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NYT’s Fake Climate Migration

July 26, 2020

By Paul Homewood

 image

Early in 2019, a year before the world shut its borders completely, Jorge A. knew he had to get out of Guatemala. The land was turning against him. For five years, it almost never rained. Then it did rain, and Jorge rushed his last seeds into the ground. The corn sprouted into healthy green stalks, and there was hope — until, without warning, the river flooded. Jorge waded chest-deep into his fields searching in vain for cobs he could still eat. Soon he made a last desperate bet, signing away the tin-roof hut where he lived with his wife and three children against a $1,500 advance in okra seed. But after the flood, the rain stopped again, and everything died. Jorge knew then that if he didn’t get out of Guatemala, his family might die, too.

Even as hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans fled north toward the United States in recent years, in Jorge’s region — a state called Alta Verapaz, where precipitous mountains covered in coffee plantations and dense, dry forest give way to broader gentle valleys — the residents have largely stayed. Now, though, under a relentless confluence of drought, flood, bankruptcy and starvation, they, too, have begun to leave. Almost everyone here experiences some degree of uncertainty about where their next meal will come from. Half the children are chronically hungry, and many are short for their age, with weak bones and bloated bellies. Their families are all facing the same excruciating decision that confronted Jorge.

The odd weather phenomenon that many blame for the suffering here — the drought and sudden storm pattern known as El Niño — is expected to become more frequent as the planet warms. Many semiarid parts of Guatemala will soon be more like a desert. Rainfall is expected to decrease by 60 percent in some parts of the country, and the amount of water replenishing streams and keeping soil moist will drop by as much as 83 percent. Researchers project that by 2070, yields of some staple crops in the state where Jorge lives will decline by nearly a third.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/07/23/magazine/climate-migration.html 

  

In fact, for whatever reason, cereal crop yields have not been declining in recent years. Indeed the opposite is the case, so clearly the NYT’s claims about extreme weather and climate change are not true.

chart

http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#compare 

But what about that spike in 2006? This actually goes to the heart of the story, which begins with the next graph:

 

chart-1

  As we can see, the spike in yields was mirrored by a decline in area harvested. In 2007 and 2008, the area harvested rose sharply, with yields dropping back, since when things have stabilised.

This expansion of farmed land is explained by the World Bank’s Climate Risk report in 2011:

 image

image

https://climateknowledgeportal.worldbank.org/country-profiles

In short, there has been a huge amount of slash and burn in the last two decades. But the land cleared typically has low productivity. Hence the drop in yields, particularly between 2006 and 2010.

The reason for this slash and burn is simple – the massive pressures put on the land by a rapidly rising population:

 image

Population of Guatemala

As the World Bank notes, Guatemala is extremely poor, even by Latin American standards, and most live in rural areas:

image

https://climateknowledgeportal.worldbank.org/country-profiles

 

As the population rises, so those living in rural areas are forced to farm ever more unproductive land.

As for the drought reported, the region where Jorge A lives, Alta Verapaz, lies in the eastern part of the country, which is usually suffers severe droughts as a result of El Ninos:

 

image

https://climateknowledgeportal.worldbank.org/country-profiles

 

The Great Migration has nothing to do with climate change, as the New York Times would like you to think.

The sole reason is the ever increasing population in Guatemala, along with the associated poverty. But you won’t hear that from the NYT.

26 Comments
  1. July 26, 2020 1:38 pm

    How about investigating big business buying and using the water that the population used to use for irrigation? Once they go broke those same big businesses buy their land and property then use the stolen water to make them going concerns once more!

    • Broadlands permalink
      July 26, 2020 2:18 pm

      The same holds true for solar panel farms that take over arable agricultural land leaving the increasing populace even poorer.

      “El Niño — is expected to become more frequent as the planet warms.” The El-Nino is a part of the ENSO and is a natural event not subject to human-added CO2.

      • July 26, 2020 10:27 pm

        El Niño — is expected to become more frequent as the planet warms.

        Really? None since 2016, current ENSO status is La Niña watch.

      • Duker permalink
        July 27, 2020 12:25 am

        Yes . They said the same about hurricanes and typhoons and similar cyclonic storms. I think the worldwide numbers are roughly stable with more variation between the regions

  2. July 26, 2020 2:34 pm

    “

    NYT’s Fake Climate Migration

    by Paul Homewood

    By Paul Homewood
     

    Early in 2019, a year before the world shut its borders completely, Jorge A. knew he had to get out of Guatemala. The land was turning against him. For five years, it almost never rained. Then it did rain, and Jorge rushed his last seeds into the ground. The corn sprouted into healthy green stalks, and there was hope — until, without warning, the river flooded. Jorge waded chest-deep into his fields searching in vain for cobs he could still eat. Soon he made a last desperate bet, signing away the tin-roof hut where he lived with his wife and three children against a $1,500 advance in okra seed. But after the flood, the rain stopped again, and everything died”

    This is a reference to a localized short term climate event and therefore it cannot be causally related to AGW. Anthropigenic global warming is a theory about long term changes in global mean temperature. Short term and localized climate events cannot be causally related to global warming because of the internal climate variability of climate.

