Coffee could die out within less than a hundred years, according to a study by The Climate Institute. As you could have probably figured out by its name, the Institute places the blame on coffee’s potential demise on…climate change!
But according to “A Brewing Storm: The Climate Change Risks To Coffee,” coffee’s woes will start much sooner than that. It forecasts that as soon as 2020, most of Mexican coffee will be “unviable.” Considering that coffee is one of Mexico’s most important exports, this would have a devastating impact on its economy. That’s 2020—four years away.
By 2050, the Institute predicts that climate change will cut the amount of suitable land to grow coffee upon by half.
And by the end of the century, wild coffee is forecasted to go extinct.
Even in the short-term, climate change will impact the taste and aroma of coffee, as well as sending prices skyrocketing. Countries who depend on coffee production—Mexico & Central America, Ethiopia, Brazil, Columbia, Tanzania, and others—will have more unemployment, destabilization, and environmental troubles as a result of either losing their crops completely or having to relocate them to other areas.
The other side of the coin, obviously, is what science and technology can do to slow down this impending crisis. Genetically-altered coffee beans, perhaps, and alternative methods of growing coffee that would look like science-fiction to us now.
But even if tech does “save the day”—at least temporarily—will the millions of workers currently employed all around the globe be taken into account? Will they be re-trained to continue doing this work? Or are they out of the picture completely, to join the scores of people who will no doubt be out of jobs once robotics gets more advanced?
Once again, we are all interconnected on this planet, and the littlest things we take for granted may not be as stable as we think they are!