Remember When Climate Change Meant The End Of Coffee? Never Mind

From the American Council on Science and Health, some inconvenient news for java doomsayers

By Alex Berezow

For roughly the last two years, the media has been warning us that climate change is threatening the world’s supply of coffee beans.

According to the hypothesis, growing conditions for coffee will no longer be suitable in many places, and plagues and pestilences will destroy the crops. If that doesn’t kill off coffee, then the lack of pollinators will.

As usual, the media wasn’t shy in its headlines. The New York Times bluntly stated “Climate Change Threatens World’s Coffee Supply, Report Says.” TIME magazine took it a step further: “Your Morning Cup of Coffee Is in Danger. Can the Industry Adapt in Time?” Newsweek, in its typical “dial-it-up-to-11” editorial style, wrote, “Climate Change Effects Could Mean the End of Coffee Beans.”

That’s right. The end of coffee beans. We’ll have to drink tea. I shudder to think of it. Even Popular Science got in on the action: “Climate change will make your coffee cost more and taste worse.”

Thankfully, these are all testable hypotheses. The world has been getting warmer over at least the past few decades, so coffee production should be decreasing, and coffee prices should be going up. Are they?

Coffee Prices Collapse, so Some Farmers Turn to Cocaine

Nope. According to a new report by the Financial Times, prices for coffee beans have hit a 12-year low. But that’s only taking into account recent data. If we look all the way back to the beginning of time (which, in this case, is the 1970’s), we see that the highest coffee prices, just under $3.40 per pound, occurred in April 1977. Today, the coffee price is about 93 cents per pound.

The price of coffee is not at a historical low, but it is low enough that some farmers have decided to produce cocaine, instead.

The reason behind the current collapse in prices is because Brazil produced a record crop. Once again, this is the exact opposite of the wide-eyed speculation the media had been cramming down our throats over the past two years.

Full story here

Advertisements

88 thoughts on “Remember When Climate Change Meant The End Of Coffee? Never Mind

  1. When ever I hear some bizzare claim nowadays about ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’, I just assume the opposite to be the actual truth. I don’t think the majority of people do anymore either because none of their doomsday claims ever comes true. If there was any truth to CO2 being the magic molecule responsible for any calamity that has been forecast the last 30 years, at least some of the claims should be evident by now.

    • This is like watching sea ice numbers. Everyone goes nuts at each little blip, when in fact, it’s all meaningless.

    • I’ve been doing the same for years with the UK’s Met Office weather reports, just ignore them and look out the environmental viewing portal when I get up in the morning and go from there hasn’t let me down very often.

      James Bull

  2. “We’ll have to drink tea. I shudder to think of it. “
    Harrumph!!
    I’ll have you know Mr Watts that English breakfast tea is the finest drink invented by mankind EVAH!
    It’s beneficial effects are UNPRECEDENTED.
    Coffee is but a passing fad.

        • Why don’t you guys have an Earl Grey Breakfast Tea with a shot of Whiskey in it, and get BREXIT finished? Maybe you should try coffee?

          • Ron Long

            English breakfast tea is distinct from Earl Grey tea. Not the same thing as Earl Grey includes Bergamot, hence it’s unique flavour. Whisky would ruin the delicate taste of both tea’s.

            A good whisky should only really be drunk with a splash of, ideally, Scottish well water. Alas, well water is scarce these days.

          • Ron:
            Earl Grey is not pure tea.

            “Earl Grey is one of the most recognized flavored teas in the world. This quintessentially British tea is typically a black tea base flavored with oil from the rind of bergamot orange, a citrus fruit with the appearance and flavor somewhere between an orange and a lemon with a little grapefruit and lime thrown in.”

            If I want a scented tea, I prefer a good green tea infused with jasmine.

            Meanwhile, I happily take good green teas, aged or fermented teas and Puerh tea.

            Meanwhile, there is a wonderful plant locally called “Mormon tea” that grows in Western USA.

            Mormon tea, aka ‘Ephedra viridis’ with close relatives across South Euro-Asia, provides quite a bit of ‘morning kick’ or ;afternoon boost’ for those looking for a kick start.

            No caffeine needed.

            While scented teas are Chinese and South Asia inventions; their development and original uses were somewhat less savory. Close Chinese friends inform me that most scented and flavored teas were developed to mask opium use.

            If it comes in a tea bag, it could be floor sweepings. Bergamot flavoring are great at masking dregs and leavings.

          • Well it didn’t stop the Scots from doing more than their share of world-ruling, did it? The English wouldn’t have had a clue how to build an empire without the help of their northern neighbours to do all the heavy lifting.

            The secret of the Scots is to drink lots of whisky but not to enjoy it. Thanks to John (“God never meant you to have fun”) Knox and his misery-worshiping legacy.

