Wrong, Climate Home News, Climate Change Is Not Hurting India’s Sugar Crops

From ClimateREALISM

By H. Sterling Burnett

A Google news search for the phrase climate change today revealed a story on Climate Home News claiming climate change is harming Indian sugarcane production. Nothing could be further from the truth. Amidst normal year-to-year boom and bust, which tracks India’s historically variable monsoon cycles, India’s sugar cane production and yields have increased dramatically as the Earth has warmed modestly and carbon dioxide concentrations have increased. As with other crops, the evidence clearly suggests, climate change is benefitting India’s sugar cane producers.

In the Climate Home News story, titled “India’s sugarcane farmers struggle to cope with droughts and floods,” the authors’ note that sugar cane accounts for 10 percent of India’s agricultural production, with India being both the world’s biggest producer and consumer of sugar cane. Having established the critical nature of sugar cane production to India’s agricultural sector, unfortunately the writers then leap into unsubstantiated climate alarmism, making claims about changing weather conditions causing a decline in sugar production.

“The rainfall during the monsoon season, between June and September, was erratic this year,” [Kalua Mehmood, a sugarcane farmer in western Uttar Pradesh] told Climate Home News. “Mehmood is one of millions of Indian sugarcane farmers who is suffering the onslaught of climate change.”

Indian agriculture is dependent on the monsoon season. There is no data showing that as the Earth has warmed monsoons have become either more intense or infrequent. If monsoons aren’t becoming erratic, novel fluctuations in rainfall and drought patterns can’t be harming Indian sugarcane farmers.

Indeed, data from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) show that sugar production and yields in India have grown substantially since 1990, with the increase in yields being attributable in part to the fertilization effect of rising carbon dioxide concentrations. FAO data show that between 1990 and 2020:

  • Indian sugarcane production increased by more than 64 percent, setting new records for production 10 times during the 30-year period;
  • Indian sugarcane yields grew by nearly 18 percent, setting new records five times. (See the graphic below)

As with farming everywhere, production is closely tied to weather. It may be true that some Indian sugarcane producers suffered a down year in 2022 due to this year’s variable rainfall. However, there is no long-term trend in weather variability or any evidence suggesting monsoon dependent sugarcane production is being threatened by long term climate change. One or two down years do not a climate crisis make, Climate Home News.

Check the data before you go to press stoking indefensible climate alarm.

H. Sterling Burnett

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is the Director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News. In addition to directing The Heartland Institute’s Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy, Burett puts Environment & Climate News together, is the editor of Heartland’s Climate Change Weekly email, and the host of the Environment & Climate News Podcast.

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Steve Case
December 26, 2022 2:25 am

A Google news search for the phrase climate change …

A Google news search for fill in the blank ________ finds all sorts of interesting news stories on various aspects of “Climate Change” that aren’t true. “Sea Level”, “Methane”, “Polar Bears” etc. The polar bear search is notable these days for its lack of stories.

Reply to  Steve Case
December 26, 2022 6:31 am

Don’t know a out that, Steve. Polar Bearmageddon has hit the news in the last couple of days.
The usual counting from an airplane flyover….

Steve Case
Reply to  DMacKenzie
December 26, 2022 8:23 am

After a very short search this morning, you are right. Of the first ten stories that come up they all report the detail that a Hudson Bay bay population dropped from 842 to 618 bears over the last several years. So it appears that a new dire report was released.

13 years ago the polar bears falling from the sky You Tube was all the rage and it was non-stop polar bears can’t survive the loss of sea ice stories in the news. Well, the polar bear population hasn’t declined since then.

Here’s the WWF page on polar bear population. A careful read makes one suspect that the total population is up. Why? Because they don’t say that it’s down.

Reply to  Steve Case
December 27, 2022 3:22 am

In all cases polar bear it pays to check out what Dr Susan Crockford has to say.

Tom Abbott
December 26, 2022 4:15 am

From the article: “As with other crops, the evidence clearly suggests, climate change is benefitting India’s sugar cane producers.”

I don’t like the wording here very much. It is not “climate change”, that is benefitting India’s sugar cane, it is the increased CO2 in the atmosphere that enhances the growth of all plants. Increased CO2 in the atmosphere does not equate to changing the Earth’s climate.

And I do wish that people who mean “human-caused” climate change would spell it out so we know exactly what is being discussed. There is a difference between climate change and human-caused climate change. There is evidence that the climate changes. There is no evidence any of these changes are due to increased CO2 in the atmosphere. There is every reason to believe that climate changes are a natural function of the planet Earth and have been going on since the beginning of time, and have nothing to do with CO2.

Saying “climate change” when you mean “human-caused climate change” confuses the issue.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 26, 2022 5:43 am

Length certainly limits the detail an article can go into.

Perhaps the distinction between C3 and C4 plants would also be instructive. C3 plants are limited by CO2 and directly benefit from increased CO2 concentration.

It’s pertinent because sugar cane is actually a C4 plant but many crops, e.g. soybeans and rice are C3 plants. In any case, favorable weather is important to all, and to the author’s point, there has been no long-term detrimental impact of weather on sugar cane farming.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 26, 2022 12:11 pm

re: Saying “climate change” when you mean “human-caused climate change” confuses the issue.

It’s absolutely deliberate. Orwell’s control the language …..

Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 26, 2022 2:12 pm

You are not keeping up. Climate Change means you, evil you, are responsible for all woes of everyone else. Any other meaning requires a long winded convoluted explanation that probably is fantasy on your part (according tot he 97%).

Many people become aware, sooner or later, that some words in the law, in regulations, in court decisions, mean something other than what the majority of people take those words to mean in everyday life. Fundamental changes in old, but still valid laws, in the Constitution itself, have been instituted simply by changing the definitions of words contained therein. When the Constitution was written Bouvier’s Law Dictionary of the day was the standard. Eventually it was revised to reflect the new definitions. Today Blacks is, at least often, the standard. Careful searching is required to find the differences but some are quite fundamental.

