The effects of climate change are cause for an immense amount of consternation for those along the coffee supply chain. Rising temperatures means land once ideal for coffee growing are now inarable for those purposes. And according to a new report by the Climate Institute titled A Brewing Storm, the effects are deleterious on a global scale. Commissioned by Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand, the report states climate change will halve the area suitable for growing coffee and will have a detrimental affect on 120 million people working on the coffee farms in those regions.

The effects of climate change aren’t just over the horizon; they’re already here. In their recent article on the topic, the Guardian notes:

In Tanzania, where 2.4 million people’s livelihoods rely on coffee, production has fallen by about 137kg per hectare for every 1C rise in the minimum temperature on farms. Overall there has been a 50% decline there since the 1960s.
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Extreme temperatures and unusual high-altitude rains have also sparked costly waves of pests and disease through coffee farms. In 2012, coffee leaf rust affected half of the coffee across Central America – some producers in Guatemala lost up to 85% of their crop.

In 2012-13 the damage in Central America amounted to about US$500m and put 350,000 people out of work.

Scientists believe that by 2080, wild coffee will be extinct.

Put in such stark terms, the future of coffee looks bleak. But perhaps the threat of losing the world’s most popular beverage will be enough to make people consider curbing some of their pollutant behaviors. Probably not, though. We’re all selfish assholes and the coffee shortage (not to mention the other awful effects of climate change) won’t truly be calamitous for us first-world consumers for another few generations.

Here you go, grand-kiddos, it’s your problem now.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.

*top image via the Climate Institute

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