        • Newminster, it’s usquebaugh, or more properly from the original Gaelic, uisge beatha, meaning the water of life. Whisky is just an English rip off!

        • New,

          “Whiskey” is American English for Bourbon (distilled corn, ie maize, mash) or Canadian (rye). “Whisky” is the British English word for Scotch, which is distilled from barley mash, ie basically, boiled beer.

          Bourbon is so sweet that Scotch is aged in its casks. Also sherry casks.

          George Washington’s popular whiskey was mostly rye, with some corn and barley in the mash.

        • MENoll

          That’s Irish Coffee. Pour cream over the back of a spoon so it settles on the surface so it looks like Guinness, and drink the coffee/whisky mix through it.

          Don’t waste a quality whisky on it though, most reasonable blends will do.

      • I’vev said it before so I’ll say it again, when as a young man in my early 20s, full of ideals, etc., when I was called “green” by older & wiser colleagues, but they meant I was gullible & naive! Nothing has changed, aprt from being older & hopefully a little wiser!!

    • Gee, years ago I raised lambs in eastern Ontario, borne in February (winter). Hampshires and Suffolk – maybe they are tougher breeds than NZ ones.

    • Looks like the shepherds don’t think it’s Goreball Warming:

      Crosse said it was difficult to rescue the lambs, especially if the rain had got to them first. He had managed to put covers over a number, and three-quarters of those had survived.

      “But you never know how good your lambing is until the end of the season because anything might happen – we might have an El Nino and a big drought.”

      “We’ve had bigger losses before and we will again. It’s just bad timing, it’s something we can’t control,” Crosse said.

    • It’s hard to see how any of this watermelon agitprop could be falsified ever. If I live to 2060 and coffee is selling for 1 Venezuelan bolivar per ton, and has been steadily declining in price for 50 years, the response from Percy and the rest of the CACC gang will be what?

      A) This is entirely consistent with what would be expected from Climate Change (TM).

      B) The price is lower despite devastating effects because nobody drinks coffee anymore. (Excuse me sir, here’s your Venti half caf double mocha cappuccino with a twist). Oh thank you very much!

      C) What claims that CACC would harm coffee? Quit making things up!

      D) That theory was published in a popular magazine, not peer-reviewed journals.

      E) Huh? Crazy old geezer!

      • Peer review has become meaningless today. Peer-reviewed papers are as likely to contain good information as newspaper articles or magazine articles, which is not at all likely!

      • On the other hand, when an El Nino year is 0.01 C warmer than the adjusted temperature record it’s proof positive the world is ending and we are all going to die.

    • Which is exactly why it’s a crap prediction. Everything is posited as a Tragedy of the Commons scenario where the actual negative effect only occurs after a “tipping point” threshold has been crossed. In the real world almost nothing works that way. There is certainly no rational reason to believe aggregate worldwide coffee production would follow a TotC scenario, thus we should expect to see downward yields and upwards prices at least establishing a trend if anything like their hypothesis was going on. We don’t so most likely it isn’t.

    • It’s hard to see how the obvious lack of impact between 1970s and now on coffee growing can be squared with dire consequences in just 32 more years. It’s *been* warming and nothing terrible happened to coffee. Nothing even mildly annoying happened to coffee.

      Yet a Climate Change article from 2015 projects that the 2050 time slice (2040-2069) will reduce the global area suitable for coffee production by 50% [note — this is somewhat less than the end of coffee]. Naturally, this is accomplished by regional downscaling from GCMs. They have C. Arabica (the more common of the two major coffee variants, and the more sensitive to high temperatures) in a current range of annual means between 14C and 26.4C — look at that for a moment. It’s currently growing in a range of over *12C*, and there will be enough warming by *2050* to reduce the range by 50%? Seriously?

      A comparison of the paper’s figure 1 (current production map, used for training their model) and figure 2 (current coffee suitability map, output from their suitability model) shows that there’s a lot of places in figure 2 where coffee *could* be grown and isn’t (and also shows a few spots were coffee is *actually* being produced on figure 1 that appear to be classified as unsuitable in figure 2). Even if a 50% decrease in “suitable” regions happened, it seems unlikely there would be insufficient space to satisfy the world’s demand for coffee.

