Relax, KOMO News, Tomatoes and Ketchup Supplies Are Secure Amid Climate Change

From ClimateREALISM

By H. Sterling Burnett

KOMO News in Seattle, as well as a couple of other media outlets in the region, ran stories claiming climate change threatens global tomato and ketchup production. Data show this is false. Amid modest warming, tomato production and yields have grown considerably across the world as a whole and in each of the top producing countries. Many tomatoes are grown in greenhouses, which add carbon dioxide their atmospheres. Tomato growth outside of greenhouses confirm the continuing benefits of carbon dioxide fertilization.

A KOMO article, titled “Scientists predict future ketchup shortage as climate change damages crops,” cites a study from an international team of researchers using computer models whose simulations indicate tomato production, particularly the production of tomatoes used to produce ketchup is likely to decline due to climate change.

“Researchers believe warmer temperatures will speed up the plant’s growth cycle, resulting in a shorter time for the crop to develop,” writes KOMO. “They predict a 6% decline in tomato production by 2050; but between 2050 and 2100 the global tomato harvest could be cut in half.”

Had KOMO and the research team examined real world data, for example, data from field and greenhouse experiments and from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), they would have found little to worry about. Tomato production is doing well. Also, contrary to computer model simulations, real world research trials and experiments indicate should carbon dioxide levels continue to increase tomato production should as well.

Concerning the latter point, dozens of papers and experiments summarized and discussed at show that tomato production, like that of most plants, improves as carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere. The CO2 fertilization effect improves photosynthesis in tomatoes, helping them grow faster, produce heartier plants, and use water more efficiently.

Data from the FAO confirms the experimental findings. Since 1990 tomato production and yields in China, India, and the United States, the top three tomato producing countries, and for the world as a whole, has grown considerably, tracking the modest rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature over the period. Between 1990 and 2020 (See the figure below):

  • Tomato production in China grew by more than 736 percent and yields increased by approximately 118 percent;
  • Tomato production in India rose by nearly 347 percent and yields improved by about 60 percent;
  • Tomato production in the United States expanded by 12 percent, on yields that increased by 101 percent;
  • Global tomato production grew by approximately 145 percent, as yields expanded by around 41 percent.

The evidence is clear; tomato production is doing well and agronomy and botany explain that part of the reason for this is the very increase in carbon dioxide levels that KOMO is warning threatens the continued viability of the crop. Alarmism is no replacement for facts. Many people love ketchup, and based on the evidence there is no reason ketchup aficionados should fear climate change will produce a shortage of it in the future.

H. Sterling Burnett

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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June 26, 2022 6:21 am

Just weather, but my tomatoes are behind last year by about three weeks as it’s been cooler this year.

Alastair gray
Reply to  Scissor
June 26, 2022 9:01 am

Interesting Scissor I grow tomatoes a greenhouse in Surrey and have done for years. Last year was the worst Evah. Lots of green growth but poor fruit yield, and late. This year looks much more promising

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Alastair gray
June 27, 2022 7:02 am

Exactly the same with our tomatoes here in NE Wales last year.

Reply to  Scissor
June 26, 2022 12:21 pm

KOMO isn’t likely to convince any gardeners in Western Washington (where they broadcast) about this tripe. I live in Western Washington on the Puget Sound where we just had the 4th coldest spring in recorded history (over 130 years). We not only don’t have any tomatoes yet, our tomatoes (which we started indoors in the sun room) don’t even have flowers yet and it takes a month after a tomato flowers before you start to get ripe fruit. Last year at this time when we had the “heat dome” we already had some ripe tomatoes. I know because we sent a photo of the ripe tomatoes to relatives a year ago yesterday.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  meab
June 26, 2022 1:59 pm

I’m also in Western Washington (Whidbey Island), and we really can’t grow tomatoes here without a greenhouse. It just doesn’t get warm enough for long enough for them to mature.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
June 28, 2022 10:01 am

I live nearby within 1/4 mile of the water. I grow tomatoes every year but I plant them next to a concrete retaining wall that warms them during the day and holds heat at night. I usually get Early Girl tomatoes by July 5 and other types by August.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  meab
July 5, 2022 10:01 am

I don’t have anything like that on the south side of the house, that’s where it would have to be.

