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Mapping the debate - Josh 165



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With a certain amount of hysteria and hand wringing over the latest Heartland ads I thought a more pastoral cartoon might be a good idea.

I will update the cartoon if people suggest improvements but my aim is to express where we are in the debate over Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming - I think the catastrophists are on a small island of sinking sand out there somewhere cold, and, even though there are still arguments to win and vested interests to battle, I think the land is ours.

Here is the wonderful Shakespeare reference in full.

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,--
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

William Shakespeare, "King Richard II", Act 2 scene 1

Cartoons by Josh

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Reader Comments (78)

This Blessed Plot also being Hugo Young's brilliant but tricksy title for his history of the UK's relationship with the European Economic Community as it morphed slowly but surely into the European Union. Tricksy because Young knew very well plot means more than one thing in English. At the point he wrote the title typified the smugness of the elite in the safe knowledge that they were winning. But as Chris Booker once said to me, the unravelling of the CAGW illusion - with the help of the euro crisis - spells a major problem for the blessed ones, the anointed, as Thomas Sowell likes to call them. It's probably a good cartoon too Josh - certainly the line "here's that Shakepearian reference in full" surely owes much to Booker's baby Private Eye :)

May 4, 2012 at 5:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

That mapis vaguely familiar, look you. I particularly like the poly bears on Snowden, and the Isle of Mann. Is that an iceberg that the SS IPCC has hit?

May 4, 2012 at 5:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy Old Man

I suggest the addition of a prison for climate criminals to Skeptic Isle that shows Hansen, Mann and Schmidt behind bars

May 4, 2012 at 5:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaddy

Josh: Shouldn't that flag read "MSM" instead of "MSN"? Just curious.

May 4, 2012 at 5:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterGilbert K. Arnold

Josh, nice cartoon, and I wish I could share your optimism.
But if you read the Richard II quote to the end (it's a long sentence) is ends up saying that our royal throne of kings "is now leas'd out" ... "with rotten parchment bonds" and "ruin'd with heinous windfarms" (OK I made that bit up).

May 4, 2012 at 5:40 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Shakespeare and Josh - two great sources of joy and insight!

Thank you for a mighty mental image of how it ought to be, with calm and reason occupying a green and pleasant land, and unhinged alarm occupying a sandy outpost. And many other delightful details to boot!

May 4, 2012 at 5:41 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade


You should have had a green peace boat with "here be dragons (nutters)" underneath

May 4, 2012 at 5:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

This Septic Isle

This throne of pseudo demigods, this septic tank,
This earth of majesty, this seat of sleaze,
This other Eden, domain of Hades,
This Coalition built and Nurtured for itself
Against infection and the hand job of whore,
This unhappy breed of men, this little world,
This lump of coal set in the fishless sea,
Which is served from a hole in a wall
Or as a privet hedge defensive to a negative equity home,
Against the envy of less happier lands,--
This piss pot, this earth, this realm, this Britain

Condem, Act 2 Scene 1" (Bill Wagstick)

May 4, 2012 at 5:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

I think declaring victory is altogether premature.

When I can buy a 100W lamp bulb in B&Q maybe I'll start to believe it.

May 4, 2012 at 6:11 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Thanks Josh. You never fail to lighten the heart, even when it threatens to founder in all this mess.

May 4, 2012 at 6:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterneill

But, on the positive side, it does seem some time since I last saw someone use the term "climate criminal".

May 4, 2012 at 6:19 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Gilbert, yes! Will correct... done, many thanks.

May 4, 2012 at 6:26 PM | Registered CommenterJosh

Good one Josh. Love the broken windmill palm tree.

How about a message in a bottle from the marooned chaps on the island - perhaps containing a catastrophic prediction or a grant application?

Also, while you are running out of room in the sea, with the Titanic and all, don't forget the dragons, whales and sea monsters that used to appear on old maps as a possible inspiration.

