Coffee next on climate chopping-block
The looming ARABICA APOCALYPSE
“Climate deniers,” just go and fetch yourself a coffee and ignore this story. For the rest of us, the news is dire: according to a study by the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, wild Arabica could be on the climate change hit list.
OK, deep breaths: the cultivated stuff will still be out there. Maybe: according to the study, the domestic crops have very limited genetic diversity, which makes them vulnerable to any new pest or infection that comes along.
Hence the importance of wild Arabica, which provides the stock for hybridisation.
Running Arabica’s chances against three emission scenarios, over three timescales (2020, 2050 and 2080), and with a geographical resolution of 1 Km for the plant’s Ethiopian homeland, the models “showed a profoundly negative influence on the number and extent of wild Arabica populations”, Kew says.
While the most favourable scenario leaves coffee survivable – 62 percent of the areas now able to support it would survive – the worst-case model suggested that 97 percent of its range would no longer support the crop.
“Of the two analyses undertaken, the locality analysis is regarded by the authors as the most pragmatic and informative. The predicted reduction in the number of Arabica localities, between 65 percent and 99.7 percent, can be taken as a general assessment of the species’ survival as a whole”, the research states.
The researchers add that the impacts won’t be confined to Ethiopia: world-wide, it will become harder to find places suitable for coffee production. “Optimum cultivation conditions are likely to become increasingly difficult to achieve in many pre-existing coffee growing areas, leading to a reduction in productivity, increased and intensified management (such as the use of irrigation) and crop failure (some areas becoming unsuitable for Arabica cultivation),” Kew states.
And of course, without coffee, we could kiss goodbye to software development as well. ®
"62 percent of the areas now able to support it would survive – the worst-case model suggested that 97 percent of its range would no longer support the crop."
BUT climate change would mean that wild arabica would be viable in a whole host of NEW places as their climates changed top match the places they grow now - this only looks at current areas.
Its the same for the rest of the agricultural apocalypse - on a planetary scale plant growth increases, but not necessarily where things grow well now, affecting current farmers, but not the species as a whole.
Thanks for the twitter link to the research: http://t.co/HhvDJuAk
The paper's three scenarios assume an old IPCC prediction of 1.8°C to 4°C temperature increase by 2100, which was based on the sudden increase from 1980-1998 continuing. No one believes that any more.
The actual temperature increase by 2100, if any, is much more likely to be similar to the last century overall, with its rises and falls (e.g. 1940-1980), and therefore considerably better than his "best" scenario.
Aron also raises an excellent point, that wild coffee has clearly survived for many thousands of years, and quite probably across several ice ages and interglacial temperatures warmer than today.
The Ethiopian "plateau" with altitudes from 1300m - 3000m (an 11 C temperature range at 6.5 C/km atmospheric lapse rate) would seem to provide an ideal environment for the wild plants to be able to naturally migrate upwards and downwards tracking temperature changes.
I quickly found one coffee producer in Ethiopia whose web site says they are selling wild coffee, not cultivated, growing at altitudes of 1750m - 1850m, which is below the middle of the plateau altitude range (i.e. in the colder half of the survivable climatic temperature range).
Now we don't just have questionable climate models, some ecologist combines them with junk extinction models. Do you realize these idiots claim 1000s of species go extinct every year, but cannot name even ten of them? Build a big asylum in Greenland and confine the lot so they can do no more damage.