Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Goodbye 2008

This cartoon originally appeared in Nature Reports; Climate Change and remains theirs - (so this is one that can't be reproduced without their permission.)

There's been a lot of the usual end of year ruminations in the press and over the web. It had been my intention to post an exhaustive review of the year myself, but, on reflection, that is probably best left to others

However, I would like to thank all those who have supported the Throbgoblins project over the past year. It's taken up a quite obsessive amount of my life and has on occasion felt like a shocking waste of time - but it has attracted some positive feedback from significant quarters and this tempts me to keep the ball rolling into 2009.

Thanks to
Marc Hudson, Dwight Towers, Sarah Irving, Polyp, Graeme Sherrif, Chris Brazier and all at NI, Rob Harrison and all at ECRA, Andrew Revkin, Artist's Project Earth, Craig Mackintosh, Leslie Berliant and Chris Tobias, Olive Heffernan, Gavin Schmidt, Mel Rimmer, Glen Barry, Cartoon Kate Evans, Chris Webster at Satellite 360, Joe Romm, Dave Hampton, Janet Alty, Niel Bowerman, Adam Corner, Rob Honey, Seppo Leinonen, Neuroskeptic, Robert Zverina, Sam and Chris at Carbusters, Aubrey Meyer, Lucia Ortiz, "Author", Rosamund Raha, Cath and Nathan at Rebel Soul Cafe, Mark Jeanthau, Diana Korchien, David Castle, Adie Nistelrooy, Brian Leslie, Almuth Ernsting, Arwa, Calvin Jones , John Harrison , Ian Angus, Art not Oil, Neale Upstone, Stuart Jeffery, Andy Dunn, Stuart Monckton, Mr Moai, Susan Anderson, Sharon Leavy, Sandra, Chris, Em and, of course, Nye, and anyone I will undoubtedly have missed out due to my increasingly porous memory. The patience of all of you who I bombard with unsolicited e-mails is also greatly appreciated.
Thanks to you all for your support and encouragement

Monday, 29 December 2008

Re-Wild at Heart

Whilst capitalism eats itself, radical re-imaginings are dared.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Democracy in Action (again)

As you know, we at Throbgoblins International are deeply immersed in the waters of irony, so, to celebrate the season of peace and goodwill, we bring you....

With elections coming up and Israeli politicians scrambling for their share of the power that super-favoured-nation-status brings, it's again time to roll out the tanks and the bombers and the half-arsed excuses. What, exactly, are ordinary Palestinians supposed to do?

Here in the UK we're running around like headless chickens in gibbering, elbow-wielding desperation, lest a bargain pass us by, and producing more waste than ever in the process. We're not going to let a little thing like economic collapse or environmental breakdown keep us from the sales. We're a bulldog breed - thick, but tenacious.

Here's an old one from last January - a repost and a repeat in the ongoing cycle of repost and repeat.

Friday, 26 December 2008


Who needs Jonathan Swift when we have Californian plastic surgeons?
I wish I'd thought of that.

Here's an old set of LabRats strips based on a much weaker premise - for old time's sake.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Coitus interruptus

The pope fails the grasp the actual reasons behind the impending ecological debacle - preferring to characterise it as a vast gay conspiracy.

The great stain that is Clarkson continues with his "aren't I controversial" wankery by pretending that only petrol can save the world from ...petrol

The Police drum up business where they can

The Uk's public buildings emit more CO2 than Kenya.

I hope you all have a happy Yule, or whatever else it is that you may be celebrating.
Be of good cheer

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Servicing business

No particular news link here - just generic Frankness. Inspired by a flier for the Gobsmacking Maplecroft Political Risk Report which was kindly forwarded to me by Dave Hampton (the Carbon Coach) as a suitable case for satire.
Thanks also to Jeremy Hardy for planting a seed. the news:-
A massive crackdown on pesticides is (provisionally) announced by the EU.
A massive crackdown on scientific illiteracy is announced by Barack Obama

The Met Office warns of catastrophic temperature rises

Israel's ongoing plans to destroy the Palestinian people continue apace

The new Manchester Climate Fortnightly (McFly) is available for downlaod.

