Could Climate Change Make Coffee Disappear?

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New research suggests an environmental risk to the world's coffee bean supply. Will your grandkids know what coffee is?

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.”

Stacy Johnson

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