May 4, 2012 at 6:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohanna

Another fine effort Josh. I would suggest redoing the shale gas well-head in a brighter colour, say dark blue. The MSM have conditioned us over the years, like Pavlov's dogs, to react negatively to depictions of industrial infrastructure, like the black-belching power station smokestacks against a glowering sunset meme. A more attractive depiction will help to decondition our manipulated subconscious!

May 4, 2012 at 7:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

Nice one, Josh - I notice that sea level "still only comes half-way up a duck", and there's the duck itself!

May 4, 2012 at 7:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Cartoon crowd-sourcing! Wonderful.

Mike Haseler, if you're here, I reckon you should ask Josh's permission to use this as the 'logo' for the new Scottish Sceptics body at

Josh's art elegantly and humourously summarises most of the great public-friendly information you've just written, and I assume are about to add to the website.

And thank you Josh; you never fail to raise a wry smile.

May 4, 2012 at 7:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaulH from Barcelona

I think I would make it a 3 island map after all who in the sceptic camp would want to be associated with "Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory.’"
There should be two tiny islands one for the alarmists and one for the sky dragon people plus those of similar ilk.
Also I would make the sceptic isle more variable to mirror the large differences of opinion amongst more sensible climate scientists. After all Roger Pielke senior has always maintained that he was a warmer but not convinced that CO2 is the main or only forcing we need to consider.

May 4, 2012 at 8:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

From the People that brought you Global Wearding ( the BBC )

We now have how to survive Armageddon
Sorry to spoil the ending but the final outcome is Global Warming is the real deal
Blah Blah usual alarmist doomed propergander
And this is because it not going to happen overnight

Seem that Richard Black and the Alarmists are having to change their tune because their Grander Spectacular predictions have failed to appear if they ever will

So who is Laura Mulholland She directed and produced this effort

May 4, 2012 at 8:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

@ Chris M, true, and the opposite seems to be the case with wind turbines, which often seem to be depicted as not very industrial at all but part of the scenery, much like hills or hedgerows, usually shown against a serene blue sky or peaceful seascape. So normal, in fact, that you'd half expect to glimpse them in the background to the next BBC dramatisation of Middlemarch or Pride and Prejudice. Clearly they've been around forever, not like those nasty chimneys!

@ Jamspid, I smiled when I saw the title: "A Horizon Guide to Armageddon" - going by much of their content since the end of the 1980s, it would probably be more apt to call that "An Armageddon Guide to Horizon".

May 4, 2012 at 9:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

It looks very much like the early Everquest map of Antonica. A land full of trolls and goblins.

These days utterly subdued.

May 4, 2012 at 9:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreg Cavanagh

If the Heartland Foundation and the GWPF would spend a chunk of their budgets on ten-metre high billboards (within eyeshot of our national legislatures) showing this brilliant cartoon, we might soon be rid of this turbulent sleaze.

Off topic... Advice for any undecided observer: never trust a man with no sense of humour. Behind the light touch of our Josh lies the steely confidence afforded by being right.

May 4, 2012 at 10:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

One detail, the polar bear should have triplets:

May 4, 2012 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

From an Aussie in Sweden (Eurocentric?) viewpoint ... it looks like a map of Europe with England as the Sinking Sand and the Polar Bears up in Scandinavia ... right? Oh ... too close to reality, sorry ;-)

May 4, 2012 at 10:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrady

What Heartland ads, Josh?

May 4, 2012 at 11:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

If only Heartland had used this instead of the obnoxious billboard poster.

May 4, 2012 at 11:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeH

Just got in and had a chance to check what Josh's reference to the Heartland ads was all about.

