Monday, 28 December 2009

Devil in the Details (and a plea for assistance)

I hope you all had a pleasant festive season. Frank spent the whole time in his shed, complaining about packaging. I tried to tempt him out with some organic roast potatoes, but he was having none of it.

This cartoon originally appeared in Nature Reports Climate Change, and belongs to them - so no reproducing it without their permission. It's an illustration for a review of the year' science, by Kurt Kleiner. With thanks to Olive Heffernan.

On a more LOCAL level - HEEEEELP!
The arrival of the long-heralded new website draws nearer. It's taken WAAAAY longer than it should. Graeme Sherif has built me a lovely new architecture with idiot-proof input systems but I'm still lagging badly. This is largely because I tend to go into brain-freeze when faced with data inputting tasks. I start shouting at things and lose all control of vital cognitive functions. I don't know why - I seem to be caught in a pincer between artistic temperament and technical idiocy. I am reduced to staring gormlessly at the screen and endlessly repeating "what?...where?" like a neandethal in Curry's.
If anyone in the Greater Manchester area actually enjoys data input (and sorting out minor labelling glitches, wading through oddly ordered records etc) and would like to volunteer some HELP in this matter I would be hugely grateful. This blog is based from a soon-to-be-defunct address and is badly in need of a replacement structure before it dissappears into the ether.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Informacion Detallada del Fiasco Climatico

Here's the Spanish translation of SlamDown LetDown, courtesy of Cristian Abud. Th English language version is the previous post.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Gort and Klaatu's Climate Let-Down

Well, what can I say?

Friday, 18 December 2009

More Baubles, Bangles and Beads

The song remains the same, it seems. I've tinkered with this strip from last Christmas as a tribute to Copenhagen brinkmanship.
I'm assuming that anyone (anyone?) following Throbgoblins is also engaged at some level with the news from Denmark, which is why I'm not posting many links. It's all moving too quickly (ie - not at all, but with soundbites) anyway

Festive Greetings from Throbgoblins International

We here at Throbgoblins International feel that we ought to take a small step back from sniping at our betters at Copenhagen in order to find time to snipe at the festive season in general. Feel free to spread it around like festive compost. Be of good cheer.

Day 11 update

Hmm, this morning the BBC's Richard Black is reporting thus:

A deal appears to be in sight for the final day of the UN climate change talks but there are fears it may not prevent a 3C (5.4F) temperature rise.

Denmark's prime minister spoke of "very fruitful" talks as Copenhagen prepared to receive US President Barack Obama and 118 other world leaders.

Both the US and China, the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, have indicated they may make concessions.

It is hoped these may help overcome sharp divisions at the two-week talks.

China signalled concessions on the monitoring of emission curbs while the US said it would commit money for developing countries.

Denmark's Lars Lokke Rasmussen called late-night talks with a group of 26 influential world leaders on how to unblock negotiations.

"We discussed how we can make progress and we had a very fruitful, constructive dialogue... for almost two hours," he told reporters.

After the leaders left, their aides continued working on a political agreement for them to inspect later.

Which reminds modest-ol'-us of something we wrote in June or so 2008:

But there is almost certainly going to be a Deal. Even with a new American President, a new UK government (mebbe) and a new EU president, a deal Will Be Made. There'll be too many eyes on the game for anyone to want to be labelled as the wrecker. But in those circumstances the deal will probably be weak. LCD won't just stand for lowest common denominator, it'll also stand for Lousy Climate Deal.
No matter what, it will become harder to push the kind of radical emissions reductions-sink protections on climate change because the deal will be the only show in town with anything approaching democratic legitimacy. The world's denialists, coal lobbies, knuckle-draggers, knuckle-heads, volcano-nutters and China-baiters will all be trying to stop their own countries' legislatures signing it. Greens will be wanting to criticise the deal as too weak but still wanting it to be ratified. That's where the NGO energy will go, because it offers the best chance of lobbying ministers and appearing important to NGOs core constituency (guilt-ridden, ignorant, middle-class-people). Kyoto the Sequel, anyone?

