Reuters Claims Crop Crisis as Yields Keep Setting Records

Reuters embarrassed itself by publishing a March 20 article raising alarm about global warming impacts on crop production. The article claims climate change is imperiling global crop production, yet United Nations crop data show global crop yields keeps setting new records. Also, warming temperatures are opening up new lands for food production in Canada and elsewhere. Chalk up the Reuters article as another shameful episode of fake climate news.

The Reuters article, titled “Climate shocks in just one country could disrupt global food supply,” examines global wheat production and claims that crop failures in just a single country could disrupt global food supply and “threatens global stability.” That’s if just one country has a poor wheat harvest caused by climate change.

Assuming poor crop production would threaten global stability, it is a good thing we have more atmospheric carbon dioxide and modest warming to benefit global crop production. United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization data show global crop yields, including wheat, have been remarkable, with global crop yields setting new records virtually every year. This helps solidify, rather than threaten, global stability.

Reuters itself has acknowledged that warming temperatures are opening up more lands for wheat farming in places like Canada and Russia. A March 23 Reuters article observed, “Russia and Canada have the greatest ‘frontier area’ suitable for agriculture, with 4.3 million and 4.2 million square kilometers respectively” potentially gaining suitable warmth for farming by 2060.

Largely assisted by warmer temperatures, Canadian crop yields are already approximately 50 percent higher than was the case in the year 2000. The past 10 years have produced the 10 highest Canadian crop yields per hectare in Canadian history.

Despite such remarkable crop yields, Reuters felt compelled to throw shade on Canadian crop production even in its March 23 article.

The article quoted a Canadian government official asserting, “Climate change will have a very negative climatic, social and economic impact on the province but there still may be some small offset gains by producing food.”

“Expanding arable land can also hurt the environment as it releases carbon from the soil,” the article added, citing dubious research.

Tell that to farmers throughout the world. Tell that, also, to a global population that is benefiting from more abundant food availability.

H. Sterling Burnett
H. Sterling Burnett
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is the Director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News. In addition to directing The Heartland Institute's Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy, Burett puts Environment & Climate News together, is the editor of Heartland's Climate Change Weekly email, and the host of the Environment & Climate News Podcast.

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  1. As an active farmer in Western Canada for more than 50 years I would agree with nearly all of what this article states as regards improved crop production. I would credit commercial fertilizers, improved pesticides, new productive farm equipment and technologies among many other advances for a fairly dramatic improvement in crop yields in my career. I also agree that based upon indisputable science that the increase in atmospheric CO2 over the last 50 years or so has been a contributor to better plant growth including forests and wildlife habitat. I would however, question the premise that warming in Canada has been a contributor to this increase in production. My 50+ years in this game has shown no evidence of a warming or expanded growing season trend in my part of Canada. But I have total confidence in ongoing increased food production around the world as long as alarmists don’t use falsehoods to kill affordable energy or critically important and safe pesticides(eg. glyphosate) to strangle our ability to produce food.


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