My wife grew them for a few years in a little plastic 6×6 greenhouse we bought, but grew tired of it after a while.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Scissor
June 26, 2022 8:43 pm

I live 100 miles from Seattle — east, at 2,200 feet elevation.
Tomatoes need night-time temperature of >55° F (12.8° C) to set fruit.
Tonight will be a first — about 61°; so says the NWS.
It has been too cool for storage onions. They want to bolt.
Snow peas are now blooming. Yellow (wax) beans hated the cool
and wet spring, and just now are willing to grow.
I anticipated a cool spring and did not plant tomatoes or winter squash.

My guess is that climate experts have never grown a green plant.
Besides, farmers are smart and resourceful.

Reply to  John Hultquist
June 26, 2022 10:21 pm

“Besides, farmers are smart and resourceful.” Definitely! And the proof is in the increasing production, but especially in the increasing yields!

Farmers – 50+ (one for every year they buck doomsday predictions)
Self-soiling Activist Scientists – 0

June 26, 2022 6:22 am

Ah, yes 2100 it will be hell. No more ketchup, no more insects, flood and drought at the same time in the sample place and other calamities.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Pauleta
June 26, 2022 9:47 am

No more ketchup-covered insects? Oh, the humanity!

oeman 50
Reply to  Pauleta
June 26, 2022 12:45 pm

And all the beef production will have been shut down, so we won’t need ketchup anyway! (You can put vinegar on the fries.)

June 26, 2022 6:27 am

“The 2021 tomato processing campaign in Italy closed with a production of just over 6 million tons of processed product, up 17% compared to 2020”

Pizze are not in danger…

Reply to  fretslider
June 26, 2022 6:58 am

Whew! It had me worried for a bit there.

No pizza? 😲 Why go on living?

Reply to  fretslider
June 26, 2022 10:29 am

Bon Appetite

June 26, 2022 6:29 am

These outlandish 80 year out modeling results have nothing to do with present trends. They assumed a whopping 5 degrees C of warming! An implausible hypothesis at best. What we are seeing now has nothing to do with this fantasy.

Reply to  David Wojick
June 26, 2022 8:26 am

Here’s a fantasy for you that has more to do with lemons than tomatoes, but GM is developing their own EV batteries in order to make them more reliable and affordable. Their Cadillac line Celestiq EV will reportedly sell for around $300,000 thousand.

Reply to  Scissor
June 26, 2022 9:07 am

Their Cadillac line Celestiq EV will reportedly sell for around $300,000 thousand.

That is one way to fight high petroleum prices!

Reply to  Scissor
June 26, 2022 10:10 am

The auto mags are all in on battery powered autos. C&D had a recent issue that was mostly about many EV autos. I don’t think they at all understand the enviro problems with mining rare earth metals, and particularly the fact that none of the cars components could be made without fossil fuels.

Reply to  Mac
June 26, 2022 10:40 am

Very true. And C&D seem to be unable to understand that car enthusiasts aren’t particularly interested in EV’s. Recent letters to the editor reveal many are dropping their subscriptions to one of the last viable automotive magazines. I may do so myself.

Reply to  Rhys
June 29, 2022 7:09 am

I really don’t want to drive a sewing machine.

Reply to  Mac
June 26, 2022 10:32 pm

The auto nuts don’t care about the environment! 500-1000hp motors for a standard size sedan?!?!? And they cry about range being only about 300-500 miles – Hey, gear heads, imagine the range with just a regular 200-300hp set of motors.

I have a Mazda 5, 2.5L 6spd stick (yes, believe it a manual shifting minivan!) that produces 157hp and about the same in torque and it is great even with 4 heavy people on board.

People with EVs are kust showing off, like someone buying a muscle car, and have no right to claim they are helping the environment.

Reply to  Scissor
June 26, 2022 5:19 pm

sell for around $300,000 thousand.

They sell for three million dollars? Those batteries must be gold plated.

Reply to  MarkW
June 26, 2022 7:11 pm

I new someting didn’t loock write.

Reply to  David Wojick
June 26, 2022 10:36 am

Tomatoes do great in my greenhouse which is at least 5C above ambient…

Reply to  DMacKenzie
June 26, 2022 11:17 am

Good point. And of course the places where toms grow vary by much more than 5 degrees.

Reply to  David Wojick
June 26, 2022 10:25 pm

5 degrees of warming would be great but it still would be fracking freezing cold in February!

