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Optimistography - Josh 159

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Matt Ridley's wonderful book The Rational Optimist provided some upbeat fodder for Reader's Digest which Matt has posted on his blog.

As it has been 'Planet under pressure' week I thought I would join in.

Cartoons by Josh

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Reader Comments (25)

fabulous!! This is a keeper, thanks Josh!!

p.s. What a thrill for me.... not only did I get to see this magnificent cartoon, I got to make the first comment on the thread. I will be smiling all afternoon.....

Apr 2, 2012 at 5:50 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Smile and the earth smiles with you...

Apr 2, 2012 at 5:59 PM | Registered CommenterJosh
Apr 2, 2012 at 6:10 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Now Josh, that is just brilliant and it genuinely one of your best ever.



Apr 2, 2012 at 7:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Walsh

That's a good one Josh.... Keep it up.

Apr 2, 2012 at 7:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterfenbeagle

On the positive side ... yes everything is going/has gone our way and only a dumb idiot who is totally clueless about science could possible believe the global warming scam..

On the negative side ... holyrood and westminster are full of dumb idiots who are scientific illiterates

Apr 2, 2012 at 8:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler

Has your bishness noted that the great Dr Hansen is in Embra ?

Apr 2, 2012 at 8:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterMorph

We do need balance. Seven billion humans and how many whales, lions, tigers, and elephants? About the only thing that seems to match our population growth are termites, fleas, ticks, cockroaches, mice and rats.

While I have no love for the Green Peace storm troopers, particularly those advocating violence like Paul Ward, we do need to seek balance. We do not have it and it will, one day, consume us.

Sorry Josh -- I can not agree with this Pollyannic projection.

Apr 2, 2012 at 8:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

hi Don....You could help things out, by keeping an elephant in your room.

Apr 2, 2012 at 9:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterfenbeagle

Matt reminds me of the old saw, "What do you see on the rocky road ahead, stumbling blocks or stepping stones? It depends on the point of view."

These days I prefer to eschew the delights of self-inflicted guilt trips.

Apr 2, 2012 at 9:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterDr K.A. Rodgers

Although many scares have been overblown I think the cartoon is a bit too optimistic. The world still has major problems. Also we need to distinguish between things that we can put up with and things that are desirable. In this country, for example, we could probably put up with a continuation of mass immigration for another decade or two but who wants to live surrounded by concrete? The countryside lifts people's spirits.

One of the great things about countries like Canada is the feeling of space that you have there. In Canada, and even in much of the US too, you feel that cities are something that are found in various parts of the open country. In most of Britain, in contrast, the countryside is those areas that are found in between the cities. Most of our problems in the UK are created by people who think that the whole country should be like Islington.

Apr 2, 2012 at 10:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

"Although many scares have been overblown I think the cartoon is a bit too optimistic. The world still has major problems"
In the green corner we have multi-billion $ fuelled doom and gloom while in the blue corner we have penny-funded, Rational Optimism in a cartoon format.
C'mon Roy, less of the doom and gloom. To be frank that just ain't you and you'll never be a Frank!

Apr 2, 2012 at 10:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

Don, I would love more whales, lions, tigers and elephants ( maybe another cartoon) but that is not quite the point of the cartoon which was to illustrate Matt's blog post. I am sure you read it, what did you think?

And yes, more balance, can only be a good thing.

Apr 2, 2012 at 11:09 PM | Registered CommenterJosh

Apr 2, 2012 at 11:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Great cartoon, Josh ... it does perfect justice to the RD excerpts from Matt's book!

As I had concluded in a post on my blog* yesterday ...

Seems to me that the only "pressure" our planet is under derives not from anything you or I might be doing (or not) to the environment, but rather from the agenda of ideologically driven bureaucrats and their very closely aligned stable of NGOs – not to mention their stooges partners, such as the CBC and the BBC’s Richard Black, in the mainstream media.

YMMV, but I’m inclined to suspect that as far as “pressure” goes, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet – and that those who inhabit our planet will be under considerably more pressure during the next ten years of this new, improved “Future Earth” initiative to “meet … sustainable development goals”.

* For details, pls see: Our planet is under pressure

Apr 2, 2012 at 11:24 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

what a wonderful world, josh.

