Climate Change and Coffee Shortage

Kirsten Long

Many people find it essential to their daily routine to have a cup of coffee. They feel it helps them get through the day. If you are a coffee drinker, you should savour every sip. Unfortunately, the chance that your much loved morning beverage is going to become extinct is more of a possibility as coffee bean shortages are increasing.

Statistics show that just over 2.23 billion cups of coffee are consumed everyday but global warming is causing coffee farmers problems they can’t seem to fix. The change in climate continues to bring heavy rain and drought in coffee growing regions. A report from the Climate Institute of Australia indicates that at least half of the land used to grow coffee around the world will not be suitable for plantation by 2050. Not only does increase in temperature cause different weather, it is also causing pest infestation and fungal infestation in coffee crops in Central America. These infestations and weather changes impact the livelihoods of 25 million farmers who depend on the growth and consumption of coffee.

Coffee is a major industry and considered the second most valuable export for developing countries. One of the most common types of coffee, Coffea Arabica, can only produce a high yield in specific conditions. Right now Central America, Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, and East Africa produce the vast majority of it and these tropical areas of the world are feeling the effects of global warming. Recently, heavy rain helped a fungus called Coffee Leaf Rust spread in Central and South America, destroying coffee crops.

As reported in Business Insider, even half a degree of temperature change in some coffee growing areas of the world can render a crop useless. That’s a lot of jobs lost and a lot of regional economies in decline.

Big coffee companies like Starbucks and Lavazza are naturally keeping close tabs on the coffee situation around the globe and agree it needs to change as Mario Cerutti, a Corporate Relations Partner at Lavazza pointed out, “It’s no longer about the future; it’s the present.”

Environmental experts contend that in order to slow or stop the destruction of the coffee industry, the world would require a warming limit to 1.5-2 degrees Celsius. Cutting emissions, reducing waste, as well as deforestation are just a few of the different ways to tackle the problem.