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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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A Brewing Storm

A Brewing Storm

Classic European Latte (credit: Wikipedia)

Storm clouds are gathering for the world's coffee producers and consumers. The Climate Institute, an Australian research organization, published A Brewing Storm on their findings of the consequences to countries where coffee is grown and exported due to climate change. The impacts will affect coffee consumers everywhere. According to the Institute's announcement:

"world coffee production has more than trippled since the 1960s and now supplies a $US19 billion market that grows at a 5% increase in consumption annually. Between 80-90% of the 25 million coffee growers are small farmers living and working in the ‘bean belt’ comprising developing countries, such as Guatemala, Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and Indonesia. Climate change threatens their world."


                                    Coffee Production Infographic (credit: A Brewing Storm, the Climate Institute)

The report's findings include: 1. areas suitable for growing coffee could be cut in half by 2050; 2. coffee production could move away from the equator coming in conflict with other land uses; 3. increased temperatures and rainfall have already increased disease and pests affecting coffee bean yields and quality; 4. small farmers will loose employment and income; 5. by 2080 coffee species, an important genetic resource for plant breeding and bean improvement, could become extinct in their wild habitat.

The climate change impacts on Costa Rican coffee production is already felt by growers.

The researcher's concluded: “Companies such as Starbucks and Lavazza, as well as the International Coffee Organization, have already acknowledged the severity of climate risks. Now, global coffee consumers are likely to face supply shortages, impacts on flavor and aroma, and rising prices.”

This is a bitter cup of coffee to swallow!


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