      The largest producer at the moment in coffee is Brazil. Here’s some interesting coffee numbers from the FAO for that country:

      Area harvested (ha)
      1990 2908960
      2000 2267968
      2014 2085522

      In just 24 years, the area harvested shrunk by nearly a third! Clearly we see here the dramatic effects of the tiny bit of warming we’ve had since 1990, right? Well, let’s look at yield:

      Yield (kg/ha)
      1990 5036
      2000 8393
      2014 14215

      In the same period of time where the acreage shrunk dramatically, yields nearly *tripled*. Overall production doubled in this 24 year span. What sent so much land out of service wasn’t climate, but economics. If coffee prices were higher, you’d see more land in production. 3 million hectares (1990 usage) sounds like a lot, but Brazil has 851.6 million ha — in 2014 they were using 0.24% of the land for coffee production. Since the suitability study, such as it is, projected the southernmost portions of Brazil would actually *benefit* from climate change, finding 0.24% of Brazil to grow coffee on is not likely to be a difficult task.

      • Presumably, if CC does cause yields to drop some time in the future, those acres that have dropped out of production, can be brought back into production.

      • “Nothing even mildly annoying happened to coffee.”

        Well I don’t know about that, Dale. What about Starbucks?

        Not even MILDLY annoying?

        • Starbucks is way overpriced, but having something other than the dishwater Anglo’s brewed prior to their start is a good thing.

    • I love the way the lack of change is defended with the claim that we still have a couple of decades left till the end.

      The chart shows 40 years with no trend. Somehow we’re supposed to believe that the trend will come roaring back over the next 30 years?

    • “Mann-made” climate change has been underway for thirty years, now, and the dire predictions have been off by 180 degrees. Please tell us in what year all the (so-far, failed) predictions will suddenly start becoming true. Another 5? 10? In this specific case, will all be well until 2049, then the s h t f in time for 2050?

      Perhaps you might have a little credibility if the forecasts had predicted things would get better, then turn dramatically worse, but I have yet seen a single prediction of that.

    • The point is, I think, that the alarmists say that rising temperatures will cause all sorts of nastiness which will result in the ‘end of coffee beans’ but here we are, in 2018, when, according to the alarmists global warming is already happening at an excessive rate but despite that the supply of coffee has gone up and the price of coffee has gone down. So why should a continuing rise in global temperatures, if it were to happen, cause coffee production to disappear?

  3. Even folks who believe in anthropogenic warming agree that the planet’s climate was much warmer in the early Cenozoic era.

    The global climate of the early portion of the Cenozoic Period was much warmer than it is today, and the overall climate of the Earth was much more consistent regardless of proximity to the equator.

    Life thrived when the planet was much warmer than it is now. Alarmists who insist that warmer temperatures will be bad for life ignore the fact that life seems to like warmth.

  4. They are against coffee because roasting causes CO2.

    If you like your coffee, be wary of these people.

  5. I studied Ethiopian Rainfall. The coffee zone comes under sub-humid zone. The sub-humid zone is bordered to south Sudan. The rainfall of Gore [it comes under zone5342S — see figure on page109 and Table on page 120 of my book of 1993 –, Suitable for coffee and Tea if the temperatures are optimum]. Figure on page 57 showed the average annual rainfall of Gore was 2250 mm with 36-year cycle. That is for 18 years the rainfall was above the average during which period the coffee production was high and the next 18 years with less than 2250 mm [with higher temperatures] presented low coffee production. That means natural variability in rainfall plays the major role on coffee production and not the temperature. I visited this place in 1991.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

  6. Where exactly would the end of coffee be anyway? And why?

    It’s hard to see while comparing the maps of “Coffee Beans Growing Belt” and “World Maps of Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification” at http://koeppen-geiger.vu-wien.ac.at/

    Seems like more varied farming choices would become available for a larger global landmass. But, to be taken with a pinch of salt of course. The climate projections particularly over Himalayas are entertaining. Surely there are plenty of reasons to avoid discussing the 29 Köppen-Geiger climate shifts during the decades of man-made global climate calamity.

  7. If it means that all those arrogant, sanctimonious, latte lapping, inner city hipster eco nuts die an excruciating death then CAGW will be an act of God.

    As the saying goes, he works in wondrous ways.

    • Nah. Many of them have voluntarily embraced grief, anxiety, fear, agony, and guilty joys already in their earthly life. Odd choice, but so be it. It’s enough to wish them well, perhaps even as “the extreme best” they often posture themselves.

      • a glimmer of hope..most of em are guilted and sooo stressed theyre on antidepressants
        and new aussie research showed the fluoxetine version(for a start) caused antibiotic resistance
        so a little time and nasty wound while hugging a tree or a rock somewhere…

  8. The media will always publish the sensationalist view.

    If no sensationalist view exists, they’ll invent one. We hear about doom for coffee for the same reason we read about the end of snow, and the same reason we heard that Flo might hit land as a Category 6 storm. It’s the same reason we see a newscaster in a kayak with someone walking behind them in water up to their ankles.

    Other dynamics make for a perfect storm. Lots of people just want to save the world. Well, here you go. They have a deep-seated need to feel superior. And if saving the world means higher taxes, more government regulations, and wealth transfers, then you’ll find a others who are all in. The dynamics of rent-seeking corporations fit nicely with apparatchiks who get to distribute monetary favors. Many scientists can never reverse their positions without extreme humiliation that ends their credibility.

