University of Minnesota: Zimbabwe Food Production Declining Because Climate Change

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Apparently the models can tease out the difference between armed thugs looting and destroying farms, and the impact of a very small shift in global temperature.

Climate change is affecting crop yields and reducing global food supplies

July 9, 2019 9.22pm AEST
Deepak Ray Senior scientist, University of Minnesota


To analyze these questions, a team of researchers led by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment spent four years collecting information on crop productivity from around the world. We focused on the top 10 global crops that provide the bulk of consumable food calories: Maize (corn), rice, wheat, soybeans, oil palm, sugarcane, barley, rapeseed (canola), cassava and sorghum. Roughly 83 percent of consumable food calories come from just these 10 sources. Other than cassava and oil palm, all are important U.S. crops.

Once we had constructed an empirical model connecting crop yield to weather variations at each location, we could use it to assess how much yields had changed from what we would have expected to see if average weather patterns had not changed. The difference between what we would have predicted, based on the counterfactual weather, and what actually occurred reflects the influence of climate change.

What’s more, we found that decreases in consumable food calories are already occurring in roughly half of the world’s food insecure countries, which have high rates of undernourishment, child stunting and wasting, and mortality among children under age 5 due to lack of sufficient food. For example, in India annual food calories have declined by 0.8% annually and in Nepal they have fallen by 2.2% annually. 

Reductions are also occurring in southern African countries, including Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. We even found losses in some rich industrialized nations, such as Australia, France and Germany. 
Rich countries can work their way out of food calorie shortages by importing food. But poorer countries may need help. Short-term strategies could include using our findings to breed or increase cultivation of crops that are resilient to or even benefit from climate change. Farming techniques and agriculture policies can also help small-scale farmers increase crop yields.

Read more:

The abstract of the study;

Climate change has likely already affected global food production
Deepak K. Ray , Paul C. West, Michael Clark, James S. Gerber, Alexander V. Prishchepov, Snigdhansu Chatterjee

Crop yields are projected to decrease under future climate conditions, and recent research suggests that yields have already been impacted. However, current impacts on a diversity of crops subnationally and implications for food security remains unclear. Here, we constructed linear regression relationships using weather and reported crop data to assess the potential impact of observed climate change on the yields of the top ten global crops–barley, cassava, maize, oil palm, rapeseed, rice, sorghum, soybean, sugarcane and wheat at ~20,000 political units. We find that the impact of global climate change on yields of different crops from climate trends ranged from -13.4% (oil palm) to 3.5% (soybean). Our results show that impacts are mostly negative in Europe, Southern Africa and Australia but generally positive in Latin America. Impacts in Asia and Northern and Central America are mixed. This has likely led to ~1% average reduction (-3.5 X 1013 kcal/year) in consumable food calories in these ten crops. In nearly half of food insecure countries, estimated caloric availability decreased. Our results suggest that climate change has already affected global food production.

Published: May 31, 2019

Read more:

First, top marks for accessibility, for providing public access to the full study.

The claim about Zimbabwe intrigued me, because Zimbabwe has been suffering problems other than shifting weather patterns.

From the study;

Of the major sub-Saharan African crops, maize provides the largest percentage of food calories followed by sorghum, cassava and sugarcane. Maize and sugarcane yields decreased by 5.8% and 3.9%, respectively. In contrast, recent climate change caused yields to increase in the more heat- and drought-tolerant sorghum (0.7%) and cassava (1.7%). Maize yield losses are highest in South Africa (-22%), with the highest losses occurring in the provinces of The Free State and North West (Fig 1). Overall in Sub-Saharan Africa maize yields have decreased but cassava yields increased in response to climate changes, though not everywhere. For example cassava yields decreased in the central to southern parts of Madagascar but increased in northeastern Madagascar. Though Eastern Africa in general had reductions in cassava yields, in Tanzania this was true only in its eastern districts and in the western districts cassava yields benefitted from mean climate changes. This apparent heterogeneity in yield response is seen also in Western Africa. For example in the southern districts of Togo maize yields decreased but in the northern districts maize yields benefitted from mean climate change. Consumable food calorie production from these ten crops was reduced nearly 12% (or ~-8% across all food calories) in South Africa. Large decreases in consumable food calories across all ten crops also occurred in Ghana (~-8%) in western Africa, in Zimbabwe (~-10%) in southern Africa, but increased in Tanzania (~2%) in eastern Africa (S4 Table). In some cases, as in Ghana, gains in consumable calories in maize and rice due to climate change was wiped off from losses in cassava consumable calories leading to overall decreases in consumable food calories. Overall in entire sub-Saharan Africa ~1.4% reduction in food calories in these ten crops or ~0.8% reduction across all consumed food calories from these ten crops occurs on average annually due to climate change.

