Saturday, 28 June 2008

Havin' a cheeky punt!

We all await the coming together of thousands of purely selfish short term choices in the wonderful miracle of classical economics. What a glorious day it will be.
I always enjoy the reporting on the markets. The market is portrayed as this great willful beast whom none can oppose. It's never spoken of as a collection of well heeled individuals making personal choices that place their own agrandisement above the very survival of thousands - millions - of others. Why should the elite contain their greed? Ordinary folk may become poor folk and poor folk may die, but the rich must not become ordinary. That would never do.
In defense of this arrangement we organise our entire global society. In defense of the fantasy that this is inevitable we speak in terms of institutions rather than individuals. And I don't mean the meaningless sideshow of personality politics. I mean the personal as political, (that old chestnut).
So the people who opt to (knowingly and with indifference of forethought) push up the price of food beyond the means of the most vulnerable - so their investment returns may afford them an extra (whatever) -are excused ethical censure. It is, in fact, deemed the highest good - the cornerstone of free market capitalism.
Criticism is waved away with false dichotomies and meaningless comparisons. The central immorality is sacrosanct. Get rich whilst the others die tryin'.... (and don't get me started on that shameful traitorous shite...)

I wonder why so many people hate us?

As you may gather, I'm not a betting man...but... I have backed Spain in 2 world cups and 2 previous Euros, without success. So - even though it's all a meaningless distraction and a ghastly waste of money - I hope the Germans lend their cup to someone else this time.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Northern Slush-Cap

The North Pole is set to be ice-free in summer henceforward, and ripe for exploitation. There could be all sorts down there that we could set fire to!

whilst plant life takes to the hills

On the upside, Spain has given rights to our ape cousins - those that are left.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

InterNational Insecurity

The US National Security Assessment warns of a host of risk magnifiers stemming from climate change - and an urgent sense of self interest may now focus the next administrations on the need for action. Let's hope it's not the same sort of action that so many previous administrations have been so keen on.

Stern warnings again of accelerating change and increasing costs, whilst the green energy revolution has got as far as the costing stage.


Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Re-Externalising the externals

There seems to be a lot of backtracking in the air as people who should really know better consider selling their own long term futures for the sake of a pleasant afternoon in the sun. Maybe we're just not that bright.

Oxfam confirms that the food for cars movement is pushing the food for people movement back 30% whilst the carbon market is criticised by Stern and others for being something of a curate's egg.

Meanwhile the UK sells off its welfare system to anyone with a big stick and a filing cabinet - and those good people in the platinum mining industry go to the aid of poor Robert Mugabe.,Authorised=false.html?

Plus - a blast from a previous post about jellyfish - making the news on a beach near you - from now on...

Tuesday, 24 June 2008


The Kenyan government is over-riding opposition from local people and international agencies to destroy 80 square miles of rare wetland habitat - not for the food needs of its population, but for the fuel tanks of western consumers. So a sustainable lifestyle will be bulldozed for short term contingency.

In the USA the desert states are realising the potential of their climate.

and the UK government tries to sidestep any democratic process in an effort to push through whatever they feel like pushing through via a selected quango of friendly peerage-hungry specialists.

Monday, 23 June 2008

The market will provide...?

Barack Obama is, apparently beholden to the big US ethanol market and people are worried about the possible impact on the price of food.
A German town makes Solar panels compulsory and people are worried about the cost.
James Hanson calls for oil industry chiefs to be put on trial, and people are worried that this would set a dangerous market precedent.
Free-market fundamentalists call for the total deregulation of all trading apart from the state bailing out of their own failed institutions.

Money, eh? Everything - time, food, heat, law -is reduced to its theoretical value as measured in a system of shifting exchange-assumptions. The system is an analogy. It refers to reality but has no direct relationship to the world of objects as we experience it. It exists within, and only within, the agreed beliefs of a particular culture. It seems odd, to me, to base all our real world decisions on the internal logic of this metaphor. The metaphor could easily be derailed and entirely done away with by world events, whereas the real world will remain the real world, come what may. Without abundant cheap energy to power the transport of global trade, the logic of global trade collapses, and yet we plan for it to continue indefinitely because the urgent logic of our common delusion allows for no other interpretation of reality. The economic case is made and reality is expected to fall into line. But the price of a thing is not the thing itself. C'eci n'est pas un pipe!

