Friday, 30 January 2009

Selective Seratonin

A Greenpeace report implicates our obsession with beef - which pumps out 57 times more GHG emissions than would a similar obsession with potatoes - in up to 80% of deforestation.

Researchers believe that a build up of seratonin is at the root of the destructive swarming behaviour of locusts.

We at Throbgoblins International think studies should be funded into the effects of dangerous build ups of beef on the destructive swarming behaviour of humans. It might prove illuminating.

Thanks to Susan Anderson for the nod

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Boffin a Bathtub (again)

This a comic from 2007 (put together with Marc Hudson) which bears re- posting today in response to Andy Revkin's piece (echoed by Joe Romm) about MIT's John Sterman and his "Bathtub Effect" - which we heartily recommend.
I apologise for the clunky back and forthness of the page opening. The new website will sort this out. It is imminent(ish)

Elsewhere - The uber wealthy of Dubai are swimming in shit (which pushes our shaudenfreude button quite nicely) ...and purveyors of alternate economic realities enjoy a bit of a crow in Davos.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Multi-Coloured Swop Shop

As money dries up, more traditional means of exchange reassert themselves, whilst the pillage of the poor by the wealthy continues, for those with the means. Those without the means speak up where they can.

Elsewhere, sanity and gibbering madness compete for attention with hubris and incompetence

Monday, 26 January 2009

Plots and Plans

Sowing and reaping becomes a more unpredictable affair as weather begins to dance to a new tune

Obama keeps his momentum going.

Please complain to the BBC about their shameful and cowardly refusal to broadcast appeals for humanitarian aid to Gaza. It won't take a minute.

Meanwhile, turbines get tougher, racism gets weirder and yeast levels begin to stabilise

Sunday, 25 January 2009


Up the slope of optimism....and down the other side.

If we choose to rebuild the new economy in the image of the old one we only postpone calamity. Too many people wanting too much stuff. Something's gotta give.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Services Rendered

Throbgoblins International have been struck down with a combination of Databases, new character sketching and Man-Flu today and are thus a tad generic, but....

Whilst American Trees topple prematurely, the American President hits the ground running with a timetable for the shutting of Guantanamo Bay and other CIA Ghost Prisons, as well as plans for a raft of measures to begin the re-engineering of America - from Car emissions to energy efficiency.

Thanks to Ethical Consumer Magazine, whose cartoon this is.

Thanks also to New Internationalist magazine for their continued support. The cartoon below was originally published by them

and a little illustration of municipal quarter measures in the greening of manchester, for McFly

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Compost Mentis

Obama puts a brake on Bush's last ditch planet mashers and The Democratic (?)Republic of Congo bravely attempts to put a break on deforestation (whilst scientists talk of bio-engineering solutions)

Meanwhile we run out of water, and water boarding

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Carried Away

Frank doesn't often get infected with enthusiastic optimism, but he's been listening to Frank Turner CDs and Barack Obama speeches so it had to happen sooner or later.

There are figures of every kind being hurled around at the energy summit in Abu Dhabi -amongst them these.

The electric car lobby still need to explain where all this extra capacity will come from - things being as they are. Lifestyle is still not on the table, it seems.

Monday, 19 January 2009

A Many Splendoured Thing

Obama's plans to relaunch the US and thus the world economy on a green and sustainable footing are ambitious and long overdue - after 8 years of swaggering, blue-blooded halfwittery. We at Throbgoblins International send our best wishes along in the hope that impossible expectations will be at least seriously addressed.

Sometimes it seems that it is the lot of the project of the left (in whichever or all of its historical forms) to simply bang its head against the walls of the house of power, which it can never enter without abandoning its virtue.
But times change. We'll see.

A Fond Farewell to Tony Hart.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Fixing Medea

If this looks somewhat familiar it's because it's a reworking of a Christmas strip - riffing on an amendment suggested by the venerable Tom Wigley - who knows a lot more about this than I do. Thanks to Andrew Revkin.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Ursine Defecatory Patterns

Ah - boffin humour.
I don't wish to put all the onus on scientists here, but in an age of profound stupidity they are the ones whose answers stand between us and biblical catastrophe. The UK government appears to have misunderstood the climate science on aviation emissions, misreading it as a license to dish out backhanders left , right and centre. George Bush and his entire administration totally failed to get a grip on any of the science that came their way in eight years, and we have the evidence of that faith based idiocy all around us.
Climate science is complicated stuff. it's not weather. It requires that people actually focus their entire attention throughout a series of complex, multi-clausal sentences. The challenge of science is to get the bewildering intricacy of complex systems into a 5 second sound bite that can be jammed into the most resistant skulls at the end of long pole whilst the rest of the head chugs slushies and watches porn. Maybe the new Obama administration can spin one..

Thanks to Marc Hudson, Matt Bright and Cassidy Irving.

Good link in DarkOptimism's comment below

Thursday, 15 January 2009


As was widely predicted the UK government ignored the advice of science and went with the urgings of panicky economists to authorise a third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow.

Whoops - a synchronicitous error on my part. When I titled this post I hadn't heard about the US airways jet crash landing into the Hudson River after succumbing to a .....bird strike.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Turf War

Just a quick spot - from an idea from Craig Mackintosh.
Whoops -I've just realised that I'm still putting 2008 on the cartoons. Ho Hum

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Property-Owning Democracy

Climate change activists buy land to thwart Heathrow developers. Good work. These things can catch on.

