Sorry, Google News, Climate Change Is Helping End World Hunger

At the top of search results today for “climate change,” Google News is promoting an article claiming climate change is causing world hunger. However, data from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) clearly show global crop production and food stocks have increased significantly and steadily during recent years and decades as the Earth modestly warms. Climate change is helping end world hunger, not making world hunger worse.

The Google-promoted article, published by InkStick Media, is titled “Climate Change Is Hampering Our Ability to Combat World Hunger.” The article claims there has been an increase in world hunger since 2014, the article blames this human-caused climate change. The author quotes Swedish diplomat Jan Eliasson saying the world needs to “make peace with nature.” Unless we do so, the author warns, “Today, without a global effort we will certainly lose the battle for survival.”

Even if it were true that there has an increase in world hunger since 2014, the blame would be on political instability and corrupt centralized governments in Third World countries, not crop production or climate change. The FAO’s recent “Cereal Supply and Demand Brief” clearly shows both cereal crop production and cereal stocks have steadily increased since 2014, and have increased dramatically since 2010 (See the figure Below).

FAO Cereal Supply and Demand Brief, August 10, 2020.

Cereal grains include the Big Three food staples of corn, wheat, and rice, as well as some similar crops. Corn (maize), rice, and wheat by comprise 66 percent of global human food consumption. Also, just 15 crops provide 90 percent of the humanity’s food energy intake. Cereal grains make up nine of those 15 crops. As shown above, the FAO reports cereal grain production set new records seven of the past 10 years.

Looking ahead, the online agriculture news service recently published a story, “IGC projects record output for corn, wheat and soybeans,” highlighting the International Grains Council’s findings that it expects global yields of corn, rice, soybeans, and wheat to set new records again in 2020, despite the pandemic.

Global warming lengthens growing seasons, reduces frost events, and makes more land suitable for crop production. Also, carbon dioxide is an aerial fertilizer for plant life. These factors combined have resulted in the largest decline in hunger, malnutrition, and starvation in human history.

Although 700 million people worldwide still suffer from persistent hunger, the United Nations reports the number of hungry people has declined by two billion people since 1990.

To the extent hunger has increased some over the past few years, poor infrastructure, political corruption, internal conflicts, and war – not long-term human-caused climate change – is to blame.

As much as the media and climate alarmists may try to equate climate change with crop failures and hunger, the fact is global crop yields set new records virtually every year in response to beneficial ongoing warming.

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. Thank you for this report! I am sharing this with my son who is in an environmental science class with a teacher who is convinced that the world will end soon due to climate change.


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