I know this is going to be considered terribly politically incorrect but I saw the photo of the Unabomber, read the caption and just laughed. My instinct was quite different to Watts and to Woods. I just found it funny. So I've been thinking why I haven't really changed in that opinion, despite reading of the GOP bloke who's no longer speaking at the conference and all the other hoohah. I think there are two reasons:

1. There's been this halo assumed for everyone that takes dangerous man-made global warming seriously. Not just for the saintly Bill McKibben but for everyone who joins this particular church and recites the catechism. This one poster blows that idea wonderfully apart and quite right too.

2. Ted Kaczynski only killed three people. Biofuel subsidies have without doubt raised world food prices significantly and thus killed millions. And all attempts at carbon controls for the bottom billion countries will make that look like a picnic.

At that point I'm no longer laughing and nor should you be. This poster campaign hits a raw nerve. Digging back into 'warmist outrages' in the affluent west like Richard Curtis's 10.10 video is completely the wrong tack in my view. Weeping over those lost through the policies justified on the back of alarmist science - that's a different matter. I support the poster.

May 5, 2012 at 12:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Suppose it was just the scale/time elapse that prohibited the inclusion of Mr George Monbiot’s raised beds?

'The most satisfying thing I have ever done'

“Vegetable evangelist George Monbiot on his healthy obsession with home-grown produce”

Saturday 5 April 2008

Food for thought, O 'Toon Meister?

ps, "This Sceptic Isle!" effing magic!

And it is, and long may it remain a Sceptic Isle!

May 5, 2012 at 12:19 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand


I think the stakes are felt differently in the USA. Just see how many of the commentators on WUWT think that the billboards are/were stupid.

I think they are stupid and I am in the UK and I post under a pseudonym. If you cannot see why they damage the concept of scepticism in this debate, then maybe you should reconsider your stance on posting under real names. Your post gives me the chance/possibility to think that you are a troll.

May 5, 2012 at 12:42 AM | Registered Commenterdiogenes

Hey, diogenes, I thought you were going through the length of ancient Greece looking for one honest man. Your own story assumes that sometimes the crowd is completely wrong. And I've completely upfront about my reaction and given reasons. I think you should look at my reasons and seek to argue against them.

May 5, 2012 at 1:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

I think its ok.

These people believed in global warming. What're you going to do about it?

May 5, 2012 at 1:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Josh, a big lol, love your cartoons!

p.s. hope this is not too O/T but as a suggested cartoon follow-up on a more particular bleeding-edge aspect, the film "Chasing Ice" is just coming out for a greenie propaganda surge, using time lapse photography in extreme places to try to show that C-AGW is causing retreating glaciers etc. (see comments and links in Unthreaded).

I visualize John Muir in 1879 entering Alaska's Glacier Bay in a dugout canoe, saying something like "damn glacier has retreated 40 miles already!"

or something like that, point being that major glaciers had already been recorded in retreat for a longggg time by 1879. Gee, maybe since the last Ice Age....

May 5, 2012 at 3:07 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Wait a minute, ...the Unabomber and the people who made the 10:10 video believe in the same thing. What was the problem again?

On a separate note: Making analogies is a useless thing. Making analogies with murderers is especially tiresome. It just doesn't click. Even though the Unabomber is a crackpot, there are real people affected by the tragedy directly. Comparison/analogy using murderers works in which constituency exactly?

May 5, 2012 at 4:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

thanx josh. u keep a smile on my face.

thought this was just as hilarious from Henry:

