While the morning's breakfast will be drastically altered without coffee, so too will economies around the globe. The study by researchers from the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in London, published in the journal PLOS ONE, warns that climate change alone may cause Arabica coffee to become extinct in the wild in just 70 years.
Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world, after only oil, according to Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, and many countries depend on the coffee trade. The news that climate change alone could kill the coffee supply is quite alarming.
This is the first-ever study conducted on wild coffee species, the authors said, and can lead to a better understanding of climate change's effect on coffee growth as well as ways to cope. Researchers used computer models to create both an actual and predicted representation of the distribution of wild Arabica around the globe and measured climate change's projected effect on the wild Arabica population in 2020, 2050 and 2080.
The coffee in our cups are not from wild Arabica beans, but wild Arabica is crucial for the health of Arabica found in coffee plantations. According to U.S. News and World Report, growing Arabica is tricky and requires the right conditions, between 64 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this narrow temperature window, any increase caused by climate change can significantly affect wild Arabica coffee.
Wild Arabica is necessary to increase genetic diversity found in Arabica grown in coffee plantations. Arabica coffee is suspectible to disease and pests and without the wild variety to diversify its genetic makeup may suffer poorer yields.
The researchers do not expect all of Arabica found in the wild to be extinct, but that is the worst-case scenario by 2080. For some places, such as Kenya, Ethopia and other regions, climate change may raise temperatures to the point where growing Arabica coffee would be impossible. Somewhat less dire scenarios have a 65 percent reduction in wild Arabica coffee.
New York Post notes that nearly 70 percent of all coffee uses Arabica beans. Even in the best case, coffee will become more expensive due to the scarcity of wild Arabica beans and the taste of coffee will also change, according to New York Post.
Coffee is just the latest victim of climate change. The predicted bacon shortage next year, and for the foreseeable future, can be blamed on climate change, reports The Guardian. Droughts, poor crop production and lack of feed means fewer pigs that can be fed and maintained leading to less bacon on tables.