Alongside rising seas, rising temperatures, disappearing ecosystems and a plethora of other issues, grumpy coffee drinkers may soon be on the list of global warming impacts. Coffee yields are declining and coffee prices are rising and the main culprit appears to be global warming.
Coffee is the world’s favorite drink as represented by the fact that it is only second to oil in global trading. The Arabica bean is one of the most popular coffee beans with the top exporter being Brazil, followed by Columbia and Ethiopia. The Arabica is considered vital to the coffee industry but studies have found that the ability to grow the bean may greatly decline this century.
As of 2006, the country of Columbia produced approximately 12 million 132-pound bags of coffee beans. However, since then the yield has significantly decreased. In 2010, the production in Columbia dropped to 9 million 132-pound bags. The culprit appears to be global warming, which is wreaking havoc on the coffee beans.
This does not come as a big surprise to coffee organizations worldwide, many predicted global warming would be a major issue for coffee growers worldwide. The International Coffee Organization in 2009 stated: “Climatic variability is the main factor responsible for changes in coffee yields all over the world.”
Now a recent study published in the journal Plos One indicates that global Arabica production is set to significantly dwindle in the upcoming decades. Researchers from the Royal Botanic Gardens in the UK and the Environment and Coffee Forest Forum in Ethiopia reviewed climate models for 2020, 2050 and 2080. The researchers examined the effect on yields in locations already growing the beans.
All of the scenarios included significant Arabica bean declines, with potential elimination of the bean by 2080. One climate model best-case scenario indicated only a thirty-eight percent decline by 2080. This same climate model indicated a worst-case scenario of a ninety percent decline in beans by the same year. Another model indicated a worst-case scenario of 99.7 percent by 2080, with a best-case scenario of a decline of sixty-five percent by 2080.
The scientists noted that their results may be modest due to a lack of inclusion of a number of issues that could affect bean growth. These issues include significant deforestation in Ethiopia and other locations where the beans grow. In addition, further changes due to climate change may also decrease yields, including changing bird populations which are needed for coffee growth and even diseases or pests that could affect the crop.