Eek! Climate Change “…Might Cost Us…Chocolate”

Guest Post by Bob Tisdale

A GlobalPost article by Sara Yasin includes the latest climate change and global warming scare. The headline: Our love for things that cause climate change could mean the end of life with chocolate. After a typical climate-change lead-in, the article reads:

But now, it looks like our inability to address climate change adequately might cost us one of the world’s most pure, innocent, and wonderful pleasures: chocolate.

According to Barry Callebaut Group, the world’s largest chocolate manufacturing company, our growing love for chocolate might mean “a potential cocoa shortage by 2020.”

After a discussion of how demand has increased, the article continues:

But the shortage isn’t just about the world going crazy for chocolate — it also has a lot to do with climate change. A decrease in cocoa supplies can be pinned on West Africa’s dry weather, which is only getting worse. In Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire — responsible for more than 70 percent of global cocoa supply — a study released by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture predicts a 2 degree Celsius (3.6 F) increase in temperatures by 2050. Higher temperatures mean that more water evaporates into the air from leaves and earth, leaving less behind for cocoa trees — a process called “evapotranspiration.”

Read the rest here.

Chocolate at risk. This is sure to impact how some people think of global warming and climate change.

[UPDATE FROM WILLIS] I trust Bob Tisdale won’t mind if I add a bit here. Since 1997 we have pretty accurate measurements of rainfall by satellite, from a project called the “Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission” (TRMM). Here’s the TRMM data for the cocoa producing areas of Ghana/Sierra Leone for that period, from that marvelous resource, KNMI:

monthly rainfall ghana sierra leone


As you can see, the claim of decreasing rainfall in the chocolate regions is already out of date. I heard this story from a less alarmist source than the Unscientific American. They said we’re running out of cocoa because consumer preferences are shifting to darker chocolate, which uses more cocoa in its preparation.

My thanks to Bob for a good article,


88 thoughts on “Eek! Climate Change “…Might Cost Us…Chocolate”

    • The +2C change in mean temp, from baseline defined in Hijmans et al., 2005 by 2050, is based on models which we know do not work that precisely. The original paper (Predicting the impact of climate change on the cocoa-growing regions in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, CIAT, 2011) is worth reading.
      Study linked here:
      I’d be interested to establish a follow-up blog on these issues. Like every 5 years or so publish how well/badly the CAGW scenario has been realised. There’d be plenty of cases. Like the polar bears, which are about to extinct as Guardian claimed.

      • Actually all you had to say was
        “The +2C change in mean temp, from baseline defined in Hijmans et al., 2005 by 2050, is based on models which we know do not work !”

      • a study released by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture predicts a 2 degree Celsius (3.6 F) increase in temperatures by 2050.

        Yet I vaguely recall that global warming will be felt most as you moved away from the tropics and towards the poles.
        Did we eat chocolate back then?

        Abstract – T. M. Shanahan – 17 April 2009
        Atlantic Forcing of Persistent Drought in West Africa
        …We combined geomorphic, isotopic, and geochemical evidence from the sediments of Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana, to reconstruct natural variability in the African monsoon over the past three millennia. We find that intervals of severe drought lasting for periods ranging from decades to centuries are characteristic of the monsoon and are linked to natural variations in Atlantic temperatures. Thus the severe drought of recent decades is not anomalous in the context of the past three millennia,…..

      • Last summer it was the end of hazelnuts. I noticed that the store shelves at the local grocery store were emptied of all hazelnut confections. By september the shelves were replenished and nuttella was back in stock, and has been ever since. The lumpen proletariat take these news stories as true and act accordingly. I knew i should have sold my hazelnut futures. Never listen to the news when making decisions for commodity investing. Fundamentals rarely drive the markets just look at the price charts. Werent they saying that gold had no monetary sigificance back in 1998?
        At one point a couple of decades ago sugar hit 2.5 cents pound because of artificial sweeteners.
        When you see 40 year lows in any commodity no matter what they say in the media, back up the truck and hold on.

    • Alright everyone, fair warning. If you find yourselves between me and the chocolate, get out of my way. I will not show mercy or compassion, the chocolate will be mine.

    • Climate’s like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get 🙂
      Or, with regard to the (hockey-stick) team promulgating CAGW, “stupid is, as stupid does”….