But enough with the digressions already- here is the latest update as a pdf. And then as a jpg, with plain text underneath...

Thursday, 17 December 2009


More Bathtub Effects

When the bath is full, it's full. Time to turn the taps off.
Some folk might feel I've hit new depths with this one, but it made me laugh.

Day 10 update

Hmm, it looks like it might be falling apart. In which case they will spin it as success "enormous progress on difficult issues" "free and frank discussion of the issues" "sensible decision not to make a bad deal" "onwards to Mexico." Probably best to get your sick bags ready for that eventuality...

Here's the day 10 pdf

And here it is as a jpg.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009


China and the US argue over legal bindings, amongst other things, whilst setting the stage for a stitch up over the final days that will probably see the big players get what they actually came for - business more or less as usual and a scapegoat in the back pocket. Meanwhile, the real World hurtles inexorably on.
This seemed funnier in my head. You can't win 'em all.
Ho hum...

So, here's the update as a pdf.

It's below as a jpg,

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Frank's Shovel, and Day 8 update

This cartoon was a response to a suggestion by Craig Mackintosh of the Permaculture Institute of Australia - who has been a valued supporter of Frank over the years. Craig points out that what should be on the negotiating table at Copenhagen is:

How to conserve remaining oil supplies and to best use what’s left to speed a transition to a post-fossil fuel society, and to commit to leaving newly discovered oil in the ground
How to invest in re-educating the masses worldwide in sustainable farming practices appropriate for their own climate and soil type
How to invest in re-educating the masses in all the other activities crucial for our existence (like localised clothing manufacturing, passive solar buildings, etc.)
How to shape policies to incentivise a resurgence in small scale polycultures (and how to accommodate the above through a staged and bloodless land redistribution)
How to shift funds from the present subsidising of large profit based corporations into financing small research centres in different microclimates to improve systems in all the subjects above, for the public good
How to carefully stage the above steps so our present vulnerable, globalised system doesn’t experience wholesale collapse during the transition, with its associated famine, disease and war, etc. The emphasis here needs to be on broad spectrum education
How to keep nations working cooperatively to acheive all the above
… etc. etc.

Here is day eight at Copenhagen. Problems with uploading solved by someone pointing me at the right button

A pdf, as ever, and a jpg below.

Thanks to Arwa for this.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Update Day 7

Here's the LINK to the Slamdown site - where today's Copenhagen update awaits

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Monsters from the id

As minister pitch into the fray, the battle lines get dug in somewhat, and some of the early optimism starts to fray..
The daily update to follow when I get back from a walk i t'hills.

This cartoon was suggested by Sarah Irving
Cheers Sarah.
The New Internationalist's Jess Worth has arrived at Copenhagen. Read her first impressions here.

Can't seem to post the update today, so here's the link to Slamdown, where it can be had as jpeg and pdf

Saturday, 12 December 2009

2C or not 2C

Before the daily update,...the Crown Prince of Denmark meets with the powers behind all thrones....

Thus carbon doth make cowards of us all.

Here is day five as a pdf.

It's below as a jpg

Friday, 11 December 2009

Protest and Survive

Before the cartoon (below) here is the latest one page update as a pdf. Feel free to spread far and wide...

And here it is as a jpg...

I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade, especially as so many are engaging in or preparing for direct actions in Copenhagen.
This cartoon started out a lot more positive, but it got out of hand. You know how it is.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Day three round up - odds and evens

For those too busy/jaded/depressed/ etc to trawl through acres of small print, and for those who would like it kept pithy and to the point, our digested day three round up available here as pdf and below as jpg.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

El SmackDown Climatico Internacional de Gort y Klaatu - Espanol

Grateful thanks to Carolina Scarinci for the translation.

SlamDown Day 2

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

SlamDown Day 1 - update

So we're off and running. Marc Hudson has valiantly put this update together despite the collapse of his internet access. You can either click to enlarge the jpeg or, better still, click here for the pdf

Monday, 7 December 2009

And so it begins...

