Buzz-Kill: Climate change threatening coffee growers

Climate change has been cited as a threat to a great host of important things – national treasures like Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park, communities across the nation, and even my breakfast table.

And it is all bad, and I know it, and you know it, and even in his heart of hearts, climate-change denying Uncle Ralph knows it (every family has an Uncle Ralph – even if his name isn’t Ralph).  But it hasn’t been enough to get the attention of the climate change denying lawmakers in Washington and in state houses across the country.

But this time climate change picked the wrong the fight.  This time, it went too far.  It went after the fuel that many Americans – heck, many people around the globe depend on every day.  No, not oil (although there would be a delicious irony in that). 

No.  This time, climate change is going after coffee.  From the Seattle Times:

“Yields in Costa Rica have dropped dramatically in the last decade, with farmers and scientists blaming climate change for a significant portion of the troubles.

“Global warming — more accurately called climate change — poses "a direct business threat to our company," Starbucks executive Jim Hanna told an Environmental Protection Agency panel in 2009 in Seattle.

I think I speak for many environmentalists, and much of the working population within 3 blocks of the Caribou Coffee around the corner from my office, when I say that this is the worst thing ever.  Certainly the over-worked staff of Congressional offices on Capitol Hill will feel the pinch when their supply of go-juice is cut off by warming temperatures. 

Maybe losing coffee will, ironically, be the wake-up call that Congress needs to finally break our dependence on polluting fossil fuels – giving up one dark liquid addiction in order to save another.  Because one thing is for sure – I can’t start my day with a steaming mug of hot oil.

photo: Coffee beans photo by Sean Dreilinger, flickr.

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