Open Thread and Toles Cartoon of the Week

Opine away.

As a bonus, here’s Toles’ blog post on “Huffing and puffing“:

“Experts are enlarging the area of the U.S. they believe is regularly in the path of severe storms, tornadoes, and hail damage.”

I’ll keep this simple. Climate change deniers used to ask, “Where’s the evidence of change?” This was the trump card in their thin deck. “Where’s the evidence of change? If the climate were warming, we’d see evidence of it by now. Where’s the evidence?” This is what they said. Go back and look. They represented the question as telling.

Now the evidence is in. And everywhere. And ferocious. And what do the deniers say now? “Climate changes all the time, all by itself!”

This is not just a different position, it is a different position that means when you answer one question for them, they forget that they ever asked it and switch around to a completely different position. That is the mark of a predetermined answer looking for any argument at hand. Climate denial changes all the time, all by itself!


89 Responses to Open Thread and Toles Cartoon of the Week

  1. PAUL DONOHUE says:

    I think the reason many of the rich and powerful deny global warming is social Darwinism. I think they believe that even if there is a crisis of civilization they will survive and the world will be remade in their interests.
    I would not be surprised if they have retreats ready in Alaska. I think the rest of the deniers are just dupes or warming doesn’t fit their biblical world view.

  2. Raul M. says:

    Gee, griffette on the storm shelter?

  3. Raul M. says:

    GrSt has an interview with Jill Stein of the Green Party.

  4. climatehawk1 says:

    I like the record-high/record-low graphics that Capital Climate has been generating, and feel that they are a tool that could be very persuasive to ordinary people. It would be great if they could be kept on a web page somewhere and steadily updated, so that it would be possible to look back, say, year by year through the ’00s or even before. It seems as though we are seeing greater excursions in that ratio (35:1 in March), but it’s hard to be sure without being able to look at month-by-month views of previous years.

    Next, my usual plug: 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.

  5. Raul M. says:

    Grist has…

  6. wili says:

    “I like the record-high/record-low graphics that Capital Climate has been generating”

    I can’t find that on their site. Do you have a link. I am very interested in this data and its implications.

  7. climatehawk1 says:

    Sure, here is an example.

  8. wili says:

    Thanks. Those look like the ones Joe used in the other article.

    I’d like to see a more smoothed line going from the good old days of about 1:1 ratio of heat records to cold records, up through the 2:1 of the last decade or so, then up to the ~3:1 of summer 2010, 11:1 of summer 2011, and now the 35:1 for March. That looks like quite a trajectory to me. Though I assume/hope we will not have a repeat or further acceleration over the coming months, it still looks like a not-to-long-term exponentially accelerating increase in the ratios has set in.

    Does anyone have global data on these ratios?

  9. Dano says:

    Toles wrote:

    Climate denial changes all the time, all by itself!

    Excellent line.



  10. Raul M. says:

    Chris Mooney dares think of why presidential contenders need empirical evidence to help form their own conduct choices?

  11. Tom Toles writes,

    That is the mark of a predetermined answer looking for any argument at hand.

    And what predetermines the answer? Money, that’s what.

    This state of climate denial is artificially manufactured.

    And it’s high time we stop thinking of it as a ‘natural’ process.

    — frank

  12. Lewis Cleverdon says:


    The bit that remains the same, regardless of which piffle reasoning is being applied, is the deniers’ aim of maintaining the focus of debate on whether AGW is a real problem – and thereby precluding coherent discussion of what is to be done about it.

    Given that any fossil fuels locally displaced by renewables are being bought and burnt elsewhere, reams of earnest discussion about renewables and their deployment’s obstruction doesn’t obstruct the deniers’ objective at all. One distraction is just as good as another.

    By comparison, discussion of the global negotiation of the requisite treaty, and most particularly exploration of actual US negotiating priorities, is still exceedingly rare across the web.

    To this extent, the deniers of the need for the treaty continue to prevail. It seems predictable that until there is widespread discussion of the terms of the treaty they will continue to do so.



