Tuesday, 30 September 2008

plus ca change

Before I get on my high horse - please take a look at the latest McFly (Manchester Climate Fortnightly).
and watch Leo Murray's short film

Now then...

As unregulated capitalism breathes its last, the world's bankers -unfazed, and with bonuses intact - gather for the World Economic Forum junket in Tianjin. I was going to do a strip based on the current (wholly unpredictable) financial debacle which juxtaposed the imminent belt tightening with a report by the Food Climate Research Network (of Surrey University) that calls for some climate driven belt-tightening. It would've tied it all up nicely and Frank would have got to say some scathing and self righteous stuff, whilst looking comically cross. Then I realised that I could just repost some old stuff from last year's WEF, by way of an "I told you so" - which I found more satisfying. Normally I would resist this, but I'm full of a cold and somewhat irritable.

I watched Chris Martenson's economics Crash Course presentation yesterday. The simplicity of our collectively generated financial illusion "repels the mind".

I have found myself unaccountably amused by the following joke for days now.

-I got some German christmas cake yesterday
-Was it stollen?
-No, I bought it from Aldi

( I apologise. )

Monday, 29 September 2008

Criminal Mastermind

Al Gore announces his incredulity at the lack of NVDA from the young in the face of global corporate inertia. Judging by some of the woefully misguided responses from the Right, you'd think he's advocated ritual kitten-disemboweling on the Whitehouse lawn.

Wouldn't it be grand if some high profile, well respected and experienced mainstream American politician could be found to lead the way into some actual, law-breaking, jail-time civil disobedience? If only there was someone like that somewhere....hmmm

Sunday, 28 September 2008


The Scottish assembly plans to unite the Celtic fringe in resisting Westminster's imposition of GM crops on/in their soil, whilst the Global Crop Diversity Trust are amassing a data and skills base to provide growers with "Climate Proof" crops for when the shit hits the fan. How Genetically Modified plants will ultimately fit into that scenario is, of course, hotly debated. Throbgoblins International would like to see the patent laws of the United States withdrawn from the field so that sense can be extracted. In the spirit of impending doom, we are pretty free with our own intellectual copyright, and would like to see Monsanto, BASF et al join the party

They can take our lives but they cannot take our FREEEEEEDOOOOOMMM! Sounds like a pretty poor deal to me.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

An inalienable right to exist?

A clause in the proposed Ecuadorian constitution - which goes to referendum on Sunday - gives Nature the inalienable right to exist within it's own cycles, and obliges Government to protect it. Nation states being what they are, this could never be as pure as it sounds, but it's a marvellous thing to commit to legislation. Let's hope the rest of it isn't Bollocks, and that Zorro's pessimism is misplaced..

A similar guarantee seems desperately needed in Europe, particularly if one is of the amphibean persuasion ( or a bird, or a fish, or a mammal, or a ...)

Meanwhile- whilst the government that brought you economic meltdown brings you that bit closer to climate chaos with a grand fudge over coal fired power - the more sensible among us re-use what we can, in the hope of having a little something left for the grandkids.

Congratulations to Marc and Sarah on their wedding today. You both deserve many blessings and some time off1

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Exponential Growth

I was recently harangued for figures by an internet troll who I carelessly engaged in debate. In putting these together I came across the following- which states the case eloquently. It's a lecture by Prof Albert Bartlett and knocks growth fetishism on its arse, and features all the figures necessary. Jump onto the the YouTube link to get the rest (it's a series of 8)

Wednesday, 24 September 2008


An Exeter University research report accuses greens of failing to meet their own professed standards. We're all a shower of shites, apparently. So we might as well give up now. So - I'm off to ram raid a kebab shop in a stolen Hummer before hi-jacking a private jet to take me to a slash and burn festival in Brasil with Jeremy f*cking Clarkson. And I shan't even put my litter in the bin. So there.

Throbgoblins International would like to apologise for the reckless use of the word hi-jack in the previous rant. It's neither big nor clever. We're very sorry.