You didn’t know? That’s your problem for not keeping up. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

December 26, 2022 4:18 am

“Check the press…”

Views expressed by people like Jordan Peterson etc are now described as the “”intellectual dark web”” – on the BBC

ie not part of the msm menu

December 26, 2022 7:47 am

Too much sugar in your diet is not healthy.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  antigtiff
December 26, 2022 9:32 am

Peta? Is that you munching on glazed donuts again?

Reply to  antigtiff
December 26, 2022 12:13 pm

Too much anything in your diet is not healthy, by definition.

abolition man
December 26, 2022 7:53 am

I’m surprised that the authors in Climate Home News didn’t utilize the graph that Dr. Burnett included in his post. Just eyeballing the graph one can plainly see that if current trends continue sugar cane production will zero out in about thirty years, and the yield will do the same about fifty years hence! I used the time honored alarmist method of only looking at the most recent data, and ignoring historical data and trends.
My recommendation is that any concerned alarmists start planting sugar cane to help out the struggling Indian farmers. Maybe it could be introduce into Antarctica to increase the biodiversity there!

Curious George
December 26, 2022 9:00 am

“Climate Home News is the trading name of Climate Change News Ltd, a UK company registered at 42a, High Street, Broadstairs, Kent, CT10 1JT.
Its CEO and founder is James Ramsey.”

John Hultquist
December 26, 2022 12:10 pm

The happy farmer in the top photo is on numerous sites in front of different crops while talking on a phone — maybe checking on his bank account. An image search has him in different outfits, so I’m guessing he has been interviewed more than once.
My grandfather would go to the mercantile, sit by a wood stove, play checkers, and talk about the weather.

Randy Travis:
As long as old men sit and talk about the weather
As long as old women sit and talk about old men

December 27, 2022 1:55 am

If we do, you can expect it to be a great value, designed to support client need and surrounded by the advice and education our clients have come to expect and deserve from us. News about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has been impossible to ignore. Investors hear news or how to buy monkey ball crypto guides about overnight millionaires who lose their fortunes just as quickly. For example, a single bitcoin ranged in price from $1,000 in early 2017 to a high of over $66,000 in October 2021, with intense volatility in between. Cryptocurrency assets are accessed using a key that’s not retrievable if lost. Similarly, if you lose access to the place where you store your key, you will effectively lose possession of your cryptocurrency.

December 27, 2022 7:41 am

Preface: I love increased yields and if co2 is increasing yields then bring it on.

Argument by omission is the logical fallacy de jour in today’s narrative management and this article utilizes it by omitting much of the story (possible factors).. The other is correlation=causation fallacy.

The object of good narrative management is the echo chamber of affirmation. Obviously, the object of this article is the echo chamber and not the edification of the reader.

Is the reader supposed to assume these numbers indicate yield per acre? The increase in acres farmed could account for the increase in total yield

Additionally, does the very lose correlation between increased cane yield + increased co2 really determine increased yield causation in the case of India sugar cane culture? There are so many other factors to consider.

Major cultural changes in Indian farming should be considered a factor of causation in increased yield. During 2004-05 and 2011-12, about 34 million farmers moved out of agriculture, shows National Sample Survey Office data. This is 2.04 per cent annual rate of exit from farming. Sep 24, 2020,


Many Indian Sugar cane farmers committed suicide 2010-2012 as debt for modern herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers meant they would lose their farms. Most committed suicide by drinking the pesticide.

The current movement of local farmers off the land is a very rapid, sad and dangerous phenomena happening around the globe. It is a major crisis and has been a crisis in the US since the 1970’s, (consider our urban centers). Few in the US write or care about it because of our Hyper-modernist hierarchical view of labor and leisure. How many images of people working hard in the soil has hit your phone in the past 10 years?

Corporate/industrial finance and farming approaches has resulted in a global mass migration of people living and working the land to urban centers. Think about the implications of this. Masses of people going from being producers to consumers now embedded in the system of payroll taxation and commercial consumeristic grid of dependency and control. the farmer working the soil now has to get a computer, Broad band, a phone….this are tools that are useless to the farmer who is actually working the soil…. now they have less time because it is being monopolized by the grand hook-ya of cyberlife. In India, farmers are trading their land and lifestyle for cyberlife. Cyberlife is a leveraged life. Leveraged off the land into a centrally leveraged lifestyle.

Back to cane sugar farming.

The consolidation of sugarcane lands into corporate and industrial farming practices in India is a clear factor to consider when thinking about the causation of increased in their sugar can yield. This factor is totally missed in this article. Industrial farming increases yields at the expensive of local culture.

In addiction, there are no local measurement or trend lines indicating what the atmospheric level of co2 is at those farms. Local ground level measurements of co2 could make the central argument of tis article a moot issue.

There is no mention of the increase in ethanol market pushing more land into cane sugar.

Obviously the assumption here is that the yield was cause by increase atmospheric co2. Maybe it does. May this will be proved beyond a doubt at some point in the future.

But maybe’s are not causation and think of all the ‘maybe’s’ that have been driving a political narratives? Yet in the case of this article, this approach hugely deficient for informing anyone else about the causation of increased sugar cane yields in India.

Thinking your are right or believing something is true by association is not a justification for fallacious reasoning in narrative management. Narrative management by omission is argument by omission which is also fallacious..

correlation (co2 levels & cane yield) suggests a factor in causation only not causation. To assume correlation=causation is the same fallacious assumption propagandist perpetrate every day all day long by implication, through images etc..

Can we please exist narrative management and get back to science.

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