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Global Warming Could Cause a Coffee Shortage

Editor
Climate change is a buzzkill in more ways than one

Fill your mug while you can — it seems global warming is about to take a major toll on the coffee industry. This could force us all to face the horrifying reality of a coffee shortage.

If that’s not motivation to reduce your carbon footprint, we’re not sure what is.

Coffee-producing regions such as Latin America are projected to be hit hard by global warming and climate change, and the area of land suitable for coffee production could be reduced by up to 88 percent. These numbers come from a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which anticipates a rise in temperature in prime regions for the coffee industry such as Nicaragua, Honduras, and Venezuela. The study considered temperature’s deleterious effects on both coffee plants and the range of the bee species upon which the plants depend for pollination, and the composite yielded a much bleaker picture than previous models.

The news isn’t just bad for our caffeine habit — it also has some serious implications for the world’s economy. “Coffee provides the main income for millions of the rural poor,” explains Taylor Ricketts, co-author of the study. “So yield declines would affect the livelihoods of those already vulnerable people.”

However, the early detection is good news. Using these projections, scientists can zero in on regions that will not be affected and relocate plants. This, combined with information about where bees will be located to assist with pollination, suggests that mountainous areas of Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, and Costa Rica will be prime coffee production locations in the coming years. Coffee isn’t the only plant that’s suffering from climate change. Here are 17 other crops facing the heat.

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