Get the Facts Straight, CNBC, Climate Change Is Not Harming Cambodia’s Crops

From ClimateREALISM

By H. Sterling Burnett

A story published by CNBC claims climate change is damaging Cambodia’s crops by making it hard for Cambodian farmers and fishers to pay back loans they’ve taken out against their assets due to climate change. This is false. Some Cambodian farmers and fishers may be finding it difficult to pay back loans they have taken out to finance production. This is problem for many farmers the world over. However, production of Cambodia’s major crops have increased significantly during the recent period of climate change. As a result, agriculturalists’ financial difficulties are due to factors other than climate change hampering crop production, because it is not.

Jenni Read, the author of the CNBC story, titled “Hit by climate change, farmers in Cambodia are risking everything on microfinance loans,” claims:

Crop failures due to erratic weather and wildfires are leading farmers to take out loans to survive, with their land.

The “microfinance” industry — long touted as a way to help poor, rural communities in developing countries — is pushing tens of thousands of farming families into debt traps as they attempt to adapt to a changing climate, according to a report.

Read cites a study produced with funding from the NGO, UK Research and Innovation’s Global Challenges Research Fund, as the basis of her report.

Agriculture is most important source of income in Cambodia’s rural regions, and the third most important sector for the Cambodian economy as a whole, accounting for more than 25 percent of the nation’s GDP.

Like agriculture in neighboring Vietnam and nearby Thailand, Cambodian food production is reliant on seasonal monsoons. Climate Realism previously refuted claims that climate change has undermined crop production in CambodiaThailand, and Vietnam by making monsoons more erratic. Since, climate change is not worsening weather trends in the region those countries inhabit it can’t be undercutting food production—and the data confirms, contrary to CNBC’s claim, it isn’t.

Among Cambodia’s top crops are rice and cassava. Data from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) demonstrate that between 1990 and 2020, production of each of those crops has broken records for yearly production multiple times. The FAO’s data shows, rice production increased by approximately 350 percent since 1990, and cassava production grew by an amazing 12,527 percent. (see the figure immediately below).

Fruits production is also critical to Cambodia’s agricultural sector, most of which is consumed domestically. Banana is among Cambodia’s top fruit crop and, like rice and cassava, during the most recent 30 years of climate change, banana production has regularly set new records for production. Indeed, banana production in Cambodia increased by just under 161 percent since 1990. (see the figure immediately below).

Fish make up the largest percentage of protein in the average Cambodian’s diet. Data shows that fish harvests, both wild and produced via aquaculture, have been increasing. The U.N. FAO doesn’t keep records of sea food production, however, the South Asian Fisheries Development Center has, until recently, for the region. Its data show that between 2009 and 2017, the last year of available data, inland and marine capture of fish, and aquaculture production have all increased substantially, producing an overall increase in fish production topping 66 percent. (See the graphic below).

There is no evidence whatsoever that climate change is undermining Cambodian farmers abilities to pay back existing loans or forcing them to undertake new ones.

The data clearly demonstrate that across the range of Cambodia’s most critical food stuffs, from cereal crops, to root vegetables, to fruits, to fish, production has increased dramatically during the period of recent modest warming. This is fact-based good news CNBC could have reported. Unfortunately, rather than checking the facts, which would have undermined its continuing trend of reporting false climate alarm, CNBC chose to promote the alarmist narrative of impending climate doom, this time as promoted by a climate NGO in the U.K. Bad form, CNBC, bad form.

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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Rud Istvan
December 31, 2022 2:27 pm

I continue to be amazed that alarming stuff gets published that is so easily refuted by readily available facts. They have been getting away with it for forty years. Only in the last ten or so have countervoices begun good refutations—just not widely distributed. Not yet enough negative consequences for bad behavior; it is unfortunately often rewarded instead.

CAGW will eventually collapse, as did the South Sea Bubble and the tulip mania. Past predictions have failed. The alarms aren’t real, as here. And renewables are proving to be ruinables.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 31, 2022 9:41 pm

Modern humans mostly have the attention span of a fruit fly. They only remember what they heard in the last 24 hours on MSNBC/CNN/ABC/CBS/NYT/WaPo, etc., etc., etc..

