Every morning the world looks grim without a cup of coffee. It is the most important beverage to get us out of our sleepy state. Coffee is like a necessity for us. But imagine this necessity turning into a luxury; only available on occasions. Imagine “Koffee with Karan” without “Koffee”. Now that would be cruel.
But this would soon turn into reality. Climate Change is threatening coffee crops in every major coffee producing region of the world.
Higher temperatures, long droughts punctuated by intense rainfall, more resilient pests and plant diseases—all of which are associated with climate change—have reduced coffee supplies dramatically in recent years.
Coffee is the most traded commodity in world, after oil. Despite of not being staple in many diets, coffee business is big. Over 259 countries cultivate coffee and over 25 million families make a living from this business. But there is growing consensus among experts that climate change will affect coffee crops within the next 80 years. By 2100,over 50 percent of the land used to grow coffee will no longer be arable. A combination of effects, resulting from higher temperatures and shifting rainfall patterns, will make the land where coffee is grown unsuitable for its production.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, in Latin America alone, more than 90 percent of the land used for coffee production could suffer this fate. It is estimated that Ethiopia, the sixth largest producer in the world, could lose over 60 percent of its production by 2050. This is only a generation away.
Additionally, warming has expanded the habitat and thus the range and damage of the coffee berry borer, a grazing predator of coffee plants. This pest is placing additional stresses on all coffee crops, as is coffee rust, a devastating fungus that previously did not survive the cool mountain weather. Costa Rica, India, and Colombia, three of the top fifteen coffee-producing nations in the world, have all seen a dramatic decline in yields.
Brands like Maxwell House, Yuban, and Folgers have increased the retail prices of many grinds by 25 percent or more between 2010 and 2011, in light of tight supply and higher wholesale prices.
If you’re one of those people who needs a cup of coffee to get going in the morning, your world may be changing. In fact, it already is. The dwindling supply of coffee is but one example of the many impacts to come due to climate change, and should be a wake-up call for us all.