Just spotted this - which looks very promising

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Ugmug's Methane Jaccuzzi

Melting sea-bed permafrost creates a virtual methane jaccuzi across vast stretches of Siberia - pumping millions of tons of methane into the atmosphere and threatening the positive feedback loop so long forecast by scientists. I don't know - these crazy lefties with their "global warming" and their "Economic meltdown". Ill informed alarmist nonsense!
More people should listen to that nice Nigel Lawson - you know - the one who deregulated the financial markets. Don't listen to the Met office. They're just crackers

I brought Ugmug in as a recently defrosted Neanderthal in an earlier Methane strip

Monday, 22 September 2008

A bird in the hand (is worth two of George Bush)

A report indicates that privately owned fisheries deplete slower and remain viable longer than the habitual free for all of the commons. It neglects to go into the tricky subject of policing or the morality of foreign owned stocks.

Common birds are in freefall (flap, my beauties, flap) all over the planet as climate change and environmental degradation take their toll. It occurs to me that once they (and the frogs) have gone, there's going to be an awful lot of extra insects around (but not bees).

I can't help but have one more slug at the financial f*ck-up. The New York staff of the bankrupt Lehman Bros are to be rewarded for their total incompetence with billions in collective bonuses whilst the likes of you and I are looking at increased taxes to pay for it. Marvellous. Surely there must be some actual moustache twirling going on somewhere, to the soundtrack of heavily echoed BWAHAHAAHAARs

At the Manchester "Labour" party conference - I saw John Prescott standing unguarded, chatting in the street yesterday, in marked contrast to the wailing multi-vehicled cavalcade taking Gordon to lunch. I'm not particularly getting at Brown there. The leadership nonsense is a sideshow. It just showed up how things have changed from old to new labour; from ordinary bloke to celebrity. The streets are blocked off with attractively made barriers that seem designed to distract you from the fact that you are no longer allowed to approach your elected representatives during the congress of the People's party.
I've never seen so many police in the city centre, drafted in from all over the show to rummage through the rucksacks of students and look sideways at foreigners. All very cosmopolitan.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Socialism to the rescue?

Let's hope that Asia and the petro-economies don't decide to get all "Black Monday" on the Dollar's arse. (links to follow)

Now that we can finally acknowledge the validity of big government interventions in major crises - perhaps we can start looking at Climate Change through more focused eyes.

Craig Mackintosh of the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia sent the following link,

and there's this, from the FT

Friday, 19 September 2008

Where has all the imaginary money GONE?

Ern is misquoting the Anti-Growth Fetishist Clive Hamilton

They deregulated everything they could get their hands on and used numbers plucked from the air to pump lusts and fictions into every aspect of a globalised world economy. They did away with society and promised us big houses and big bucks and the moon on a stick. They called everybody who questioned their rationale communists, terrorist sympathisers or fools. They made collectivists feel like shit and psychopaths feel like kings. They wouldn't buy my cartoons. They took control of everything and dominated global politics for a generation. "NO BIG GOVERNMENT" was their battle cry (oh how we laughed!)
Can we perhaps do some tinkering now please.

Maybe our tendency, as a species, to seek a dominant (usually male) individual to take all the risks and act as a fulcrum that determines everyone's status extends to our devotion to creed. We seem to throw our lot in entirely with ideologies that have almost no sense in them at all beyond the narrow boundaries of the class or caste that created them. This One God bollocks hasn't helped. I mean -really? One? That's just asking for trouble.

I wonder if we're ready for democracy yet? You know the gig - everybody engaged and on top of their game as active citizens instead of cow-eyed, shopaholic tossers desperate for (please God) just ONE MORE year of (perpetual, star-crazed, lazy arsed, wank-wracked) adolescence.

Obviously, just because the financial elite are now shown to be as incompetent and corrupt as any other elite anywhere, ever, it doesn't mean the revolution is just around the corner, or that capitalism is about to throw in the towel. It's dug in too deep in our collective psyche. But let's surf the irony to a slightly better place, shall we`?

Thursday, 18 September 2008

The lesser of two evils

This epiphany may have come just in time to save Frank's gall bladder. We all have our blind spots.
Before anyone gets all upset, I would like to make it clear that - Yes, of course, a predominantly vegetarian diet is by far the healthiest for both individual and ecosystem. My own opinion is that meat is for high days and holidays and then only under the strictest ethical and humanitarian conditions. I'm not indulging in dietary relativism here. I'm just saying...you know....mass production...cheap pizzas...shit cheese...habitual consumption...food miles. Nothing is as simple as it seems. (apart from, occassionally, myself.) The source of the food is the question that everyone has to address.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

The Fictitious Economy

Introducing Mrs Ebola Congleton - promoted beyond her capabilities into a pivotal role near you, today.

