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Climate Change Reducing What Yields–Latest BBC Lie

November 28, 2022

By Paul Homewood


h/t Paul Kolk



The babies at the BBC are at it again:




Could the key to feeding the world with a changing climate be hiding in a 300-year-old museum collection?

That’s one of the hopes of scientists combing through 12,000 specimens of wheat and its relatives held in the Natural History Museum’s archives.

The most promising samples are having their genomes sequenced in a bid to identify the genetic secrets of hardier wheat varieties.

Climate change and pests and diseases are putting the crop under pressure.

The old varieties of wheat are stored in hundreds of old cardboard files, neatly lined up, row upon row, in the museum vaults. Each one contains dried leaves, stems or ears of grain, and sometimes all three, from centuries ago.

They’re carefully labelled, many in beautiful copper-plate handwriting, detailing exactly where and when they were found. It all provides useful information.

"The collection spans back to the 1700s, including a specimen that was collected on Captain Cook’s first voyage to Australia," says Larissa Welton. She’s part of the team digitising the archive so it can be accessed online.

The James Cook sample is a wild wheat plant. It looks spindly and grass-like – quite different from the varieties growing in fields today. But it’s these differences that the team is interested in.

"We have specimens that are from before the introduction of various agricultural techniques, so they can tell us something about how wheat was growing wild or before things like artificial fertilisers."

Wheat is one of the most important crops in the world – it’s used for many foods, from bread and pasta, to breakfast cereal and cakes, and is an essential part of our diet.

The war in Ukraine, where a great deal of grain is grown, has put global supply under threat.

But it’s not the only problem: climate change, and the extreme weather it brings, is having an impact, with scientists calculating that a 1C rise in global temperature can cause a reduction of up to 6.4% in the amount we can grow around the world.

Pests and diseases are also causing major challenges, reducing the projected annual yield by about a fifth each year.

Modern wheat crops are struggling. The green revolution in the 1950s and 1960s led to farmers growing the varieties that produced the most grain. But this pursuit of producing the biggest harvests meant that other varieties were put aside – including crops able to cope with extremes – and the diversity of wheat was reduced.



Don’t the BBC babies realise that these spindly old varieties were abandoned precisely because of their low productivity?

And do the babies know that Captain Cook got his samples at the depth of the Little Ace Age, so would be next to useless in today’s climate. That was the time when glaciers in New Zealand were expanding rapidly:

In New Zealand the Franz Joseph glacier wasa mere pocket of ice on a frozen snowfield nine centuries ago”…. Then Little Ice Age cooling began and the glacier thrust downslope into the valley below smashing into the great rain forests that flourished there, felling giant trees like matchsticks. By the early 18th Century, Franz Joseph’s face was within 3 km of the Pacific Ocean .

The high tide of glacial advance at Franz Joseph came between the late 17th Century and early 19th Century, just as it did in the European Alps.

As for the rubbish about declining yields, maybe somebody should tell the babies that wheat yields have tripled in the last sixty years.



Technology has played a huge part in the ability of the world to feed its population and will continue to do so.

But the idea that climate change and diseases are making things worse than they used to be in the past is fraudulent.

Maybe the babies, Rebecca and Alison, should read up on the global cooling of the 1970s which led to disastrous shortages in grain harvests:



HH Lamb: Climate, History and the Modern World



The simple fact is that annual variability in weather far exceeds any tiny changes in trends brought about by global warming. The latter are long term, and so slow to come about that farmers and agricultural scientists have plenty of time to adapt. And there is zero evidence that extreme weather is now more common. Indeed, HH Lamb noted that weather variability was much more of a problem in the 1970s than before:


I am quite sure that investigating these old varieties of wheat is a useful exercise, but it is stupid to suggest that we are going to starve because of climate change.

  1. John Lyon permalink
    November 28, 2022 11:00 am

    Also the fertilizer effect of increased CO2 has a benefit for growing crops. Commercial greenhouses boost the CO2 , stands to reason the modest increase that has occurred has boosted grain crops.

  2. MrGrimNasty permalink
    November 28, 2022 11:07 am

    The biggest threat to yields is banning or shortages of pest/disease control chemicals and fertilisers.

  3. mwhite permalink
    November 28, 2022 11:11 am

    North Africa was considered the ‘bread basket’ of the Roman Empire.
    It seems a bit of heat wasn’t that detrimental.

  4. November 28, 2022 11:12 am

    What => Wheat (in the headline)

  5. Gamecock permalink
    November 28, 2022 11:28 am

    So many porkies in one sentence:

    ‘But it’s not the only problem: climate change, and the extreme weather it brings’

    [citation needed]

    There is no evidence of ‘climate change.’ There is no evidence of changes in ‘extreme weather.’

    ‘is having an impact’

    Chart above shows it’s not.

    ‘with scientists calculating that a 1C rise in global temperature’

    No evidence that is going to happen.

    ‘can cause a reduction of up to 6.4% in the amount we can grow around the world’

    Hilarious false precision fallacy.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      November 29, 2022 2:41 pm

      Greening of the Earth and its drivers

      Global environmental change is rapidly altering the dynamics of terrestrial vegetation, with consequences for the functioning of the Earth system and provision of ecosystem services1,2. Yet how global vegetation is responding to the changing environment is not well established. Here we use three long-term satellite leaf area index (LAI) records and ten global ecosystem models to investigate four key drivers of LAI trends during 1982–2009. We show a persistent and widespread increase of growing season integrated LAI (greening) over 25% to 50% of the global vegetated area, whereas less than 4% of the globe shows decreasing LAI (browning). Factorial simulations with multiple global ecosystem models suggest that CO2 fertilization effects explain 70% of the observed greening trend, followed by nitrogen deposition (9%), climate change (8%) and land cover change (LCC) (4%). CO2 fertilization effects explain most of the greening trends in the tropics, whereas climate change resulted in greening of the high latitudes and the Tibetan Plateau. LCC contributed most to the regional greening observed in southeast China and the eastern United States. The regional effects of unexplained factors suggest that the next generation of ecosystem models will need to explore the impacts of forest demography, differences in regional management intensities for cropland and pastures, and other emerging productivity constraints such as phosphorus availability.