  1. Sigh. So typical, sourced and still wrong in many details.
    Good at least that abusing child labour at cocoa farms will come to an end. Plus that western luxury products are dumped and food for the poor is farmed instead.
    /not completely sarc

  2. The (i)logical fallacies is astounding.
    This region is hotter than most of the earth anyway and still has more rain than the rest of the world.
    Those plants evolved in such conditions, and now a fluctuation of 2 C is supposed to make the difference…
    What an appalling distortion of science.
    They stoop lower and lower each time.

  3. Growing yields are always in flux, anyone who’s ever taken a chance with futures knows this.
    Droughts, floods and famine are ancient woes of mankind and will continue throughout our history … it’s always ‘climate’ stupid warmist’s.
    Everything has a time, a place, and a season.

  4. If you send me enough money, I might be prepared to spend time doing a study to find out where else in the world cocoa trees might like to grow, which might produce a solution to this possible problem.
    I’ll also need money to pay a climate scientist to help me with a computer model.
    (Enough caveats?)

  5. Cocoa shortage? By 2020? Should I buy cocoa while the wise guys sell short?
    Watch out for this kind of talk (future commodity shortages).

  6. How can they be so sure it’s not natural variability? After all Cocoa is not indigenous to Africa but was introduced from South America during the industrial revolution.

  7. Do like Spike Milligan
    “”One issue was a large vacuum sealed tin of “Emergency Chocolate”, only to be eaten in the event of say, being surrounded by the Enemy. That night, in bed, surrounded by the Enemy, I ate my Emergency Chocolate”
    From “Adolf Hitler: my part in his downfall” for non-Milligan fans.

  8. Thanks Bob.
    Given that we have 73 climate models, all giving the WRONG answer this prediction is probably wrong as well.

  9. This bit of fear mongering fiction has been used by the hypesters before, I believe. here
    is one from 2011:
    Which makes this yet another example of a fascinating climate obsessed trait: The recycling of doom prophecies. When the climate doom prophecy fails (and they all do), the hypesters just move on to another alleged example of climate doom. They rely on the stupidity of the climate obsessed to accept the latest prophecy of doom without question. Since there are only so many ways for doom to fall upon us, the hypesters have to recycle them or run out of bad things to falsely predict.

  10. You can smell the desperation. Stop burning stuff or no more chocolate you naughty people.
    They tried using the kids and the grandkids, then all those polar bears now they are down to chocoholics. It really is worse than they thought. Palookas.

      • In Norway, we have chocolate whales, they taste better than whale meat. We also have very nice polar bear chocolate called “Bear Munchies”. This is what people in Svalbard (Spitzbergen) call tourists, who regularely are munched by bears. But if both chocolate, polar bears and whales will become extinct, what shall we do? Eat wholemeal honey-dipped figures of Al Gore? Oh no, the bees are dying too….

  11. Yes yes, children just aren’t going to know what chocolate is. So sad. But really, with Climate Armageddon approaching fast unless we, well, not to put too fine a point on it, destroy capitalism, what difference will it make?

    “There will soon be so much heat trapped in the atmosphere that any attempt to scale back carbon emissions will make no difference. Droughts. Floods. Heat waves. Killer hurricanes and tornados. Power outages. Freak weather. Rising sea levels. Crop destruction. Food shortages. Plagues.”

    Climate looniness plus Malthusianism nonsense. Ya gotta love it.

  12. This was all over my news casts a few days ago. Oddly, not one of them mentioned climate change as a reason, but did mention dry weather (that was supposed to last for the next 5 years?).

  13. “If we can save just one child, whale, polar bear, frog, lesser bandicoot Hershey bar, the collapse of the global economy will be worth it.”
    Someday, they’ll hit on the right hot-button. I must say, chocolate is a good shot at it.

    • No, they need a really hot topic – for instance: Climate change to doom Football (soccer), millions to be deprived of needed sport

      • Doh! You shouldn’t have written that out loud, Greg. That’s probably next.
        “Football (American or soccer) periods will be shortened to 2 minutes due to runaway climate change if we don’t act immediately!”

      • Oh give me a break. In Rock Paper Scissors, Chocolate wins. Without chocolate, we women shoot TV’s with at least a .357 mag.

  14. Actually warmer climate in West Africa is almost sure to improve conditions for cocoa-growing. This is a part of the world where warmer = wetter and colder = drier applies very strongly. A warmer climate means that the monsoon penetrates further inland and more rain results. During the postglacial climate optimum there were large lakes in southern Sahara and during the previous very warm interglacial Sahara disappeared almost completely.