2 April: Financial Times: Carbon prices tumble to record low
By Pilita Clark and Javier Blas in London
Carbon prices fell to a record low on Monday after the release of official data showing a bigger than expected drop in the amount of pollution emitted by power plants and factories in the European Union’s emissions trading system last year.
Benchmark EU carbon prices dropped to €6.14 a tonne – nearly 14 per cent down from the previous day’s close – after preliminary European Commission figures showed that carbon dioxide emissions in 2011 were about 2.4 per cent lower than in the previous year…
The slump means that prices of carbon permits traded on the EU carbon market, the world’s biggest, have fallen more than 60 per cent over the past 12 months, raising questions about how well the scheme can achieve its goal of encouraging low-carbon investment…
The rise in electricity generated from renewable sources such as solar and wind farms was surprising, said Trevor Sikorski of Barclays Capital. “We thought there would be 20 gigawatts of renewable capacity and we got 30GW last year, so that’s 50GW in the last two years. That’s an enormous amount,” he said, adding if the trend continued, along with modest economic growth, the market would be oversupplied for even longer than expected and prices would stay low. “The market was already going to be oversupplied up to 2020,” he said. “We would not think the price would be above €15 for at least five years,” he added, unless there was intervention to remove permits from the market…
“The political conditions have never been better for policy makers to rescue the ETS from the twin legacies of overallocation and recession,” said Damien Morris, senior policy adviser from the climate campaign group, Sandbag.
“Members of the European Parliament across the political spectrum now recognise that we need a robust carbon price over the coming decade if we’re to reach Europe’s longer-term climate goals cost-effectively, and business voices – including major energy companies – are also demanding intervention.
“But the window is rapidly closing to fix the ETS before the next trading period commences in 2013. It is therefore imperative that the European Council move swiftly to support Parliament’s proposal in the Energy Efficiency Directive to withdraw ETS allowances; that way we can present companies with a clear investment framework out to 2020 that is also environmentally robust.”

it's all so arbitrary...

Apr 3, 2012 at 12:22 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

And Amazon sales of unread copies of Candide continue to rise.

Apr 3, 2012 at 12:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Josh, I like your stuff.
Did you deliberately put "more oil" as close to the Falklands as you could get it? Nice...

Apr 3, 2012 at 3:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Hill


Let's distinguish between two very different propositions:

1) Eco-scaremongers frequently exaggerate for political and ideological purposes,


2) This is the "best of all possible worlds" (Dr. Pangloss)

I believe the first and not the second. I also believe that many eco-scaremongers approach the anti-Pangloss position, pretending (for political purposes) that we are in danger of reaching the "worst of all possible worlds" -- or at least a lot of alarmist hysteria sounds that way.

Apr 3, 2012 at 3:14 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

That's a picture I would love to see on classroom walls. And on newspaper frontpages, and as the wallpaper on BBC computers and newsrooms. But being anti-totalitarian, I would not want to insist upon it. A pity there has been so much insistence on spreading less attractive, less accurate, less inspiring views of the world. Who could possibly want to do that? Julian Simon ( exposed the nonsense of their basic position a generation ago, and Matt Ridley has relit that torch in our time. Many thanks to Josh for enhancing the illumination!

For those not happy with this sort of optimism, I'd say just admit the illustrated positions into your debates as serious contenders. I'd say even make them the starting points, the default positions, the null hypotheses if you like, and see how well they may be able to stand up to contrary views.

Anyway, thank you again Josh. These days you need a certain amount of thick skin to dare to be so cheerful!

Apr 3, 2012 at 9:26 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

I'm with the smilers on this one. There is a lot wrong with this world, mainly due to the tendency of mankind to err on the selfish and lazy side, but there is a huge potential for good in man, and the inate spark of curiosity and the ability to harness intelligence and physical resources has seen us do great things, and we're capable of a lot more.

Apr 3, 2012 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

John Shade "That's a picture I would love to see on classroom walls."

I suggested the same over at WUWT. It would cost around £2,200 to print 50,000 A2 colour posters. Distributing them would require a voluntary input.

AGW activists (and the Left) are real experts at this type of thing (relying on opposing voices being disorganised/broke and therefore silent).

Apr 3, 2012 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter S

The frontispiece to Bjorn Lomberg's book "The Skeptical Environmentalist" has the following quotation by Julian Simon (1932-98), Professor of Economics, University of Maryland:

This is my long-run forecast in brief:

The material conditions of life will continue to get better for most people, in most countries, most of the time, indefinitely. Within a century or two, all nations and most of humanity will be at or above today's Western living standards.

I also speculate, however, that many people will continue to think and say that the conditions of life are getting worse.

Apr 3, 2012 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

I'm with Don on this (and Al Bartlett).

I'm not a 'Tweenie Greenie', but I have few reasons for optimism, I see far too much lack of care and much nastiness in my fellow men (my daughter and I have re-named Homo Sapiens "Homo Pullus Sine Capite" (Headless Chicken Man) - so I have one question to the optimists :-

"How are we going to feed 10 billion people after all the fossil fuels have been exhausted?"

Apr 3, 2012 at 6:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterCrowcatcher

Current projections (USCB) indicate that the population will peak at around 9bn, not the 10bn in some of the higher (and earlier) UN projections, giving around 2bn extra mouths to feed. Of those, 1bn could be fed from the food currently wasted in the UK and US.(Tristram Stuart). This leaves a 15% increase in food production over the next 30 odd years to cover the difference. Not a great issue I suspect.

Apr 3, 2012 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

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