Global warming and Prof’s nightmare

In Featured Posts by Prof9 Comments

As noted in class, climate change is already affecting important agricultural products.  Whether its drought or warming or sunlight hours, these changes can have profound effects on crops as well as in animal agriculture.  Unfortunately, several of these products are very dear to me, personally.

Among the products perhaps most sensitive to a change of just a degree or two are wine grapes.  Interestingly, as noted in a series of  recent papers from 2016, there will be winners and losers.  The reason why Cabernet Sauvignon grapes do well in Bordeaux, for example, is because the temperature, moisture, and sunlight hours are perfect for that particular grape cultivar in that specific region of France.  If the climatic conditions are altered, then those grapes will not have the proper level of sweetness, acidity, or color necessary to make a good Bordeaux wine.  The same considerations exist for other grapes grown throughout the rest of the world.  Of course, as the temperature rises, colder regions (Nebraska?) may become the “new” Napa Valley.

Then there are my two other “cannot-get-through-the-day-without” foods – coffee and chocolate.  The growth of cocoa and coffee beans is also sensitive not only to temperature, sunlight, and moisture, but also elevation.  Climate change will force farmers to move their plantations to more conducive elevations.  This article points out that farmers in Central America and other coffee and cocoa-growing regions are poor and may not have the option to re-locate their farms.  The authors also note another very important and often neglected collateral effect of climate change.  Specifically, there are pests, both fungal and insects, of these products that may thrive and even spread as the temperature increases.

I can hardly imagine living in a world without wine, coffee, and chocolate.  If I hear that the future of Bourbon is also threatened, well, that would really be the end of Western Civilization.


 

Comments

  1. I think this depiction of your nightmare might be a more effective marketing tool to get people concerned about climate change. Most people don’t care that the polar bears are losing habitat because it doesn’t directly affect them. But to lose wine, chocolate, and coffee, a tragedy!

  2. I also cannot imagine a life without wine, coffee and chocolate! I am even eating chocolate covered espresso beans right now. I hadn’t heard of how sensitive grapes are to climate before and it really opened my eyes! I agree with Madison that informing the public about issues that will directly affect them will help our current environmental situation.

  3. These foods, for me, are a staple in my diet and I cannot imagine going without wine, chocolate or coffee. This will make the climate change factor become more real for many people in the world that take these things for granted. I just hope that people start taking the climate change thing way more seriously.

  4. Growing up in an environment without much consumption of wine, coffee and chocolate, I feel like it would be perfectly fine to live without them. But the world would be less interesting and less fun without all those three, dinners won’t be as nice without wine, everyone would be grumpy in the morning and desserts have no future. So i thought I could live without them, but really, I can’t.

  5. I would agree that losing foods – especially coffee and chocolate – would be terrible! Obviously climate change has some more serious effects throughout world, but losing this foods would impact many, many people. Hopefully we can find a solution to this problem before it gets to the point of no longer being able to grow these crops.

  6. If these products really stopped being produced due to these climate change problems then there would be alternate ways of producing them created. They are all such large staples to so many people’s diets that there would be no way that they would be gone forever. Just to be sure however, i would simply stock up on all three.

  7. I was never one to believe in the whole “climate change” and global warming” thing. However I do completely see your point. I never took the time to step back and look at everything that would be affected by even the slightest change in climate. It’s kind of scary to think about actually.

  8. It’s sad to think about the loss of foods such as wine coffee and chocolate, but to also think about all of the other foods that are affected by climate which can lead to possible loss. Though, there’s no doubt to me that cooperations will find a way to make greenhouses be able to have a stable climate for these foods to grow.

  9. Its astonishing to think that a few degrees can have that big of an impact on agriculture. Steps need to be taken to prepare for these climate changes. I think America would go crazy if they were to lose such popular and important foods that we use and consume everyday. Its really a terrifying thought to think that, that could be our future if we cant do something about it and start making some changes.

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