You knew that this late September heat was unsettling, but it now appears that climate change is doing you one worse—rising temperatures are coming for your coffee beans. A new report from The Climate Institute looked at a range of existing research to examine how climate change is affecting the world’s coffee regions, and the findings are not good. According to the New York Times, one study cited in the report found that climate change will threaten the world's coffee supply and could reduce the global area usable for coffee by half, meaning it may no longer make sense to refer to Mexico, Brazil, Ethiopia, and Vietnam, countries with once-perfect climate conditions, as the “bean belt.” But, rising temperatures will not only diminish the amount of farmland for coffee production, they are also expected to increase coffee diseases, like coffee rust, and pests, like the coffee berry borer. It seems that no bean is safe.
A threat on this on this scale affects more than your daily cuppa, of course. According to a report from the International Coffee Organization, coffee supports the livelihoods of over 125 million people, so in addition to ruining your morning, climate change affecting coffee could put millions out of work. Some major coffee companies have been attempting to prevent such devastation for years. Starbucks has been offering support programs to farmers, while the World Coffee Research group is working a variety of projects that may help ensure coffee beans’ longevity in the face of climate change, including a gene bank that would safeguard the genetic diversity in Arabica coffee.
Vice president of Peet’s Coffee and a member of the board of World Coffee Research, Doug Welsh, boiled down the situation in a way that may be most troubling to coffee connoisseurs, telling the Times, “No one, of course, would want to see any coffee species go extinct, but we have to prepare for the distinct possibility that that could happen.“
Eesh. Stock up now.