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A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall

A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall

A changing climate is producing increasingly deadly weather. For more cartoons on climate change, visit our entire collection.

17 Jan 2011


Ι m with limited internet acces for the moment, so just popped in to clarify that all debate is welcome by me, the more energizing the better. I will study your response in due time and we 'll continue in due time!

15 Mar 2011

Sorry my previous message was delayed. Yes, I wanted to write a note rather than an essay (which takes time), but I was also distracted by the awful pictures and reports from Japan. It is so sad to see how many lives have been grievously devastated; how many jobs and homes and friends and relatives have been lost in this tragedy.

It is even sadder to think how much of this was actually avoidable. There is nothing clever about saying “I told you so”, but the suggestion not to build on a flood plain seems particularly appropriate. Yet will anything change? Well there is a story in the Bible (and a similar one in the Quran) that indicates that building your house on sand was known to be a bad idea a long time ago. It seems a lot of people still haven’t taken the hint and may never do so.

15 Mar 2011

I should probably have said this before. Can we strike a deal, Spiros? I will allow for artistic licence if you will tolerate me being pedantic occasionally. (The clue is in my pseudonym.) Please don’t think I am being overly critical; I am trying to be helpful.

Let me say first, though, that you have illustrated your point clearly and with impact … and I wish I could draw like that. And I reckon the main purpose of a cartoon is to make the reader think; it certainly does that for me.

The key thing that bothers me is that your cartoon, and particularly your comment, suggests that increasingly deadly weather is an established fact and that it is happening now. It isn’t, and it isn’t. I took it to be ironical. Maybe I was starting from the wrong assumption. Please allow me to explain.

You can see (cartoon 1052) that I’m not very good at films and history. I am good at science. It is a little complicated but I’ll try to be brief and not too patronising.
• Climate is changing. Over the whole history of the Earth, climate has been changing all the time. There is no reason to think that it will ever stop changing.
• Much effort is being expended to decide whether what humans do (pollution and so on) is making climate change faster (which looks likely). In order to target any actions effectively (and to avoid making things worse), it will help a lot if we can say where, when, and by how much climate will change - which, despite what we might read, is still very uncertain.
• If what humans have done so far (anthropogenic processes) is making climate change faster, the effects haven’t yet kicked in to any significant extent. There is an enormous lag in the system. For example, any effects resulting from 20th century atmospheric pollution may not peak until after the middle of the 21st century.
• Of course it is important, but, as you will see in my previous message, I believe there are more urgent matters that need serious attention right now (and some of these will ameliorate our worst predictions for climate change anyway).

And why do our various representatives and agencies seem to have their priorities out of order? Well that’s a subject for a whole new essay, but I’m sure we have all seen many cartoons asking to what extent the hot air produced by our politicians might contribute to global warming :-).

15 Mar 2011

Ummm....I don't really get what you mean by "wrong". Which part of what you are saying you think the cartoon disagrees with?

11 Mar 2011

Yes tloudon, impressive and scary … and WRONG! Unfortunately, Spiros, the irony will be missed by most people.
The best that climate scientists can say so far is that their climate models indicate that local climate may be changing more than non-anthropogenic processes would account for, and that a changing climate may result in more extreme weather events. They are doing their best to understand what will happen in the future but the Earth’s climate system is rather complicated.
In the meantime there are many things that we need to address that are actually making us more vulnerable to “normal” weather extremes:
• stop destroying forests; they modify local climate, slow water runoff, and stabilise the ground.
• restore bogs and coastal marshes, and stop destroying mangroves; these absorb a lot of the energy of storms and protect inland areas.
• stop trying to control rivers that otherwise supply silt to maintain coasts and delta systems. Without it they just wash away.
• stop building on flood plains. (The clue is in the name!)
• help our education providers to teach facts rather than myths.
And, of course, the areas mentioned above are just as (if not more) important as a habitat for unique flora and fauna as the higher profile Amazon Rainforest.

Would you (or anyone else here) be bold enough to do a cartoon with, say, a guy with an axe, one with a chain saw, one leaning on a digger, - and don’t forget the guy with the clipboard – explaining to the family whose house has just blown down or washed away: “Nothing to do with me, pal. It’s the climate change that’s to blame.”

10 Mar 2011

impressive and scary

14 Jan 2011

The design of death is perfect!

13 Jan 2011


13 Jan 2011

Strong, clever image. I like it.

13 Jan 2011

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