Enjoy That Cup of Coffee Now — These Are 5 Foods Climate Change Could Take Away From You
Finding replacements will be hard.
And fewer things to eat.
One of the underappreciated aspects of climate change is how it’s making farming much harder around the world.
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Here are five foods that climate change could eliminate from your grocery list in the decades ahead.
Coffee is a finicky crop that primarily grows along the equator, a region highly susceptible to climate change. As global warming rolls across the “Coffee Belt,” the rising heat, changing precipitation levels, and growing prevalence of pests could spell disaster for coffee beans.
By 2050, coffee production could be halved and your morning latte could be endangered.
Ghana and the Ivory Coast produce 60% of the world’s cocoa, but by 2050 climate change could make it too challenging for farmers to grow the crop, forcing them to turn to alternatives, according to a recent analysis.
This would imperil the $9 billion chocolate industry.
The silver lining (or caramel interior), is that farmers could gain leverage through scarcity, increasing the amount of chocolate that’s cultivated according to fair trade standards.
Rosé on tap could be a thing of the past.
Countries could see a 25-73% drop in land that’s suitable to grow wine grapes by 2050, according to an analysis.
California, for instance, could lose 70% of its wine production, while Australia could see a 73% decline. As wine consumption increases around the world, the falling production may lead to higher prices.
On the other hand, the Guardian notes that rising temperatures will mean more sugary grapes, and sugary grapes means higher alcohol content.
More than 90% of fish species around the world are being harvested at dangerous levels.
On top of this, climate change is causing ocean acidification — the process that happens as the oceans absorb carbon dioxide — which makes it hard for crustaceans to grow their shells. This in turn deprives larger animals of a key food source, and threatens to bottom out food chains.
Plus, warmer waters are causing fish populations to migrate to new areas, where they’re disrupting ecosystems that have developed over thousands of years.
Relative to the other items on the list, corn seems pretty trivial. But the loss of corn has the farthest-reaching impacts. Corn is in countless other foods, either as a starch or a sugar in the form of corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup. As the Wall Street Journal wrote, “the grain is so ubiquitous that it would take longer to list the foods that contain traces of it than to pinpoint the ones that don't.”
Corn is also critical to the meat industry. The bulk of corn that’s produced is used as livestock feed and as climate change diminishes the yields of corn farmers, meat producers may have to scale back their productions.
Read More: 9 Ways Veganism Is Helping the Planet
Lots of meals revolve around corn and in the decades ahead, flooding, droughts, and extreme heat could endanger this staple crop.
As one corn farmer told CNN:
"We're doing the best that we can in an uncertain climate and uncertain conditions. We live and die by the weather."