Read more:

Not really much additional information.

I’m still not clear how the model accounted for political mismanagement of water resources, which has been rampant in South Africa, Zimbabwe and some green US states like California, soil erosion caused by mismanagement of land in some regions, and long term underinvestment in rural water infrastructure, which is a serious ongoing issue in Australia. Australian farmers are being starved of water resources, to ensure the growing population of city voters receive a steady supply, which could be exacerbating weather related losses.

Having said that I suggest the whole concept of constructing an imaginary “what if” scenario, a hypothetical yield without climate change, a bit suspect, because the conclusion yielded from this exercise is based on the circular assumption that climate change is actually having an impact on weather, that any weather changes are not simply random natural variations, or rainfall changes caused land use changes such as deforestation.


My thanks to Eric for an interesting post. I trust he won’t mind if I offer a different explanation for decreasing food yields in Zimbabwe … socialism/communism as imposed by Robert Mugabe, and the subsequent expropriation and breakup of productive farms. Here are the changes in yield for a couple of important food crops …

Percentage change in wheat and soybean yield,
Zimbabwe (1961 = 0)

Anyone who thinks that those changes are from variations in climate is … well, let me call them “woefully uninformed” and leave it at that.


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Bill Powers
July 10, 2019 10:12 am

Global Climate Science is a Social Science and false claims tying everything to the climate stands as proof.

Reply to  Bill Powers
July 10, 2019 11:05 am

At least it’s becoming easier to spot for even the under informed. Just not in Minnesota.

Curious George
Reply to  ResourceGuy
July 10, 2019 5:52 pm

Why does Climate Change harm only Zimbabwe?

Joel Snider
Reply to  Bill Powers
July 10, 2019 11:26 am

Illustrated by the fact that so many sociologists (read: life-long academics) seem to want to push the issue.

Reply to  Joel Snider
July 10, 2019 12:23 pm

Self interest and public coffers rarely mix well.

Reply to  Joel Snider
July 10, 2019 12:23 pm

Self interest and public coffers rarely mix well

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Bill Powers
July 10, 2019 12:34 pm

Na, it’s a cult with sciency sounding sophistry.

Bryan A
July 10, 2019 10:28 am

By Food Calories are they refering to calories vs quantity of food produced (fewer crops, fewer calories) or Calories vs expected calorie mass (fewer calories per tonne)

Reply to  Bryan A
July 10, 2019 11:24 am

I can’t work that out either. Then there is the obvious problem in countries like Australia farmers mix there crops around based on what the market price is doing as much as the weather. It isn’t like they grow the same crop year in and year out. You maximize returns, what farmer cares what the stupid calorific value of the crop is.

In Australia for example if you take a normal ceral crop like wheat .. here is the year production since 1960
It is bouncing around 3 times the production in 1960 which is supposedly before global warming kicked in.

Reply to  Bryan A
July 10, 2019 1:16 pm

Remember how a couple of years ago they started saying that even though increased CO2 levels leads to increased plant growth, that’s mostly just carbohydrates (calories – but who needs calories anyway?) which leads to a relative decrease in proper nutrients in food crops, which is a VERY BAD THING? And then remember how last year they started saying that most plants underutilize available CO2 to begin with, and that via genetic modification CO2 utilization could be enhanced, therefore leading to more plant growth, which would be a VERY GOOD THING? (Left unmentioned, I noted, was that for food crops this should lead to exactly the same situation described in my first sentence.) Pepperidge Farm remembers.

