Americans love coffee. Over half of us drink it daily, with at least another 25 percent drinking it occasionally. Our love for coffee is the stuff of internet memes and expensive habits. Many of us can’t imagine starting the day without a hot fragrant cup of joe. Deny us our cuppa, and all manner of irritable personalities emerge.
We’ll go to all sorts of ridiculous lengths for our coffee, which is why a new study by Kew Gardens is particularly troubling: climate change could cause the world-famous Arabica coffee bean to be extinct by 2080.
According to the Guardian, “Arabica is one of only two species of bean used to make coffee and is by far the most popular, accounting for 70 per cent of the global market including almost all fresh coffee sold in high street chains and supermarkets in the US and most of Europe.”
The study, which was published in the Public Library of Science ONE journal, used multiple computer modeling simulations to predict what might happen to coffee crops in various climate change scenarios. They found that at the very least 65 percent of locations where arabica is currently grown will become unsuitable by 2080,while the most extreme model predicted almost 100 percent extinction. “In some areas, such as the Boma Plateau in South Sudan, the demise could come as early as 2020, based on the low flowering rate and poor health of current crops,” points out the Guardian.
Think about that for a second: A world without coffee.
Say goodbye to your precious grande skinny hazelnut lattes and bottomless house blends. Coffee would most likely become so expensive it would become like a second currency, traded on black markets by red eyed caffeine-junkies in wrinkled business suits!
All joking aside, this is just one of many consequences unchecked climate change will have on society. Even if the computer models are wrong, and coffee doesn’t disappear completely, the yield size and taste will never be the same again. Perhaps if people don’t find sea level rise, extreme heat and violent storms compelling enough, the thought of never again tasting a perfect espresso will motivate them into taking action.
Image via Thinkstock
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