By James Taylor
MSNBC’s Alex Wagner aired a segment on April 28 titled, “Republican policy on climate change takes a turn for the absurd.” The only problem was Wagner made provably false statements as ‘proof’ that the climate realist positions of Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) are scientifically “absurd.”
Wagner aired a clip of Greene saying climate always changes and no amount of taxation and regulation will change that. Wagner then aired a clip of Johnson pointing out that Wisconsin has a relatively cold climate and Wisconsinites might benefit from some warming. Wagner then mocked Greene and Johnson, claiming climate change is causing starvation and death.
The problem for Wagner is objective facts show just the opposite of what she claims. Global crop production is increasing dramatically as the planet modestly warms. Moreover, peer-reviewed medical data show far more people throughout the world die from cold temperatures and cold-related factors than hot temperatures and heat-related factors. By the data, warming temperatures are having a dramatic life-saving impact.
Regarding starvation, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) compiles and reports in-depth data on global and nation-by-nation crop production. FAO devotes particular attention to the world cereal harvest, which is comprised of the critical staple crops of rice, wheat, and corn. According to FAO, the most recent global crop year – 2021/2022 – produced the second-largest cereal crop in history. The previous year produced the third-largest cereal crop in history. All five of the five highest cereal crop years occurred during the past five years. FAO reports that global cereal crop production has risen 20 percent during the past decade.
Crop experts expect those gains to continue. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and FAO project, in their OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2021-2030, that global cereal production will increase by 336 million tons during this current decade. That represents another 12 percent increase in cereal crop production.
The crop data are not surprising, as carbon dioxide serves as aerial plant food. Horticulturists pump carbon dioxide into greenhouses precisely because carbon dioxide enhances plant growth. Also, warmer global temperatures extend growing seasons. Warmer temperatures additionally reduce harmful frost events and freezes during growing seasons. Moreover, higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels enable plants to be more productive with less water, making plants more tolerant of any droughts that periodically occur. Each of these factors explain why scientists have measured a substantial increase in global vegetation during recent decades.
Regarding human deaths and mortality, scientists have examined human death rates and mortality causes throughout the world. In a peer-reviewed study published in Lancet – the world’s most prestigious medical journal – scientists report 7.7% of deaths worldwide are caused by temperatures that are less than ideal. Among those 7.7% of deaths caused by sub-optimal temperatures, 20 times more people die from cold temperatures or cold-related factors than the number of people who die from hot temperatures or heat-related factors.
Alex Wagner’s snarky, I-follow-the-science statement that global warming is causing starvation and death is typical of the tone and inaccuracy of the industrial climate complex’s assertions regarding climate change. People like Johnson and Greene make statements questioning the so-called climate crisis, then uninformed climate believers ridicule the skeptical statements by simply making up and presenting statements that are undeniably falsified by objective scientific data.
James Taylor is the President of the Heartland Institute. Taylor is also director of Heartland’s Arthur B. Robinson Center for Climate and Environmental Policy.
Taylor is the former managing editor (2001-2014) of Environment & Climate News, a national monthly publication devoted to sound science and free-market environmentalism.
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