  13. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Dano – mine at 10 (now in moderation) is in reply to yours at 8.



  14. James Cole says:

    Reading my usual blogs, Climate change occasionally comes up as a topic as regards economics. This invariably brings out a host of almost insane comments. No, I have to say some are truly insane comments. And many of these come from posters who are totally rational on any subject regarding economics. But something about climate change puts them in a rage, and you always get the Republican Party line or the Limbaugh line.
    Reason goes out the window, no scientific fact can move them. Last week I mentioned on one site that one can see with one’s eyes the glacial melting, polar melting and Greenland melting. No, I was told, do not believe my eyes. Or, even if it is happening, and we don’t admit it is, it is natural and beneficial. It brings out the “nuts” like nothing I’ve seen in my life time.

  15. Spike says:

    I don’t know if Chomsky’s talk on denial has been linked to or covered on here before, but it is well worth listening to

  16. Lisa Boucher says:

    From the Grist interview

    “I think that we’re part of a very large movement to change the way that politics works — so that the joke is no longer on us.” — Jill Stein, Green Party Presidential candidate

    Yes, Jill, the joke is still on you — because you’re squandering precious time and human energy on a quixotic run for electoral office.  The cause of impeding global warming is much better served by what people like Bill McKibben are doing — direct action and civil disobedience.

    Learn from history.  Unlike the Greens of today, electoral politics was not the primary focus (or obsession) of the successful civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s:

    “People-power can be exercised through elections — at times people-power has been powerful at the ballot box — but only when there are organizations and movements that educate and mobilize people around their interests OUTSIDE of the electoral process.”
    — from “Nonviolent Resistance & Political Power” by Bruce Hartford, CORE, SCLC 1963-67

  17. Chris Lock says:

    Here is a re-post of mine from earlier in the week. I thought I would add it to the open thread for more to see.

    We, in Canada, have a mouthpiece for the oil industry and ethical oil called Ezra Levant. An excellent debater who spews the filth and falsehoods. He has his own TV show on Sun TV (our Fox News).

    I don’t know who made this video, but it’s a good critique of the pushers here in Canada.

    In Alberta, there is a provincial election in a couple of weeks. There are a few parties in the race, but only two main big parties with enough support to win seats. It’s a race between the right and the further right. The party on the right wants to expand the tar sands, the party on the further right wants to mine the tar sands even more quickly.

  18. prokaryotes says:

    I recently came across this brilliant speech … Shai Agassi speaks about the Electric Car Revolution

    Check it out and please “Like” this page on facebook if you approve

  19. Lionel A says:

    And what do the deniers say now? “Climate changes all the time, all by itself!”

    And they will keep moving the goal posts as long as the likes of Lindzen, Michaels, Spencer, Christy and Plimer give them cover and back up the cranks like Monckton, Delingpole and all the other rag-tag bunch of echo chamber twerps.

    Refreshing to see that some scientists from the UK have taken the opportunity to critique Lindzen’s London malarky , pdf behind critique link in opening para’.

  20. prokaryotes says:

    Hansen: Climate Change a Moral Issue on a Par with Slavery

    Averting the worst consequences of human-induced climate change is a “great moral issue” on a par with slavery, according to the leading Nasaclimate scientist Prof Jim Hansen.

    He argues that storing up expensive and destructive consequences for society in future is an “injustice of one generation to others”.

    Hansen, who will next Tuesday be awarded the prestigious Edinburgh Medal for his contribution to science, will also in his acceptance speech call for a worldwide tax on all carbon emissions.

  21. prokaryotes says:

    Arkansas-based startup cycleWood Solutions arranging with a manufacturer to pilot production of lignin-based bags that biodegrade within 150 days, cost 10 times less than other biodegradable plastic bag alternatives

  22. prokaryotes says:

    Gardeners should end their love affair with peat

  23. prokaryotes says:

    Indeed. Really recommend this too.

