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Climate change threatens sweet smell of morning coffee

Published on Nov 8, 2012 5:32 PM
 

LONDON (REUTERS) - Rising temperatures due to climate change could mean wild arabica coffee is extinct in 70 years, posing a risk to the genetic sustainability of one of the world's basic commodities, scientists said.

Although commercial coffee growers would still be able to cultivate crops in plantations designed with the right conditions, experts say the loss of wild arabica, which has greater genetic diversity, would make it harder for plantations to survive long-term and beat threats like pests and disease.

A study by researchers at Britain's Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in collaboration with scientists in Ethiopia found that 38 to 99.7 per cent of the areas suitable for wild arabica will disappear by 2080 if predictions of rising temperatures pan out.

Because coffee is a highly climate-dependent crop, the increase of a few degrees of average temperature in growing regions can put at risk the future of Arabica coffee and the livelihood of millions of people who grow and produce it.

 
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