Saturday, 20 December 2008


Christmas brings the fortieth anniversary of the first image of Earth Rising - an image that (should have) transformed the way we, as a species, conceptualise ourselves.
Did it?
Andrew Revkin has posted a fine video of it here, at DotEarth, NYT

The UK gov't relinquishes all remaining control of its Atomic Weapons by flogging off Aldermaston to raise a few readies for Christmas

The Israeli gov't pulls out the usual excuses when somebody has the temerity to ever so gently remind punters about the illegal nature of their occupation of the West Bank

Check out this video of Santa taking some unwanted gifts to E-on.
It made me laugh

Friday, 19 December 2008

A jury of one peer

First I must apologise for the lack of any discernable humour in today's cartoon. In the early stages I had high hopes for it, but sometimes one's most promising pets dissappoint one. I may have miscast Ms Ebola Congleton as today's lead. Frank would have had more fun. Never mind. The arrow may have missed its target, but the point and the barb remain.

The attorney General - the duly appointed, cabinet-ranking, partisan politician Baroness Scotland - is making plans to withdraw the protection of legal precedent from climate protestors who break the law in their stirling efforts to avert catastrophe. Suggestions that this is motivated by the Government's need to pretend it's all hunky-dory untill after the election are, of course, cynical in the extreme. Nothing to do with Heathrow and Gatwick and Kingsnorth etc etc. No ambitions were engaged in the making of these decisions.

Meanwhile... Ugmug's methane jaccuzi goes into overdrive.

Concerned Businessmen for Growth and Continuity

As Woolworths collapses and sheds thousands of jobs; as Chrysler shuts down all operations for a month; as Zimbabwe descends ever further into hell and takes its wildlife with it; as British Airports Authority attempts to sidestep the Heathrow reports by secretly lining up another runway at Gatwick and as OPEC's plans to push up the price of oil founder on the rubble of shattered bubbles - the uber wealthy and the trop chic push on with their plans for a refrigerated, golf-based Eden in Dubai, in true pharonic style. This behaviour is what Paul Mobbs has characterised as a Suicide Cult ; the hell-bent, business-as-usual drive towards extinction. (Thanks to Janet Alty for that))

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Wet Wet Wet

Sea levels will be rising faster than previous calculations predicted

The outgoing President's place in infamy is secure, whilst the incoming one has his team assembled

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Easter Bunny Island Revisited

No time today. So.....

This is a reposting of an old cartoon - a bit shaky technically but I still like it. It's to celebrate the announcement, by an unidentified Moai, that it will visit Paris to bear witness to the ongoing folly of man. Because its later than you think
No, seriously, it is

Bernard Madoff, eh? Well well well. It could've been worse. He could've claimed social security fraudulently.

Monday, 15 December 2008


The Police are obliged to fess-up to the gross inaccuracy of their public scare-mongering, and Ministers are obliged to apologise for misrepresenting baton-happy bullying as "proportionate"
The IEA are obliged to fess-up to the gross inaccuracy of their energy forecasts
Bush's chief environment advisor is obliged to fess-up over his country's responsibility in the scuppering of a worthwhile climate deal - but doesn't

From Poznan, via Elisabeth Rosenthal via Andrew Revkin at DotEarth;-

Prodipto Ghosh of the Indian delegation berated wealthy countries for their “refusal” to “experience a minuscule loss of profits” to help poorer nations cope. He continued: “In the face of the unbearable human tragedy that we in developing countries see unfolding every day, we see callousness, strategizing and obfuscation.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Fame and Fortune

It was a toss up today between Gore's call for a serious focus on real issues and this story about refrigerating beaches in Dubai for the comfort of the scum of the earth. In the end I decided that the Dubai story satirised itself.

Meanwhile, the UK's limitless capacity for incompetence scuppers what few good ideas we have, whilst the wealthy slowly switch religions to temper their guilt.
Elsewhere ETA's self-serving, masturbatory logic excels itself, and some spy the beginnings of a youthquake.

Hillary Benn breaks ranks on Heathrow

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Manchester United

I've said it before (hence the repost) and I'll say it again...