I keep waiting for this global warming they keep promising but it never comes!

Ron Long
June 26, 2022 6:53 am

Do you suppose this is why John Heinz Kerry is so fanatical about Climate Change?

Reply to  Ron Long
June 26, 2022 7:23 am

57 varieties of private jets

Alastair gray
Reply to  Ron Long
June 26, 2022 9:04 am

57 varieties of models all disagree with each other but all show we are doomed

John Hultquist
Reply to  Ron Long
June 26, 2022 8:54 pm

John is from the Forbes family and money screwed him up long before the rich other women came along. They are long removed from the Heinz Co.,

June 26, 2022 7:07 am

Computer models are often useful and contribute to important knowledge about physical systems. Unfortunately, much of the modelling relating to global warming gives very poor correlation with actual results. It is the worst of these that get much of the dire press ‘warnings’.

This, unfortunately, is giving much of the use of computer modelling a bad name in the public eye. The Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming crowd should be made aware of the harm they are doing to computer modelling, and science, in general.

Reply to  Tom
June 26, 2022 7:19 am

The CAGW don’t care about doing harm to anything or anyone. Including computer modeling and science, in general. Its all about the advancement of the religion to achieve the ends. Power and domination over the world and its citizens.
Nothing more, nothing less.

Richard Patton
Reply to  RevJay4
June 26, 2022 8:04 pm

Not only that it is about keeping the grant money rolling. You don’t get grant money to prove there is nothing to worry about.

Dr. Bob
June 26, 2022 7:32 am

In Vitro? In Vivo? Which are you going to believe? Obvious to some, but not to others.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Dr. Bob
June 26, 2022 10:16 am

Is it “in vino veritas?”

Reply to  Dave Fair
June 29, 2022 7:11 am

Climate Alarmists must all be teetotalers.

John Aqua
June 26, 2022 7:41 am

I wonder if in 1822 or 1922 there were as many catastrophic, doomsday predictions as ridiculous about 1900 or 2000 respectively? It would be fun to see the comparison to illustrate how absurd climate “scientists” of today have not changed from their equals of 100 or 200 years ago. What is so magical about an even century mark too?

Reply to  John Aqua
June 26, 2022 12:02 pm

There were just as many a century or two (or more) ago. Mostly from cultist nutcases, with no foundation in reality.

Nothing has changed…

lee riffee
June 26, 2022 7:56 am

Actually, the only real food shortages are those coming from the lack of fertilizer for crops. All due to the extreme rise in cost of natural gas.

Reply to  lee riffee
June 26, 2022 9:18 am

People will really feel it next year. Farmers are cutting production because they can’t afford the fertilizer and fuel for their equipment. There will be sky high prices and shortages.

oeman 50
Reply to  Brad-DXT
June 26, 2022 12:42 pm

And, you heard it here first, the drop off in production will be attributed to…. drum roll….climate change!

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  oeman 50
June 26, 2022 5:51 pm

Or Trump. They’ll be blaming him for things for decades.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
June 26, 2022 10:44 pm

I guess the Americans should have re-elected him because his Force is strong and now his wrath has been unleashed…

Reply to  lee riffee
June 26, 2022 10:42 pm

“lack of fertilizer for crops. All due to the extreme rise in cost of natural gas.” – no, the worst case, in Sri Lanka, is due to government incompetence forcing the farmers to use natural fertilizer (crap).

Having to use good fertilizer sparingly and carefully to maximize its use when its price has skyrocketed actually works better than using crap instead.

John Bell
June 26, 2022 9:02 am

The way Leftists try to beat us all over the heads with paranoid baloney, what 1 or 2 degrees warmer (maybe) over 100 years? They need to get back on their meds. WOLF! WOLF!

Reply to  John Bell
June 26, 2022 10:50 pm

1 or 2 would not even be the slightest bit noticeable over the normal background variation.

I’m holding them to the RCP8.5 they keep trotting out in their doomsday models (even though there is no way to reach that level of CO2 increases – unless we just light all the coal mines for fun) – they keep pushing that ‘narrative’ and I going to demand it! RCP 8.5 would still have miserable freezing February’s but it’s a good start!

Old Man Winter
June 26, 2022 9:33 am

Headline: Models Claim Mankind Died Thousands of Years Ago Due to Daily Temperature Variation

Oh, noes!

