Global Warming and Coffee

9/20/19 Today, September 20, 2019, the Climate Strike is on, with millions of people protesting the apathy of government and industry to one of the greatest challenges facing our planet. In the spirit of this event, let’s review the facts on global warming and coffee.

More families make their living from coffee than any other product. Coffee is the second most highly traded commodity in the global marketplace, originating from over 40 countries. It is the only highly-traded commodity produced largely by millions of independent families.

Coffee is directly threatened by climate change. Global warming is swallowing the land available for growing coffee.

Coffee — especially the high-quality arabica varieties — needs cool tropical conditions. Coffee grows best at southern latitudes and high elevations, preferably near active volcanoes.

With global warming, the coffee highlands are being flooded by warmer temperatures — land is submerged in warmth and can no longer sustain high-quality coffee. The effect comes through a shortened dry season and an increased number of hot days.

How big is this effect? 50% of land suitable for growing high-quality arabica coffee is at risk. Wild stocks of arabica coffee are “Threatened with Extinction” under even conservative models of global warming (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gcb.14341).

What can we do about it?

  1. Get a cup of coffee–and please, get a good one;
  2. Write a letter to your representatives — demand action on global warming!

Congratulations to Greta Thunberg and all organizers of today’s worldwide event!

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