Regardless of what demonstrations take place in Copenhagen this week the horse trading will follow its own course inside the (no longer smoke filled) rooms. There have ben a lot of hopeful statements made and a lot of goal posts nudged gingerly in the right direction. If there is to be social change capable of embracing what must be done, it will require the mobilisation of more than the thousands on the Copenhagen streets.
This joint editorial from the Guardian and 56 other newspapers worldwide is a good start. They've taken the unusual step of making the text available under a creative commons license, so here it is in full.

Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency.

Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. Now the facts have started to speak: 11 of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice-cap is melting and last year's inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. In scientific journals the question is no longer whether humans are to blame, but how little time we have got left to limit the damage. Yet so far the world's response has been feeble and half-hearted.

Climate change has been caused over centuries, has consequences that will endure for all time and our prospects of taming it will be determined in the next 14 days. We call on the representatives of the 192 countries gathered in Copenhagen not to hesitate, not to fall into dispute, not to blame each other but to seize opportunity from the greatest modern failure of politics. This should not be a fight between the rich world and the poor world, or between east and west. Climate change affects everyone, and must be solved by everyone.

The science is complex but the facts are clear. The world needs to take steps to limit temperature rises to 2C, an aim that will require global emissions to peak and begin falling within the next 5-10 years. A bigger rise of 3-4C — the smallest increase we can prudently expect to follow inaction — would parch continents, turning farmland into desert. Half of all species could become extinct, untold millions of people would be displaced, whole nations drowned by the sea. The controversy over emails by British researchers that suggest they tried to suppress inconvenient data has muddied the waters but failed to dent the mass of evidence on which these predictions are based.

Few believe that Copenhagen can any longer produce a fully polished treaty; real progress towards one could only begin with the arrival of President Obama in the White House and the reversal of years of US obstructionism. Even now the world finds itself at the mercy of American domestic politics, for the president cannot fully commit to the action required until the US Congress has done so.

But the politicians in Copenhagen can and must agree the essential elements of a fair and effective deal and, crucially, a firm timetable for turning it into a treaty. Next June's UN climate meeting in Bonn should be their deadline. As one negotiator put it: "We can go into extra time but we can't afford a replay."

At the deal's heart must be a settlement between the rich world and the developing world covering how the burden of fighting climate change will be divided — and how we will share a newly precious resource: the trillion or so tonnes of carbon that we can emit before the mercury rises to dangerous levels.

Rich nations like to point to the arithmetic truth that there can be no solution until developing giants such as China take more radical steps than they have so far. But the rich world is responsible for most of the accumulated carbon in the atmosphere – three-quarters of all carbon dioxide emitted since 1850. It must now take a lead, and every developed country must commit to deep cuts which will reduce their emissions within a decade to very substantially less than their 1990 level.

Developing countries can point out they did not cause the bulk of the problem, and also that the poorest regions of the world will be hardest hit. But they will increasingly contribute to warming, and must thus pledge meaningful and quantifiable action of their own. Though both fell short of what some had hoped for, the recent commitments to emissions targets by the world's biggest polluters, the United States and China, were important steps in the right direction.

Social justice demands that the industrialised world digs deep into its pockets and pledges cash to help poorer countries adapt to climate change, and clean technologies to enable them to grow economically without growing their emissions. The architecture of a future treaty must also be pinned down – with rigorous multilateral monitoring, fair rewards for protecting forests, and the credible assessment of "exported emissions" so that the burden can eventually be more equitably shared between those who produce polluting products and those who consume them. And fairness requires that the burden placed on individual developed countries should take into account their ability to bear it; for instance newer EU members, often much poorer than "old Europe", must not suffer more than their richer partners.

The transformation will be costly, but many times less than the bill for bailing out global finance — and far less costly than the consequences of doing nothing.

