Derek C. points us to this effort by a science journalist to use graphs to help "clarify the concept of climate change". The graph on the left shows that actual greenhouse gas emissions have exceeded the level predicted by the most pessimistic climate models. The 3D bar chart on the right examines which countries had most increased emissions since 1990.
The casual observer does not need to know which model led to which trajectory of predictions; the graph is vastly simplified, and the message much clearer in the junkart version. (I only included the CDIAC data because I didn't locate the EIA numbers.)
The general point here is recognizing what is foreground, and what is background. Aside from gridlines, data labels, axis labels and so on, some of the data usually constitute background material, often as in this case being used to establish comparability.
One message I got out of this chart is that these climate models have done a good job! (Now, I have no idea if part of the curve included the training period. It is curious that the predictions were very narrowly contained in the early 1990s.)
Source: The Island of Doubt Blog, June 6, 2007.