Coffee could become extinct if global warming continues on its current trajectory, according to a report by The Climate Institute. By 2050, researchers said, the amount of suitable coffee farmland is expected to have halved due to rising temperatures, pests and fungi. Wild coffee is expected to be wiped from the face of the planet by the year 2080. The disappearance of the coffee plant would have a profound impact on the 120 million people worldwide whose livelihoods depend its beans – many of whom live in the world’s poorest nations.
For several of the 70 countries in the world which produce coffee, the industry is central to their economy. More than half (59 per cent) of earnings from exports in Burundi are from the product, while the beans make up a third (33 per cent) of Ethiopia’s exports and 17 per cent of Nicaragua's.
The majority of the coffee farmers are smallholders, meaning they are particularly vulnerable to a volatile market. Coffee-drinkers are also expected to see flavour and aroma seriously impacted – alongside soaring prices for the ever-scarcer beans. b“Looking ahead, it is hard to see how consumer prices cannot be anything but badly affected by the projected long-term decline in growing area and other impacts of a more hostile climate,” the report said. “More and more extreme weather events in major coffee-producing regions seem set to create supply shortages, and hotter conditions will impair flavour and aroma.
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