Climate change is affecting coffee crops in major coffee-producing regions around the world.
According to an article by the Specialty Coffee Chronicle, coffee is a “Goldilocks” crop, which means the weather can’t be too hot, too cold, too dry or too wet – it needs to be perfect conditions for coffee to grow.
As climate change worsens, extreme drought, flooding and dramatic weather patterns are becoming more and more common worldwide. In 2014, an extreme drought in Brazil caused the loss of nearly one-fifth of the country’s coffee crop.
According to a 2016 report released by the Climate Institute, which is commissioned by Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand, around 120 million people worldwide depend on coffee crops for their livelihoods, with the majority of them living in developing countries. These coffee farmers are often small-scale farmers, which means they usually only work with 1-2 hectares of land.
So it isn’t just the availability of coffee for people living in North America that’s at stake – it’s the livelihoods of small-scale farmers around the world that rely on rearing coffee crops to feed their families.
According to a 2011 study by MIT, if Earth’s temperature continues to rise at its current rate, 80 per cent of the Arabica-coffee producing areas in Central America and Brazil will be “unsuitable to the crop by 2050.”
For years, large corporations that rely on coffee production, like Starbucks and Lavazza, have been warning consumers of the threat climate change poses to their coffee.
Not only can climate change decrease the amount of coffee crops harvested, the genetic diversity of coffee crops is also at risk. This means that taste, smell and price are all vulnerable to climate change.
There’s a lot at risk here, folks. Namely, the livelihood of 120 million people. But, sometimes it can be hard to see the connection between your actions and those of people living in developing countries, so think of your coffee if that’s easier.
No matter where you get it, or how you like it, climate change will affect it.
Find out how you can help.