The Times reports, with innappropriate zeal, that, as increasing levels of worldwide deforestation are being slightly moderated by a small degree of partial regrowth in some areas, we might stave off the end by an additional twenty minutes. Hoorah.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Job Vacancy

The sea's capacity to absorb CO2 diminishes, promising further escalations, whilst we leap into action by building more airports, preparing for climate-conflict and ever so slightly reducing the size of our TVs.

Elsewhere the IDF breach 900 Palastinian dead and receives applause from a President and an administration that cares not for the future.

Thanks to Marc Hudson

Saturday, 10 January 2009

A Fair C.O.P.

It might sound like Rex Tillerson is making a significant concession in recognising the reality of anthropogenic global warming and his industry's part in it. but, in the build up to Copenhagen, in the middle of a financial meltdown, Exxon seem to be seizing the initiative by putting their weight behind carbon taxation and against international regulation. That way they can stall meaningful action untill the public rebel and elect another bunch of redneck half-wits. Or am I being cynical?

That's not to say that Throbgoblins International are opposed to the idea of carbon taxation. Those pesky externals certainly do need internalising. But a toolbox that contains only hammers is no bloody use to anyone.

For those unfamiliar with the reference . it is to the story of Sweeny Todd - the Demon Barber of Fleet Street - who killed his customers so that his mistress could turn them into pies.

Friday, 9 January 2009

A figure of Speech

I've been tediously going through all last year's cartoons to put them on a database for the new website (which WILL happen, honestly) and came upon this one, from September - which I'd forgotten about. It was originally published in Ethical Consumer Magazine. Whilst not wildly news related, it still holds water (!)

Contrasting sides of China compete for posterity - via Climate Progress and DotEarth

The US senate shows its contempt for the people of Gaza, whilst calls increase for an apartheid-style boycott of the Israeli state

Today's news features the welcome and long overdue re-education of the head of ExxonMobil, who has finally thrown in the towel and admitted that yes - we've screwed the climate. Hallelujah. But his main thrust seems to be trying to head off international action by putting the onus on domestic taxation - which is a safe bet in a recession. Once a Sith Lord, always a Sith Lord. Cartoon on this tomorrow. Just thought I'd mention it today

The bigger they are...

The arse falls out of the Chinese recycling industry, causing hardship to millions and stalling one of the few large scale attempts to limit the damage we're doing.
Of course we should repair, re-use and recycle wherever possible - that should go without saying - but this stuff is travelling thousands of miles to seek out cheap labour, and is still inextricably tied in to high levels of consumption - which is, of course, why it's flagging now. This international trade is a short term fix. The real solutions surely lie in reduction of waste through reduction in consumption.

Reports indicate that a reduction in consumption is coming our way anyway, so perhaps we might like to consider doing something about it?

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Honesty and Realism?

Whilst Israel's formidable military machine visits ruthless collective punishment upon Gaza - an action that is a bitter insult to the sufferings of history and is condemned around the world ......
Sir John Harman calls for realism and honesty as we move into a renewable energy future, whilst GazProm underlines the point by freezing the extremities off of winter-bitten Europe.

Even the trees are against us.

Those of us with an excess of options on our potential menus are asked to consider our options a little more carefully

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

No Claims Bonus

Bradwell nuclear power station leaked like a cullender for years and nobody seems to feel responsible, whilst civil servants collude with government and the Sellafield mob to make sure they never need to say sorry in the event that their leaky buckets of toxic sludge go boom.
What's that you say? Too 1970s? Maybe. We at Throbgoblins International are aware that our choices about power are somewhat constrained -what with humans being a greedy and somewhat addled bunch, disinclined to switch anything off. So of course we must consider some short term fixes that would be best left alone in less pressing circumstances. But we don't think it unreasonable to ask that the mad dog be effectively chained.

Elsewhere Dubya's penny drops, for the briefest of moments
the Stanstead Plane Stupid protestors get their wrists slapped after their fine work of December 8th.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Icarus Ascending

The UK gov't tries to cover up the scandal of the Heathrow expansion with the fig-leaf of a (rhetorical?) tagged on Rail hub, but a hub without spokes does not make a wheel.

The punchline is, perhaps, a self-indulgent echo of my favourite series of Labrats cartoons - A little self contained AGW parable. A small thing, but mine own.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Paradise Lost

The Maldives economy relies on the sort of behaviour - conspicuous consumption by jet-set tourists - that guarantees that the Maldives will dissappear beneath the waves. In the meantime they're stockpiling all the crap they can gather. Perhaps they're jockeying to be the new Easter Island.

In Brasil, it appears that - not only are they hacking back rainforest for the benefit of millions of wobble-bottomed, burger munching ninnies, - but they're doing it with slaves.

And of course the Shoa in Gaza goes on

Friday, 2 January 2009

Slip Hazard

With apologies to Robert Newman

A percentage of Climate scientists expect that climate engineering of some sort will be required - because we as a species just can't be arsed with changing our behaviour.
Marvellous. Can I have my Jet-Pack now?

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Wrong Track

Of course the real news is the ongoing brutalising of the people of Gaza by the Israeli army, but I shall stick to my brief.

UK train operators push rail travel out of the range of many by magically manipulating......TIME ITSELF!!!... and shutting loads of offices

Elsewhere, The future is put on hold, Ukraine has its gas cut off and engineers come up with a cement that is carbon negative.