Old Talking Points Die Hard: "Climate Change Is Beneficial" Edition

If you follow the cycle of anti-climate change talking points, you’ll notice a pattern that repeats itself every few years. In between spurts of outright denial, the anti-science crowd will occasionally revert back to a less-heard talking point: Climate change is actually a good thing.

Even as the year 2011 has ranked the 10th warmest year on record, the “climate change is good” talking point has crept back to center stage among conservative pundits and dirty energy apologists who can't help but to acknowledge that climate change is real, but suggest that we don’t need to worry about it.

This particular talking point gained a lot of steam in 2004, when the Cato Institute began hyping the idea that climate change was going to be a net benefit for mankind. From Cato:

Theory predicts and observations confirm that human-induced warming takes place primarily in winter, lengthening the growing season. Satellite measurements now show that the planet is greener than it was before it warmed. There are literally thousands of experiments reported in the scientific literature demonstrating that higher atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations – cause by human activity – dramatically increase food production. So why do we only hear one side about global warming?

Keep in mind, the Cato Institute was co-founded by oil billionaire Charles Koch and has received over $5.5 million from Koch family foundations since 1997, in addition to at least $125,000 from Exxon in the last 13 years.

During the same period that Cato was touting the benefits of warmer climates, other media outlets like London’s The Telegraph were also downplaying the disastrous effects of climate change. The Telegraph told us that, yes, climate change is absolutely real, but that we shouldn’t worry about it because it isn’t a man-made phenomenon. According to The Telegraph, and a host of conservative media in North America, the earth was just in a “natural warming phase” that would soon end and bring about another “natural cooling phase.”

Well, a few years later, we’re beginning to hear that familiar drumbeat of the positive aspects of climate change all over again.

The New York Post told its readers last month that not only are we currently in an ice age, but that “global warming” is going to benefit us all by preventing a full-blown ice age from taking over the planet.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute staffers who run the website GlobalWarming.org have taken it upon themselves to promote the “climate change is good” talking point each week by posting excerpts from books that also make the claim. This week, they led with an excerpt from Matt Ridley’s The Rational Optimist:

…Once again, people will adapt, as they do today. People move happily from London to Hong Kong or Boston to Miami and do not die from heat, so why should they die if their home city gradually warms by a few degrees? (It already has, because of the urban heat island effect.)

Pause for a moment to digest the fact that CEI and Ridley are still pushing the myth of the “urban heat island effect” even after the Koch-funded BEST study debunked it thoroughly.

According to Forbes’ contributor Tim Worstall, we can all sit back and relax because climate change isn’t going to be as bad as all the environmentalists and activists want us to believe:

This is however the most important remaining question in the science of climate change. Not is it happening, but how bad is it going to be? The lower climate sensitivity is the less bad it will be and the less attention we have to pay to it.

We’re also seeing numerous articles about how climate change will bring down the cost of goods as it opens up new, easier shipping routes in the arctic.

While certainly a clever attempt to paint a rosy picture of climate change, the “climate change is good for us” talking point is completely false. In North America alone this year, we’ve seen record snow falls, record floods, record droughts, record wildfires – many of them deadly events - and a further list of seemingly endless disasters and extreme weather events that are consistent with climate scientists's warnings about what the future holds for us.

To understand the effects that climate change is already having in some areas of the world, I recommend reading Jeff Goodell’s recent piece in Rolling Stone magazine “Climate Change and the End of Australia.” As Goodell points out, Australia is one of the best examples to see how disastrous climate change will be for the rest of the world. The continent is already experiencing severe hurricanes and droughts, both of which are the direct result of climate change.

The NRDC has also worked to show what the real effects of climate change will be – and it isn’t Christmas Eve pool parties for Canadians, as the climate deniers would have us believe.

The reality is that climate change is going to have a disastrous effect on human health. As they point, in 2011, NRDC points to the following statistics from climate change-related events:

1,689 premature deaths
8,992 hospitalizations
21,113 emergency department visits
734,398 outpatient visits.

How exactly are these statistics “beneficial?” Are those numbers what the “climate change is good” crowd want us to celebrate? The truth is that there is nothing “good” about climate change. And as long as we continue down our path of mutual fossil-fueled self-destruction, things are only going to get worse.


The phrase is a perfect one to build into a PR campaign as it can be anything. Generally the gameplan is to take any negatively perceived weather and to build it into the AGW narrative. All part of the Pr campaign for the cause. This also represents the last best hope for climate science. One last beachhead to engage the public a public relations battle of the bulge if you will.

The warming has been irrelevant at best and at worst a complete nullification of the AGW hypothesis. The last chance is to attempt to tie it to weather events. The recent IPCC report attempts to move away from the warming and onto a much less disprovable and more tenuous link to weather.

As the article points out a warmer world would clearly be a better world. On the plus side Canada is clearly pulling out of Kyoto.

It will be interesting to see how this will shape the geopolitics.


@RalphNader: “The recent IPCC report attempts to move away from the warming and onto a much less disprovable and more tenuous link to weather.”

You’re completely shameless!  That IPCC report is in addition to the Assessment Reports which they issue at regular intervals - as you well know.