    Given these dynamics, what will bring an end to all this nonsense?

    • There seems to be a deep seated human need to believe that your life has meaning.
      For pajama boys, still living in their parents basements, the chances of them actually doing anything that matters is rapidly approaching zero.

      So the look to causes that are bigger than themselves that they can latch onto.

  9. Interesting article and subsequent comments.
    However, the main conclusions is:
    The chart for Coffee leads the chart for Crude Oil.
    More or less.
    Is Crude about to slide?

  10. This is part of my “Garden of Eden Earth^тм”, which, along with peak population at 9B threatens to wipe out gloom, doom, poverty, disease, war, Malthusian Disorder and moldy oldy marxquarx.

  11. “A Rainforest Alliance Certified farm is one that complies with 10 standards set in place by the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN). These standards include ecosystem conservation, wildlife protection, and fair treatment and good working conditions for workers”
    -a coffee tin with a political message
    OT But what is it about the coffee business that seems to attract every virtue signaler on the planet. Companies that are simply supplying a consumer product are forever blathering on about their fair trade beans or their rain forest alliance beans etc. It’s sickening enough to make you want to switch to some other beverage.

  12. I was so worried about the alarmists getting one right this time /s.
    Now how about Mahomes? What an arm.

  13. Midges are the coffee pollinator. Regions with all 5 kinds of these midges can set 25 pods/tree; while the average is only 5 pods set/tree. When see coffee trees growing among other trees it is because those other trees are habitat for midges to nest & not an overstory required to protect coffee trees.

    The coffee flower can produce a pod with 30-40 seeds (coffee beans) in that pod, but only about 1-3% of flowers end up bearing fruit pods. If pods not harvested correctly the “cushions” that produce flowers on the side of the tree can be damaged. From planting to commercial pod yield takes 8 years, so grafting is a significant tactic used.

    Global breeding efforts have been going on for a very long time to develop coffee trees resistant to diseases like frosty pod rot, witches broom, certocystis wilt & black pod. The “Criollo” coffee tree originally from Central America (& Venezuela) is more prone to diseases than most other vareties, produces less pods/tree & less beans/pod it has become a small % of global plantings.

    Criollo coffee beans have a milder taste than others,with a flavor both fine & nutty. Another of the best quality coffee is Amelando originally from Brazil, known for it’s intense cacao chocolaty
    flavor. The coffee tree variety Nacional originally from Ecuador high quality is due to pleasant fruity aroma.

    The average planted number of coffee trees is 200-600 trees/acre; while in some settings 1,300 trees/acre are cultivated. Grown in “wet” regions suitable coffee trees may produce beans with earthy flavors; & suitable trees in “dry” regions watered sparsely are stressed to get fruity flavor.

    During coffee bean fermentation the indigenous strain of acetic acid bacteria (Acetobacter x) is what becomes important for generating the precursor molecules humans will detect as flavor nuances. When bean pods are opened Acetobacter cell count/gram of wet matter (50 kg dry beans is obtaned from aroud 117 Kg wet beans) in most places is relatively low & doubles as fermentation goes on, while some regions acetic acid bacterial cell count is much higher to begin with. (Acetobacter oxidize the ethanol which yeasts fermented from original bean mucilage sugars to acetic acid; the bean mass temperature rises as a consequence of oxidation killng the seeds’ germination – coffee beans must germinate to create good product.)

  14. Sadly the Warmlist which was a web page listing most (but not all) of the crazy things that Man-caused climate change was responsible for, is no longer on the web. The author could not keep up with all the powers claimed for the Magic Molecule CO2. But this 4-minute video on YouTube serves to remind us of the power of Man to destroy things, at least in the minds of the True Believers – it’s not just limited to the weather and climate! And, as the Warmlist used to say, all this on 0.06 degrees C per decade (depending on where you start and end the goalposts, of course)!

  15. The price of coffee is not at a historical low, but it is low enough that some farmers have decided to produce cocaine, instead.

    Fair trade cocaine for the millennials.

  16. Since coffee is primarily produced in the tropics, even theoretically, there should be little effect on the crop’s growth. Even should Earth continue warming at the rate since the PDO flip of 1977, which it won’t, very little of the “global” warming would be in the tropics.

    The effect decreases with falling latitude. Polar regions are supposed to heat up the most and the tropics hardly, if at all. Yet the temperature at the South Pole hasn’t changed for as long as records have been kept.

  17. The dinosaurs might have been better prepared for the real threat if they not been bombarded by false news from archeo NYT and paleo Newsweek.

Comments are closed.