Could Climate Change Make Coffee Disappear?

A CBC News story suggests it might get much more rare and expensive…

That’s the warning behind a new study by U.K. and Ethiopian researchers who say the beans that go into 70 per cent of the world’s coffee could be wiped out by 2080.

Researchers at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew and the Environment and Coffee Forest Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia looked at how climate change might make some land unsuitable for Arabica plants, which are highly vulnerable to temperature change and other dangers including pests and disease.

They came up with a best-case scenario that predicts a 38 per cent reduction in land capable of yielding Arabica by 2080. The worst-case scenario puts the loss at between 90 per cent and 100 per cent.

The researchers say the estimate is conservative, too, not accounting for deforestation. But as one commenter joked, “No problem. With climate change, by 2080 we’ll be able to grow ‘em in the Canadian Arctic.”

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Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.

  • ghortej

    Aren’t you tired of looking shortsighted?

    • smokey347

      and aren’t you tired of all that kool-aid?

      • ghortej

        I’m not a climate scientist, so all I can do is trust in the fact that 97% of scientific papers conclude that global warming/climate change is real: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2013/05/17/97-percent-of-scientific-studies-agree-on-manmade-global-warming-so-what-now/

        If we assume the people who’ve spent their lives researching this topic are right and it turns out they were wrong, the only harm done will be that we all drive more energy efficient cars and power our homes with solar & nuclear instead of coal & natural gas.

        If we assume you’re right and it turns out you were wrong, it will mean the death or displacement of billions of people and most life on Earth.

        So forgive me for not risking my childrens’ futures by distrusting 97% of published scientific research on climate change in favor of the “kool-aid” commenter who still hasn’t learned to use the shift key.

        • smokey347

          well in fairness, i’m not a climate scientist either, but i assume you know there is evidence on both sides, so who to believe? actually i would very much like to see pollution and greenhouse gasses reduced on a global scale also. what i don’t want to see is, a. the US bearing the brunt of the criticism when you have countries like china and india pouring many more tons into the air then we could imagine; and b. destroying american jobs and industry trying to make us pollution free. ain’t gonna happen and the america people will suffer because of the misguided efforts. we can reduce pollution without destroying ourselves, so get after the worse offenders first, then talk to me. BTW i do feel a lot of the climate change is due to natural evolution. pollution and greenhouse gasses may and probably are helping it along, but i think we couldn’t do much about global warming in any event. good luck to your children. hope they can do better than us.

          • ghortej

            97% vs 3%. Yes, technically there is “evidence on both sides”, but if you’re using that as a rationale for believing the 3%, then I’d like to see how you get through the rest of life.

            If you went to 100 doctors and 97 of them told you that you needed treatment for something, but 3 of them disagreed and said you’d probably be fine on your own because your body fights diseases all the time and you get better and diseases are mostly natural, would you get the treatment? Or would you do nothing, and tell the 97 doctors that “there is evidence on both sides, so who to believe?”

            At some point we all have to accept the fact that we’re not experts on everything. We can’t be. It’s impossible. So we all will eventually need to accept the reasoning of others on matters that are too complicated or too time consuming for us to individually understand. I’m not a doctor, but if 97 out of 100 doctors told me I needed treatment for something, I’d get the treatment. So if 97 out of 100 climate scientists give me the same prediction for the future, I believe them.