A rather tortuous and poorly made case for a cartoon that questions the logic of tinkering with consumption patterns (essentially niche consumption cleavages) rather than challenging the entire edifice of consumption itself as a basis for human society.

Any suggestion that I picked on Hair-gel because I am a slap-headed baldy-man will be dealt with in the courts by Messrs Reedham and Wheape. Here are the links.,iQ5DQ2FRmKQ2FQ2FsEiEQ60Q608iQ60ZiEfihmiQ27Q2F!PsPRmiEfHsFopQ2F!Q3BFsk!

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Evolution in action

A MORI poll suggests that the British public are paying even less attention that I thought they were, but Nil Desperandum:

whilst plans are afoot to provide at least the microgeneration infrastructure to enable a power-down:

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Colonel Hunk Bunkum

American power is projected around the globe in the time honoured manner of all Empires - but on a scale all its own and with weaponry previously only dreamt of. As Empires inevitably decline they seem to have a tendency to cling to hubris and therefore take risks beyond their means. I see no reason for the USA to be any different. Oh no, hang on - there's that democracy thing, isn't there? - Engaged, active citizens monitoring the actions of their government and calling their excesses to account. Or was that just a film I saw once. It's all a bit blurred.

Energy Futures

As New Labour unveil their plan to achieve emissions reductions only 60% less than everyone else thinks is necessary, and even the World Economic Forum ask for 50% cuts and a firm legislative framework, our glorious leader heads for Jeddah to ask for some of the uber-profits to be ploughed into wind, wave and nuke back home. Just don't try enriching your own uranium, guys. That's not for the likes of you! But have some more jets, to be going on with.

Isn't it distractingly comfy to think that the Saudi oil supremo was once a shepherd boy? Sounds like a bad film.

Sorry it's all Grauniad today. Just the way it crumbled.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Revolutionary Wildlife for Truth and Reconciliation

We are such sensitive souls

Below is a cut and paste link to an excellent article by Johann Hari

Meanwhile- China's neaveau riche are perplexed at the high price of filling up their new cars, American farmers are angry that their grain fed, BSE riddled cattle are not welcome once they've travelled half way 'round the world to South Korea, Israel practices bombing runs for Gearge's farewell bash and the Big Oil Giants return to Iraq after 35 years lusting on the sidelines.!Q7ELQ3AQ23pVQ3AQ3AZPQ7EP77fQ7E7GQ7EP7Q7EQ3AhQ3BQ7CQ3BQ3AQ7CQ7EP7M2Q7CpDQ7CQ7BMZQ26v,tuQ7C,Q20(y28Q5C,Cnu!v

But on the other hand - Good news for a future on two wheels as history's third-best-ever invention gets some much needed support

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Excellent Updated Cartoon Website

Polyp's new all-singing all-dancing website is up and running and choc-full of radical goodness.

All occasions doth conspire...

It was put very succinctly for me today, so rather than try and paraphrase i'll just paste.

Thanks to Jo Abbess;-


Imagine, if you will, a long pipeline, with crude oil flowing through

At one end are the hydrocarbon producers, and at the other, are the

The rate of flow equates to the amount of Carbon Dioxide emitted into
the atmosphere.

All sorts of energy can be made to flow down that pipeline, including
natural gas, lumps of coal, and secondary forms such as electricity.

The start of the pipeline is what we call "upstream" and the outflow
is called "downstream".

There are only a few organisations "upstream" and many billions of
consumers "downstream".


There is, my friends, a resistance to cut the flow of Carbon from BOTH
ends of the Carbon Pipeline.

The producers want to make more money. The consumers wantonly consume
and consider it a birthright to burn Carbon.

If you place restrictions on the producer end, through laws, Peak Oil,
price of exploration rights, the consumers complain so badly they can
bring down governments, the producers go to court.

If you place restrictions on the consumer end, through Rationing,
price mechanisms, economic recession, the consumers complain so badly
they can bring down governments, the producers start doing propaganda
in all the mainstream media.


The only way to harmoniously achieve a reduction in the flow of Carbon
in the Pipeline is to constrict the flow AT BOTH ENDS.

