The Intersection

Toles Gets Edgy on Global Warming


Tom Toles has long been one of my favorite cartoonists–but even I was a little stunned when I saw his latest work, which essentially says, don’t vote Republican if you care about climate change. I’m not used to cartoonists being this directly political–but I’m also not sure I have any problem with it.

In fact, I think the basic idea that Toles expresses is correct: There is a fundamental difference between the two parties on global warming. It’s silly to shy away from that fact by citing the handful of Republicans that diverge from their party on this issue, or for that matter, the handful of Democrats who diverge. If you have to have 100 percent divergence on a topic across both parties before you can have a partisan issue, then there will never be any such thing as a partisan issue.


  1. #1 Keanus
    August 29, 2006

    Every editorial page in the country should run this, even those that don’t nomrally subscribe to the Washington Post syndication.

  2. #2 mark
    August 29, 2006

    An item in Science (11 August, p. 757) cites someone saying that he epects Bush to appoint Susan Dudley to head his regulatory affairs office while Congress is in recess–another stealth appointment of an anti-regulatory fox for the environmental henhouse.

  3. #3 paul
    August 29, 2006

    If only the words “global warming” were replaced with “climate change.” The first allows the ignorant to assume/claim that unless all signs point to warming, there is nothing to worry about. So if glacial melt causes the Gulf Stream’s behavior to change and the temperate areas of northern Europe to get cooler, not warmer, ergo global warming is false and we need do nothing. Especially if it’s Europeans who are being inconvenienced.

  4. #4 Splash
    August 29, 2006

    Not used to political cartoonists? If you havent seen Tom Tomorrow, you must:

  5. #5 rumplestiltskin
    August 29, 2006

    OK. So it’s official. No more C02 or we’re all gonna die.

    So. Are you environmentalists willing to abandon your opposition to nuclear power yet?

    After all, the fate of the entire human race is at hand, right? A cartoon Earth said so, so it must be true.

  6. #6 Davis
    August 29, 2006

    Are you environmentalists willing to abandon your opposition to nuclear power yet?

    Greenpeace ≠ all environmentalists.

  7. #7 dand
    August 29, 2006

    Davis – don’t feed the trolls

  8. #8 Peter Barber
    August 30, 2006

    Sorry, dand, but also this:

    Cartoon in WaPo ≠ Sum of evidence for anthropogenic climate change

    And I always feel that cartoons are more or less preaching to the choir. If humans won’t accept any of the peer-reviewed evidence which supports a hypothesis of ACC, or the considered opinions of climatologists, and yet change their minds following this cartoon, then what does that say about our critical faculties?

    Personally, though, I find Tom Toles’ cartoon very poignant. That’s probably because I’m a Green Party member in the UK and therefore obviously an environmental bleeding-heart 😉 The fact that, as a scientist, I’m convinced by the evidence (which is why I joined the GP) is nothing to do with it :-p

    (Oh, and hello CM. Nice blog!)

  9. #9 SkookumPlanet
    August 30, 2006

    It’s not that simple. The good guys have to think as deeply as the far right’s psychomarketers.

    Here’s Republican word guru Frank “Death Tax” Luntz from the infamous 2003 Luntz memo, 16 leaked pages on environmental politics from his 200+-page Republican briefing book. The pages are all about language, how to spin environmental and public health issues.

    We have spent the last seven years examining how best to communicate complicated ideas and controversial subjects. The terminology in the upcoming environmental debate needs refinement, starting with “global warming” and ending with “environmentalism.” It’s time for us to start talking about “climate change” instead of global warming and “conservation” instead of preservation.

    “Climate change” is less frightening than “global warming”. As one focus group participant noted, climate change “sounds like you’re going from Pittsburgh to Fort Lauderdale.” While global warming has catastrophic connotations attached to it, climate change suggests a more controllable and less emotional challenge.

    Republicans have unceasingly heeded this advice since.
    Tole’s has long been a favorite of mine also.

  10. #10 John M. Burt
    August 31, 2006

    It’s not just Earth. The entire Universe has a liberal bias.

    “The Truth has left its footprints in the dust between the stars.”

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.