I apologise to the more far flung readers (far flung from my vantage point, anyway) for indulging in some local anti-democratic whinging. The voters of every single city borough rejected a public transport initiative that guaranteed them 3 Billion pounds and wouldn't cost them a penny for 4 more years, because they couldn't be arsed to organise their lives more efficiently. Fuck 'em.

The most boggling reaction I heard today was from a public transport user who was glad the Tif bid failed because it meant less money for corrupt stagecoach and Metrolink directors to cream off (allegedly). So the reasoning is that we will refuse any investment in a sustainable transport infrastructure until all the big bidders are in the hands of the angels or the whole shebang is back under public ownership. (in which case we can unpack a whole different set of prejudices to excuse us from action)
All large organisations are infected with widespread and often mind boggling levels of corruption and incompetence, as I know only too well from my many years in the NHS. This is because they are run by humans, and until we can successfully train what few alternative species we have left at our disposal, humans will have to do.
We are surrounded by fuckwits


Friday, 12 December 2008

Cash or Credit, sir?

Who's paying for all this? You are, my son. You are.

OH BUGGER. News just in here at Throbgoblins International. My fellow Mancunians have voted with their arses once again and plumped for more of the same for ever by rejecting the congestion charge - and with it billions in public transport investment. Fuck 'em. It seems that peak oil, asthmatic children and a living hell of gridlock twice a day are outweighed by the urgent necessity to pretend you're Jeremy Clarkson. Had I read this earlier I would have worded the toon differently. But now I can't be arsed. It's not a surprise, but it's a bummer nonetheless.

I'm going to see Jeremy Hardy later. Hopefully he'll cheer me up.

Lawyers steal from miners and feudal Lords piss on their serfs in the time honoured fashion. It seems we have no skills and no money and no idea what we're doing.
So we're all defending our own small corner and throwing the odd titbit to placate the greenies, whilst leaving Mexico to show leadership whilst Germany snarls from the corner and all the polluters are granted virtual exemptions. The only thing we're bent on saving is our way of life, unmodified and ill-prepared.

Interesting article on Celsias about turning swords into wind-turbines that reminds me this DotEartg post on the enormous discrepancies between spending on military R and D and everything else

Thursday, 11 December 2008

No New Coal

I missed this at the time. A lone anonymous protestor single handedly shaves 2% off our emissions by temporarily knocking out a turbine at Kingsnorth. How audacious. Desperate times - desperate measures

There's some good news for indiginous peoples land rights

and some bad news for everybody else

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Human Wrongs

It has been noted that, for a humanitarian, Frank is something of a misanthrope. He would claim that he is merely a perfectionist. I'll leave that with you.
To Celebrate 60 glorious years of Universal Human Rights. Frank has opted for a deep green snobbery tinged with irony. Not everyone can pull this off. It helps if one is a fictional character - otherwise it might look a tad crass

The cost of too many folk consuming too much stuff is felt in more places more of the time, as Climate Change bangs on more people's doors and hunger follows it inside.

If you live in Manchester, I heartily recommend the Unicorn grocery in Chorlton for the beginnings of a solution to all this madness

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

There's no need for language!

First of all - a fond farewell to Oliver Postgate, creator of Noggin the Nog and more

George Monbiot has something to say about talking bollocks and the road ahead.

Things continue to deteriorate to such a point that lawyers may soon be rubbing their hands in anticipation of a nice little earner.
Personally I don't think this is a sensible road to go down, as those worst affected can't exactly afford the price of law.

DECC Press Release


LONDON (8 December): Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1),
Ed Miliband, today announced the scrapping of all proposed nuclear and
coal-fired power stations in the United Kingdom. Britain's energy
security will instead be augmented by a massive array of renewable energy
sourced from his own back-pedalling.

In a retrofit indicative of the government's ongoing commitment to
insulating against power loss from both its houses, Mr Miliband stated
that people- especially the Plane Stupid activists who occupied a taxi-way
at Stansted this morning (2)- had misconstrued what he told the
Environment Agency (3) and the Gaurdian (4) about the necessity of “people
power” to pressure politicians. “That is not what I meant at all. That is
not it, at all” he said. “I've always been considered one of the dynamos
of the Cabinet, and with this new back-pedalling generating scheme, I have
the chance to show just how much I can achieve.”

