The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change
7 x 10
Climate change is no laughing matter-but maybe it should be. The topic is so critical that everyone, from students to policy-makers to voters, needs a quick and easy guide to the basics. The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change entertains as it educates, delivering a unique and enjoyable presentation of mind-blowing facts and critical concepts.
"Stand-up economist" Yoram Bauman and award-winning illustrator Grady Klein have created the funniest overview of climate science, predictions, and policy that you’ll ever read. You’ll giggle, but you’ll also learn-about everything from Milankovitch cycles to carbon taxes.
If those subjects sound daunting, consider that Bauman and Klein have already written two enormously successful cartoon guides to economics, making this notoriously dismal science accessible to countless readers. Bauman has a PhD in economics and has taught at both the high school and college level, but he now makes a living performing at comedy clubs, universities, and conferences, sharing the stage with personalities as diverse as Robin Williams and Paul Krugman.
The authors know how to get a laugh-and they know their facts. This cartoon introduction is based on the latest report from the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and integrates Bauman’s expertise on economics and policy.
If economics can be funny, then climate science can be a riot. Sociologists have argued that we don’t address global warming because it’s too big and frightening to get our heads around. The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change takes the intimidation and gloom out of one of the most complex and hotly debated challenges of our time.
References available at http://standupeconomist.com/cartoon-climate/
"Yoram Bauman and Grady Klein find a way to make climate change humorous and comprehensible in this visuals-driven book."
Los Angeles Times
"Illustrated with deceptively simple black-and-white art that masterfully supports the text, this book provides a skillful tour of the issues that face our developing world and it serves as a model of how educational works of this sort should be crafted."
"An often amusing graphic primer about an issue the authors recognize as apocalyptically serious."
"It's like An Inconvenient Truth meets Peanuts! (Not really, but that's somehow a very pleasant idea.)"
"Don't let the format fool you -- this is sophisticated stuff. [Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change] draws on science from the latest IPCC report and explains technologies and policies that can make a positive difference -- all kidding aside."
"[The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change is] not only a fun read to educate yourself or your crazy uncle about climate science basics, it's also full of practical information presented in simple but elegant illustrations and comic strips."
"Everybody should pick up a copy, it does look pretty interesting."
AOL's The Street
"The illustrations from Klein and text from Bauman present an important issue in such an accessible manner that it should be applauded."
"[The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change] is a story, rather than just a textbook...suitable for teachers to use as a well-written and comprehensive introduction to an understanding of the climate system and climate change...a good read for anyone interested in the basics of climate change science but not wanting to tackle a more traditional textbook."
Reports of the National Center for Science Education
"I know we're trashing the planet, but do we have to add to our misery by reading gloom and doom books about it? The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change offers another way: learn some serious science, evaluate strategies for change, and have a good laugh in the process."
Annie Leonard, creator of The Story of Stuff
"Are you curious about the science and economics of global warming? You can find many dull books on the subject. A better bet is The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change, which tickles and teaches at the same time. Who says that sophistication is only in equations?"
William Nordhaus, Sterling Professor of Economics, Yale University
"Climate is no laughing matter — but it beats crying. Maybe this is the secret passage into people's hearts and minds."
James E. Hansen, former Director, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, author of Storms of My Grandchildren
"Fresh! Cheeky! Accurate and inspiring! An accessible, friendly, and fun explanation of climate change – free of politics, free of jargon, and fresh with insights. Cartoons you can believe in!"
Jane Lubchenco, Wayne and Gladys Valley Professor of Marine Biology, Oregon State University
"Grady Klein and Yoram Bauman are a national treasure. The economics of climate policy has never been more accessible."
Kevin Hassett, Senior Fellow and Director of Economic Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute
"The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change will tickle your fancy while expanding your mind. Highly recommended."
Martin Weitzman, Professor of Economics, Harvard University
"Rarely do you read books that attempt to deal with the world's biggest problems and present the information in a way that the average public can absorb it. Bravo to Yoram Bauman and Grady Klein, and thank you on behalf of everyone who is deeply concerned about this issue."
Mark Reynolds, Executive Director, Citizens Climate Lobby
"[This book] skillfully mixes the key facts of climate change with the playful and insightful juxtapositions that the comic form allows. Science communicators take notice. And if you’re looking for a gift for that family member who’s still a climate skeptic, this may be it."
"The... jokiness is subsumed by this publication's obvious educational credentials, manifested in its diligent thoroughness (200 pages) and excellent glossary of terms."