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/07/16/the-internal-variability-issue/

  3. Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
    July 26, 2020 4:03 pm

    Very good post, Paul. Thanks.

    Did the study about future climate change use RCP8.5?
    Funny thing is that all these issues are not supposed to happen until about 2075, or whenever average air temps are up by 2 or 3 degrees C. Yet, weather stories get blamed on climate change — that hasn’t yet happened.

  4. July 26, 2020 4:08 pm

    The big missed factor is the deforestation for palm oil plantations and the dominance of the new export cash crop which brought with it land evictions of subsistence farmers as well as wildlife.

  5. MrGrimNasty permalink
    July 26, 2020 4:57 pm

    Similar to this ludicrous BBC claim if you recall.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-environment-47673327/mongolia-a-toxic-warning-to-the-world

    The ‘countryside’ abandoned because of 2.2C warming (debatable if it is that much) is naturally mostly a pretty barren wilderness of harsh extreme weather and very low productivity, only capable of providing a subsistence living to a very sparse population, and still has an average annual temperature close to zero degrees C!

    The population explosion means migration to the city, and the solution to air pollution is simple – cheap clean fossil fuel powered electricity grids and economic development.

    The whole BBC claim is fundamentally ludicrous/dishonest.

    Also remember the BBC did separate stories from just about every major delta in the world claiming rising seas were causing climate change refugees, Mississippi, Ganges, Mekong – where a few mm of sea level rise is irrelevant compared to inches or feet of sinking/erosion per year from completely unrelated causes. e.g.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-asia-49854753/the-displaced-climate-change-in-vietnam-destroying-family-life

    • July 26, 2020 10:09 pm

      It is not only the BBC. I have yet to find a clear acknowledgement either on NASAs site or in the labyrinth workings of the IPCC of NON Sea volume changes to relative sea level. The very fact that the BBC made a song and dance about deltas shows willful dishonesty on the part of the BBC because we have known for a long time that a delta subsides all on its own thank you very much without any help from your SUV! They have tried the scam on Miami and the Mekong delta. In the case of the former it is atrocious town planning AND water extraction and in the case of the latter it is natural subsidence exacerbated by groundwater extraction.
      However, they are winning with this BS because it is keeping people away from herd of elephants in the room which is the fact that still after 35 years there is NO statistically significant data of any kind to support the claim of anthropogenic warming due to returning CO2 back into the Carbon Cycle and the equally unproven link to accelerated climate change. To repeat myself, if there is no proven cause then there can be no proven effects produced by that cause no matter how often failed politicians, strange Swedish Schoolgirls (sorry she does not go to school) and very irritating self satisfied actors and a lot of marxist pretend there is. Notice the way they rush past it without ever going anywhere near the cause, because they know they will be caught out and the plebs and associated idiots just follow.

  6. Ed P permalink
    July 26, 2020 6:31 pm

    NYT? Never Yet True (just like the corrupted BBC (Brussels Bullshit Crap)

    • James L. Neill permalink
      July 27, 2020 11:26 am

      BBC = B*$$@rs, Bastards and Communists?

  7. Gamecock permalink
    July 26, 2020 8:05 pm

    “so clearly the NYT’s claims about extreme weather and climate change are not true”

    Why would it need to be true?

    • martinbrumby permalink
      July 28, 2020 4:55 am

      Indeed, Gamecock.

      Like other, regular porn; Climate Porn, masterfully churned out by NYT, or the Grauniad, or the BBC is based on fantasy!

      And reading this tearful, GangGreen purple prose, I was just coming to a lovely Happy Ending when Paul buts in with his ugly facts and statistics and spoiled the whole thing!

      Dammit!

  8. Andrew Dickens permalink
    July 26, 2020 8:56 pm

    worldometer puts Guatemala’s current population at 17,2 million, not 14.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      July 28, 2020 4:03 am

      The 14.9m figure is from a census. Doubtless an undercount. But it is evident that population data remain largely a guess – particularly the Worldometers version, which tries to estimate the up to the minute population from a combination of dodgy data. The UN use several different “projections”.

  9. July 26, 2020 9:21 pm

    Good Grief!

    1. – It’s not hot there. It’s cool. How can I tell? They are wearing light jackets. Why is it cool there? See #3.