DECC plans to have Mr Miliband chained to an exercise bike (possibly a
tandem with his brother the Foreign Secretary). The bike will then be
hooked up to the national grid. The Chief Scientific Adviser, John
Boddingtons, has calculated that the energy produced by their collective
back-pedalling should generate approximately 24MW, enough to avoid the
construction of the controversial coal-fired Kingsnorth power station.(5)


Complex and novel problems require complex and novel solutions from a trans-disciplinary perspective. Prof Stuart B Hill at Celsias has some useful suggestions.
Another bunch of pertinent suggestions HERE

An afterthought - For anyone unfamiliar with the narcissus reference (due to the steady improvements in our education system) this will explain.

Thanks to Niel Bowerman of ClimaticoAnalysis for this most amusing link

Monday, 8 December 2008

Popular Mobilisation?

Congratulations on a job well done.
"Plane Stupid" activists manage a high profile inconvenience and some high security embarrassment. Is this the Popular Mobilisation that Ed Milliband called for as the only way to secure change? It is. But he will, no doubt, wriggle away from it as fast as he can.

The nuclear industry , despite admitting that it has neither the expertise nor the money to make itself safe, has proclaimed itself "sexy".
Hmmm. Don't fancy yours much.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

New Balls Please

In our ongoing quest to make a bollocks of our entire planet, we have unwittingly de-bollocked the biosphere by pouring as much gender-bending chemistry over everything as our enterprise can muster.
This global castration is a profitable affair and currently has the full support of the UK government.

The new McFly (Manchester Climate Fortnightly) is available for your perusal, here

After 500 years of demonstrating their manifest superiority over the natives, Europeans doing business in South America turn to the wisdom of pre-Columbian societies to dig themselves out of the hole that their superiority has so cleverly dug.

Meat continues to be murder, one way or another.

Every cloud has a silver lining, apparently

Throbgoblins International tried over the weekend to get themselves listed on a comics website, with the object of furthering the old world domination plan - which has gone a bit flat of late. We were ineligible, as it happens, because of the (frankly) embarrassing traffic levels that we :"enjoy". Were we to quadruple our traffic we would qualify. We are getting it ALL wrong. C'est la vie. Fortunately none of us here have the good sense to be disheartened by this state of affairs and will plough on regardless. The sense of futility will no doubt reach critical mass at some point and we shall run colourfully amock at the Trafford Centre with a potato gun.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Seasonal variation

Ooh look - it's snowing. Everything must be alright again. Hoorah!

Thanks to Janet Alty for this link to the Righteous Mothers

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Nothing to fear

The government sneaks through extra measures to allow random apparatchicks to rifle through your sock drawer and pass choice nuggets on at their own discretion. They also backed away from the promised reversal of the laughable ban on protest within earshot of parliament

There is a fair wind and some good shit.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Running on empty

The Eu agrees to not bother on car emissions until it suits the car industry

The Brazilian government agrees to destroy the rainforest at a slower rate

Meanwhile an invasive creature with a tactic of constructing interlinked super-colonies, whilst exploiting other creatures and over-running the environment, makes a nuisance of itself. It's lasius neglectus - superants!
It seems a bit rich for humans to take exception to such a strategy. We make so much of it, ourselves

George Monbiot whistles in the wind

Another senseless re-up

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Fashion victims

Consumers will pick up the bill for the green energy revolution. I suppose it will make a change from picking up the bill for the beach houses of speculators or the yachts of oligarchs - or even the long lunches of share-holders.
Personally I find most people's houses unbearably hot in winter, and most people's energy consumption really quite bafflingly high. If you want to sit around in your underwear eating ice-cream in the dead of winter whilst watching a 12 foot home cinema and tumble-drying your thongs, then yes -you will have to pay for it. Tough.
The vulnerable must be protected - that should go without saying -and capital should be policed for abuses, but the days of cheap energy are over. Get over it.
How did people imagine it was going to happen? Magic?
These are cultural as well as practical and political problems

Speaking of winter in the north of England; A few inches of snow and the world grinds to a halt around here. We are now so completely encased in the mental and technological bubble of our fabricated lives that the fiction we inhabit is bolloxed by entirely predictable seasonal variation. God help us when the real weather hits.

