Of coffee beans and CBC climate hypochondriacs
November 9, 2012 7 Comments
Canada’s “national” broadcaster, the CBC continues to practice its longstanding habit of controlling the climate message. There’s an article (with no byline, so it was probably churned from a press release) in their “Technology & Science” section, dated today, which begins:
Climate change could kill off prized Arabica plants by 2080
A cup of morning coffee could be much harder to find, and much more expensive, before the century is out thanks to climate change and the possible extinction of wild Arabica beans.
That’s the warning behind a new study by U.K. and Ethiopian researchers who say the beans that go into 70 per cent of the world’s coffee could be wiped out by 2080.
Researchers at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew and the Environment and Coffee Forest Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia looked at how climate change might make some land unsuitable for Arabica plants, which are highly vulnerable to temperature change and other dangers including pests and disease.
The study goes on to note that its results are “conservative” because it did not take into account the large-scale deforestation of the Arabica-suitable highland forests of Ethiopia and South Sudan.
“The models assume intact natural vegetation, whereas the highland forests of Ethiopia and South Sudan are highly fragmented due to deforestation,” the researchers wrote. Pests, disease and other factors were also not considered.
The authors of the report say certain “core sites” capable of yielding Arabica until at least 2080 should be set aside for conservation. [emphasis added -hro]
Of course, there’s no link from the article to the actual paper, the abstract of which begins:
Precise modelling of the influence of climate change on Arabica coffee is limited; there are no data available for indigenous populations of this species. In this study we model the present and future predicted distribution of indigenous Arabica, and identify priorities in order to facilitate appropriate decision making for conservation, monitoring and future research. Using distribution data we perform bioclimatic modelling and examine future distribution with the HadCM3 climate model for three emission scenarios (A1B, A2A, B2A) over three time intervals (2020, 2050, 2080). The models show a profoundly negative influence on indigenous Arabica. [emphasis added -hro]
So the authors have no data, but they have computers to play with. And we should all be duly alarmed by the prospect of possible coffee deprivation several decades down the road. I wonder if it has occurred to the authors that there are agricultural scientists who’ve been very successful at developing all kinds of produce that is resistant to the perils of nature, should any actual data ever materialize which indicates that their greatest fears are likely to be realized!
Amazing. Simply amazing.