The latest industry to get clobbered by climate change is coffee, according to the International Coffee Organization (ICO). The organization, which represents 77 coffee-producing countries, says that the temperature has risen half a degree in coffee-producing countries over the past 25 years--five times faster than in the previous 25 year period. That change has led to a panic among countries reliant on coffee.
In a meeting this week between coffee producers in Guatemala, roasters expressed concern that unstable weather has led to fights for increasingly-limited land and water resources. The National Coffee Association of Guatemala estimates that production of coffee in nine Latin American countries will dip 28% in the first three months of this years growing season. Coffee production in Columbia already fell 30% to 35% last year to a 33 year low. At the same time, ICO expects demand for coffee to rise from 132 million bags in 2009 to 134 million 60-kilogram bags in 2010.
All of this means that already-expensive coffee is about to get a whole lot pricier. And even though coffee companies like Starbucks and Peet's tout their commitments to sustainably-sourced products, temperatures are continuing to rise. So in addition to making sure that they use Fair Trade beans, coffee chains interested in self-preservation may also want to work towards preventing further climate change--a process that Starbucks has already begun.