Here's an entirely predictable seasonal repost;

Thanks once again to Andrew Revkin at DotEarth at the New York Times for his support.

Monday, 1 December 2008


Neither Frank nor Ernest were invited to Poland this week.

Greenhouse gases will probably linger forever, but we are planning massive new coal burning power stations long before the technology (to make them anything but catastrophic) is either available or even proven feasable. Slow learners

We have established that free-market fundamentalism can't find its arse with both hands, but we are still leaving CO2 trading in the hands of free-market fundamentalism. Slow learners.

Maybe we should vote with our feet.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Christmas card

The Christmas card industry is a foul and pestilential stain upon the good name of art, and a shocking waste of paper, but....perhaps you might like to use the above as an e-card. In the meantime please remember that Yule is a long way off yet, so knock all that cheeriness on the head, if you don't mind.

Virgin Suicides

As the available sites to despoil grow ever thinner on the ground, developers seek out environmentally sensitive areas to crap on. The beautiful island of Crete still has places left to profitably ruin, and the Virgin islands is also being targeted by those keen to wreck what little we have left. Richard Branson (he who would have us burn all available food in order to keep his airline and space-fantasy enterprises in profit) is funding a team of barristers to help save the island of Beef (oh yes) from development, so it doesn't obscure his view of heaven - which he can see from his porch. Mr Branson seems like a real curate's egg of a man.
The reefs and wonders around Branson's (and everybody else's) shores are rapidly turning to acid and will soon be sadly free of tuna.

This horrible tale (found on DotEarth) speaks for itself. It's not on the grand scale of the horrors of Mumbai, but is just as depressing in its own small way.

Throbgoblins International are no Tories, but it seems clear that the corrupt, stalinist scare-mongering, public flogging that has befallen Damian Green can't be defended at any level. It's Bush-ite.

Sellafield sweeteners and reckless public endangerment


Thursday, 27 November 2008

Sniping from the sidelines

With apologies for the poor timing

Throbgoblins International would like to point out that - by and large, for the most part, in any given circumstance - SHOOTING PEOPLE IS WRONG.

A lot of people might say that Frank is a bad example, and a poor excuse for an activist - as he is always so bad tempered and antagonistic. This may well be so.
Research suggests that we are much more pliable monkeys when we are patted on the head and spoken to kindly, or even offered nuts. We are but children, after all. Frank forgets this, and so do I. Maybe Frank can act as "bad cop". (this would be a good point to make a COP - Conference of Parties - gag, but I shall resist, lest we all feel cheapened.)

Thanks to Adam Corner, Rob Honey et al at Cardiff University

Barack Obama - will he? or won't he?

Ugliness abounds

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The public gets what the public wants (again)

The UK government wants us to buy as much seasonal tat as we can carry so that the economy doesn't go irredeemably bump untill just after the election. In so doing we might push the natural economy over the brink and plunge headlong into the abyss, but hey, it's christmas. Fill yer boots.
The American Fed pumps another 800 billion into keeping the ship afloat so we can plough full steam ahead into the iceberg field. The folks in first class insist upon it, and they have the captains ear. They also have him by the balls.

Meanwhile there is the usual mix of the good, the bad and the ugly.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Punishing Success

Having made such a fabulous fist of husbanding both the human and natural environments, our ruling elites have earned the privilege of picking up the tab.
They may threaten to leave the country if their wealth falls below "filthy", but fuck 'em. Where are they going to go?
Not that we plebs are innocent in any of this. Beyond the odd spot of (necessary) marching and the occassional lethargic vote we have largely confined our activism to pleading for bigger TVs and more beer.