The meltdown continues. As the faithful wonder how all this could possibly have happened, the rest of us wonder how it lasted this long. "I told you so" is such an ugly phrase. The deluded continue to argue amongst themselves about the price of defending capitalism and the cost of a Damien Hirst. Suddenly FDR is everywhere and we're all supposed to pretend that the entire business and financial elite haven't totally f*cked up.

Guillemots are killing each other's chicks as fish stocks collapse (Aaah - they're almost human, you know);The UK gov't tries to wheedle out of its responsibilities on emissions reduction;while the broadcasters concentrate on the US, Cuba and Haiti are devastated by hurricanes caused by the habits of their wealthy neighbour.

It seems the value of money is inextricably tied up in the subjectivity of the rich. As the wealthy flee the field the financial institutions go tits-up, leaving the poor to pick up the bill. As they keep telling us - it's all about business confidence. What a wonderful foundation for a global civilisation. How stable. How secure.

There'll be a lot of arguing over shifting numbers before the realisation hits that's it's actually the principles that have been miscalculated.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Economic Creationism

These things don't always lend themselves to pithy strips.
I'm getting increasingly alarmed, depressed and generally pissed off by the rise of creationism as some sort of "alternative science" that deserves to be considered by sensible people and even taught to our children. Perhaps we should consider teaching Erik von Daniken as well, or maybe Terry Pratchet. It's turtles all the way down, you know. I suppose it's not surprising - seeing as our entire economic system - and therefore our culture - is based on a fairytale that flies in the face of reason. Specifically - Why do we believe we can prize an infinite amount from a finite resource and grow our economies exponentially in perpetuity? Because we want to. Because it's easier to believe that than to face the realities of our situation and because it upsets people to think otherwise. So Bollocks to physics, biology and climatology. They're too difficult. Give us Super Heroes and Father Christmas. Give us cornucopia and abracadabra.
The fact that we persist in this doublethunk mindf*ck under our present economic management - with banks going tits-up left, right and centre - is a remarkable testament to our "faith"

The idea was to seamlessly plait these two threads into irrefutable comic gold. The evidence may point in another direction but, in the spirit of the age, I shall choose to believe I succeeded.

And finally...
Many thanks to Andrew Revkin for pointing readers of his (and the New York Times') DotEarth in our direction. Much appreciated

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Money for Nothing

The emissions permit scheme designed to help the planet only seems to be benefittiing the polluters. The facts speak for themselves.

The Only Planet, Manchester, featured in the cartoon, is being officially launched at the Sandbar, Grosvenor St, Manchester on Wednesday 17th September from 8pm- so if you're within range please come along and support it.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Lawful Excuse

Climate change protest upheld as lawful in court and campaigners aquitted. Well done to all concerned. Good work. Let's hope the precedent sticks, and no one gets silly.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Mailing List Failure

Back to normal now

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Generically Mollified?

I was irritated by the pre-reporting of Sir David King's speech - trailed as a righteous condemnation of dangerous green nutters. The debate about the wisdom of conceding control of the planets food resources to organisations driven solely by profit - in conditions of globalised markets, uncontrolled urbanisation and peak energy and population - is being concealed behind scare stories about scare stories. That context is crucial and should be as open to informed debate as the science behind the GM crops themselves.
I didn't find any of it funny. So this isn't.

Monday, 8 September 2008


In my head, earlier, this was REALLY funny. Oh well.
Farmers successfully lower the methane emissions of cattle by the judicial addition of fibre. It doesn't address the big livestock issues but it's to be welcomed nonetheless.
Elsewhere there is much joy at finding a source of methane to burn - to provide a massive 5% of our energy for one whole year! Perhaps there are some points being missed here in the rush to fill up bank accounts.