    • If I had stopped to think instead of running screaming into the night, I would have figured that out. Thanks for the slap in the face. I am calmer now.

    • tty, could the 5 years of dry prediction I saw earlier be interpreted as a cooling event prediction? Just curious…

  15. First, they came for the ski resorts.
    And I did nothing.
    Next, they came for the polar bears.
    And I did nothing.
    Then they came for the Monarch butterflies.
    And I still did nothing.
    Finally, they came for my chocolate.
    And I finally told them they were full of it.

    • It is the face of global warming!!!!!! Global warming causes more snow right?
      Wonderful picture.
      Eugene WR Gallun

    • Just ask those that believe that the heavy snow and freezing temps are result of warming. ” so what you are saying is , it would have been warmer without global warming?” Then watch the reaction.

  16. I love the 2C prediction that fits hand in glove with the doubling of pre industrial CO2 levels. I love the three points you can make on a graph of 150 years ago, today and their prediction.
    I especially love extending the line drawn between the three points forwards and backwards along their logical trajectories, compounding the temperature rise into the future and logarithmic as you take it into the past, so that on my graph the Ice age could never have happened and we surpass the surface temperature of Venus before CO2 levels reach those of my living room when the family is sitting watching Al Gore’s fantasy movie!
    I urge you all to get out a pencil and paper and try it sometime, whilst nibbling on some chocolate!

    • Alexander, you will be disappointed. Chocolate should never be stockpiled as it has a flavor half-life of just a couple of weeks. This is why hand-made Chocolates fresh from a Chocolatier always taste so good. In a previous life, I worked for M&M Mars in Oak Park, Illinois, and we had access to chocolates that were still warm, right from the assembly line. M&Ms, Snicker bars, Mars bars, Milky Ways, all taste fantastically better while they are still at the plant. From the plant, the chocolates are shipped to buyer warehouses where they sit for months at a time before being delivered to your local grocery stores, where again they might sit on the shelf for several more months before you have a chance to purchase and then consume them. The Mars alphanumeric date codes are easy to read. The first digit is the year of manufacture, the next two digits are the week of the year. The next letter is the day of the week, where A=Monday, B=Tuesday, etc. From there, the rest of the code deciphers into the plant of manufacture, the line the candy was made on, and the shift it was packaged under, etc. So candy made on Thanksgiving day, 2014, should have a date code that begins with “448”. I just looked at the last of the Halloween candy, and the latest date started with “413”, which would have been late March, 2014. Ugh. Pay attention the next time you are buying chocolate. If you get some that is only a few weeks old, you will not believe the difference in taste.

  17. First of all, if chocolate becomes too expensive, I am so going to not send Christmas gifts to my kids and grandkids so I can have my chocolate. And they all understand that. Second, while I WAS planning to grow a veggie garden and have chickens next year, a greenhouse of cocoa plants will now be on the drawing board.

  18. It will be like the cuban missle crisis, or middle east oil, a standoff between super powers as they try to gain control of the dwindling cocoa plant. Well if you are going to make stuff might as well keep going. The headline should read “Cocoa and climate change lead to nucleur holocaust.”

  19. The only good thing about this is that it will force the nations of the Earth to stop squabbling and unite into one powerful entity, as chocolade shortage is global and will unite the peoples of the Earth. /sarc
    (Warmists usually bring this argument with regards to sea level rise, at the end of the climate pr0n mockumentaries)

  20. Attention! All in the Feht household! This is the Federal,State and Local Climate Change Chocolate Authority.We know what you are up to in your basement so come out now and show us all the chocky bars and biscuits!!! Just like the overpriced chocolate box treats you get at “happy holiday” season this could end up Soft and Sweet or do you prefer the Hard Centred Stuff. Which way do ya wanna play it chocolate hoarder Koch loving Arctic Raindeer melting polar bear disappearing denier Punk!!! And don’t think we have forgotten you Pamela “Annie Oakley” Gray. We think the .357 Magnum is made of chocolate and you better have your license to carry updated.
    We at the Climate Change Chocolate Authority (CCCA) really love keeping the World safe from Master Chokky Klimate Krims (MCKK) like you two.

    • Ah Ha!!!!! Someone from my past! You give me too much credit. I was only able to do that trick once at 300 yards. I am no more than a one hit wonder. But I did notice that all the guys started equipping their .22’s with uber expensive scopes.