  24. prokaryotes says:

    High times, for making this a real high crime, as it is Ecocide.

  25. prokaryotes says:

    Obama: The GOP Is A Radical Party – Really

    President Obama has come out in full campaign mode, as Mitt Romney more and more looks like he will be the nominee of the Republican party. In a speech yesterday he said that the Republican Party had strayed so far from the centre that it has become a radical party. This is a shift away from the traditional centre right position of the party of such moderate icons as Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, he opined.

  26. prokaryotes says:

    The Future is Now for Sea Level Rise in South Florida

    “The average elevation in Florida is 6 feet,” London said. “Some places are as little as 3 feet above sea level. And sea level is going to rise as all that ice in the Arctic melts.”

    For places like Hallandale Beach, along with much of South Florida, that’s a big problem — not just off in the future, the way climate change feels to some people, but right now. The sea has already risen more than a foot in this area over the past century, and new research by Climate Central shows that some 2.4 million Floridians are at risk of flooding from even a moderate hurricane-driven storm surge. The odds of a catastrophic 100-year flood by 2030 are now 2.6 times higher than they would have been without global warming.

    It is an irreversible development, only we can change the SLR quantities – how much of our precious soil will be gone to the deluge.

  27. prokaryotes says:

    BREAKING: Large Air Spill at Wind Farm. No threats reported. Some claim to enjoy the breeze

  28. prokaryotes says:

    The coal industry launches its election season ad campaign by making fun of Occupy Wall Street.

  29. prokaryotes says:

    Black Carbon Is a Major Source of Climate Change According to EPA Report

    According to the Clean Air Task Force, black carbon from diesel engines, as a climate warming agent, is 2,000 times more potent than CO2 over a 20-year time frame.
    “Reducing black carbon emissions get us immediate climate and health benefits,” said David R. Celebrezze, director of Air & Water Special Projects at the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC). “Small steps have been taken in Ohio to address black carbon emissions, but much more is needed to protect public health and our environment.”
    Impacts of black carbon emissions include:
    Health Impacts
    triggers asthma attacks
    causes lung damage
    causes heart and lung disease
    causes cancer
    causes early death
    Environment Impacts
    climate change
    acid rain
    ozone smog
    waterways pollution
    plant damage
    changes to hydrologic periods (“atmospheric brown cloud”)
    Economic Impacts
    Drives up costs to business via lost work days
    Monetized health impacts estimated at $3.6 billion


  30. Raul M. says:

    Heard that children shouldn’t be informed about climate change because it is not nice and children should enjoy childhood.
    Two points to consider.
    Is the person who directs learning going to show the child how to cope happily with a village style of development. (much less commercialism)?
    And who or how does person know that climate change is going to stay as something years away into the future?

  31. Earth is the garden of Eden, and fossil fuels are the forbidden fruit

  32. prokaryotes says:

    The Biochar Debate: Charcoal’s Potential to Reverse Climate Change and Build Soil Fertility (Schumacher Briefings) [Paperback]

  33. Raul M. says:

    Public participation can be more than just the election and the giving for the ads.
    Still going to need someone to sit in the neatest storm shelter in the world.
    Just cause someone got elected didn’t solve all the problems and has been so for years.

  34. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Pretty true, I would say. We know from leaks and the occasional public utterance, that the global elites, meeting at Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg and other cabals, have often discussed the necessity for a radical reduction in human population. They know that the human world is using too many resources and producing too much pollution, but they prefer to reduce the pitiful consumption of the many, rather than rein in their own massive over-consumption. The one flaw in this thesis is the reality that runaway climate change will produce a maelstrom of consequences, many absolutely unpredictable, all destructive. If the global elite are prepared to risk it they may be even more deranged than I have, heretofore, imagined.

