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5 Delicious Foods Threatened By Climate Change
Chocolate, peanut butter, bread, cheese, wine, coffee, and raspberries. That’s my desert island list. You know, the foods I would choose to have with me if stranded on a desert island. But recent reports are indicating that climate change threatens several of my favorite foods! Talk about climate change hitting home.
Check this out:
- Chocolate: A report out last month from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) found that just a 2 degree Celsius increase in temperature could significantly reduce land suitable for growing cocoa in the regions of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire where about half of the world’s cocoa is produced. The impacts could be devastating for local farmers and the $9 billion chocolate industry. Peter Gleick wrote an elegant appeal to climate skeptics on behalf of chocolate lovers. Definitely worth a read.
- Peanut butter: The drought and heat that the South experienced this summer have contributed to a 13 percent decline in the peanut harvest. Price jumps of 20-30 percent are expected for peanut butter in the coming weeks! Thanks to my colleague Miles Grant for flagging the climate-change-extreme-weather-peanut-butter connection.
- Bread: During the last 18 months, we saw the consequences of bread shortages play out on the world stage. Christian Parenti shows how the record-setting heat, drought, and wildfires in Russia and the record-setting floods in Australia conspired to cause wheat shortages, that in turn led to the unrest in the Middle East.
- Wine: Grapes require specific climate conditions to ripen in ways best suitable for fine wine. As these microclimates shift, places that known for excellent grapes may no longer have the right conditions. This issue is of such importance to the wine industry that they hold entire conferences on it!
- Coffee: Like chocolate, coffee plants prefer a narrow range of climate conditions. Starbucks and the Union for Concerned Scientists have been raising the alarm bells that climate change is threatening coffee crops. Extremely heavy rainfall events and warming conditions have already affected coffee yields in several nations.
So, even though some of these climate shifts and extreme weather events may be happening far away, we will see the impacts in our household expenses (and desert island plans!). More seriously, these climate change impacts could be devastating for the people around the world who rely on income from these crops.