David Baird
June 26, 2022 9:57 am

We’ll be hard pressed to can whole, sauced and salsa’s this year, and we only planted half as many plants, 20 total. Family, friends and the food pantry will get what we can’t process. Yes thanks to CO2 we’re going to have a bounty.

June 26, 2022 10:20 am

I must be missing something.

“Researchers believe warmer temperatures will speed up the plant’s growth cycle, resulting in a shorter time for the crop to develop. They predict a 6% decline in tomato production by 2050; but between 2050 and 2100 the global tomato harvest could be cut in half.”

How does faster growth and a shorter crop cycle lead to less production?

Reply to  Felix
June 26, 2022 10:25 am

They will find a shit sandwich at every barbecue.

Reply to  Felix
June 26, 2022 10:55 pm

Welcome to the Bizzarro World of the Climate Emergency, where making the world a bit more comfortable (but not more comfortable than before the ice ages) is evil!

Kevin McNeill
June 26, 2022 10:43 am

A friend of mine always planted his tomatoes under the vent from the clothes dryer, spectacular crop every year.

Reply to  Kevin McNeill
June 26, 2022 5:30 pm

Especially if it’s a gas dryer.

Kit P
June 26, 2022 10:52 am

If I was a jornalist is Washington State and I wanted to know more about tomatoes I would go to the WSU ag extgention to learn more.

I have lived many places and never researched growing tomatoes becuause they are so easy to grow.

According to WSU, there are 409 farms in the state that grow for the fresh market.

I suspect that in the climate got warmer, Washington State might replace Califonia as a large producer of canned tomatoes.

Two days ago I left Washington State. I was wearing sweats and a heavy jacket. Yesterday, I in Califonia, I put on shorts. Today in Las Vegas, NV I will not be wearing sweats even at night.

The human race is nomatic. We adapt to our climate. Of course I can not speak for researchers.

Burgher King
June 26, 2022 1:19 pm

Can any of these researchers explain why I absolutely hate ketchup but absolutely love salsa?

John Aqua
Reply to  Burgher King
June 26, 2022 4:15 pm

Ketchup (Catsup) is mostly sugar. Most salsa is made with fresh ingredients only

June 27, 2022 1:39 am

Oh man, when the greenies start going after the ketchup it’s over. Don’ta toucha da ketchup-a!

Doug Huffman
June 27, 2022 4:04 am

Contrast the ‘fruits’ illustrating this article with the apparently legacy tomatoes featured in the Related “Science is making killer tomatoes again” from 21 March 2017.

Thise things on this page are like a whore to tomatoes, perfect but with no good taste.

June 27, 2022 6:16 am

If these guys are successful we’re not going to run out of tomatoes:

June 27, 2022 12:19 pm

“we have to do something about climate change or agriculture will collapse!”

[makes fertilizer several times more expensive]

“we told you agriculture would collapse!”

Reply to  TallDave
June 29, 2022 11:46 am

Fertilizer would be a lot less expensive if there were a way to ‘collect’ all the fertilizer being spewed by every one of these nuts.

June 27, 2022 7:28 pm

“Researchers believe warmer temperatures will speed up the plant’s growth cycle, resulting in a shorter time for the crop to develop,” writes KOMO.”

Many tomato strains are dependent upon photoperiod.
Which is why many people don’t have their tomatoes ripen until after the summer solstice.

There are tomato hybrids that are day neutral.

What does affect tomatoes negatively is that tomatoes do not set fruit unless the nighttime temperature goes below 74°F.
Sultry nights where the temperature stays above 74°F, means no tomatoes.

Likely due to their original Western South America and Central America high altitude origins.

Shoki Kaneda
June 27, 2022 11:13 pm

Even were the Climatistas correct, which they are not, tomatoes love hot climates and lots of sun.

Geoffrey Williams
June 28, 2022 8:00 am

I have recently been holidaying in Wales UK from my home in Australia to which I emigrated 41 years ago. Last time I visited 3 years ago. Also many times in the past (sometimes in Spring) .
Over the years I began to notice increases in the amount of green vegetation both around the towns and the countryside. Hedgerows bushes and large trees in places which I remember in the past to have been less vegetated. I believe that being away for long periods has enabled me to see these increases that the permenant residents have not noticed. Can it be because of the increase of CO2 ?

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