Climate change could make chocolate a thing of the past, as harsh weather conditions, drought, and land shortages could cause the world’s chocolate supply to run out.
Both chocolate and coffee are two industries most threatened by climate change because demand continues to skyrocket while suitable land to grow the plants is shrinking.
The cacao plant is a delicate one and can only thrive within 20 degrees north and south of the equator. The high humidity and rainfall in those areas are perfect for the cacao bean.
A temperature increase of just a few degrees Celsius is all it would take to devastate cacao harvests and create major shortages in the worldwide chocolate industry.
The coffee industry is set to face similar consequences from climate change, as one report from the World Coffee Research organization predicts that demand for coffee will double by the year 2050, but suitable land for growing coffee trees will decrease by half.
For the cacao bean, increasing temperatures will cause mercury in the soil to rise and absorb more water from the soil and plants. Precipitation totals will not be able to offset this new strain on water for the cacao plants.
Both coffee and chocolate farms will have to move, and researchers say that cacao plants will end up in mountain preserves which could put wildlife conservation at risk.
Even though major advancements have been made in agricultural research and biotechnology, these advancements are often costly and unfeasible for local chocolate and coffee farmers to implement on their own.
In short, the world is likely to face shortages in chocolate as supply won’t be able to keep up with demand due to the adverse impact of climate change on cacao plants.
It’s estimated that by 2050 cocoa plants could disappear unless scientists can work to find a way to mitigate climate change or genetically enhance the cacao plant to face harsher conditions.