Remember also how when the “loss of nutrients” study(s) came out, that various folks in online science forums pointed out that farmers don’t really grow crops with nutrient targets in mind anyway, and instead aim for things like increased yield and such? And that how any loss of nutrients could probably be relatively easily made up for by simply applying additional minerals to the fields? And remember how some of those online forums censored and sometimes even outright banned folks who pointed out the obvious flaws in such studies, for daring to cast doubt on “peer reviewed science”? Pepperidge Farm also remembers.

Mark Broderick
July 10, 2019 10:35 am

….I use to believe that these idiots were just sadly mistaken, now I am sure that they are simply dishonest….IMHO

judith van velden
July 10, 2019 10:42 am

Here in Southern Africa we have suffered a devastating 2 year el nino which causes widespread drought. I read some time ago that had Zimbabwe used, e.g. drought resistant GMO maize, their plight would have been less dire. We have the problem here that the Green lobby has been very successful in frightening people about the use of GMO products..easily done as the African nations generally are very keen to disassociate themselves from the West and all it stands for.

Reply to  judith van velden
July 10, 2019 12:20 pm

and all it stands for… like relative political stability, or a superior standard of living?

The rationalization sounds more like “sour grapes”.

Bryan A
Reply to  Rocketscientist
July 10, 2019 2:20 pm

It is more like “What you are being led to believe the West Stands For”
The West stands for:
Elected Leadership
Elevated Living Standards
Better Health Care (Better does not necessarily mean more affordable)
Better incomes to afford better health care
Elimination of Energy Poverty
Higher Crop Yields per acre
Greater Livestock Weight per Head
Opportunity for All
Voting rights for all
Equal Religious Opportunity
Religious Tollerance (without radicalization)

I have to ask, In your opinion and from what you are hearing,
What are you being told about the west and what they stand for?

Tom Halla
July 10, 2019 10:51 am

Given that all mentioned countries with declining food production have socialist/communist governments, or deliberate mismanagement by greens, how, pray tell, can one find a portion for “climate change”?
Using farmland as a political award for their supporters in Zimbabwe, and dispossessing the experienced commercial farmers, had such a profound effect any other factor would be minor.

Reply to  Tom Halla
July 10, 2019 12:24 pm

Within a matter of years Zimbabwe went from being the “bread basket of Africa” to not being able to feed itself.
Of course it had to be climate change, but in this case it was political climate.

Reply to  Tom Halla
July 10, 2019 10:24 pm

Stupid leftist never learn Zimbabwe is just like the Soviet Union, when you kill or drive out the farmers that know something about food production, food productions drops. The leftist cannot grasp how food production drops after all anyone can raise crops. This is a new twist in the past they blamed the drop on people not cooperation with the new regimes, now it just climate change. We can only hope the University of Minnestupid does not think a few virgin sacrifices might correct things. Oh sorry the greenies are a lot smarted now, they know virgin sacrifices don’t work after all they are “educated” they are just proposing the elimination to six and a half billion people.

July 10, 2019 10:51 am

You left out “.. based on the circular assumption that..” any and all effects will be negative.

July 10, 2019 11:04 am

You left out murder in the case of Zimbabwe where white farmers were killed in order to make way for certain government elites to take over the same property in the name of redistribution.

Sioned Lang
Reply to  ResourceGuy
July 10, 2019 9:48 pm

The govt redistributed the confiscated farmland in quantitues that only provided subsistance level farming.

Pillage Idiot
July 10, 2019 11:11 am

What a load of crap!

“Once we had constructed an empirical model connecting crop yield to weather variations at each location, we could use it to assess how much yields had changed from what we would have expected to see if average weather patterns had not changed. ”

The wheat yield at our Kansas farm is always better with AVERAGE weather conditions.

Some years we have a drought that severely reduces yields. Last year it was so wet during the fall planting season, that we could not plant a wheat crop.

Weather variability has been occurring long before humans changed the CO2 level in the atmosphere.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Pillage Idiot
July 10, 2019 1:19 pm

WTF is an empirical model anyways? There is empirical modelling but to think that you’ve created an empirical model with empirical modelling just shows the guy is a moron.

Reply to  Robert W Turner
July 10, 2019 9:00 pm

An Empirical Model simply means you are modeling from a baseline of data, because you don’t have any solid understanding of the underlying causes. It’s very common in engineering. It can, of course, be abused by those who don’t have to be right (like engineers).

