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Published on November 13th, 2012 | by Jennifer Kaplan

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Climate Change Threatens Coffee Plants

According to a new study of from the U.K. Royal Botanic Gardens conducted with scientists in Ethiopia, wild Arabica coffee is “in peril” and at “high risk of extinction” because of climate change.

Bloomberg News reported:

Commercially produced arabica is grown from “very limited genetic stock,” meaning plants have little flexibility in coping with climate change and new threats from pests and diseases…Altered weather conditions are likely to have “a negative influence” on coffee output in Ethiopia, Africa’s largest grower.

The Royal Botanic Gardens study used bioclimatic modeling to predict the present and future distribution of indigenous Arabica. Researchers modeled for three emission scenarios (high medium, low) over three time intervals (2020, 2050, 2080).  Modeling showed a “profoundly negative influence” on indigenous Arabica with the most favorable outcomes ranging from 38% to 65% reductions in the number of pre-existing bioclimatically suitable localities for Arabica. Worst case scenarios predicted from 90% to almost 100% reductions by 2080.

Coffee photo via Shutterstock





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About the Author

is a former marketing consultant who decided, at the age of fifty, to turn her hand to creative non-fiction. Jennifer continues to write about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for EatDrinkBetter.com and is the author of Greening Your Small Business (November 2009, Penguin Group (USA)). She was been named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster and an MBA - find her on and .



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