Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Coffee and climate change

OK, now things are getting serious! From the Union of Concerned Scientists:
Climate change is threatening coffee crops in virtually 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.

Because coffee varieties have adapted to specific climate zones, a temperature rise of even half a degree can make a big difference. A long-term increase in the number of extreme and unseasonal rainfall events has contributed to lower crop yields that are threatening the livelihood of coffee growers. For example, between 2002 and 2011, Indian coffee production declined by nearly 30 percent.

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 Ethiopia, three of the top fifteen coffee-producing nations in the world, have all seen a dramatic decline in yields.

Hey, starvation, floods, hurricanes - not my problem.* And Texas can burn up completely, for all I care. But don't get between me and my coffee!

* Yeah, I'm kidding. I do care about starvation. After all, I need something to eat while I'm drinking my coffee, right? :)

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