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A cartoon week - Josh 237

It's been a funny old week. Leo Hickman announced his departure from the Guardian - another Eco-journalist biting the dust - then rumours that Bob Ward used to be a punk swirled round Twitter.

But of course the big news is that Climate Scientists have discovered that the oceans have a big influence on Global Temperatures. Who knew? Oh, yes, that's right. You lot did ;-)

First up, we say 'Bye' to Leo and wish him well in his new job.

Second, that rumour about Bob Ward - not true, surely.

Lastly the oceans control thingy (click image for a larger version).

Cartoons by Josh

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Reader Comments (29)

Does anyone know why Bob chose ret_ward as his Twitter handle? was does the "ret" stand for? Retro?

Sep 3, 2013 at 7:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Watts

Excellent! (especially the bottom one - I just noticed the 'sun' controls...)

Sep 3, 2013 at 7:54 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

I think (suppose) that RETW are his initials.

I'm sure was can speculate what the E and T might be for.. :-)

Sep 3, 2013 at 7:56 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Don't laugh. These people are serious. More to the point, a vast number of government-funded types are similarly very, very, very serious.

Forget the science being settled. It's the politics that are settled.

Meaning, a vast edifice of incredibly expensive smug, self-satisfied, self-congratulatory certainty has been established, arguing in one direction only, that will be astoundingly difficult to deflect, let alone to halt.

The reduction of this immense, self-sustaining monster will be pitifully slow and resisted at every turn.

We need to be prepared for a long, slow, grim battle.

Sep 3, 2013 at 7:58 PM | Unregistered Commenteragouts


You are right. But it is good to have a laugh every now and again. Especially if it is at the expense of Jed-Ward. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!

Sep 3, 2013 at 8:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Bob Twitters as 'retward'. But he has also commented as 'reward' in the Guardian, for instance, below. As always, 'fast fingers' is in with one of the first whinging comments, criticising not only the article but the author James Wilsdon as well (not even a sceptic) and promptly gets an earful back from James, who it turns out, took over Bob's job at the Royal Society, including this:-

'I'm also pleased to note that my time as director of science policy was less controversial than Bob's own; years later, we were still clearing up problems caused by Bob's ham-fisted approach to the communication of climate science and climate policy; a service which he now provides with his unique brand of terrier-like tenacity for the LSE's Grantham Institute.'

Sep 3, 2013 at 8:20 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Short step to retard?

Sep 3, 2013 at 8:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterJabba the Cat

A bit OT but @ret_ward has been tweeting an article by his boss, Lord Stern, on the economics of fracking

Sep 3, 2013 at 9:04 PM | Registered CommenterRuth Dixon

Jack S:

I agree. Anything for a laugh. Ho! Ho! and Ho! again. Except that we are up against huge numbers who aren't laughing at all.

Rather the opposite. These are massed divisions who, progressively more desperate, their settled science dissolving, will stop at nothing to impose themselves.

We should all be very sure about how dirty they will fight. It won't be even remotely funny.

Sep 3, 2013 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

The 'Climate Control Knobs' one is superb.

Sep 3, 2013 at 9:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterCarnwennan

Leo should be wearing a pair of these

Sep 3, 2013 at 9:29 PM | Registered CommenterPharos


The machine looks like it makes this noise.

Sep 3, 2013 at 9:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Sep 3, 2013 at 8:33 PM Jabba the Cat

Yes but a more PC way to say it would be

'the "w" is silent in retward, as in anchor.' ;-)

Sep 3, 2013 at 9:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Brilliant Josh. I particularly like the way the climate machine disappears into infinity and the "scientists" have only noticed the front face of it.

Sep 3, 2013 at 9:42 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Interesting that the water vapour can be turned all the way up to 11. I wonder what would happen if they did so?

Sep 3, 2013 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

The reduction of this immense, self-sustaining monster will be pitifully slow and resisted at every turn.

We need to be prepared for a long, slow, grim battle.

Sep 3, 2013 at 7:58 PM | Unregistered Commenteragouts

Agouts, I console myself with the reminder that those who wish to severely curtail human CO2 emissions will see their dreams crumble to dust. Whatever damage they may inflict on the Western economies, they have approximately 0.00% of stopping China and the rest of the world.

Hard-core environmental extremists hate both nuclear power and carbon-based fuels. They want neither, but they will get both, in excess of their worst nightmares.

