Climate change deniers, you may not enjoy this post…
Ok… now it’s just us. With ocean temperatures and sea levels rising, weather patterns shifting, and a depleting ozone, there’s no doubt that our climate is changing rapidly. While it’s a big topic in the news, we often don’t look at its effects on smaller industries… like… let’s say… coffee.
While coffee producers are already feeling the effects directly, the greater issue will soon spread throughout the industry as a whole and may eventually leave consumers unable to affordably continue their daily ritual.
Cultivating coffee requires very specific environmental conditions including a limited temperature range and high rainfall. With rising temperatures and intensified weather patterns, climate change is upsetting the fragile environments where coffee is grown. Some experts estimate that areas suitable for growing coffee will reduce by 50% come 2050.
Although the majority of the burden in addressing climate change rests on producers to maintain their crop, they often have limited resource to adopt what has been described as Climate Smart Agriculture. Purchasing carbon credits and reducing carbon emissions is necessary for maintaining coffee production (if not long term survival overall). However, from importers to retailers, members of the industry must also support farmers through research and education.
Research enables us to determine which types of coffee plants are hardy enough to withstand some of the results of climate change. It would also be a huge help to farmers, allowing them forecast and adapt to what’s happening in their specific regions.
While it may be possible to offset the effects of climate change (at least for a limited period of time) we’ll continue to need innovative new methods to confront long term challenges.