      • Re: the License thing. Now that I have just moved closer to the guys I need to see for training, I will be doing exactly that.

  21. With so many dying from hurricanes, droughts, floods, famine, swarms of locusts, rivers of blood, hungrier sharks and weirder weather in this hottest year on record, there will be more cocoa beans for me…. Ain’t none of this happening in Texas. (sarc)

  22. Thanks, Bob.
    Cocoa is a renewable resource affected by local climate but primarily by local landscape changes like deforestation. Cocoa plants only grow well in the shade of trees. It needs a humid forest.
    Forests need CO2 and H2O.

  23. All built on the assumptions from a theory based on global climate models having skill in predicting global and regional climate/weather. Also does not take into account the known law of photosynthesis and effects from increasing CO2.

  24. I don’t care about the chocolate….. but if anyone mucks around with coffee then that will be the end of the discussion….

  25. Bottom line.
    The world hasn’t warmed in 18 years, therefore global warming CANNOT be causing any localised weather patterns.
    The warmer it gets the more evaporation and the more precipitation. Also the more CO2 the more crops.
    Localised weather patterns are circulatory and cyclic and NOT governed by global temperatures.
    If chocolate prices go up it’s because the globalists intentionally do it to squeeze the population even more toward their agenda of world government problem-reaction-solution.

    • Agreed. Especially the nearly pure nothing added cocoa stuff. The bitter, meaty, almost venison flavor of pure unsweetened chocolate. It’s even good melted into chili or a dark savory wild game stew. Unsweetened cocoa added to dark gravy is divine.

      • We have a Ghiradelli outlet store just across the border in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, where you can purchase dark chocolates by the case for a little more than $2.50 per bag. Mmmm. I maintain a small supply at the office. Right now I have bags of 60%, 72%, 86%, Cabernet Matinee, Dark Cherry Tango, and my favorite, Dark Peppermint Bark. Definitely worth the gas money. Check out their other locations at …

  26. I’ve updated the head post with the actual rainfall data for the area, which shows very little change.

    • No kidding about the darker chocolate. Milk chocolate may as well be that white stuff (sorry I cannot say “white” and “chocolate” in the same phrase). But, regardless of the update (no criticism intended Willis), I would rather talk about the chocolate. This is one, and I do mean ONE time, when the data fades into the background for me. Chocolate. CHOCOLATE! Nothing else gets through my brain.

      • Then you should read Pratchett’s “Thief of Time” where chocolate is used as a lethal weapon against creatures (the “Auditors”) who are not used to inhabiting a body with taste buds…the shock is too much for them.

  27. “Higher temperatures mean that more water evaporates into the air from leaves and earth, leaving less behind for cocoa trees — a process called “evapotranspiration.””
    Fortunately, the raised atmospheric CO2 will more than counteract this. The leaves will not need to keep there stomata open for anywhere near as long to feed,
    ….. so “evapotranspiration” will actually decrease.
    That plant cope much better in a higher CO2 atmosphere, because they are able to use water more efficiently, is a PROVEN FACT, as opposed to the baseless suppositions in the report.

  28. Dingbats. Higher CO2 means lowered stomata numbers, less evapotranspiration, and also more efficient use of nutrients. Duh!
    And, as we are cooling, their fears are misplaced big time.

  29. CC: Climate Craziness, our very own version of Moonstruck. Here’s a fresh top-notch climate craziness story from Norway:
    A group of municipalities are protesting against the government’s plans to reduce subsidies for the regional airport. They get quite a few airborne tourists from England and Germany in the winter season. And what is their argument?
    Well, you see (they say), by the end of this century the world has warmed by +4C, therefore Norway will be one of the very few places in Europe with snow, and that’s why we must keep on getting airborne tourists here. And for this (85 years from now) we need subsidies from the state for our airport (today).
    The logic is actually quite flawless; we want air traffic that increases the co2-emissions so that global warming can make our region more competitive in the winter tourist market in the future.
    As we say; the potato can be used for anything. Global Warming is a potato.

    • You are right about the potato. Potato candy dipped in chocolate is very good!
      Now what were we talking about?

  30. When i was in Africa, possibly we made a mistake. Cocoa trees have big pods – as big as pears about. Inside the pods were the seeds, Surounded by a sour/sweet flesh. We used them like bonbon/candy and spit the beans out afterwards. I learnd this fron the African – they called it “pipi”.

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