Saturday, 29 October 2016

Friday Fungus: Coffee and climate change

This isn't a 'have a go a climate change' post - that the climate changes is a matter of fact, it's the causes of those changes and their impact on us humans that's the subject of debate (and so it should be). Rather it's about being just a little cynical at the tendency to see negative affects on crop production as consequential on climate change - the example being coffee leaf rust:
Science is in no doubt that the changing climate is behind the rust and other problems affecting coffee production worldwide – and that things are likely to deteriorate.

"In many cases, the area suitable for [coffee] production would decrease considerably with increases of temperature of only 2-2.5C," said a leaked draft of a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,
The problem is that the pesky science really isn't quite so certain about the reasons for the spread of the nasty little fungus that causes coffee leaf rust:
“While CLR infection risk was elevated in 2008–2011 in coffee-growing regions of Colombia, we found no compelling evidence for a large increase in predicted infection risk over the period in which the CLR outbreak is reported to have been most severe, and no long-term trend in risk from 1990 to 2015,” the study concluded.

“Therefore, we conclude that while weather conditions in 2008–2011 may have slightly increased the predicted risk of CLR infection, long-term climate change is unlikely to have increased disease risk,” it added.
This doesn't detract from the problem that coffee leaf rust causes (although it can be treated - this isn't bananas) but it's a reminder that we're too swift to blame climate change - by which we usually mean global warming - for alterations in ecological balance where humans have sought to manage that environment (we call it farming).


1 comment:

James Higham said...

It's a nightmare, Simon. Loss of coffee? Unthinkable.