Climate change is undoubtedly an issue of particular interest. Its effects on the economy as a whole and the natural environment are now scientifically unshakable and threaten all parts of human life, with the scientific community strongly warning that if there are no radical interventions, these effects could end up being no longer irreversible.
Of course, global coffee production has not been unaffected. According to a recent study published in the scientific journal Climate Change, 50% of the land where high-quality coffee we consume will be unproductive by 2050, while another study by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences predicts an extremely ominous 88% for Latin American lands.
Why is this happening?
What most people are unaware of is that while there are so many types of coffee, there are mainly two. These two varieties of coffee are Arabica and Robusta. The Arabica variety is more vulnerable to high temperatures, while the Robusta variety is more vulnerable to drought. It is understandable, then, that coffee production is directly related to weather conditions, since coffee trees thrive in specific climates.
And these climates are at the forefront of fire, in terms of climate change, in three basic ways:
One crucial parameter is temperature. Coffee needs temperatures from 18 to 21 degrees Celsius to thrive and is not very resistant to fluctuations. As global temperatures rise, the coffee growing zone is affected, while dehydration and drought worsen soil condition and productivity.
In addition, the rise in temperature favors the parasites that cause diseases and more specifically the so-called "coffee rust" or "la roya". Indicatively, this disease reduced coffee production by about 15% in Central America in the year 2012-2013, resulting in coffee prices soaring by about 33% in America.
Finally, deforestation and human intervention in the natural environment also play a very important role, as they already limit the sensitive soils and create catastrophic drought conditions.
Specialists and large coffee companies around the world are trying to prevent this by talking about moving coffee production to other areas. Unfortunately, this is a half-measure, as it does not address the problem at its root and creates an additional one, that of unemployment, in countries whose fragile economies depend on the cultivation of coffee. All that remains to be seen is whether the scientific community's urgings for effective, systematic, global action against climate change will finally be heeded, before it is too late, not only for coffee but for our entire planet.