Is a Coffee-Apocalypse Brewing? Researchers Say “No”

In Climate Change, Economics, Environment, Food by Wesley Haverlah0 Comments

During the years of 2008 through 2011, coffee-producing countries in Central America and the Caribbean took a hard hit from an outbreak of Coffee leaf rust (CLR). CLR causes the leaves of coffee plants to fall off, reduces quality of beans, and makes the crop more susceptible to other diseases.

What led to the outbreak of CLR? An increase in humidity, due to climate change, has been cited by some scientists. These same researchers have expressed fear that the 3-year stint of CLR is merely the harbinger of a Coffee-Apocalypse. However, there are a number of reasons to question that claim. First, the IPCC temperature projections have consistently overestimated the observed temperature data. Second, many claims of the adverse effects of ‘climate change’ on agriculture have been debunked by consistent increases in agricultural productivity. Third, there are well-supported arguments for the benefits of CO2 on the production of various crops.

As the climate-coffee alarmism has heated up, a group of researchers from the University of Exeter sought to clear the air. They declared: “We find no evidence for an overall trend in disease risk in coffee-growing regions of Colombia from 1990 to 2015, therefore, while weather conditions were more conducive to disease outbreaks from 2008 to 2011, we reject the climate change hypothesis.”

In summary, we need to filter the cause-and-effect claims that inundate our senses through a lens that values sound research practices, rather than dubious temperature projections. So, put on a pot of coffee and take a deep breath. If Starbucks begins to burn a larger hole in our back pocket, we can be fairly confident that the climate has nothing to do with it.

Learn more by reading Ben Webster’s article, here.

Wes Haverlah is a student at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School studying marketing with a minor in philosophy. He is an intern with Earth Rising Blog, a project of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. Growing up in a family with deep agricultural roots, he is passionate about responsible stewardship of the environment and balancing conservation with relevant economic concerns.

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