5 May: Bloomberg: Matthew Carr: Carbon Market Lobbyist Criticizes ‘Whopping Falsehoods’
The carbon market has been damaged by three “whopping falsehoods” that slowed its growth and caused European lawmakers to question their belief in the system, said the retiring head of a carbon market lobby group.
“The political environment has been dominated by an ebb tide,” Henry Derwent, chief executive of the International Emissions Trading Association, said today by phone from Geneva on his last day at the lobby group’s headquarters. “The European Union emissions trading system is still there, though it’s bleeding from a few wounds, some self-inflicted.”
The first lie is that climate science is exaggerated, boring and unimportant, Derwent said. The second is that nations shouldn’t protect the climate because others aren’t and the third is that markets are not the best solution, he said. “It’s not surprising that those who don’t want to do anything are seduced by the falsehoods.”
EU carbon permits have plunged 80 percent since peaking at 34.40 euros ($45.17) a metric ton in 2008, the same year Derwent joined IETA as president. He previously helped advise U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair…
Carbon permits for December fell 4.33 percent today to 6.85 euros on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London as of 12:18 p.m…
“We really thought we were doing fantastically well,” he said. “We just did not realize how bad things could get. We might have managed to prevent it falling so far as it did.”
Dirk Forrister, the former climate adviser to U.S. President Bill Clinton, is replacing Derwent this week. “Watch out very carefully for the tides of changing opinion” is Derwent’s advice to his successor. “We must make sure that we don’t get beached by this ebb tide.” …
Some European Union lawmakers are doubting that carbon markets are the answer to climate change, Derwent said. “It’s a shame to see the EU collectively losing its belief.”
European Commission officials governing the bloc’s market, including Jos Delbeke and Peter Zapfel in Brussels, have “not lost the plot,” Derwent said. “They were and remain heroes. Their ability to prevail over other directorates-general is weakened substantially.” …
He (Derwent) urged carbon traders to see beyond current prices, which reached a record low last month. “Look further up the road. Don’t look at your feet.”

May 5, 2012 at 4:34 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

Josh thinks the land is ours?

Thus far, with rough and all-unable pen,
Our bending author hath pursued the story [of Agincourt],
In little room confining mighty men,
Mangling by starts the full course of their glory.
Small time, but in that small most greatly lived
This star of England: Fortune made his sword;
By which the world's best garden be achieved,
And of it left his son imperial lord.
Henry the Sixth, in infant bands crown'd King
Of France and England, did this king succeed;
Whose state so many had the managing,
That they lost France and made his England bleed:
Which oft our stage hath shown; and, for their sake,
In your fair minds let this acceptance take.

May 5, 2012 at 5:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Hey, wait a minute, folks! There is a critical element missing from this cartoon which calls into question its provenance and authenticity.

Q: Why is this Josh cartoon different from all other Josh cartoons?

A: It lacks his distinctive and always present "signature".

Mind you, this missing ... uh ... signal might be residing somewhere in the lower depths of the deep blue sea and is therefore - not unlike Trenberth's missing "heat" - beyond our (or at least my) current ability to detect ;-)

But that aside ... I love this one. I haven't quite decided, though, which "cartario"** is my fave: Mann going overboard on the shores of Dire Straits, or the good ship IPCC sinking rapidly.

Hmmm ... does the iceberg represent a tipping point?!

If so, perhaps it is time to petition the nature naming powers that be that henceforth (and retroactively to 2011) significantly damaging icebergs should be named. My nomination for this particular iceberg of cold, hard facts would be ... "Donna" ;-)

**Cartario: n. coined by the commenter formerly known as hro001, circa May 4, 2012; a discrete scenario (which may or may not be indiscreet) forming part of a cartoon.

But speaking of scenarios, discretion and Heartland ... it seems to me that whoever dreamed up the billboard storylines would have done us all a favour had they taken into account the maxim that discretion is the better part of valour.

May 5, 2012 at 5:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Where's the 0.9 W/m^2 'missing heat'?

The public must know.

May 5, 2012 at 7:07 AM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

Just a detail; the polar bear should have triplets:
"sightings from guides this summer included surprisingly "frequent sightings of polar bear mothers with triplets,” writes Selden"

May 5, 2012 at 8:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

IIRC it was 'them' that started the comparisons with mass murderers (one specifically). The moral high ground was never theirs. Heartland's ads, and specifically reactions to them, illustrates this perfectly.

May 5, 2012 at 8:10 AM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

Many thanks for the nice ideas, esp polar bear triplets. And Hilary, you are right! Will add in. Friday was a bit of a rush...