    2. – I wonder why their squash plants, healthy green leaves at their feet, weren’t killed in the “flood” along with the corn?

    3. – They appear to be on top of a mountain, not as high as those behind them, but from the way the land they’re on appears to fall away behind them, I’m guessing that flooding is the least of their worries there.

    4. – The corn stalks are most likely nothing but end of growing season remnants, just like one can see in any corn field that hasn’t yet been cleared after a harvest.
    https://www.striptillfarmer.com/ext/resources/images/News/2016/Dugan-2016-stalk-lodged-plants.jpg?1477682130

    5. – “…Jorge waded chest-deep into his fields searching in vain for cobs he could still eat.” – NYSlimes
    Those are the healthiest looking “starving people” I’ve ever seen.

    The only thing chest deep here is NYT B.S.

    • Gamecock permalink
      July 26, 2020 10:24 pm

      Good post, yonason. Like I said, why would it need to be true?

      Pic looks like 21st century “Sound of Music.”

      • July 27, 2020 2:08 am

        @Gamecock

        “…why would it need to be true?”

        I also can’t see where their old corn stalks turning brown means humans cause bad weather, even if overall food production weren’t increasing. But then, that’s post-modern logic for you.

        Subsistence farming is always a crap-shoot. Can’t say I blame them hamming it up to the NYT to elicit sympathy, thinking it might help them escape what, in the best of times, is a rough enough life.

        “Pic looks like 21st century ‘Sound of Music’.”

        LOL – If we see it on Broadway, we’ll know where they got that idea. //:o]

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      July 27, 2020 8:37 am

      I was going to make a similar point. Just to add it’s always worth pleading poverty when a reporter wants a story and pictures

      • dave permalink
        July 27, 2020 9:11 am

        Droughty times in Guatemala is not a change in climate. It IS the regular climate. Just look at the ruins of the Maya cities. Their culture collapsed TWICE during periods of modest, but recurring, drought in the first millennium AD.

        Also, look again at the crazy population growth; a quadruple in my lifetime. Malthus’s theory may not always be right as meaning doom for society as a whole, but it is always right about marked population growth creating misery for countless individuals who are born into a hopeless situation.

  10. ianprsy permalink
    July 26, 2020 11:41 pm

    Not quite OT – tonight I decided I’d have to cross another BBC programme off my watch list – Countryfile. Tonight, they couldn’t discuss GM crops or gene editing without scary music. How pathetic. Still, I later watched the following, which restored my mood:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/07/26/uk-journo-embarrasses-green-transport-minister/

    Refreshing and so easy to knock down the green arguments once they had to go off script. If only the BBC (and others for that matter) had such an approach.

    • Mad Mike permalink
      July 27, 2020 10:26 am

      I had seen the clip before but enjoyed watching it again. The interviewee really got tied up on the basic question of how much energy was being produced by renewables, a number she really should have at her fingertips considering her position. Actually it is a good question we should put to MPs, councillors etc. as often as we can. I’ve asked my MP and city councillors and none of them had the faintest idea yet they support the “climate emergency” and green policies.Never be surprised at these people’s ignorance of the facts which is easily shown up when they go off script like this unfortunate lady being interviewed

  11. Phoenix44 permalink
    July 27, 2020 9:03 am

    Yes, investigate silly anti-capitalist conspiracy theories.

  12. MrGrimNasty permalink
    July 27, 2020 11:10 am

    Wow, just wow, BBC/Justin Rowlatt hit a new low – is there anywhere they won’t go, now using heroin to push their climate junket agenda?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-53450688

    Apparently the fact that drug lords can afford to lend money back to heroin farmers from their highly profitable but unpleasant criminal trade, to buy solar panels to improve the amount of heroin they can produce, is a proof of concept for solar PV!

    Aside from the fact we are talking about places where there is no possible viable alternative for electricity – way off the grid, and no reliable petrol/diesel supply…….

    He mentions tomatoes being grown after the heroin harvest, well yes, there’s the problem, if the farmers were only producing legal crops, they could not afford the solar PV because it is not economically viable in normal circumstances.

  13. It doesn't add up... permalink
    July 28, 2020 4:04 am

    I know it’s all supposed to be over, but I wonder how much emigration is being driven by Sandanista violence still?

  14. Peter permalink
    July 28, 2020 8:50 am

    “The odd weather phenomenon that many blame for the suffering here — the drought and sudden storm pattern known as El Niño — is expected to become more frequent as the planet warms. ”

    Is El Niño really an “odd” weather phenomenon? Hasn’t it been around for centuries? Isn’t it a well-known phenomenon that occurs once every few years?
    And does El Niño really occur more often if the planet (for whatever reason) warms? Does this mean that El Niña will also occur more often?

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