I’m tempted to ask why there’s always someone, who’s in denial that AGW is a problem, available to be first to respond in any blog that states the facts, but the answer is obvious.  Propagandists depend on the suppression of the truth.

You’re completely shameless!”

It’s Ralph’s “gift”.

“I’m tempted to ask why there’s always someone, who’s in denial that AGW is a problem, available to be first to respond in any blog that states the facts, but the answer is obvious.  Propagandists depend on the suppression of the truth.”

Agree. No matter how many times you debunk their lies, they just shamelessly repeat them on the next story, as if the previous discussion had never happened.

I am trying to provide you with the Gift of knowledge. Denialism is a fact based discipline. I just throw them out there to educate.

fact: The lastest IPCC update attempts to claim a link between weather and co2 emissions.

Too bad that this has been debunked by the science even by many hard core believers. Every time there is a climate conference one of these red herrings emerges in the press. Watch for it.

“Denialism is a fact based discipline.”

That’s just gold Ralph.

“fact: The lastest IPCC update attempts to claim a link between weather and co2 emissions.”

I notice that yet again, you provide no evidence. Because you know that by doing so, it will expose the fact that you have got it from an opinion piece, which you have tried to pass off as fact. Another lie of yours confirmed.

Man oh man where do you guys get this bunk. If anything increased C02 is making crop yields boom. More and more food is produced each year, each more than the last.

“If anything increased C02 is making crop yields boom.”

Like in Texas?

“More and more food is produced each year, each more than the last.”

Like Thailand?

While some areas will benefit from more CO2, most wont. Weeds also benefit from more CO2 remember. There is also the problem of increased CO2 on our oceans. Once a tipping point is reached, acidification means that many shell based creatures will not be able to create shells, damaging the food chain as a whole. We all share the ocean. It’s not an infinite resource.


I do not think even you are that gullible. Ocean acidification? That is simply the fall back plan for when AGW is completely discredited. Please one myth at time, you are getting ahead of yourself.

“I do not think even you are that gullible. Ocean acidification? That is simply the fall back plan for when AGW is completely discredited.”

No Ralph. It’s critical analysis. Weighing up all the factors. People do it all the time. It’s not that scientific.

E.g. Should I take that job? It offers a lot more money, but i will rarely see my wife & kids.


Should I eat that hamburger? I will really enjoy the taste & will feel satisfied, but the added calories will make me fatter & impact my health.

You cannot look at just one aspect of CO2 increase & say there will be benefit, without examining other areas to see if there will also be benefit, or negative impacts. Clearly, there are more downsides to having more CO2 .


Ocean acidification is a scam.

The only thing real about ocean acidification is the money scientists hope to get billions in research grants to study this myth.

The name itself tells you everything you need to know. The ocean is basic or alkalai, it will never be acidic. The very notion that it is refered to as ocean acidification is political, not scientific. That should give you your first reason for suspicion.

The fact that we have no reliable measurement of this change and that we know that the ocean was less alkalai in the past should debunk this myth in your head. Not to mention no reliable natural data to support this theory, just a few papers relying on computer models.

This issue makes the critical flaw that all eco nuts make. namely that life is fragile and it hangs on a thread. In reality all the scientific literature shows us that the earth and life is very robust and can withstand massive amounts of change.

If the ph of the oceans changes by .1 there will be no impact on the oceans.

Why the no links again? What is there to hide? Denialism the biggest partisan scam on the planet? Here some to sink you teeth into:




Ocean acidification scam, lots of info out there.

Also whats your take on this?



“Ocean acidification scam, lots of info out there.”

Like what? It’s the vibe you get?

“Also whats your take on this?


My take is, that you couldn’t provide evidence for your previous talking points & have now moved onto another one. Regarding this new one, the one where Wolfgang Wagner realised that they had not properly checked a paper before allowing it to be published, then discovering later, that it was filled with so many fundamental flaws that he resigned from Remote Sensing in embarassment?


Concerning that story, my take on it, is the same as it was back in September when it first broke & we discussed it.



Saying you are worried about ocean acidification will get the same reaction as if you say that you communication with aliens on a daily basis. It is wayyyy out here, very scant evidence and just a few compters models to go on. Truly just a hunt for some dollars to study a non existant problem.

On the other hand I suppose if you believe that a drought in texas is proof of runaway global warming, this probably seems very logical to you.

Naomi Klein’s Capitalism ad the Climate in the Nov. 28 issue of The Nation.

Helps one to understand where poster RalphNader finds his talking points.


Agreed it’s a good read, but far too long for any astroturfer’s attention span!

Naomi Klein builds on her research for The Shock Doctrine to explain that the deniers are not just from the fossil fuel industry, but neoliberals in general, who’re terrified that their destructive economic experiment is going to be exposed, if people accept the implications of AGW.

They are being absolutely ruthless in the tactics they use to defend their status quo, and I can see them using all weapons of the state as personal experience of global warming begins to overwhelm their propaganda.  I fear these people will turn very nasty, when push comes to shove.

I think DesmogBlog should do a feature interview with Naomi Klein.

Ralph… here you go.


 ”Dinosaur farts.”

Klein’s 2002 offering on what might have brought on the Ice Age that killed off dinosaurs.