Sunday, 7 September 2008


I don't know how sound the science is on this, but a German lecturer has gathered evidence to support the oft made case that it is a pollution of electro-smog made up of the various wavelengths of our everyday electronic chatter that is behind colony collapse disorder and the tribulations of migrating birds. Not foxes, you say? Well - Zorro appears in his capacity as convenor of the Revolutionary Wldlife Alliance, and has the full backing of conference (although apparrently the wasps abstained)

Meanwhile the UN finally cuts to the chase and talks about behaviour modification (ie - cut back on the meat) and the Germans begin burying CO2 with the first fully working Carbon Capture and Storage system. Thank God nothing EVER goes wrong with human technology and there are NEVER any unexpected consequences over the long term and Geologists/seismologists are so famously accurate at predicting earthquakes and other tectonic inconveniences. It'll all work out fine.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Here comes the flood

New estimates in the journal Science put climate change induced sea level rise by 2100 at between 80 - 200 cm, and don't rule out the upper limit. The discussions on this at RealClimate fly over my head, but the figures speak for themselves.

And another version for our transatlantic readers, who may not be au fait with parochial English snobberies.

And the warming Carribbean throws up ever worse consequences for those least prepared

Thursday, 4 September 2008

The comfort of strangeness

To commit an illegal act in order to prevent a greater harm is legitimate. James Hansen goes to Maidstone

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Growing Problems

If you've been reading your New Internationalist (and if you haven't, go out and get one now) you'll now be pretty well primed on the wonderful world of plastic. We at Throbgoblins International were unaware of the scale of Bio -plastic expansion (that's Genetically Modified foodstuffs grown for cellusose and starch to replace oil as a staple of the plastics industry) and are now suitably depressed by the implications of a doubling of capacity during a food shortage. We would cheer ourselves up with a flagon of ginger beer if we didn't now have a working overview of plastic bottle production. It's a pickle.

Throbgoblin's place of residence was long ago overwhelmed by a great, looming Gargantumart, which has finally chased the last living shopkeeper out of town as a proposed rejuvenation plan collapsed when developers pulled out prematurely (leaving the council embarrassed and unsatisfied.) This has been compounded by the collapse of the local (hugely inflated) housing market, which has left many residents reeling at the awful realisation that they may have to stay here. Our neighbours are consoling themselves with strong lager and scuffles, but there's no hiding the hurt.

And, of course, climate change advances apace, with ice shelves collapsing left right and centre and only the US Republican party - and Sarah Palin in particular - left in any doubt.

on The Perfect Customer

This one didn't quite work out, but after tinkering with it for far too long I'm damned if I'm going to bin it now.

It was supposed to be a deep and meaningful riff on the disparity between the perfect customer - narcissistic, impatient and selfish - and the perfect citizen - socially engaged, self disciplined and altruistic. But it turned into a straightforward chunder gag. Needs sound effects.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Bad Science

James Lovelock warns that we may have no option but to let the great cull roll over us, because we're far too stupid and venal to change ..... whilst journalistic opinion is split on the good judgement of letting a bunch of Kwik-Fit cowboys loose on the engine of life.
Fortunately we have an educated, culturally sophisticated and scientifically literate media that is deeply committed to covering every aspect of this great debate down to the most minute detail - so we'll all be kept up to date.

On an entirely irrelevant subject...

Throbgoblins International accidentally channel-hopped into about two of the endless minutes of cruelty and cloning that make up the UK X-factor. Two minutes seemed to cover pretty much everything it has to offer, and it duly nudged us further towards the Lovelockian stance. We may start the cull ourselves.
Maybe we dropped in on a bad two minutes - a peculiar and unrepresentatively horrific parade of hypnotised, clockwork fashion-parrots spewing identi-kit memorexed whines at some souless money-grubbing prick. Maybe the rest of it was brilliant. Maybe if we'd stuck with it we would have become joyously uplifted by the desperate hope of these cut-and-paste wannabes. We might have become deeply involved in their quest to transcend the ghastly ordinariness that we poor fame-starved nobodies must endure. We might have picked and championed one to become a star, a diva, a God, a flashing comet of wonderfulness blinding the long tail of us piddling working mortals in his/her fabulous wake . But a thousand bollocks to that. It's an awful, fuck-witted arse-wipe of a programme, and a perfect example of the brain deadened, idolotrous toddlerism that's fucking everything up.
A pox on it.
Now where's my guitar...