Gallery: Climate Change Could Wipe Out Coffee by 2080


Coffee lovers, hold onto your cup; our beloved Arabica beans could face extinction due to climate change. A new study from Kew Gardens has shown that both rising tides and temperatures world-wide could render a whopping 99.7 percent of popular bean-growing regions unable to support the crop. Although the effect would not be immediate, the study found that climate change could cause the world’s predominant coffee crop to be extinct by 2080.

The Arabica species is the most popular coffee bean, which can be roasted to different degrees to produce different flavors of coffee. Making up 70 percent of the world’s coffee market, it is joined by the Robusta bean, which is a stronger and differently textured variety—like Greek and Turkish coffee. Most of the coffee in specialty shops, coffee chains, artisanal cafes and at super markets is an Arabica bean.

Wild Arabica grows naturally in the mountains of Ethiopia and South Sudan. Although commercial coffee is reproduced by farmers and in greenhouses, the wild strain is vital to the Arabica bean’s longevity, acting as the source for coffee plantations to get more pure beans that can naturally survive against pests and disease.

The coffee study juxtaposed Arabic beans into three potential climate change scenarios. Each of the scenarios found that Arabica-fertile regions would become unable to produce by 2080, with one study showing 65 percent while the others were higher, capping at 99.7 percent of the growable regions around the world.

The main threat to these crops is rising temperature change, which is a worldwide problem that increases in frequency each year. Coffee farms have already been responding to climate change over the last 50 years, moving their crops 50 meters higher every 10 years in response to rising temperatures.

The extinction of wild Arabica is a worst case scenario, but climate change is very real, and not all coffee beans will remain unscathed. The savory cups we enjoy every morning could have a very different taste in coming decades thanks to climate change.

Via The Telegraph


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  1. macdoodle November 15, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    I hear that when the sunspots leave in 10 years, things should calm down. Since there are already many alternate growing techniques on the horizon I suspect we will see long term stability in supplies of most basics after a period of adjustment.
    Unless we keep up the current birthrates, as more people than the planet can support is an ongoing problem not being dealt with. Religious orgs and Corporations need more consumers and low wage workers and there is no consensus on how to fight against those two powerful forces, to create a world wide priority to voluntarily only produce children the families can feed and educate and the planet can support.
    Debate welcome :)

  2. feline74 November 13, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    One way to protect important plants like this in the years to come–plant them in areas at the colder fringes of their habitable zones.

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