I'm not a bunny-hugger by nature, but I'm against the convenient destruction of rabbits by farmers. Rabbits are only here in the UK because the Normans brought them here as a farmable resource. Shoot them and eat them, but don't destroy them. Throbgoblins International humbly suggests the establishment of secure "shoot your own" free-living warrens for the further Fernley-Whittingtall-isation of the nation.
How about bows and arrows for that extra element of chance?

Don't forget BUY NOTHING DAY - November 29th

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Fowl Play

This strip originally appeared in this months NEW INTERNATIONALIST magazine

The new McFly (Manchester Climate Fortnightly) is up and about and full of active goodness.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Visionary Genius

George W Bush is busying himself making the World safe for dengue fever and nuclear waste by dismantling environmental safeguards as fast as his little brain will carry him. Why wait for the end of the world when you can buck-wheats it today, at your own convenience?

Mutant malarial cockroaches riding enormous rats?

For a more positive view of what can be done, DotEarth has abundant links

("Buck-wheats" is a"Things to do in Denver when you're dead" reference - meaning a deliberately agonising execution.)

Barbarous apes revisited

This is a straight re-post because the song remains the same (it just gets louder).
The Guardian has a bunch of stuff on it

Meanwhile Humans dredge the bottom of the aquatic food chain to make absolutely sure that we've hoovered up the last morsel of everything edible anywhere and for ever. We're nothing if not thorough.

Thursday, 20 November 2008


Coke heads are destroying the planet. Yes. We know.

Our habit of tarmacing over the planet and decorating the ensuing car park with imported shrubbery is, apparently, not such a fabulous idea. And now we find we were expected to use cash from carbon auctions for green purposes! How could we know? What are we - psychic?

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Dead man's chest

"War-torn" is such a compact description, isn't it. It leaves out the economics and the politics and the machinations of great powers, and concentrates on the trauma in the here and now, as though it had sprung fully formed upon an innocent world.
So we watch the seizing of an oil tanker by desperate men from a failed state - whose climate and conditions get crueller by the year - and we imagine that it is not a portent of things to come, but an abberation in an otherwise purposeful, perfectable world. We choose not to look down the path from whence this monster came.

One of many links from today's extensive coverage, and another one not so well covered, and another BIG ONE - not for the feint hearted

Monsieur McCudgeon is sporting this year's must-have look - pirate chic. I think it suits him

Monday, 17 November 2008

Secret Gardens and Magic Beans

All very hush-hush, don't you know.
There is an open admission that the need for GM crops is (allegedly) so pressing because of the inevitable diversion of millions of tons of foodstuffs to biofuels. We will continue to be fat lazy fucks who drive to the gargantumart to eat shite on a stick, so there can be no other alternative but to mess with what's left of our biodiversity and then place it entirely in the hands of the highest bidder.

The ongoing bollocks that is the nuclear industry just gets more and more priceless. Not only does the industry massively underestimate the amount of safe storage facilities required - based on a basic muisunderstanding of their core business - but they screw a series of blank cheques out of the government and an exemption from public scrutiny via the freedom of information act. So we will be obliged to pay up when they fuck up, without the satisfaction of knowing when or where or how they fucked up, or how much it cost.

This Searaser looks good though


No matter how much manufacturers reduce the direct emissions of individual vehicles, (and putting the ethical and practical absurdities of biofuel aside) there is still the small matter of replacing the entire planetary fleet of cars and building and servicing the infrastructure and maintaining the disconnected living arrangements that the car habit encourages -for an imminent NINE BILLION people . This monumentally destructive endevour cannot be hidden behind a handful of hybrids and a lot of empty promises.
Kick the car habit.

This cartoon originally appeared in the NEW INTERNATIONALIST magazine

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Dreaming of electric sheep.

As people with more time than sense fantasise their lives/marriages/divorces away in cyberspace (whoops -hypocricy warning), millions are being made out of thin air. We are a gullible species, deceived (or otherwise) by the compelling narratives that we spin for ourselves. Perhaps we need a new one.
Coal is a case in point, wherein folks that scoff at AGW models fall headlong into the improbable sci-fi of perpetual CCS.

This video is, apparently, a youtube phenomenon. I am late, as ever. Very well done, though