The media this week are breathlessly promoting a paper by researchers at Curtin University in Australia that says climate change is harming food production. In reality, crop data show food production is rising dramatically in recent decades under ideal crop conditions.

 

A Science Daily article, titled “Study calls for urgent climate change action to secure global food supply,” is typical of the media’s coverage of the bogus paper. The Science Daily article says, “New Curtin University-led research has found … climate change has had a detrimental impact on health and food production for the past 50 years and far more needs to be done to overcome its adverse effects.”

The fact that climate change has harmed food production would come as news to United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). FAO reports crop production is setting new records almost every year during the past few decades, as the figure below shows.

As reported in Climate Realism, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, for example, for crop after crop, in country after country, records for annual yield and production are set almost yearly.

The reasons for booming crop production are well documented in the Non-Governmental International Panel on Climate Change volume, “Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts. 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. In addition, crops use water more efficiently when benefiting from more atmospheric carbon dioxide, losing less water to transpiration.

The benefits of more atmospheric carbon dioxide and a modestly warming world on hunger and malnutrition are equally clear. Despite the addition of 3.2 billion people to the planet since 1968, poverty and hunger have plummeted at a faster rate than at any other time in human history. Although 840 million people worldwide are still undernourished, the United Nations reports the number of hungry people has declined by two billion since 1990. Research shows there is now 17 percent more food available per person than there was 30 years ago—all occurring during the period of purportedly dangerous climate change.

The research cited above is not hard to find. The researchers at Curtain University and Science Daily either did sloppy work or they were more interested in promoting climate alarm than the reassuring truth.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is managing editor of Environment & Climate News and a research fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute. Burnett worked at the National Center for Policy Analysis for 18 years, most recently as a senior fellow in charge of NCPA’s environmental policy program. He has held various positions in professional and public policy organizations, including serving as a member of the Environment and Natural Resources Task Force in the Texas Comptroller’s e-Texas commission.

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