The cups of coffee that carry you through each day could sport an eye-watering price tag by 2080, claims a new report.
Researchers in the UK and Ethiopia conducted a study into the effect of climate change on wild Arabica beans, which are used in 70 per cent of the world’s coffee. In a worst-case scenario, they found a 90 to 100 percent reduction in land capable of yielding Arabica beans by 2080. Even a best-case scenario revealed a 38 per cent reduction.
The possible extinction of wild Arabica beans was predicted by scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew and the Environment and Coffee Forest Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The team behind the study noted that Arabica plants are highly vulnerable to temperature change as well as pests and disease.
The study, which was published this week in the academic journal Plos One, concluded there is a “high risk of extinction” of Arabica coffee beans by 2080 and that big coffee-exporting countries such as Ethiopia, Brazil, and Colombia would suffer. In 2010, Colombia shipped 93 million bags of coffee around the world, worth an estimated $15.4 billion.
Arabica beans form most coffee and tend to be valued for their genetic diversity. They thrive between 18°C and 21°C, but their taste can be spoiled if temperature variations are too great.
The authors of the study say their results are “conservative” because they did not consider the significant deforestation of the highland forests of Ethiopia and South Sudan, land that is perfect for Arabica bean farming. The study notes:
“The models assume intact natural vegetation, whereas the highland forests of Ethiopia and South Sudan are highly fragmented due to deforestation.”
If the humble Arabica bean’s future is to be secured, the researchers suggest conserving “core sites” that are capable of yielding the bean.
Are you a coffee drinker? Does the prospect of your grandchildren paying even more outrageous prices at Starbucks concern you?