Could climate change make coffee extinct? - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Could climate change make coffee extinct?

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Climate change could send the coffee you drink to extinction.  New research suggests Arabica coffee could be extinct by 2080.  The reason for this is that the coffee grown on most plantations comes from a limited genetic stock. They don't have the ability to adapt to a shifting climate, pests, or disease. Experts say that could have a negative effect on the coffee industry. 

Researchers at England's Kew Royal Botanic Gardens and Ethiopia's Environment and Coffee used computer modeling to predict how rising global temperatures and subtle changes in seasonal conditions might make some land unsuitable for arabica plants, which are vulnerable to temperature change.  The best-case scenario predicts that 65% of locations where arabica coffee is currently grown will become unsuitable by 2080, the study found. The most extreme model puts the loss at between 90% and 100%.

"Arabica can only exist in a very specific pace with a very specific number of other variables," said Aaron Davis, head of coffee research at the Royal Botanic Gardens. "It is mainly temperature but also the relationship between temperature and seasonality -- the average temperature during the wet season for example."

It may not be as robust of a problem, though.  The study is about wild coffee plants, while your morning cup of joe is brewed from the plant's domesticated descendants. Still, wild losses leave cultivated crops genetically vulnerable to a host of enemies, which could ultimately lead to lower quality and higher prices for coffee consumers.
 
English researchers say prices are the highest they've been in 30 years because of a combination of high demand and poor harvests.  There is no doubt coffee is a whale of a crop.    Worldwide, we drink 1.6 billion cups each day.

Researchers say the purpose of the study is not to scare the population, but to inspire action.  They are recommending conservation activities to avoid extinction of wild coffee.

However, some scientists believe climate change and global warming are myths.

 

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