Reply to  Pillage Idiot
July 10, 2019 1:56 pm

And furthermore, no crop grows under AVERAGE weather conditions.

Plants grow in response to the day-to-day weather, whatever it is

Example: The crops were looking great – until the day after the torrential hailstorm

July 10, 2019 11:15 am

Let’s see, if you kill or drive off all the people who actually know how to produce food, you get less food, but it is really all about climate change. In this case they are actually correct. If you change the political climate to remove production, you get less production.

July 10, 2019 11:18 am

my models just run over small green plastic GIs.

D Anderson
July 10, 2019 11:24 am

Norman Borlaug’s spinning in his grave.

July 10, 2019 11:35 am

Food Production maybe declining but number of zeros on Zimbabwian banknotes is exponentially increasing according to the ‘hockey stick’ law.

July 10, 2019 11:42 am

You can’t say if 1 million tonnes this year is a lower yield than 1.1 million tonnes last year – it depends how much was planted.

Y. Knott
July 10, 2019 11:44 am

” – So remember, folks, you heard it here first! And everything else is just Weather…”

dodgy geezer
July 10, 2019 11:47 am

Surely mismanaged water resources and armed thugs looting farms ARE just what we should expect from Climate Change?

My models show this very clearly…

Michael in Dublin
July 10, 2019 11:53 am

In the mid eighties I saw farms in some of the best areas in Zimbabwe going to wrack and ruin. These farms had been previously farmed by successful commercial farmers and were taken over and given to black people who were given seed and fertilizer. Most failed miserably. Anyone who has lived in Zimbabwe knows that the failure of farming is not because of the weather – commercial farmers had to deal with drought and floods but succeeded in making the country a breadbasket for Southern Africa. This study is simply hogwash.

RIchard Ilfeld
July 10, 2019 11:55 am

Thanks to greening by increased carbon dioxide concentrations, some of the impacts of politically based mismanagement were mitigated…….

John Robertson
July 10, 2019 12:15 pm

Gang Green,hard at work.

I love their logic,it is wonderful.
“Assuming the existence of Angels,how many can stand on the end of a pin?”
Or assuming the existence of unicorn,how much renewable energy can we generate from their flatulence”?

The stage is being set for one of the nastiest purges in modern history, science and reason is so discredited by these parasites that the taxpayer may reduce government to 1% its current size.
Why pay,for idiocy?
Or the “help” that never was.

July 10, 2019 12:16 pm

‘Short-term strategies could include using our findings to breed or increase cultivation of crops that are resilient to or even benefit from climate change.’

GMO ???

‘Farming techniques and agriculture policies can also help small-scale farmers increase crop yields.’

Justifying colonialism. “If they just had us telling them how to do things . . . .”

July 10, 2019 12:20 pm

This study can’t be done……they are not all growing the same plants….any country that has changed to GMO or even just a better bred variety…will throw off the curve

Bryan A
Reply to  Latitude
July 10, 2019 2:33 pm

Then their crop yield data would be Positively Skewed

Reply to  Bryan A
July 10, 2019 4:35 pm

…and that would make any study like this inaccurate, right?

Bryan A
Reply to  Latitude
July 10, 2019 7:57 pm

As it would any other study comparing apples to oranges

Bryan A
Reply to  Latitude
July 11, 2019 5:53 am

Like splicing High Resolution Datasets onto the end of Low Resolution Datasets and calling the resulting representation accurate

July 10, 2019 12:28 pm

Food security depends on all kinds of things.

Factors that influence sustainable food security include: literacy rates; levels of farmer education; agricultural research and extension capacity; transport infrastructure; non-agricultural income opportunities; social support systems; international security and confidence in international trade; domestic civil strife; international capital movements, etc. ASIA-PACIFIC CENTER FOR SECURITY STUDIES

All those things have a greater effect on food security than does climate change. There’s no reason for famine anywhere in the world today except for politics.

July 10, 2019 12:45 pm

Zimbabwe food production has been progressive ever since they indulged diversity and waged retributive and redistributive change.

Randy Wester
Reply to  n.n
July 10, 2019 1:51 pm

Yeah, that progressive Marxism never works, does it?

When the Soviet Union and China couldn’t beat enough grain out of the peasants they didn’t starve or imprison, Canadian farmers had a great export market for even more wheat than the railroad and port worker unions would let through.

