by James Taylor
The 2019 maple syrup harvest brought another opportunity for global-warming alarmists to gin up a fictitious climate scare.
With feel-good stories abounding about hardy Canadians and Americans collecting sap from their sugar maples from February to April, The New York Times and other media outlets attempted to turn the news into a maple syrup climate crisis. Objective facts, however, reveal maple syrup production is setting new records nearly every year, as temperatures continue their modest recent warming trend.
According to The New York Times: “In fact, climate change is already making things more volatile for syrup producers. In 2012, maple production fell by 54 percent in Ontario and by 12.5 percent in Canada overall, according to data from the Canadian government, because of an unusually warm spring.”
“Warm weather can hurt syrup production because the process depends on specific temperature conditions: daytime highs above freezing with nighttime lows below freezing. But because of climate change, some years those key temperatures are more elusive,” The Times added.
Taking its cue from the establishment media, the Care2 Healthy Living website was even more direct. “Expect maple syrup shortages,” the website reported.
A look at objective data on maple syrup production shows the exact
opposite is happening. The New York Times had to dig up very old news,
all the way back to 2012, to find a production year it could describe as
discouraging. And even 2012 saw merely a 12.5 percent decline relative
to 2011. Interestingly, maple syrup production has increased every year
Strikingly, The New York Times chose not to mention that Canadian maple syrup production set records in 2016 and 2017. After failing to set a record in 2018, the outlook is promising for a new record this year.
“Sweet sap is making for an even sweeter maple syrup season for producers in Waterloo Region,” observed The Waterloo Record, in Ontario, Canada.
“Wilfred Schmidt of Schmidt Family Syrup in New Hamburg said he has
cut his sap boiling time by 10 percent this year because of higher than
normal sugar content in the trees,” The Record observed. “That’s a good
thing for producers as a shorter boil means more syrup.”
“We set some records this year and we haven’t changed the amount of trees (tapped) in 10 years. All of a sudden, we’re getting a lot more syrup from the same amount of sap—it makes a huge difference,” said Schmidt.
Maple syrup producers in the United States are enjoying even greater success than their Canadian counterparts.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that U.S. syrup makers produced a record 4.27 million gallons of maple syrup in 2018. That total beat the previous record of 4.21 million gallons in 2017.
Final data for the 2019 season isn’t yet available, but early indications are once again promising.
The Maple News, published in Greenwich, New York, described the 2019 season as “a winner for most.” The Maple News cited U.S. farmers as predicting record 2019 production.
The public messaging regarding maple syrup production is typical of how global-warming issues are portrayed in the establishment media. Climate change alarmists look for a popular news or culture item and then find a way—whether supported by science or not—to assert that global warming is making things worse. They trust most people won’t have the time, inclination, or ability to research the issue themselves and discover the truth. As a result, people are led to erroneously believe that objectively good news is actually bad news.
In this case, people are being led to believe global warming is damaging maple syrup production and maple syrup shortages are imminent. In reality, maple syrup production sets new records on a near-annual basis as our climate modestly warms.
James Taylor (JTaylor@heartland.org) is a senior fellow for environment and climate policy at The Heartland Institute. The article first appeared here