  35. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The political system in capitalist ‘democracies’ is a literal dead-end. The treachery and selling-out of the ‘social democrats’, ‘Third Way’ and ‘Triangulation’ frauds (the greatest of which is the current incumbent of the White House)the leaders of which were well remunerated on retirement for their service to the money power (but not too generously-they are mere servants, after all)show how democracy is now used to destroy resistance to the system, certainly not empower it. We all know where this is heading, with increased surveillance, increasingly draconian laws and steadily rising hysteria of Rightwing MSM hate propaganda. But, what is the alternative?

  36. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    And auto-genocide.

  37. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Anthropogenic climate destabilisation, and the whole gamut of ecological catastrophes falling down upon us, are the symptoms of the calamitous failure of free market capitalism and the religion of boundless growth in the service of insatiable greed. The Rightwing authoritarian personality has a psychology that rejects complexity, incongruity and doubt. These creatures have a worldview, based on boundless egomaniacal arrogance, of total human dominance over Nature and absolute individual assertiveness with victory in the battle of all against all going to the most ruthless and unscrupulous. The very idea of doing without for the benefit of others, of enjoying sufficiency rather than excess, is not just rejected by them-it is rejected with increasing virulence and hysteria. As far as the Right is concerned, this is a fight to the death, where they see the only things that signify their existence, their property, threatened by ‘morally vain do-gooders’ (if I might quote from the Murdoch media). In Australia, and similar tendencies are plain in the UK and the USA, the latest generation of Rightwing regimes being elected are savagely anti-environmentalist, winding back environmental protections in place for decades, and attacking renewable energy and favouring coal and gas, with relish. This new extremism is amply reflected in the Rightwing MSM, where the age-old abuse of ‘Greenies’ is also growing in hysteria, with environmentalist increasingly identified as ‘communists’-a nice nostalgic touch.

  38. catman306 says:

    Joe, or whoever,
    Feedburner still thinks it’s yesterday, even this late in the day.

  39. catman306 says:

    Add to your list:
    Forms soot that blackens polar ice and glaciers and speeds their melting.

  40. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Sometimes I get a frisson of suspicion that the old amphibian might be ‘taking the piss out of himself’ (ie engaging in self-parody), what he represents and the current state of ‘debate’ in the USA. Just a frisson.

  41. prokaryotes says:


    You will enjoy this story

    Not clear to what degree Fox News recent 180 on the car (above if you haven’t seen it)

  42. catman306 says:

    “exponentially accelerating”

    The term for this is ‘jerk’ or jounce in UK. Or it might be ‘snap’, in the case of exponential acceleration.

    velocity 1st derivative
    acceleration 2nd
    jerk 3rd
    snap 4th
    crackle 5th
    pop 6th

    I guess this would be like compound interest on a loan where the interest rate goes up every month. Jerk.

    Climate is just about to jerk us around shortly before we go snap, crackle and pop, where the curve goes straight up per unit of time like a hockey stick.

  43. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    The late reviled Edward Teller appears to have resolved this issue – or at least to have provided confidence that it can be resolved.

    Back in ’97, three years before Cheyney took the Whitehouse, he wrote a seminal paper proposing the use of sulphate aerosols as a response to AGW. The implication of the paper, coming from one with the author’s strangelove reputation, was that an off-switch for AGW was available once its function in serving the US elite’s interests was completed.

    The facts of the timelag on warming of the oceans floors and the unpredictable threshold of clathrate destabilization, in combination with the clathrates’ scale potentially both destroying the marine ecology and overwhelming any feasible sulphate-aerosols effort, means that the far right elite may be banking on an utterly counterproductive strategy.

    Maybe someone should let them know ?



  44. Global data are not available on a comparable basis. The U.S. is one of the few countries other than the U.K. to have a coherent set of data going back over a century.

  45. Paul Magnus says:

    Das because the democrats now occupy the center right

  46. Paul Magnus says:

    Clogs up republican pores driving them to irrational and dangerous behavior.

  47. Paul Magnus says:

    Polar bears are in big trouble … Have to find the article….

  48. Paul Magnus says:

    Some of us …. Are fataliy delusional and others are too accepting.