May 5, 2012 at 8:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterJosh

Comment on the Washington Posts coverage of Heartlands adds says it all for me

'Associate skeptics (ALL scientists are/should be skeptics. Nullis in Verba) with holocaust denial - a lie - thats OK. Produce videos to show how to deal with skeptical kids by blowing off their heads as one recent AGW group did last year in the UK - thats OK.

Point out that these people are believers in AGW - a truth - thats evil. Double standard anybody ? '

May 5, 2012 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

o/t re: foia and all that

Mentioned on Curry

May 5, 2012 at 9:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterPunksta

Was it supposed to say "sea is ice is fine", or should it be "sea ice is fine"?

May 5, 2012 at 9:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterSJF

Point out that these people are believers in AGW - a truth - thats evil. Double standard anybody ? '
May 5, 2012 at 9:11 AM confused

Absolute double standards.

The Heartland billboard was a crass PR fail, but before sceptics completely immerse themselves in sackcloth & ashes - remember that the widely supported Desmog Blog (which features "respectable" academics like Hansen & Mooney among its supporters & contributors) didn't hesitate to do exactly the same thing with Anders Breivik and climate "demiers":-

I didn't hear the usual suspects at the Guardian, NYT and climate twitterati throwing up their hands in horror then - did you?

May 5, 2012 at 10:00 AM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Splendid suggestion by HiIary to call the IPCC iceberg "Donna".

And have a bishop on a hill somewhere?

May 5, 2012 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

As per MDGNN
an emerging frogman with goggles and snorkel holding a thermometer says "Can't find that missing heat".

Or, an Argo buoy stuck on a coral atoll?

May 5, 2012 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered Commentermarchesarosa

Mann should have 3 legs and a tail-less cat for company.

May 5, 2012 at 10:20 AM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

Or, an Argo buoy stuck on a coral atoll?
May 5, 2012 at 10:19 AM | marchesarosa

Maybe in a saucepan - being gently warmed up by a climate "scientist"?

May 5, 2012 at 10:39 AM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

A nice cartoon - but missing the looming presence of the Climate Change Act and the Carbon Plan which, raptor like, cast shadows over your not so blessed plot. Where is the golden archer who will shoot them from the sky?

May 5, 2012 at 11:07 AM | Unregistered Commenteroldtimer

It does indeed look like double standards but it is also differentiates the rational, evidence-based approach of sceptics from the hype and hysteria of the CAGW movement.
I always associate this sort of linkage - "deniers" being the obvious example - with the losing side in any argument. They know they are losing the factual argument so they resort to defamation and distortion.
It was a huge mistake for Heartland to resort to the same tactics.

May 5, 2012 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikeH

MikeH, I don't agree one little bit that it's the same tactics. The deniers allusion to holocaust deniers is a disgraceful, contaminating lie - because it is applied to all of us as a group. The Unabomber being a global warming believer is 100% true fact and it blows away the idea - and this is very much needed - that all believers are saints. Absolutely fair comment.

Let's look for a moment at the backstory. Heartland has been appalled not just by the behaviour of Peter Gleick but even more by the 'climate establishment' which instead of throwing this deceiver out has actually lionised him. Their morals absolutely stink and Heartland wants to make that point, on the widest possible stage, for best possible reasons. So here's an alternative slogan to think about:

It got my attention - how about yours?

The more I think about it the more I think it's spot on. It doesn't say every global warming believer is like Kaczynski. It does make clear, from known facts, that there are some with stinking morals in the CAGW camp. Heartland speaks from bitter experience and I support them.

Let's look at the very fraught holocaust analogy. One of the most damning criticisms of the Jews is that they didn't resist. It's a disgraceful, deeply unfair and untrue allegation. But Heartland here is resisting. I think it's highly appropriate that they do. I can't see anything wrong in the poster as part of that.

May 5, 2012 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

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