Graeme_MacKay
September 23rd 1968  (Age 51)
Male
Hamilton

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Random Thots is brought to you by Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist at the Hamilton Spectator, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Website: mackaycartoons.net.

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."
Winston Churchill

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007
From the mailbag

Everyday I spend a little time perusing reader feedback, answering questions, and explaining the meanings of my cartoons.  I often need to remind the people who complain about my work that I'm in the opinion business, not news relaying, and that it's expected I rattle the nerves of readers on a frequent basis. Last weekend's cartoon was designed to just that, and it got a few bites, just as this side of North America was concluding a balmy stretch of unseasonably warm January weather. Here's one which I'd like to share:

Hi there,

I don't usually write anyone about anything except your cartoon upset me so much this morning that I can't finish reading the paper. From what you wrote it seems that you don't believe in humanity's role in global warming. This isn't a natural cycle of the Earth. I think you should educate yourself before you do allude to a "let's do nothing to stop global warming" approach. Good places to start are "The Weathermakers" by Tim Flannery, David Suzuki's website, and Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" (even if you don't like Al Gore he has some hard scientific data that I'd love to see someone refute).

So far any scientist that has studied core samples from Antarica state that the Earth has never warmed this quickly before.

You have a lot of power as someone who is seen daily in the news. I wish you'd be more responsible.
 
Sincerely,
E.B.


Dear E,

Sorry my editorial cartoon upset you but sometimes that's what an editorial cartoon is supposed to do. At the very least I hope it reminded you that the source of all the recent bizarre weather is not to be blamed solely on increased levels of carbon dioxide and other emissions in the atmosphere. I simply threw out something in cartoon form which challenged all the hype conspired by warm weather, a cabinet shuffle, polls, and recent studies which have put the environment as the flavour of the month. I wasn't hearing much in the news about El Nino, which science has proven is naturally occuring.

I don't know where you get any notion of a "let's do nothing to stop global warming" from me, or in my cartoon. I'm concerned as anyone else about the environment but I don't think it's unreasonable to push back and question some of the junk science you'll find with the presentations from the people you mentioned.

I appreciate your email.

Best Regards,

Graeme MacKay


Sorry, but what do you mean junk science? What's wrong with how they obtained their results?


Dear E,

Forgive me, but I don't know if your question to me about "junk science" is rhetorical in nature.

There have been countless articles written refuting some of the statistics and theories used by Al Gore, David Suzuki, and Tim Flannery to back up their arguments, which in essence, create global warming hysteria. A simple search of the Internet will find reputable articles which challenge the approaches based on "junk science". The overriding fact of the debate is that a causal link between greenhouse gases and global warming has not been proven conclusively.

So to paraphrase a term you used in your initial email to me I think you should educate yourself on the stances of both sides of the global warming debate before you criticize me for an editorial cartoon which reminds people of a scientifically proven naturally occurring phenomena called El Nino. The opinion I conveyed in my cartoon, and that's what I do in cartooning -- express opinion, simply illustrated the hysteria I sensed last week. You can agree or disagree with it, but I doubt we'll see eye to eye on the issue on global warming, and that's ok.

Sincerely,

Graeme MacKay 
 


Posted at 08:02 pm by Graeme_MacKay

Brooke
January 12, 2007   02:37 AM PST
 
Hi Graeme,

I hate to butt in on someone else's conversation though I do need to set you straight about your comment re: junk science and reputable articles that refute the scientists and communicators warning of climate change. There is NO articles in any peer reviewed scientific journals that deny global warming and its link to climate change. Are those reputable articles you speak of in such journals? Of course you may actually mean that the information Gore, Suzuki and Flannery present is based on Junk Science. I highly doubt it since as Scientists trying to convince the world, it would work against them and also as scientists it would be a sin for them to do so (and against their instincts).

You as a cartoonist are open to do anything you like as your job and intention is to amuse. Climate change is pretty "popular" at the moment and so it is easy to have a dig at it. What is different this time compared to any other 'fad' in the past, is that we are facing some serious issues that are only getting worse and worse. George Monbiot (a scientist you didn't name) has put forward a convincing case that we need to make a 90% cut in greenhouse gases emmisions by 2030. If he is correct then it doesn't give us much time to fool around and poke fun at the messengers. E.B. is correct that those who have most influence need to take this seriously and do as much as they can now, rather than stirring the pot and making it even more difficult to convince the people of the world that we need to change the way we live.

Regards,

Brooke
Graeme MacKay
January 12, 2007   01:17 PM PST
 
Thanks Brooke for your thoughtful contribution. I don't doubt that what is sent up in the air in the form of pollution does have some impact on global climate. What I read with regard to global warming is that not all scientists are on the same page concerning the issue as you suggest. I think Carl Wunsch from the MIT best sums the debate up by saying, "Denying the risk [from warming] seems utterly stupid. Claiming we can calculate the probabilities with any degree of skill seems equally stupid."
Herman Turkstra
January 18, 2007   12:19 PM PST
 
Hello Mr. Mackay. When I saw the cartoon, I had a vague uneasiness
about it. Then this morning I read the attached article from people who
are actually doing something about global warming. I found the
following paragraph in that site expressed exactly the uneasiness I had
about your cartoon. The folks at Terrapass had this to say:
-----------------------------------------
Beyond the general wonkery, there is an important point here. It’s
important not to get overly caught up in individual weather events,
because the temperature pendulum is going to swing around quite a bit
even as average temperatures gradually increase due to global warming.
If overly much is made of every warm spell, skeptics are going to play
the same game in reverse, turning every cold snap into another argument
for inaction.
----------------------------------------
The site above is a great reference on global warming and what to do
about it. YOu might like to buy a terra pass to offset the global
warming from your own vehicle. :-)

Be well.
Graeme
January 18, 2007   02:19 PM PST
 
I looked around the TerraPass site and I was amazed by some of the landfill swag you can buy -- coffee cups, backpacks, t-shirts, even licence plate frames? I think I'll pass on buying into TerraPass.

I know what you're saying with regard to your comment about buying into the stuff preached by TerraPass as a means to reduce the greenhouse gases emitted by my editorial cartoons. It's a nice metaphor and it made me chuckle. But I must confess I'm a bit confused by the message in the article you attached. I'm surprised by it's wishy-washiness, and quite frankly it came across more as a rant than anything new to add to the climate change debate... kind of like my cartoons, I suppose.
 

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