Posted by on September 5, 2019 12:07 pm
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Reports on climate change have a funny way of raising more questions than they answer. Depending on which experts and pundits you choose to believe, the world is either already feeling the impact of climate change on agricultural production, or the whole thing is overstated and alarmist. The truth presumably lies somewhere in between(?) but either way Farm Progress has a good overview of the opposing sides by Gary Baise. 



  • At issue is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report on agricultural production, many of whose claims are dismissed by the Wall Street Journal as eco-warrior hyperbole. The WSJ particularly rejects the report’s suggestion that “global warming has devastated crop production and threatens food shortages.”



  • That statement does make strange reading alongside another finding by the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization that “new records were set for global corn, wheat and rice production five years running through 2017, the most recent year for which data are available.”



  • Harder to refute is the potential role agriculture plays in contributing to climate change, as also noted by the report: “Section A3 claims that agricultural related activities create approximately 13% of CO2, 44% of methane, and 82% of nitrous oxide.”



  • The WSJ engages in some hyperbole of its own, it would seem, in claiming the IPCC report paints a picture of global food declines. In fact, as Baise points out, if you read the report closely it only expresses concern about food production declining in particular regions, including “the dry lands of Africa, Asia and parts of South America.”  



  • Baise’s balanced overview of the controversy is available here.