Climate change is often thought to have its winners and losers, with Canada, Nordic countries and Russia being portrayed as among the lucky few chilly nations where moderate climate change could mean net benefits such as lower winter heating bills, more forest, longer crop growth and perhaps more summer tourism.

Russia's two-month heat wave, which wrecked a quarter of Russia's grain crop and may cut $14 billion from gross domestic product, is dimming prospects that northern countries will "win" from climate change.

While Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in 2002 joked that less icy weather would enable Russians to buy fewer fur coats, President Dmitry Medvedev now blamed the heat wave on global warming – even though most experts say it is impossible to link individual weather events to climate change.

People in Nordic nations and Canada are becoming aware that climate change will not be a simple blessing for them. Possible damaging side-effects of less chill weather, including the risk to forests and crops of insect pests normally kept in check by winter frosts.

Via Reuters, Thanks to the Canary Project. Image via English Russia.

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  • I don't think the vast majority of Canadians, myself included, regard climate change as a winning proposition for anyone. Winter has its inconveniences here, but is a necessary phase of our various ecologies. Western Canada, as you alluded, is plagued by a species of beetle that is rapidly deforesting Jack Pines throughout the mountains due to a string of mild winters; and standing deadwood in those regions causes disastrous wildfires. The permafrost (a vast region of heretofore perpetually frozen earth) is thawing, releasing tonnes of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere; the boreal forest is creeping northward, threatening the tundra which is home to countless migratory species and grazing animals, not to mention the Innu peoples. Further to that, the melting polar sea (formerly the arctic ice cap) is being used to justify the beginning an arms race between Canada and Russia over whatever resources may become accessible. We might grumble in February, but few Canucks regard a warming globe as a thing to look forward to.

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