aCommon Foods may Disappear due to Climate Change

tlwdotcom-The Land World
6 min readJun 15, 2022

For many climate-related reasons, from droughts to rising temperatures, we may no longer be able to enjoy our current favorite foods in the future. Some crops may disappear entirely, while others become scarce and expensive. That’s one reason to take action now to prevent climate change and save the food you love! The followings are common foods which may disappear due to climate change.

1. Chocolate

We all love chocolate, don’t we? Sadly, the cocoa crop could be completely wiped out by 2050 due to climate change. Currently, more than 50% of the world’s chocolate comes from two countries: Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

Cocoa is known to be sensitive to environmental changes, which explains why it can only be found in areas near the equator. But growing cocoa has become increasingly difficult as more extreme climate patterns raise temperatures and alter precipitation, as well as humidity and sunlight. The threat to chocolate from climate change is so serious that Mars Foods, best known for producing chocolate confections, has teamed up with scientists at the University of California to develop new technology to help cocoa survive. Without urgent action, we could literally be entering a future without chocolate, as Mars Foods’ chief sustainability officer Barry Parkin told Business Insider, “Frankly, we don’t think we’re moving fast enough.”

2. Banana

Another crop that could be badly affected by climate change is the humble banana. Unfavourable climatic conditions in 10 countries could wipe out banana cultivation by 2050, in a recent study by the University of Exeter.

Although fruit production has increased since 1961 due to warmer temperatures and improved production methods, global warming and frequent floods and droughts will threaten banana production. Bananas will be threatened not only in South America, but also in Asia on our doorstep: India, the world’s largest producer and consumer, along with the Philippines, is expected to see a significant decline in banana production in the coming decades.

3. Rice

One of our own staples in Asia, rice is also fragile. According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), rising temperatures, rising sea levels and changes in rainfall due to global climate change will make water and land resources scarce, which will significantly affect rice cultivation. This will particularly affect Asia, where the viability of land to grow rice could decline by more than 50% in the next century.

4. Coffee

Another food at risk of extinction is coffee. The drink many people rely on in the morning will disappear as 50% of the land used to grow coffee will be uncultivated by 2100. In a landmark IPCC report, it warns that land management issues urgently need to be addressed, with the unprecedented rate of topsoil loss threatening irreversible loss of ecosystems. A study published in the journal Science Advances suggests that popular coffee varieties, including Arabica, which accounts for 60 percent of global production, are under threat.

While global demand continues to drive more coffee plantations around the world, which will lead to further deforestation and the use of chemical fertilizers, wild mountain coffee plants are dying because of their need for natural shade and cooler temperature ranges. At the same time, coffee faces the dual threat of diseases, such as the fungus known as coffee rust. The fungus “thriving” in the high temperatures brought on by global warming.

Pricing will also be a big issue, and it has already started. According to a recent Reuters survey, Arabica coffee bean prices could rise by 25 percent by the end of the year. As Starbucks founder Howard Schultz recently told TIME, “There is no question that climate change will have a significant impact on the quality and integrity of coffee.”

5. Potato

Due to climate change, we may have to say goodbye to delicious Di San Xian, Indian Aloo Gobi (potato cauliflower) and Thai Massaman curry. Climate change poses a serious threat to potato farming: As sea levels rise, potato farmers in Peru, Latin America’s largest potato producer, have had to move to higher altitudes.

But it’s not a long-term solution either, as Rene Gómez, germplasm curator at the International Potato Center (CIP), said in an interview that she “estimates that in 40 years there will be nowhere to grow potatoes in the region”.

6. Grape

Because of climate change, there is a good chance we won’t be drinking wine by 2090. French researchers pointed out that grapes are plants that need to grow for many years and are vulnerable to climate change.

In the past 30 years, the flowering period and the composition of grapes in European vineyards have changed. In most French vineyards, the sugar content of grapes doubles every 10 years, and at the same time, their acidity decreases by 0.5 g/L to 1 g/L.

7. Avocado

As the consumption of avocados has tripled, the huge demand has led to large areas of pine forests being replaced by avocado cultivation. This not only increases carbon dioxide emissions, but also accelerates climate change and water depletion.

8. Strawberry

Spain is a major fruit-producing country, and strawberries are widely grown. But Spanish researchers found that warmer temperatures could lead to a shorter fruiting period and a greater likelihood of a smaller harvest.

9. Oysters and Mussels

When carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed by seawater, it can cause ocean acidification, resulting in an increase in acidic seawater with a low hydrogen ion concentration index (pH), which damages some marine life, especially shellfish.

The study estimates that the calcification rate of oysters and mussels (also known as sea rainbows and mussels) will be reduced by 10% and 25%, respectively, resulting in some individuals unable to grow up, and even when they grow up, they are more vulnerable to natural enemies.

10. Wheat

A study published in Nature Climate Change found that for every 1°C increase in Earth’s temperature, wheat yields would decrease by 6%. The research is based on 30 planting models and yield forecast data from international agencies.

11. Other fruits

Global warming and drought will reduce the acreage of fruit trees in California by 10% by 2050. Australia, like Europe, will have almost no apples in 15 years because the winter climate there is no longer suitable for apple trees.

To make matters worse, the number of bees, the main pollinator of fruit trees, is declining due to climate change. In Spain, 70% of crops are the result of pollination, with 71 out of 100 essential foods.

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