CSIRO / USQ: Coffee Supplies Threatened by Climate Change

Essay by Eric Worrall

The absurd coffee climate threat which refuses to die.

Lattes on the line as climate change threat looms

By Mibenge Nsenduluka
Updated March 10 2023 – 2:43pm, first published 2:40pm

Australia’s love affair with coffee, has the potential to hit flat white and latte sippers in the hip pocket as climate change threatens global supplies of the humble bean.

Extreme weather has steadily increased across the top 12 coffee producing regions globally over the past 40 years, putting vulnerable crops at risk.

New research from the CSIRO and University of Southern Queensland suggests concurrent climate hazards could impact international supplies.

Study lead Doug Richardson said extreme weather conditions could result in a mass shortage.

“We’re pretty confident climate change is playing a role in this because the main problem used to be conditions were too cool and now they’re often too warm and that aligns with what we know about the impacts of climate change,” he said.

“Coffee crops can fail if the annual average temperature and rainfall is not within an optimal range.”

Read more: https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/8116928/lattes-on-the-line-as-climate-change-threat-looms/

Why do I call the climate coffee threat absurd?

Because the reality is Coffee is a far more versatile crop than most people believe. My favourite coffee doesn’t grow in the highlands of Peru or East Africa or whatever, my favourite coffee comes from lowlands in tropical Australia – Jaques Coffee from the Atherton Tableland.

Over a century of selective breeding has produced a rugged varieties of coffee which can handle lowland conditions with frequent temperature excursions outside the optimal growing range of coffee, yet still produce a delicious beverage.

There is no climate threat to coffee. If climatic conditions in coffee growing regions slip outside the comfort range, there are plenty of South American or even East African mountain ranges which could start producing if it was a little warmer. Or they could buy some ruggedised Australian coffee, or cross with some wild strains. Simple agricultural adaption to deal with changed conditions. Or if all else fails, the genetic engineers could sort it out.

via Watts Up With That?


March 10, 2023 at 08:31PM

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