Thus, we should have both producer caps and consumer rations.

This is also the ONLY strategy that will stabilise the Economy. I will
leave the reader to think this through. Suffice it to say that the
value of money is underpinned by the flow of Carbon, since we are so
dependent on it...


The overarching framework, to enable us to decide how much, where,
whom, is Contraction and Convergence, the simple, powerful arithmetic
about the fractions of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, and the
inevitable logic of survival that means we must make Carbon Cuts, and
we must do so with Equity to preserve the Peoples, the Environment,
the Biodiversity of Life and the Economy too.

Within C&C, we need both producer and consumer caps and controls.

Thus it is essential that the nations do Cap-and-something at the
upstream end of things.

But they must ALSO do Carbon Rationing for the Citizens, or the whole
thing will tip into chaos.

Look at what is happening to the Economies as a result of Peak Oil,
and you will understand my meaning.

Today's links (copy and paste)

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

The cost of living (on lunatics, and asylum.)

The UN High Commissioner for refugee reports that climate change is exacerbating conflicts that are displacing 37 million people - and rising. They warn that this is the beginning of a trend. No shit.
Meanwhile the Washington horse trading continues around whether or not to do anything about anything at all, or just plod on in ever decreasing 4 year circles of election expediency. Does Obama think the American way of life is negotiable? Does McCain? Hmm

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

The final frontier

Our collective expansionist fantasies are usually fueled by Hollywood, shoddy history and the far right, but sometimes the reporting of science's enthusiastic curiosity achieves a similar outcome. Too much TV has convinced the older parts of our brains that we can simply move on, beyond the final frontier, and steal some other bugger's planet for the pillaging delight of the elite few "on board".. This is not so, needless to say.
(Have you seen the price of rocket fuel lately? )

The brain-stretching technology involved has better uses. For a stupid species, we're really awfully clever.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Fool Supply

Widespread flooding in the US midwest leaves the harvest rotting in sodden fields; flooding in the uk threatens the survival of ground nesting birds; the EU complains that the US is dumping its subsidised Biofuels on European markets (subsidised agricultural dumping, moi?) and the absolute king of Saudi lands opts to crank the tap up a notch even though it's a financial (rather than supply) problem. Funny how we believe him when he claims limitless oil reserves, but not when he grasses the world's financial markets up on their profiteering.
So we can all get back to "normal" now, can we? Is there anybody anywhere who still thinks it's that simple?

Oh - and Solar power begins a break through on its way to "grid parity".

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Passing Solid Legislation

While even TopShop goes a shade of green (after it's own fashion) the UK and other national governments reject/block/throw away an EU bill to halt domestic waste proliferation as it might interfere with consumption patterns. Heaven forfend!

Meanwhile Nuclear Energy investors vote to pull the plug on any deal that doesn't involve screwing the customer for every penny they can get. Nice to know they're taking their responsibilities seriously.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Introducing Ugmug McDuff

As the Arctic sea ice disappears the rate of thawing across the vast expanse of arctic permafrost triples - threatening all sorts of feedback unpleasantness. On the plus side we'll get all manner of ice age throwbacks er... thrown back.

Meanwhile - the UK government thinks about doing away with tedious pollution regulations so as to facilitate the expansion of Heathrow -contrary to all public consultation and all good judgement.

(I would like to apologise to Nygel Packet - sometime Knight of the Occassional Table - for stealing his moniker. I hope you don't mind)

Friday, 13 June 2008

Everyday distractions

Dubya's farewell European tour seems to have gleaned him enough support to launch a quick Armageddon before he leaves office, whilst Gordon Brown advises everybody APART from Iran to build more nuclear capacity. I suppose it distracts him from the tedious feeding frenzy of personality politics at home.

The German energy giant E-On, declines to invest adequately in its UK Kingsnorth carbon spewer -preferring to let the public bear the costs of CCS whist it concentrates on the profit side of things.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Crackpots proved right (again)

No cartoon. Just an observation. Even when peak oil "theory" goes mainstream, the mainstream still refers to its originators as nutters, crackpots etc in order to retrospectively legitimise their long resistance to alternative interpretations of "reality". The orthodoxy (any orthodoxy, anywhere) is so psychologically inpenetrable that we cling to it even as the rubble begins to fall about our ears.
Revolution is not a dirty word.
Copy and paste link below'

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Oh do cheer up, you miserable old git!

