Coffee, one of the most loved beverages in the world, might become extinct by 2050 if global warming is not kept under check.
Coffee is consumed by billions of people around the world and decline in production of coffee berries would affect people beyond differences. Hot weather and heavy rainfall are the two main factors that affect coffee production worldwide.
According to a report [pdf] published by The Climate Institute of Australia, at least half of the world's land area used for coffee cultivation will no longer be suitable for plantation by 2050, unless the global warming is taken care of. It is also predicted that wild coffee varieties like that of Arabica coffee would go extinct by 2080 if the temperature keeps increasing constantly.
Decline in coffee production will not only affect coffee lovers but about 25 million people that depend on coffee cultivation for their livelihood. The climatic change paved way for Coffee Leaf Rust, a fungal infestation in Central America in 2012. The fungus that destroyed 50 percent of the crops in Central America was also reported in Columbia which usually was too cold a place for the fungus to grow.
A pest called Coffee Berry Borer that usually infests coffee plantation below 1500 meters above mean sea level is said to have moved upslope because of raise in temperature. Global temperature has increased by one degree by far since 1850 and it is predicted to increase by a minimum of 2.6 degrees by 2100 if the scenario continues.
Increase of a degree or two might not sound devastating as such but even half a degree raise would affect agriculture worldwide significantly.
"If we sit by and wait until the impacts of climate change are so severe that is impacting our supply chain then that puts us at a greater risk," said Jim Hanna, Starbuck's sustainability director, reported The Guardian. "From a business perspective we really need to address this now, and to look five, 10, and 20 years down the road."
Hanna added that drastic climatic changes have resulted in pest infestation in coffee crops in Central America. The problem has a huge impact even on the well-established farms, he further noted.
It is therefore clear that the impact of global warming is not confined to coffee industry but agriculture as a whole. If vegetation fails of climatic changes it is irreversible and would have a devastating effect on mankind.
Photo: Russell James Smith | Flickr