PART I. Observations
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. A Brief History of Planet Earth
Chapter 3. The Ice Ages
Chapter 4. Carbon Dioxide
Chapter 5. Energy
Chapter 6. Climate Science
PART II. Predictions
Chapter 7. Global Warming
Chapter 8. H20
Chapter 9. Life on Earth
Chapter 10. Beyond 2100
Chapter 11. Uncertainty
PART III. Actions
Chapter 12. The Tragedy of the Commons
Chapter 13. Techno-Fix
Chapter 14. Putting a Price on Carbon
Chapter 15. Beyond Fossil Fuels
Chapter 16. The Challenge
This is a working document, so additions or edits are welcome! Also note that occasional Wikipedia references are for topics that can be found in many introductory textbooks.These references are also aavailable at http://standupeconomist.com/cartoon-climate/
Chapter 1: Introduction (pages 3-14)
Page 4, “Story #1 is about economic growth”: An interesting read here is Bill Gates’s take-down of the myth that “poor countries are doomed to stay poor”.
Page 4, the invisible hand: The “invisible hand” idea is that individual self-interest can (“as if led by an invisible hand”) lead to economic growth and otherwise promote the common good. The metaphor comes from The Wealth of Nations (1776) by Adam Smith, who was a Scottish philosopher and “the father of modern economics”. For more on this see our Cartoon Econ books, especially Volume One: Microeconomics.
Page 5, world population: See the amazing chart in “U.N. Forecasts 10.1 Billion People by Century’s End” (NY Times, May 3 2011). Note that the UN has released a new World Population Prospects. The “medium variant” shows population rising from 7 billion in 2010 to 8 billion in 2025, 9 billion in 2040, 10 billion in 2065, and 10.9 billion and still rising (albeit very slowly) in 2100.
Page 5, “a world of 2-6 billion”: This refers to an article by demographer Wolfgang Lutz, “Towards a world of 2–6 billion well-educated and therefore healthy and wealthy people” (Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, 2009).
Page 9, “alien planet”: This is an allusion to Harvard economist Marty Weitzman: “Societies and ecosystems whose average temperature has changed in the course of a century or so by ?T > 6°C (for U.S. readers: ?6°C ˜ ?11°F) are located in the terra incognita of what any honest economic modeler would have to admit is a planet Earth reconfigured as science fiction, since such high temperatures have not existed for some tens of millions of years.” From Martin L Weitzman, “A Review of The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change“, Journal of Economic Literature 45:703-724 (2007).
Page 9, “wicked problem”: Believe it or not, “wicked problem” is a technical term. So is “super wicked problem”!
Page 12, “Seattle in July”: Thanks to Washington State’s Assistant State Climatologist Karin Bumbaco for helping out here; the temperature range given is based on the mean Seattle Sandpoint July temperature +/- one standard deviation over the period of record. On flowers blooming earlier, see Observed Changes in Phenology Across the United States – Pacific Northwest: “Across the Northwestern and interior Western U.S. time of first bloom for lilac (Syringa vulgaris) and honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica and L. korolkowii) showed a trend toward earlier flowering (average advances of 7.5 days for lilac and 10 for honeysuckle) over an almost 40-year period.”
Page 12, “climate is like your personality, weather is like your mood”: There are other, similar comparisons, e.g., “climate is what you expect, weather is what you get” and “Climate tells you what clothes to buy, weather tells you what clothes to wear.” I’m not sure where the personality/mood comparison comes from, but I first came across it in a 2013 TEDx Atlanta talk by Marshall Shepherd, president of the American Meteorological Society, on “Slaying the ‘Zombies’ of Climate Science”.
Chapter 2: A brief history of Planet Earth (pages 15-26)
A good general reference for this chapter is David Catling’s Astrobiology: A Very Short Introduction (2014). Professor Catling also recommends these two books: Ruddiman’s Earth’s Climate: Past and Future (2nd ed., 2008) and (a bit more technical than Ruddiman’s) Kump, Kasting, and Crane’s The Earth System (3rd ed., 2009).
Page 15, “first the Earth cooled”: The line comes from the 1982 disaster spoof movie Airplane II: The Sequel:
Steve McCroskey: Jacobs, I want to know absolutely everything that’s happened up till now.
Jacobs: Well, let’s see. First the Earth cooled. And then the dinosaurs came, but they got too big and fat, so they all died and they turned into oil. And then the Arabs came and they bought Mercedes Benzes…
The sequel received mediocre reviews, but the original movie from 1980, called Airplane!, is regarded as surely one of the funniest movies of all time. (And don’t call me Shirley!)
Page 17, photosynthesis: More here. Note that not all photosynthesis is done by green things; for example there’s brown algae, such as kelp, red algae, etc.
Page 18, carbon cycle: See AR5 WG1 Figure 6.1 (IPCC 2014). Older figures include this NASA graph, this more complicated figure from AR4 WG1 Figure 7.3 (IPCC 2007), and this from NOAA.
Page 18, “mostly water and carbon”: By mass, the human body is about