Maddox.
    “Besides us all being sick, we’ve all been approached by Georgia Power, with them looking to buy us out” Maddox says. “And in that house next door, [Georgia Power] has sealed the well.”

    Maddox leans away from his kitchen table, crosses his arms and sighs.
    “Y’know it’s coming from over there,” he says, nodding in the direction of one of the largest coal plants in the world, right across the two lane highway where Maddox collects his mail.

    Maddox believes the coal plant is making people sick, and the “it” he refers to is cancer

    A plant’s history of purchasing properties

    Compared to other coal-fired power plants in the United States, Plant Scherer is Colossus. Two 1,000-foot chimneys can be seen towering over the pine forests from miles away. The plant, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is the largest producer of greenhouse gasses in the country.

  46. Nick gotts says:

    I hope Joe won’t mind if I use this open thread to advertise a meeting that may be of interest.On 19th April, the final meeting of the GILDED project ( will take place at the Club University Foundation, rue d’Egmont 11, 1000 Brussels. GILDED is funded under the EC Framework Seven theme ‘Socio-economic factors and actors that shape
    the “post-carbon” society’. It has studied the determinants of domestic energy demand across five case-study areas in Europe. If anyone might be interested in attending, please contact me at nick dot gotts at hutton dot ac dot uk. Funding for travel and accommodation expenses may be available.