  49. Paul Magnus says:

    EVs backed up with compressed air sounds like a good emissions free combo…

  50. Paul Magnus says:

    ANimals are also going to be impacted big time….

  51. prokaryotes says:

    Satellite observes rapid ice shelf disintegration in Antarctic

  52. prokaryotes says:

    Help Cover Mike Mann’s Legal Bills

    $25 gets you one of our t-shirts. They will be delivered a couple weeks after the fundraiser is over. We will check in with you about which design you want and what size.

    $50 gets two of the t-shirts.

    $75 gets all three of the t-shirts and our true gratitude.

    $150 gets you all three of the t-shirts and a copy of Climate Change: Picturing the Science signed by Joshua Wolfe (

    $300 gets you a hockey stick signed by Mike Mann.

    $1000 gets you a 16×20 signed silver gelatin print by Joshua Wolfe.

    To read more on the case

  53. prokaryotes says:

    And in case you missed it and like to support my climate blog, here are new CPN Shirts..

  54. Raul M. says:

    True there overpowering humiliation available, but people still have personal responsibility for their own actions if such is the way they they want to project to others. Some people like to be nice.

  55. Raul M. says:

    Also having a carbon negative “footprint” is a new addition to the concept of being nice and responsible.

  56. catman306 says:

    Feedburner is still broken on Sunday morning.

  57. Joe Romm says:

    What does that mean? In any case, only Feedburner can fix itself, I think.

  58. I am astounded that no one has challenged the either Lisa or Raul… or even Mulga M in this chain of comments (#3). What they all seem to be saying it that you are OK with abandoning the sphere of political action and ceding the field to the scoundrels who now occupy it. Rather than that, I would state that it is precisely because there is no political alternative that the politicians now in Washington feel that there is no re-election risk in continuing to do what they have done for years… ignoring the good of the public.

    So, yes, I will be casting my vote in this election for Dr. Stein. I will also support all of those of any party who are willing to look a the world through a factual lens rather than an ideological one.

  59. John Tucker says:

    Hard to believe one event could be so destructive:

    Texas drought destroys half a billion trees

    Up to half a billion dead or dying trees have been tagged as victims of last year’s Texas drought, which severely scorched wide-open farmland and took a toll on the state’s cities, particularly Houston.

    ( )

  60. John Tucker says:

    Germany is claiming a 1 percent drop in CO2 emissions in 2011.

    ( )

    Perhaps – indeed there should be some drop. But I need to do more research and analysis but just from the press release I am skeptical.

    Using 2008 and 2010 for comparison years is a big red flag.

    For a number of reasons.

  61. John Tucker says:

    It looks like there was a 5.8% drop in emissions of CO2 in 2011 for the US but I need to check that.

  62. John Tucker says:

    duhhhh 2009 numbers – should be increased by around 3.8% (EIA, 2011a) I guess.

    some differences on GDP growth and electricity imports as well as gas installation and vehicle replacement to further complicate things.

  63. John Tucker says:

    whew also came across this so dumping it here as its part of the mix especially with the shipping expansion stuff we discussed last week:

    U.S. Natural Gas Market Market Bursting At The Seams

    The underground salt caverns, depleted oil fields and aquifers that store natural gas are rapidly filling up after a balmy winter depressed demand for home heating.

    The nation’s storage facilities could easily handle this extra supply until recently because cold winters pushed up demand for heating and hot summers led to higher demand for air conditioning. Just over half the nation’s homes are heated with natural gas, and one-quarter of its electricity is produced by gas-fired power plants. ( )

    Which probably means the methane concentrations in the atmosphere will continue to lurch upwards.

  64. prokaryotes says:


    Guest Author @ CPN

  65. Raul M. says:

    I think she indicated that she wants to make it to the debates so that may be a starting topic.

  66. Raul M. says:

    Oh, maybe she could explain how she would administer the law and all of a sudden corporations and even states would no longer sue.

