Climate Effects: The Coffee Industry

If you’re one of those people who needs a cup of coffee to get going in the morning, your world may be changing. In fact, it already is. The decreased supply of coffee is one example of the many impacts to come due to climate change, and should be a wake-up call for us all.

Climate change is threatening coffee crops in virtually every major coffee producing region of the world. Higher temperatures, drought, and pests and plant disease are all killing the coffee industry. Countries like Brazil and Ethiopia have been facing years of drought. Coffee is a plant that requires a high amount of water and without it the leaves curl up and the plants die. With wells running dry so are the plants, leading to a decrease in fruit.

From an article by NPR in 2016, farmers like Naygney Assu have lost almost 90% of their crop and as a state, their Robusta beans are down 30%. Deforestation in the local area has lead the ground to be unable to retain water. Wells of local farmers are running dry and local cities are having to ration water. Coffee worldwide is effected not just in Brazil or Ethiopia, a report published by World Coffee Report "hotter weather and changes in rainfall patterns are projected to cut the area suitable for coffee in half by 2050." Costa Rica, India, and Ethiopia, three of the top fifteen coffee-producing nations in the world, have all seen a dramatic decline in yields.

In parts of Ethiopia, spring and summer rains have already declined by 15 percent to 20 percent since the 1970s. And the frequency of droughts has increased in recent years, affecting coffee growing regions as well. Brands like Maxwell House, Yuban, and Folgers have increased the retail prices of many grinds by 25 percent or more between 2010 and 2011, in light of tight supply and higher wholesale prices.

As a community, we need to take action against climate change. There is no single solution to climate change, but there are technologies and approaches available now that can reduce global warming emissions by at least 80 percent.