The Climate Institute reports that coffee production will be reduced by up to 50 percent by 2050 as lands become unsuitable for farming due to climate change. If problems will never be addressed, then the researchers warn that coffee could become extinct by 2080.
Increasing temperatures, fungi and pests will make coffee farming extremely difficult. Moreover, the research team also predicts that Arabica and other wild coffee varieties could disappear within the next 70 years.
The taste of coffee will be changed. The prices will also increase as coffee becomes scarce.
John Connor, CEO of the Climate Institute, says: “For Australians wanting to drink their coffee, it’s going to choke up supply lines — we could see higher prices as well as challenges of getting the coffee itself. Flavor and quality are likely to be impacted as well.”
Coffee farmers, coffee plantation workers and other employees whose livelihoods rely on coffee production will also suffer the damage caused by environmental changes. Usually, these farmers are among the poorest and would face even more challenges if the problem won’t be solved.
Apart from rising temperature, climate change has also encouraged the proliferation of fungi that attack coffee crops. The Telegraph reports that the fungus coffee leaf rust reduced coffee production in Central America by up to 2.7 million bags in 2012.
The crisis also cost $500 million and 350,000 jobs. As of now, the coffee leaf rust is still devastating crops and was recently sighted in Columbia.
The coffee berry borer, normally found in plantations below 1,500 meters above sea level, has also affected plantations that were thought to be protected from the pest. In fact, the borer can now be seen almost 300 meters higher than it was in the last century on Mount Kilimanjaro.
Nevertheless, Connor asserts that several coffee organizations recognize the threat of climate change. Jim Hanna, sustainability director for Starbucks, adds that no one should sit by and wait until the impacts of climate change are already too bad to be corrected. Connor also suggests consumers to not overlook the problem.