09/12/2012 10:38 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Climate Change Giveth and Taketh (But Mostly Taketh)


Climate Denial World is a strange and wonderous place. The inhabitants of Climate Denial World live in an atmosphere unrestrained by facts, science, or statistical likelihood.

Here on Planet Earth, our climate scientists are virtually unanimous in their assessment of climate change, and time proves their research to be eerily accurate. The effects of climate change are increasingly extreme and unprecedented. Residents of Climate Denial World have a sunnier disposition; climate change is a good thing.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce (headquartered in Climate Denial World) has stated that global warming would reduce wintertime mortality/morbidity to a much greater degree than it would increase summertime deaths. That doessound like a good thing! Meanwhile, Fox News' Greg Gutfeld not only believes global warming is good, he reinforces the strength of his opinion by adding, "If a polar bear dies I don't feel bad." Stay strong, Greg.

Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Dennis Avery says, "Two thousand years of published human histories say that the warm periods were good for people." I'm guessing Exxon-Mobil (one source of the Institute's funding) wholeheartedly agrees.

There are, admittedly snippets of information about global warming that can sound good... if you listen in just the right way.

Those Italian mountaineers mentioned in today's comic strip could choose to see some positives in the warming climate. As Climate Central describes it:

Mountain trekkers, packing essentials before heading for the glaciers in the Italian Dolomite mountains, are taking an extra piece of kit -- swimming trunks.

As Italy sweats through a hot summer, climbers reaching 8,200 feet have been stripping off and plunging into the glacial lake at Antermoia, which is usually icy cold in August and frozen in the winter.

"The water is normally really cold and people just put their toe in, so it is amazing so many people up there this year are swimming," said Andrea Weiss, a tourism chief in the Val de Fassa area where the lake is situated.

So, yes, it looks like global warming benefits the swimming mountain-climber community.

There's potential for more positivity in a recent study that indicates biodiversity grows during Earth's warm periods (YAY!), but that an increase probably wouldn't happen amidst our current, very rapid anthropogenic warming (BOO!). Well... that was ALMOST positive... sort of.

Let's make one more attempt at a positive story. Climate change triggers lots of positive feedback loops. Sounds very cheery, right? As What on Earth has perviously described however, positive can be negative. For example, when frozen tundra melts it releases methane and other greenhouse gases... which warms things more... which melts more tundra... which releases more greenhouse gases. Despite being labeled as "positive," I am not a fan.

While Climate Denial World's reliance on cherry-picked positives and personal opinion may be comforting, life on Earth offers a starker reality. In just the last month or so we've found out that Arctic Sea ice is melting at an unprecedented rate, temperatures are reaching alarming heights, and extreme weather almost appears to be the new normal.

Here on Earth, it's all too easy to find climate change stories that can bum you out. How about disease? That's always a downer. As Climate Desk reports:

"Increased rainfall, warmer temperatures, dying reefs and hotter oceans are handing diseases that afflict humans -- algal, fungal, mosquito-borne, tick-borne -- a chance to spread, meaning diseases previously unheard of in the US are now emerging."

Or we can get really scary and address the terrifying news in today's What on Earth comic strip: water shortages (partially brought on by climate change), the water-intensive needs of large-scale meat production, and the world's dramatically increasing population have put humans on the verge of a horrifying revelation: We may all need to become vegetarians.

While it's true that climate change giveth, the bigger, deeper, broader, more consistent reality is that climate change taketh away a whole lot more.

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