  67. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The elite’s fortes are greed, ruthlessness and indifference to the fate of others, not intelligence. I can see them miscalculating, horribly, quite easily.

  68. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Fair enough, but unless the system changes, quite pointless. It makes you feel good, deservedly, but it is clearly insufficient, which can only, eventually, induce greater despair. I find the prospect of eventually losing all faith with my species as a very daunting prospect. Where do you go then? Into religious delirium?

  69. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Wesley-I certainly will not criticise anyone for entering into the political charade. It is a matter of opinion as to whether anything can be achieved through those means. At present, in my opinion, garnered from years of experience and immersion in party politics, I believe it to be a deliberately contrived dead-end, to channel opposition to the capitalist system and our real rulers, the moneyed elites, into frustrating culs-de-sac. I could be wrong, and, miraculously (loaves and fishes stuff, this)political leaders will magically appear out of the human dross of the political caste, who will launch the massive effort needed to save humanity. Or, more to the point, enough Business Bosses will determine that profit maximisation will be greater from addressing ecological destruction. I see the chances of either as equivalent to winning the lottery. Where that leaves us, I fear, is teetering on the edge of chaos and collapse, which will be responded to by ‘The System’ with fascism, authoritarianism and techno-optimist ‘fixes’ like geo-engineering. I’m sorry to be a radical pessimist, but I think that it, unfortunately, makes me a realist.

  70. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Good news, but too slow, like everything. In the manner that FDR was able to act when faced by the vastly lesser threat of Japan in December 1941, Obama ought to declare a national crisis, and order the mass production of electric cars. Only kidding! Still, it’s the only way progress will be swift enough. I saw a Tesla at Womadelaide this year, driving along the road behind the VIP area. Very quiet. They’d better make them a little noisier or inveterate jay-walkers will be going down like skittles.

  71. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The Arctic is also a cess-pool of nasty pollutants, like mercury and PCBs amongst many, many, others, flowing from Northern Hemisphere industry. Top of the food-chain predators like bears are sitting ducks for toxic overload-as are we.

  72. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    More than one serpent, methinks.

  73. wili says:

    Bill Henderson asked if peak oil would keep us from hitting tipping points up at the thread on “Past Extreme Warming Events Linked To Massive Carbon Release From Thawing Permafrost”

    I wrote a response without noticing that no more comments were being accepted, so I thought I’d share it here:

    Let me point out that the ~1 degree C we reached by 2000 was mostly the result of the emissions from just to about 1970. We are just now getting the heat from up through the 70’s. IIRC, we have burned as much FFs since 1980 as we had for the entire history before that, and we have yet to feel the full force of all that CO2. It is likely that the sensitivity is greater than 3 degrees C for every doubling of atmospheric CO2.

    Meanwhile, feedbacks from:

    permafrost melting
    subsea clathrates melting
    other soils releasing their carbon
    oceans turning from sink to source of carbon
    forests burning…

    will provide plenty of new sources for carbon.

    And keep in mind that no one knows the exact timing of PO, and we seem to be willing to scrape the bottom of every barrel to get the stuff–even going after things like tar sands that arguably yield less energy than what goes in to producing them. The remaining oil we get out will, therefore have an outsize impact on GW, as will the NG and coal, that there still seems to be quite a bit of.

    Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency, has said that we are now committed to ten degrees increase by the end of the century. So the folks that know the most about the ff situation are not very optimistic.

  74. John Tucker says:

    I think thats pretty much guaranteed. Along with a spread to cattle.

  75. Raul M. says:

    The UV extremes cover much of Mexico and have started to make way into southern Texas.
    If you can try contact lenses that block UV rays in addition to hat and sunglasses.
    UV extremes mean that damage can happen in less than 10 minutes of exposure.

  76. Raul M. says:

    True enough, the discussion isn’t so much about my inability to cope happily, more like the Earth.

  77. prokaryotes says:

    Like this..

    Audi R8 e-tron: e-sound

    The cool thing is most e car makers let you pick your sound…