Reply to  n.n
July 10, 2019 5:44 pm

Such “progress” has undone Zimbabwe. It certainly wasn’t progress towards a better life for Zimbabwe. If you consider the situation “progress” we really don’t need any of that here.

Robert W Turner
July 10, 2019 1:12 pm

The climate cult is reaching evernew heights of vapidness, are they even trying anymore? That’s not even what I would call a scientific abstract that would pass for undergraduate work.

They assume that crop yields are only dependent on weather (false), that weather is climate (false), and that a global average of crop production reflect crop rotations at a regional level (false).

Global crop yields are going up, up, and up, and are projected to go up, up, and up. This is based on reality of measuring the weight of the crops produced, not by creating “empirical models” of calorie yields [wut?] of 10 crops.

Not only that, but I’m quite sure that potatoes are a top 10 crop by any metric you use. The paper they cite for the top 10 crop types and that these crops comprise 83% of the world’s crop food calories does not include that information. So just checking a single source for a single claim has found that they are pulling this information out of their arses. This paper should be retracted on all these grounds, but they are probably more likely to win some award for the climate cult industry.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Robert W Turner
July 11, 2019 7:01 am

This paper should be retracted on all these grounds, but they are probably more likely to win some award for the climate cult industry.

Of course the authors will win an award because their “paper” provides the needed excuse for the political failure that caused the shortage in food production.

Bruce Cobb
July 10, 2019 1:15 pm

They set out to prove “climate change” was to blame, and what do you know, they “proved” it. Amazing!

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
July 10, 2019 2:40 pm

Note that they didn’t actually say what ‘climate change’ is. It remains the greatest mystery of the 21st century.

Robert W Turner
July 10, 2019 1:22 pm

Oh here’s a nice sentence from the paper:
“Empirical (statistical) global estimates of recent climate change impacts”
Are even hallucinations considered empirical now?

July 10, 2019 1:28 pm

Has nothing to do with “climate change” and everything to do with Marxism.

July 10, 2019 1:34 pm

As someone who lived in what was Rhodesia and then became Zimbabwe, I was involved to some degree with the farming community. Whilst Rhodesia/Zimbabwe always suffered from cyclical droughts, dams and boreholes ensured sufficient food supplies of both grains and meat protein. It was evident about a hundred years ago to the largely British settlers that only large scale commercial farming would provide the necessary buffer against the periods of drought. This strategy saw the country become a veritable breadbasket, exporting food to neighboring countries and some of the best beef in the world to Europe. Various strains of maize were developed that together with irrigation and timely planting linked to rainfall patterns proved hugely successful. There were many areas of the country that were not suitable for crops but were found able to sustain cattle, goats and sheep and in the south of the country one of the largest beef ranches in the world was developed by an international food producer called Liebigs.
In the 1960s, the British government without any knowledge of the agricultural infrastructure that had been carefully developed and nurtured, decided that the country should have a black government. This, despite the failure of this misguided, left wing policy across most of Africa. The horrors of the Mugabe government and the genocide of the Matabele is well documented as is the savage murder of white farmers and the break up of the vast majority of commercial farms. Fences were torn down for the wire, water pumps and their motors stolen and sold for scrap, as were farming implements and machinery. A friend who farmed several thousand acres with beef, dairy, maize and tobacco had a staff of over forty. They were well housed, there was a school and a clinic where a doctor was in attendance once a week and on call in case of emergency. The standard of living of the staff was a vast improvement of what their parents had known only thirty of forty years previously. Instead of brick houses, they had lived in mud huts and were partially nomadic to escape the raids from the Matabele. The vast central plains were avoided as they provided little security against attack. Drought and famine were rife and the indigenous population was less than one million. It was these vary areas that British settlers opened up for commercial farming. With the tribal wars ended by Rhodesian security forces and country in black hands the free for all land grabs began. With western medical care and the end of tribal wars the black population exploded – in 1990 the black population had grown to over five million – half of which were under seventeen years of age!! (The white population at its highest was only around 350 00.) Once highly productive farms were divided up into subsistence plots, most without irrigation, mechanised equipment or people with even a basic knowledge of agriculture. The best farms were grabbed as status symbols by Mugabe and his cronies with little concern for high crop yields or land conservation. The results were inevitable as even a mild drought decimated yields and starvation and famine in rural areas became common place. The agricultural infrastructure that had been put in place that would have severely limited the effects of so-called “climate change” were gone.
Tragically, the ANC government in South Africa seems hell bent on following the same path with farmers being murdered left right and centre.
For anyone with half a brain cell to lay the devastation of one of Africa’s most productive farming countries on climate change only demonstrates their ignorance and political agenda. The tragedy of Africa was brought about by left wing, socialist politicians, many of whom who had never set foot on the continent and by academics who laboured under the quaint belief that Africa before the whites arrived was rather like a peaceful English village, with pubs, postal services, schools, hospitals, roads and railways. Millions have died as a result of their stupidity.

