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Climate Change and Coffee

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If this doesn’t get Americans interested in climate change, nothing will:

A cup of morning coffee could be much harder to find, and much more expensive, before the century is out thanks to climate change and the possible extinction of wild Arabica beans.

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.

There is a “high risk of extinction” says the study, which was published this week in the academic journal Plos One.

I personally think coffee is disgusting. But an old organizing mantra is that you have to meet people where they are at. And a lot of you really like coffee. Coffee is a very sensitive plant. I’ve seen hillsides in Central America where coffee will grow on part of it but not the other part. It needs a very particular climate. That could get much, much harder to find.

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