Bill Nye, "The Science Guy," appeared on MSNBC's "Hardball" this week to contradict President Donald Trump's claims that the Polar Vortex is evidence that "global warming" is a hoax, but ended up making some outlandish claims himself, including that climate change would force Canada to begin engaging in agriculture.
“The agriculture in North America is going to have to move north into what would nominally be Canada and we don’t have the infrastructure,” Nye told host Chris Matthews, apparently under the assumption that Canada does not already do a significant percentage of North America's farming.
"We don’t have the railroads and roads to get food from that area to where we need it around the world,” Nye added.
Bill Nye says global warming will mean America needs to grow its crops in Canada:— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 30, 2019
"The agriculture is going to have to move north into what would normally be Canada and we don't have the infrastructure, the roads and railroads to get food from that area to where we need it." pic.twitter.com/aoazDTHu9N
Nye added that the reason the United States isn't doing more to combat the future horror of Canadian farming lies with flyover country, which is full of rubes he believes have been "hoodwinked" into believing climate change isn't a growing problem.
“I claim that the people in rural areas are affected perhaps even more than people in urban areas, and they’ve been hoodwinked,” Nye said. “They’ve been led astray by this group of like-minded people who feel that the economic effects of getting away from fossil fuels are going to be catastrophic, but that is just simply not true.”
Nye is, of course, not a climatologist. He is an engineer, and as revered as he is in his field, that doesn't exactly qualify him as an expert in the impact of global climate change, though he has become one of the world's foremost climate change alarmists in recent years.
There are also a few practical things wrong with Nye's assertions: for starters, the United States appears to be leading the world in reducing carbon emissions, according to several studies going back as far as 2016, even though the United States does not officially adhere to any multi-national treaty setting carbon reduction goals (and yes, that includes those dastardly climate deniers in middle America). China, India and other southeast Asian countries, where industrialization lags behind the United States, are the real carbon emitters.
And Canada already has a robust agricultural industry. According to the Canadian department of agriculture, "the agriculture and agri-food industry contributes over $110 billion annually to Canada's gross domestic product," and the country is a leading exporter of wheat, soybeans, canola and other oilseeds, honey, fish and seafood, and livestock (including beef and pork).
Last year alone, the U.S. imported more than $20 billion in agricultural products from Canada, just a little less than we exported.
It is, of course, entirely possible that if the import/export relationship with Canada shifts, the two countries could collaborate in improving infrastructure, building railroads, and improving roads and pipelines. The effects of climate change won't hit all at once; there should be plenty of time to fill potholes and improve on the United States' import schedule.
As for climate change itself, well, even that's debatable: according to Nye's colleagues, climate shifts won't immediately make Chicago and Toronto tropical paradises incapable of growing anything other than pineapples and a tourism industry. It may, in fact, simply make temporary temperature shifts more dramatic — sort of like the Polar Vortex that Nye showed up on MSNBC to demonstrate.