Sep 3, 2013 at 10:16 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Ivan "Interesting that the water vapour can be turned all the way up to 11. I wonder what would happen if they did so?"

I am hoping that Josh intended that as a homage to Spinal Tap, talking about their amps being better than other bands: "Ours go to 11".

That last cartoon is pure genius, the diappearing to infinty, the sun controls, the new discovery of the ocean knob and the tiny little control called "CO2".

Sep 3, 2013 at 11:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

Josh, your third is beyond brilliant. You of course must be imagining the AR5 "scenario projection" SPM machine, since we only recently learned from Trenberth that it NEVER made/makes/will make Popperian falsifiable real acience predictions? You know, his missing heat thing, or something...
Just offering an intellectual clarification, only basic philosophy of science, that might be useful.
Nothing that would disturb the tree house gang or their climate control knobs.......

Sep 4, 2013 at 3:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterRud Istvan

Leo Hickman's departure to be Chief Climate Change Advisor to WWF-UK confirms what most of us already knew. That far from being an independent-minded investigative journalist working to get to the truth, he is a man-made global warming advocate.

Did The Guardian know they were paying a mole rather than a journalist? I don't suppose they cared so long as he was giving the 'right' answers.

Sep 4, 2013 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

> Does anyone know why Bob chose ret_ward as his Twitter handle?

I'm guessing "Robert Evan Thomas" Ward or some similar combination.


Sep 4, 2013 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterMichael J

I thought the 'ET' simply confirmed his alien origins...

Sep 4, 2013 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

There's a Josh cartoon of Bob as an alien somewhere.

Sep 4, 2013 at 2:03 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Bishop Hill: "There's a Josh cartoon of Bob as an alien somewhere."

Are you thinking of this one? [From this post.]

Sep 4, 2013 at 2:39 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Just wanted to say that I thought the Climate Earth 1.0 machine cartoon was superb. My notes on it are collected from the above posts, and my own observations:
• A brilliant and decidedly mocking cartoon.
• The "new" discovery (QED) of the huge ocean knob. (How could you miss anything that big? Ah, of course, it's on the other side, out of sight if you hadn't accidentally gone there.)
• The tiny little control called "CO2" on the front panel that is getting all the focus of attention by the scientists. (The "greenhouse gas" CO2 is a trace gas - 0.0314%.)
• The huge water vapour knob (this "greenhouse gas" is the most plentiful at 3%) that no-one has noticed or is looking at, and that can be turned all the way up to 11. (Probably a homage to Spinal Tap, talking about their amps being better than other bands: "Ours go to 11".)
• A bored scientist has accidentally wandered over to the opposite side of the machine and has just noticed the Sun controls there. (The major influence of earth temps.)
• The machine being so huge and complex, it's sides disappear into the infinite perspective. (Possibly a reference to HHGTTG Deep Thought.)
• The general implication that the scientists clearly understand very little of how the machine/climate operates.

Sep 4, 2013 at 3:13 PM | Registered Commenterslartibartfarst

Thank you again Josh!
The Climate machine cartoon is hilarious and wonderfully mocking as 'slartibartfarst' says. I wonder what the reaction of the 'scientists' was when they saw your work? Did they chuckle, tut or fume? I expect the former but expect we will never be told. Come in Richard Betts!

Sep 4, 2013 at 3:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

One of the first Climate Science events I went to was Roger Pielke Jr's demolition of a misleading IPCC graph on disasters. The so-called debate was held at the Royal Insitution in Febraury 2012 and I posted a report on BishopHill here.

Bob Ward was one of the speakers at that event and I noted then that "He gives off an air of steely determination and slight menace, with a touch of the not-from-this-planet vibe." which is probably why I have drawn him as an alien ever since.

He also reappeared later that year in Judy Curry's Space Babe cartoon.

Pretty unequivocal evidence if you ask me.

Sep 4, 2013 at 5:16 PM | Registered CommenterJosh

All who speculate on the meaning/significance of 'ret_ward'.

The '_w' are silent, thus insignificant, and may be dropped.

Sep 4, 2013 at 5:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinking Skeptik

Josh - is the 11 on the dial serendipity, or a Spinal Tap reference?

Sep 4, 2013 at 9:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

ThinkingScientist, yes ;-)

Sep 4, 2013 at 11:45 PM | Registered CommenterJosh

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