Claim: Climate Change to Kill Coffee and Avocados (Again)

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Don’t they ever get tired of being wrong?

Coffee may become more scarce and expensive thanks to climate change – new research

January 28, 2022 12.27am AEDT

Denis J Murphy
Professor of Biotechnology, Head of Genomics & Computational Biology Research, University of South Wales

The world could lose half of its best coffee-growing land under a moderate climate change scenario. Brazil, which is the currently world’s largest coffee producer, will see its most suitable coffee-growing land decline by 79%. 

That’s one key finding of a new study by scientists in Switzerland, who assessed the potential impacts of climate change on coffee, cashews and avocados. All three are important globally traded crops that are mainly produced by small-scale farmers in the tropics. 

Coffee is by far the most important with an expected revenue of US$460 billion (£344 billion) in 2022, while the figures for avocado and cashew are respectively $13 billion and $6 billion. While coffee mainly serves as a stimulatory beverage, avocados and cashews are widely consumed food crops that are rich in monounsaturated plant oils and other beneficial nutrients

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The abstract of the study;

Expected global suitability of coffee, cashew and avocado due to climate change

Roman Grüter, Tim Trachsel, Patrick Laube, Isabel Jaisli

Published: January 26, 2022

Coffee, cashew and avocado are of high socio-economic importance in many tropical smallholder farming systems around the globe. As plantation crops with a long lifespan, their cultivation requires long-term planning. The evaluation of climate change impacts on their biophysical suitability is therefore essential for developing adaptation measures and selecting appropriate varieties or crops. In this study, we modelled the current and future suitability of coffee arabica, cashew and avocado on a global scale based on climatic and soil requirements of the three crops. We used climate outputs of 14 global circulation models based on three emission scenarios to model the future (2050) climate change impacts on the crops both globally and in the main producing countries. For all three crops, climatic factors, mainly long dry seasons, mean temperatures (high and low), low minimum temperatures and annual precipitation (high and low), were more restrictive for the global extent of suitable growing regions than land and soil parameters, which were primarily low soil pH, unfavourable soil texture and steep slopes. We found shifts in suitable growing regions due to climate change with both regions of future expansion and contraction for all crops investigated. Coffee proved to be most vulnerable, with negative climate impacts dominating in all main producing regions. For both cashew and avocado, areas suitable for cultivation are expected to expand globally while in most main producing countries, the areas of highest suitability may decrease. The study reveals that climate change adaptation will be necessary in most major producing regions of all three crops. At high latitudes and high altitudes, however, they may all profit from increasing minimum temperatures. The study presents the first global assessment of climate change impacts on cashew and avocado suitability.

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The claim that ranges for growing Avocados, Coffee and Cashews are limited in any meaningful sense is a myth.

For starters, there are plenty of Southern Andean highlands which are currently way too cold for such crops. Global warming would fix that.

In my native Queensland, Avocado trees pretty much grow wherever you drop a seed, over a vast area of land and a large range of climatic conditions.

I’m not so familiar with Cashews, but I’m willing to bet they’re pretty tolerant to a broad range of conditions as well.

As for coffee, in Australia we grow delicious lowland coffee. Australia doesn’t have high alpine regions on the scale of South America, East Africa or Indonesia, so we had to develop strains of coffee which can still produce a delicious beverage when grown at relatively low altitudes. Guess what, after decades of effort, we succeeded.

No remotely plausible amount of global warming would have any noticeable impact on the availability of global staple crops, other than possibly a small shift in growing range.

via Watts Up With That?

January 28, 2022 at 08:25PM

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