So I don’t expect negative consequences to adhere to any “journalists”.

Last edited 29 days ago by JamesB_684
Steve Case
Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 1, 2023 6:48 am

“…renewables …. ruinables.”

Ha ha ha ha ha! Good one (-:

old cocky
December 31, 2022 2:34 pm

Just think of all those extra cow-burps worth of methane which came from that increase in rice production.

Reply to  old cocky
January 1, 2023 1:03 am

Maybe, maybe not. If production has increased markedly on the same acreage, due to the usual suspects, there may have been little or no methane increase.

old cocky
Reply to  AndyHce
January 1, 2023 2:29 am

That would have been the result of those naughty Nitrogenous fertilisers.

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  old cocky
January 1, 2023 1:24 am
December 31, 2022 3:02 pm

CNBC’s gaggle of affirmative action Barbies are horrible pushing climate hysteria and BEVs all day long. Olick, who covers housing and “climate change” is the absolute worst and never fails to include some new “disaster” in any mundane anecdote her empty brain comes up with.

Curious George
December 31, 2022 3:12 pm

Why did they pick on Cambodia, and not Sri Lanka?

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Curious George
December 31, 2022 3:23 pm

Cause in Sri Lanka it really is a self inflicted disaster. Cambodia, no disaster at all. So pick Cambodia and set yourself up again for ridicule. Nice move, idiot.

Curious George
Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 31, 2022 3:49 pm

Rud, you are approaching limits of your tolerance. Please widen them. As Einstein said, only the Universe and Human Stupidity are infinite, and I am not sure about the Universe. Happy 2023.

Reply to  Curious George
January 1, 2023 10:25 pm

Cite a biographical link that validates your claim Einstein stated those stupidity claims.

Chris Hanley
December 31, 2022 3:18 pm

Many have seen these traditional livelihoods affected by a mix of climate change … increasing droughts, wildfires and unpredictable rainfall patterns causing crop losses and damage … (Jenni Read).

From a century of French control to Japanese occupation to post-WW2 chaos to civil war to Khmer Rouge government to Vietnamese occupation ending in 1993, there is no way any reliable data is available to make any claim about the Cambodian climate.

December 31, 2022 3:34 pm

A loan of $4,000 isn’t micro finance. Micro finance would be more in the order of a few hundred at most. This is just a loan shark operation under the guise of micro Finance. The idea of very small loans might cover getting a cell phone them charging those who need to make a call. It might be for cookware to start a food service or to buy a few animals for a farm. These loans are carefully examined to ensure that the person will be able to pay it back as the goal is it recycle the money for more loans. People with the loans rarely if ever default on the loan as there is neighbor pressure to repay it.

Reply to  Dena
December 31, 2022 5:55 pm

Dena, Yes the article missed the cause of the problem,

The level of microfinance indebtedness in Cambodia at the end of 2021 was $4,213 per capita, more than double gross domestic product per capita. Around 2.6 million people have taken out microloans.

The problem was caused by a Liberal-do-gooder plan gone wrong. They are loaning way too much money at interest rates as high as 18%. Great way to ruin a country.

Reply to  Thomas
January 1, 2023 1:06 am

no do diligence by the lender. Must have been from Blackrock.

December 31, 2022 3:54 pm

So, failure to repay can be blamed on… climate change.

CO2 really is quite an amazing molecule

Happy new year to all

Chris Hanley
December 31, 2022 4:16 pm

Climate Change Science (aka The Science) has replaced Astro-meteorology, whereas once the “belief that the position and motion of celestial objects can be used to predict both seasonal climate and weather” (Wiki) nowadays it’s the concentration of an essential atmospheric trace gas that controls everything.

Ron Long
December 31, 2022 4:21 pm

So CNBC just skipped over the 10% greening of the earth, and went for the climate disaster/refugee claim (this has totally replaced “my dog ate my homework) and their watchers are such devout CAGW Loonies that they believe it.