  6. Malcolm permalink
    November 28, 2022 11:32 am

    The BBC also that world harvests are now falling because of climate change.

    I thought you were telling us they are still record breaking. Do I keep believing you Paul? Please!

  7. st3ve permalink
    November 28, 2022 12:20 pm

    “Pests and diseases are also causing major challenges, reducing the projected annual yield by about a fifth each year.”

    At that rate, in 10 years, the yield would be down to just over 10.7% of current level. Something amiss there.

  8. November 28, 2022 12:36 pm

    What would the BBC Feedback Team do if I regularly forwarded Paul’s emails to them?
    Don’t bother answering Feedback Team; for I can hear the shutters rattling down as I write.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      November 28, 2022 4:39 pm

      The will add you to the blacklist on their email server.

  9. W Flood permalink
    November 28, 2022 12:46 pm

    Wheat does not grow in the far north of Scotland. Buy that farm in Caithness now!

    • December 6, 2022 7:12 pm

      It would be a good idea if we weren’t heading into a bone chilling grand solar minimum but the bbc totally ignore that fact..its not co2,its not man,its the sun!

  10. Penda100 permalink
    November 28, 2022 12:48 pm

    The BBC babies don’t know about earlier problems caused by colder weather and if they did know they would not care. The object is to keep the people frightened of the twin bogeymen, climate change and extreme weather and to have them believe that we will all starve if we don’t eliminate CO2. It’s pure propaganda. Remember, “a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth “.

  11. MrGrimNasty permalink
    November 28, 2022 2:20 pm

    The colder and wetter climate post Roman warm period was bad for agriculture in the UK.

  12. November 28, 2022 3:06 pm

    This is bare faced lying. How is the BBC allowed to get away repeatedly with this? I know the whole klymutt fraud is based on bare faced lying but like Al Capone getting done for tax evasion the BBC being publicly censured for publishing lies could at least be a start in the right direction. This has to stop. This is absurdity on steroids. Look at the UN crop yields data. year on year record production. For the BBC to try this on with hard data freely available saying the complete opposite shows how corrupt they are ( they have played with it several times). They are willing to lie for the furtherance this one of several left wing supported religious causes they champion. Questions should be asked in Parliament.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      November 28, 2022 4:38 pm

      Some years ago I was chatting with a highly qualified and experienced petrochemical engineer who has worked all over the World.

      Just out of interest I asked him how much sea level would rise if all the sea ice – ice that was fully floating on the surface of the sea – melted.

      He couldn’t answer, but thought it was a lot and it took me around 20 minutes to explain to him that due to Archimedes’ principle, the correct answer was zero and that with his profound knowledge of physics and thermodynamics I would have expected him to have known that without even having to think about it.

      So I asked him just precisely why he believed that, and he answered “I heard it on the BBC”.

      So there you go.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        November 28, 2022 5:59 pm

        I think the seas might fall. All that icemelt will reduce the temperature of the ocean, resulting in contraction of the liquid volume.

      • Gamecock permalink
        November 28, 2022 10:16 pm

        Man is unable to define/measure the basin. Any assertions on SLR are completely bogus. COMPLETELY. Until we can measure the basin accurately, WE.KNOW.NOTHING.

  13. Tim Spence permalink
    November 28, 2022 4:19 pm

    Some places can harvest two wheat crops per year, it’s a 120 day crop depending on variety and conditions. With higher temperatures there would be more places that could harvest twice annually.

  14. johnbuk permalink
    November 28, 2022 6:44 pm

    I see the heading on the BBC page is, “Science and Environment” – so which is it?

  15. November 28, 2022 7:33 pm

    ‘Is that true or did you hear/read/see it on the BBC?’

  16. Broadlands permalink
    November 28, 2022 9:51 pm

    Of course it is overlooked that planting, fertilizing and harvesting will require the use of vehicles that run on fossil fuels. That will necessarily add to the CO2 they are trying to sequester and then recycle by using it as food to feed the planet. A net loss in the end.


  17. November 29, 2022 1:14 am

    I can just visualize the research project proposal for funding… There has to be a mention of climate change and how this vital research is going to save mankind. Without this sort of dishonest reasoning, someone who wants to look at the evolution of cereal genomes will never be funded 😉

  18. Max Beran permalink
    November 29, 2022 2:37 am

    You were much too quick to dismiss the value of the archive. There’s much more to a plant than its productivity which obviously focuses on the seeds in this case. Other aspects of its natural history will be embedded in its genome that might prove of value and anyway what about just pure knowledge divorced from commercial applications. Hats off to the collectors and the archivists!

    • Gamecock permalink
      November 29, 2022 9:49 pm

      “You were much too quick to dismiss the value of the archive.”

      Reading comprehension, Max. He dismissed the notion that our crops need to be saved from climate change. Saving seeds if fine. Making claims they are going to save us from the boogeyman are ridiculous.

      And if they are this incompetent, perhaps they are the wrong ones to be saving the seeds.

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