July 10, 2019 1:41 pm

Meanwhile, actual global crop yields have been increasing. Imagine a track star beating a world record, and you tell them “we modeled someone running even faster and, compared with them, you ran slower!”

July 10, 2019 1:42 pm

I wonder if climate change also is the cause of declining oil production in Venezuela and mexico?

July 10, 2019 1:48 pm

“Once we had constructed an empirical model connecting crop yield to weather variations at each location, we could use it to assess how much yields had changed from what we would have expected to see if average weather patterns had not changed. The difference between what we would have predicted, based on the counterfactual weather, and what actually occurred reflects the influence of climate change.”

Major issues:
1) Conflates weather with climate.
2) Reduces all possible variables in farming to crop yield.
* i) Nothing to do with tilling, soil prep, planting, seed quality, weed control, insect control, animal damage, equipment failure, etc. etc. This is before bringing up politics.

Zimbabwe – massive crop damage by elephants in Mbire

“What’s more, we found that decreases in consumable food calories are already occurring in roughly half of the world’s food insecure countries”

Major issues, continued:
3) Conflates caloric yield with crop yields.

All it takes to increase caloric yields is to switch to the maximum caloric content crop; e.g. high fats, high starches, high sugars.
Forget growing greens, leafy and many other vegetables; these yahoos will blame the caloric yield drop on climate change.

Then there are the elephants.

As science, this alleged research is a total joke and takes confirmation bias and ignorance to new levels. Even if performed by freshmen high school students.
Once again, “Publish or Perish” and “peer Review” prove critically faulty.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  ATheoK
July 10, 2019 2:10 pm

Thankfully there is still some real research going on in the ecological community and someone has found that fences of bee colonies are very effective at keeping elephants out of the fields. This has been a win-win-win, prevent elephants from destroying crops, higher pollinization rates, and honey/wax production.

Reply to  ATheoK
July 12, 2019 2:05 pm

Are you a scientist or have done any sort of research till now?
Was there any such paper written till now at a global scale? WTF are you talking about mate? These people spent 4/5 years to study and you took only a minute to assassinate it? Well done on your antarctic size ego. There are issues in your intellect capability for sure!

Dave Cowdell
July 10, 2019 1:50 pm

Anyone who had any knowledge or experience of agriculture in Rhodesia in the 1970’s will recognise this flawed paper.

July 10, 2019 2:05 pm

Hear no evil, see no evil

(except climate change)

July 10, 2019 2:14 pm

I’ve added an update to the head post …


July 10, 2019 2:29 pm

Thanks Eric,
Do these so called researchers actually get paid to produce stupid studies like this.
The first problem that I see is that these dimwits are writing about reduced calories when most of the nutritional problems that they listed are caused by lack of protein .
I am not a scientist but all humans need protein and diet based mainly on grain and root crops is high in carbs and low in protein .
This is especially so for babies, growing children and people who use a lot of physical energy to work or play.
According to our health statistics in New Zealand we have an obesity epidemic because of high carb diets and lack of physical exertion .
Thousands of tonnes of food is wasted every year and is dumped to landfill .
Nothing has changed as when I was a child over 65 years ago our mother insisted that we eat all our food put before us as starving African children would be delighted to eat what we were reluctant to eat.
Nothing changes.
I and I have met and employed many immigrants from South Africa and Zimbabwe and they have told me how politics have wrecked Zimbabwe’s farming and economy.