Many of us, particularly in the developed world, will have to change our lifestyles. The era of flights that cost less than the taxi ride to the airport is drawing to a close. We will have to shop, eat and travel more intelligently. We will have to pay more for our energy, and use less of it.

But the shift to a low-carbon society holds out the prospect of more opportunity than sacrifice. Already some countries have recognized that embracing the transformation can bring growth, jobs and better quality lives. The flow of capital tells its own story: last year for the first time more was invested in renewable forms of energy than producing electricity from fossil fuels.

Kicking our carbon habit within a few short decades will require a feat of engineering and innovation to match anything in our history. But whereas putting a man on the moon or splitting the atom were born of conflict and competition, the coming carbon race must be driven by a collaborative effort to achieve collective salvation.

Overcoming climate change will take a triumph of optimism over pessimism, of vision over short-sightedness, of what Abraham Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature".

It is in that spirit that 56 newspapers from around the world have united behind this editorial. If we, with such different national and political perspectives, can agree on what must be done then surely our leaders can too.

The politicians in Copenhagen have the power to shape history's judgment on this generation: one that saw a challenge and rose to it, or one so stupid that we saw calamity coming but did nothing to avert it. We implore them to make the right choice.

This editorial will be published tomorrow by 56 newspapers around the world in 20 languages including Chinese, Arabic and Russian. The text was drafted by a Guardian team during more than a month of consultations with editors from more than 20 of the papers involved. Like the Guardian most of the newspapers have taken the unusual step of featuring the editorial on their front page.

This editorial is free to reproduce under Creative Commons

A good clean fight (in Spanish)

Thanks to Carolina Scarinci for the translation

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Good Business Guide

We really do have to keep the pressure on.
Copenhagen kicks off tomorrow. What with the private jets and the limos and the luxury smorgasbords, it should be an expensive affair.
We at Throbgoblins International will be following the conference, along with Climate Slamdown , and keeping you supplied with lots of cartoon goodness throughout.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

More Noblesse Oblige again

A shameless regurgitation of old material here, suggested by the following - forwarded to me by my co-conspirator Marc Hudson.

Four days before global climate change talks kick off in Copenhagen, more
than 850 UK and international companies are urging Prime Minister Gordon
Brown to push for an ambitious and equitable deal that can promote
sustainable growth, jobs and prosperity.
The organisations are endorsing a communiqué that is being presented to the
Prime Minister tonight by the Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group on
Climate Change.
The communiqué sets out the business case for a strong and effective UN
climate framework and underlines that economic development will not be
sustained unless the climate is stabilised, making it critical that we move
beyond the global downturn in a way that lays the foundation for low-carbon
The Corporate Leaders Group includes John Lewis, Shell, Tesco, Kingfisher,
Vodafone, Unilever and Lloyds Banking Group. The communiqué has already
secured the support of more than 850 companies based in over 50 countries,
including the US, most EU member states,

Slamdown - A good clean fight.

In the final countdown to Copenhagen, the West is accused of underhand tactics in climate negotiations. Imagine my Surprise!.

Yes, I know the Phillipines aren't exactly low-lying, but sometimes punch-lines are hard to come by.

Elsewhere, James Hansen weighs in with some perspective

...and the Angry Mermaid seeks some assistance!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

xenophibics anonymous

The ignorant and small minded also have their representative at Copenhagen. We're all in the same boat. They're the arseholes mooning out the back.

Monday, 30 November 2009


Sunday, 29 November 2009

Smoking is bad for your health

This is an old Frank - again in the spirit of recycling.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Groundhog day again

Oh dear, am I repeating myself?

Thursday, 26 November 2009


Well here it is at last - Gort and Klaatu's Climate Slamdown. It was commissioned by New Internationalsit magazine and I thank them hugely for doing so. It is, of course, the ultimate guide to the all-in wrestling mayhem due at Copenhagen in December, also available at the New Internationalist website, (soon on) the Climate Slamdown site and all good newsagents.
Please link to it , post it and distribute it as widely as your resources allow. Comments welcome, as usual - even though few folk take me up on that.