Reply to  Ron Long
January 1, 2023 1:07 am

I believe the reported figure is more like 20%

Alexander Rawls
December 31, 2022 4:56 pm

The data that Sterling Burnett supplies suggests that in fact climate change may well be causing financial difficulty for Cambodian farmers. As Burnett shows, crops yields have gone up substantially over recent decades, some of it likely due to the small amount of warming since 1980, and more probably due to the increased plant fertilization from rising CO2.

As economists have long noted, there is typically an inverse relation between higher crop yields and crop prices (and hence farm income). When William Herschel wanted in 1801 to test his hypothesis that high solar activity decreases cloudiness and promotes crop growth in normally cloudy England he looked for a correlation between high sunspot counts and LOW English crop prices (because high crop yields mean less scarcity and hence lower crop prices).

So the advantages to farming that come with a slightly warming planet and higher CO2 levels might well have contributed to the financial difficulties farmers in Cambodia are now facing. 

Of course this is not the story that CNBC is trying to tell. They are claiming, as Mr. Burnett notes, that climate change has been damaging crops. If that were the case there would be more scarcity, crop prices would be higher, and ironically, farmers would likely be in less financial trouble.

Reply to  Alexander Rawls
December 31, 2022 6:07 pm


So the advantages to farming that come with a slightly warming planet and higher CO2 levels might well have contributed to the financial difficulties farmers in Cambodia are now facing.”

Read the article. The crises is a debt crises, not a price crises, and certainly not a climate change crises. Micro-finance, morphed into macro-debt, with the level of debt per-capita now being more than twice that of GDP per capita. Also, rice prices in South East Asia, have not fallen (Google it).

Alexander Rawls
Reply to  Thomas
January 1, 2023 7:56 pm

¿Thomas doesn’t think that the price at which farmers are able to sell their crop affects whether they are able to pay back their debt?

Then he accuses me of not reading the article for when he obviously did not read my comment. I suggested that if there actually was a climate crisis that was hurting crops then farmers would be making more money (and be in less debt), yet Thomas insinuates that I was attributing farmer’s going broke to “climate crisis,” the exact opposite of what I said. Sheesh.

Andong Meas
December 31, 2022 7:56 pm

The article completely misses the point. The microfinance business is loaning money to uneducated, unsophisticated farmers in amounts that are too large to pay back. It is becoming a very large problem in rural Cambodia especially amongst the hill tribes who only have soft title to lands. Some villages are now owned by the microfinance companies and have no chance of paying off the loans of individual family members. Other villages noticed the problem soon enough to buy off the loans and now manage crop loans themselves.
Most of the hill tribes have switched from slash and burn subsistence agriculture to more modern cash crop agriculture by cutting down what was solid jungle when I arrived six years ago.
Water issues are 100% related to dam building up river in Loas and China.
Cambodia has gone from a net importer of food to an exporter. Cambodia now exports bananas and mangos and no longer needs to import rice. 

Smart Rock
December 31, 2022 8:35 pm

Get the facts straight…

Facts don’t matter any more. It’s the narrative that counts

Joao Martins
January 1, 2023 5:05 am

Get the Facts Straight “Not an easy task. Greens can only see hockey sticks…


Look at that nice hockey stick of the production of bananas!

Citizen Smith
January 1, 2023 9:01 am

When in the history of the world did a farmer not complain about weather and paying back the bank?

Has Jenni Read ever met a farmer?

January 1, 2023 9:40 am

There is no evidence whatsoever that climate change is undermining Cambodian farmers abilities to pay back existing loans or forcing them to undertake new ones.

But it makes a good headline, and scary headlines sell papers and get picked up in antisocial media, whilst facts and truth are censored.

Mike Maguire
January 2, 2023 12:07 am

Fossil fuels have increased crop yields from boosting atmospheric fertilizer, CO2 but even more so with synthetic fertilizer in the soil (using natural gas).

Screenshot 2023-01-02 at 02-02-36 Everything caused by the climate crisis - MarketForum.png
Mike Maguire
Reply to  Mike Maguire
January 2, 2023 12:10 am

Another secret about fossil fuels: Haber Bosch process-fertilizers feeding the planet using natural gas-doubling food production/crop yields.
food production/crop yields.

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