July 10, 2019 3:22 pm

Zimbabwe’s harvest is declining because they threatened and stole the land of all the knowledgeable farmers then kicked them out of the country.

The equipment is wearing out, the soil is wearing out and they’re using crop harvest as seeds.

It isn’t “climate” it’s “government of morons”.

Reply to  Prjindigo
July 10, 2019 6:14 pm

I saw that movie…I believe it was called “Idiocracy”

July 10, 2019 3:32 pm

So they had a bad weather growing season and the crops were not as productive. Yes, the climate changes from year to year, just as the weather varies from day to day.
I get confused when it pour rain during the day- should I water the lawn at night?
When it pours during the night, should I water during the day.
Vary confusing trying to keep up with the changing climate.

Walt D.
July 10, 2019 4:02 pm

“Climate Change to blame” Since Climate Change is to blame for everything, tell us something we don’t know.
What actually happened was that the Marxist government confiscated white-owned farms and gave them to people who did not know how to farm. Guess what happened.
The South African government is in the process of doing the same thing. Food shortages will be blamed on “Climate Change”

July 10, 2019 4:18 pm

The study is absolutely accurate. Mugabe was a human being, believe it or not, and he changed the economic and political climate of Zimbabwe. So: Antropogeniclimatedisaster

Shoki Kaneda
July 10, 2019 5:22 pm

The UM researchers were stuck between a rock and a hard place. They had to produce a climate scare paper to get more funding and Zimbabwe is the only country they could find with declining agricultural production. What’s a poor climate fraudster to do?

Patrick MJD
July 10, 2019 7:06 pm

“My thanks to Eric for an interesting post. I trust he won’t mind if I offer a different explanation for decreasing food yields in Zimbabwe … socialism/communism as imposed by Robert Mugabe, and the subsequent expropriation and breakup of productive farms. Here are the changes in yield for a couple of important food crops …”

You are absolutely correct Willis. My wife and family are from Zimbabwe and are all too familiar of what Mugabe did to the country.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 10, 2019 10:27 pm

Thanks, Patrick. The story of Zimbabwe is a tragedy of greed and stupidity. Glad you were able to get out of there.


July 10, 2019 7:25 pm

“a team of researchers led by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment spent four years collecting information on crop productivity from around the world…”

Then along comes world renowned experts Eric and Willis and within a few minutes they’ve corrected all these silly researcher’s mistakes. Simply stupendous.

Deepak Ray
Ph.D., Atmospheric Science, University of Alabama, Huntsville, USA, 2005
M.S., Atmospheric Science, University of Alabama, Huntsville, USA, 2002
M.Sc., Environmental Science, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, 1999
B.Sc., Geology (distinction in Physics and Mathematics), Jadavpur University, Calcutta, India, 1997


Tom Halla
Reply to  Loydo
July 10, 2019 7:28 pm

Loydo, you are more into credentials than the merits of the article he produced. It is still manifestly silly, regardless of how many degrees the author has.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Loydo
July 10, 2019 8:01 pm

Another like Griff who has no idea what they are talking about.

Bryan A
Reply to  Loydo
July 10, 2019 8:06 pm

A team of researchers with credentials the size of their egos spend 4 years researching and writing this paper which is so poorly written that even Willis and Eric can find obvious faults and errors. Either Willis and Eric need to be given more credence and respect on your part or the writers need far more skepticism on your part.

Reply to  Loydo
July 10, 2019 10:42 pm

Loydo July 10, 2019 at 7:25 pm

“a team of researchers led by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment spent four years collecting information on crop productivity from around the world…”

Then along comes world renowned experts Eric and Willis and within a few minutes they’ve corrected all these silly researcher’s mistakes. Simply stupendous.

Loydo, a couple of comments.

First, as Richard Feynman observed, “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”. You seem to think experts are always right. The rest of us are far too aware that they are far too often wrong.

Second, look at the graph I posted. Please point out to us the effect of climate on the yields.

Third, the history of the destruction of farms, farmers, and farming in Zimbabwe is quite clearly visible in the graph I posted. Yields were rising until Mugabe started confiscating farms, dividing them up into smallholdings, and distributing them among his supporters … many of whom knew nothing about farming. As one would expect, yields started dropping, and are now back near 1960 levels.

