Climate Change Set To Halve Global Coffee Production By 2050

Coffee continues to be one of the world's most consumed drinks. Peter Berni/Shutterstock

The Climate Institute has released a new report about the effects of climate change on the coffee industry – and it’s bad news for coffee-lovers, farmers, rural communities, and even coffee shop giants.

The report, called “A Brewing Storm”, commissioned by Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand, noted that rising temperatures and changing patterns of rainfall are massively affecting the yields, pests, diseases, quality, and taste of coffee. This is expected to cut the global coffee production by 50 percent by 2050. By 2080, wild coffee – which they cite as “an important genetic resource for farmers” – is likely to be extinct.

Many of the world’s coffee hubs, spanning Central America and East Africa and known as the "Bean Belt", are already feeling the effects of rising temperatures and changes to rainfall. For example, in Tanzania, the study discovered that coffee production has fallen by 50 percent in the past 50 years, with yields being reduced by “37 kilograms per hectare for every 1°C rise".

The lead victim is the Arabica coffee bean, which is grown in tropical highlands. This type of coffee makes up over 70 percent of global supply and is revered for its quality, aroma, and taste. However, it is extremely picky when it come to temperature, with even just 1°C massively affecting its yield, flavor, and aroma. The alternative is Robusta, which is typically used in instant coffee; less aromatic, but also less sensitive to rising temperatures. Therefore, it’s likely the coffee of the future will taste and smell a lot different.

The Climate Institute

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