Foods we might lose to climate change

16 October 2015

If we keep releasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to the Earth's atmosphere, we’re going to see some dramatic changes over the years, including a shortage of these five food and drinks:

Coffee

Coffee

Coffee is grown by around 25 million farmers in more than 60 tropical countries around the world. It’s one of the most traded products after oil. Coffea Arabica and Coffea Robusta are the most popular forms of coffee. Coffea Arabica accounts for most of the world’s production and is grown mainly in Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia. Increasing night-time temperatures and shifting weather patterns are the greatest influencers on coffee production, creating a negative impact on yield and quality of the coffee.

Chocolate

Chocolate

Cacao beans (the raw ingredient in chocolate) will be much less plentiful over the next few decades. Rising temperatures and falling water supplies are the biggest problem In Africa countries such as Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, temperatures are expected to rise to by at least 2°C before 2050. This will increase transpiration in the cocoa trees, causing them to lose more water to the atmosphere and reducing their success of production.

Seafood

Seafood

Climate change is contributing to rising levels of carbon dioxide in the ocean. This is leading to ocean acidification that could threaten a wide range of edible ocean species. As acidification increases, the amount of calcium carbonate (a key building block for shells and skeletons of many shellfish) declines. Warming oceans are also leading to wide spread fish migrations. Cold water fish are heading north, with tropical fish replacing them.

Honey

Honey

The honeybee is already at risk due to the loss of biodiversity, destruction of habitat and lack of forage. Bee-killing pesticides are particular threats for honeybees and climate change is an additional cause for concern. The honeybees are an important aspect to the health of local plants and in some countries, when drought destroys all the flowers, there’s no nectar for the bees to collect. Bees have become confused by plants flowering ealier than normal because of rise in temperatures and it’s clear that climate change will quickly affect the world’s honey supply if nothing is done to stop it.

 

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