Are you truly trying to tell us that you believe that drop is from some climate change that just happened to occur when Mugabe became President?

Fourth, if you’ve been around climate science much, you would have realized that there are huge amounts of BS being passed off as valid studies. You might be interested in the lies, cheating, and shady dealing from some of the leading lights in the climate field as exposed in Climategate … how do I know that? Because I’m the guy who made the first Freedom of Information request to CRU, and I’m mentioned in the emails. Read my story linked just above.

Or you could take a look at the subversion of the IPCC procedures by Caspar Amman, as discussed by my friend Bishop Hill here … disgusting.

Your childlike trust in the climate “experts” is a tribute to your good heart … but not so much to your skeptical brain …

Finally, science is NOT about the personalities, the education, the personality, or the habits of the people doing the science. It is about the ideas. Please focus on those, as you are lost in erroneous adulation of credentials and expertise.

Best regards,


Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 11, 2019 1:39 am

Point taken Willis. You comment (about Zimbabwe) was perfectly resonable. I apologise for lumping you in.

Reply to  Loydo
July 11, 2019 10:17 am

Thanks, Loydo, apology gratefully accepted. You are a gentleman.


Al Miller
July 10, 2019 8:37 pm

Climate change is responsible for…climate change. The perversion of science for a political agenda is responsible a tremendous harm to the world wherein very much good could be done with the endless money and human efforts used in pursuit of power through the deception of climate change lies. And make no mistake they are lies not some benign thoughts.

Reply to  Al Miller
July 11, 2019 2:31 pm

Al Miller 100%

July 10, 2019 9:55 pm

I loved the bit about predictions based on COUNTERFACTUAL weather. Just about sums it all up.

July 10, 2019 11:50 pm

When Zimbabwe was Rhodesia, per the United Nations Food and Agriculture Year Book of 1975 ranked the then Rhodesia second in the world in terms of yields of maize (corn) wheat, soy,a beans and ground nuts, and third in cotton. In the combined ranking of all these crops, Rhodesia ranked first in the world.
“Rhodesia’s Virginia tobacco was rated the best in the world in yield and quality, while maize entries in world championships were consistently placed in the first 3 slots. The world’s second largest citrus producer was developed early in the country’s history.
“Rhodesia was the world’s second largest exporter of flue cured tobacco. This together with exports of maize, soya beans, cotton, sugar, coffee, tea, fruit, vegetables, flowers and beef made agriculture the major of foreign currency. Agriculture contributed more to the gross domestic product than any other industry. It was the largest employer of labour, providing employment for about a third of the labour force.
This has been destroyed by politics, not climate change!

July 11, 2019 1:16 am

Zimbabwe? yep the climate canary in the coal mine. I mean everything else is going so swimmingly and variance has to be climate right? sometimes the stupidity is just overwhelming

July 11, 2019 3:40 am

Hmm. I have some doubts about this. They show a decline in European cereal production due to climate change.

“Yields for all the dominant (non-tropical) crops in western and southern Europe decreased 6.3–21.2% because of climate change (Table 1, Fig 1). This may partially explain the stagnation of yields in Europe [22]. ”

If we look at, say, France there has indeed been a flatlining of cereal production:

But the flatlining coincides with the point at which the EU decided not to link Agricultural subsidies to production levels in 2003.

It’s possible that hotter temperatures are leading to less production, but we’re also making technological progress, which explains why overall production is still rising.

There’s also claims about Ghanaian production that dont really seem to match the actual output numbers.

July 11, 2019 12:11 pm

This is quite funny. Kind Lame and Sad also. And its from a University?? Really? Wow? So institutions like this exists to stupify and dumb down as opposed to doing the opposite?

July 12, 2019 8:13 am

Global Warming, much of what does or does not happen forty years from now rests on our actions or inaction taken between now and then.

Mike Borcherding
July 12, 2019 9:00 pm

There is a simple way to evaluate what is happening on a global level for food production. The market for major grains and oilseeds are very low right now, near breakeven. If global food production is being harmed by climate change, wouldn’t you expect the price of agricultural commodities to be rising. The market place is telling us that there doesn’t seem to be a problem with food production. You would think that the people at the University of Minnesota would know something as simple as this.

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