Bangladesh Is Enjoying Record Crop Yields, Despite Media Falsehoods

An Al Jazeera article titled, “In Pictures: Global warming forces Bangladeshi tribals to migrate,” claims global warming is causing Bangladeshi drought, which in turn is causing crop failures that are forcing Bangladeshi farmers to become climate refugees. Today, Google News is promoting the Al Jazeera article among its top search results under “climate change.” A review of objective crop data, however, shows Bangladesh is enjoying a dramatic long-term increase in crop yields, resulting in record food availability, as the Earth continues its modest warming.

“Indigenous tribespeople being forced out of their villages as global warming dries up water resources in their region,” Al Jazeera claims.

“[Things] have changed, rainfalls have become very erratic, not as it used to be, so we are unable to grow seasonal crops any more. Climate has changed,” reports a rural Bangladeshi, according to Al Jazeera.

This is the second time in the past six months that Al Jazeera has falsely claimed global warming is causing changes in weather patterns that are forcing rural Bangladeshi farmers from their homes. In July, Al Jazeera said an increase in rainfall and flooding are wiping out Bangladesh’s crop production, forcing tribal people to migrate. Now, Al Jazeera says drought and lack of water resources are causing crop losses and forcing people to abandon their farms and homes. The two claims are contradictory and, more importantly, they are both false.

Hard data, published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), show a consistent, substantial, and long-term increase in Bangladeshi crop production. In fact, the data show that during the past 20 years, Bangladesh has set new crop-production records virtually every year. Bangladeshi yields-per-acre are now consistently more than double what was the case 30 years ago.

Despite Al Jazeera’s false claims, there is no evidence that climate change, whether human-influenced or not, is causing crop declines or forced migration in Bangladesh or anywhere else in the world.

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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