I know it's not that funny - but what do you want for nowt?

Trust me, I'm a spin Doctor.

It's all going terribly well. Now that we've put into the (fundamentalist, economic) equations the (inconvenient, externalised) integers we've always left out (because they didn't add up right)...... we can see that..... it still doesn't add up right -and the whole thing was bollocks from the start. So if we just ignore that and press on....

After all - what's the worst that could happen?!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Catching the wind

When I was trying to give up smoking, I found that switching to a slightly lower tar brand made f*ck all difference to my overall health if I kept smoking more and more of 'em. Smoking is bad for you.

Whilst the price of fertilisers explodes along with that of oil -limiting the possibilities already limited by the experience of globally imposed monocultures - George Monbiot makes a timely plea for peasants.

Monday, 9 June 2008

four wheels good, two legs bad...?

A public transport system? Limitations on personal transport? I've never heard the like! The tone of some of the reporting is so idiotic and Clarksonesque as to make the very asphalt weep!
The copy and paste link below is not one of the offenders

Peak Mango

Richard Pike's claims that we're on course to fry ourselves with our (intensely disputed) reserves may be an attempt to calm the markets -which is a special kind of perverse.
The Masters of the Universe continue to starve and otherwise shaft the world's poor on the promise of jam tomorrow and in defense of their sacred right to profit.

We are all responsible for the predictable consequences of our own actions, in spades. We live in an open society - A wealthy democracy. There really aren't enough excuses to go 'round.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Nothing to get excited about

tick tock tick tock tick tock. What is that annoying sound?

Friday, 6 June 2008

Through the bins with cantankerous Frank

Melanie Rimmer of the esteemable BEAN-SPROUTS was looking for a recycling cartoon. I realise that I have sadly neglected the topic.

Going to Manchester tomorrow for a day of cultural exchange and solidarity - to call for peace and justice in Palestine. Albert Square 1 - 4.

Paradise Lost

Following on from the previous post/link. The beginning of a long painful process for many Pacific islanders, it would appear.

I'm going to shut up for a few days now.
Be of good cheer

Let them eat crepes

More ponderings post food summit.

Seed sales soar as the UK begins to go back to the land in its own little way. A fine pie can be made from scraps of encouragement like this, so lets throw that into the pot with world environment day and compost awareness week.

Saddest news of the day is that- without global outrage or mournful fanfare- the island of Kiribati has given up in the face of the rising tide and is planning for evacuation. This is in stark contrast to the Virgin Island of Beef (oh yes) that plans ecological devastation in the name of luxury accomodation, big yacht marinas, and golf for the world's uber-wealthy. Well, they work SOOOO hard.

Oh, and the US blackmails Iraq into perpetual illegal serfdom to BigOil. Nothing new there.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Government Health Warnings?

Whilst the US lays its long term plans to keep an imperialist control of a stooge-state Iraq, at least until the oil runs out, the EU legislates to curtail the ad-man's right to bullshit

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Quantum Muckanics

Amongst all the variously encouraging tidings - Hummers being "reviewed" by GM, puffins taking a nose-dive and Bosch buying up all the solar they can eat - it's difficult to know exactly where we're at, vis a vis the end of all that we know and love. But where there's doubt there's room for hope.

Was it curiosity killed Schrodinger's cat, or lack therof?

Thanks to Janet Alty and Neil Jones

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Old King Coal

The Coal lobby tries to terrify Americans with the awful prospect of not living like Kings anymore and joining the rest of the planet. It might just work.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Off the scale

The risks - financial, explosive and ecological - involved in developing large scale nuclear energy capacity, will be borne by the public at large, whilst the profits will be concentrated in very few, increasingly monopolistic hands.
The ghastly prospect of favouring the noises being made by the Tories pecks at my head. Strange days indeed.

Thanks to Marc Hudson for the idea

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Power to the people?

I don't know - it's the thin end of a big red wedge! First one person wants power, then the whole damn world wants power.

(I'm back at work tomorrow so I'll have to slow this cartoonery down. Her Majesty's madhouses don't run themselves, y'know.)

Quantum Economics

Economics is not a science