This is nothing new. Scientists have been shouting themselves hoarse about the effects of climate change on cocoa production since 2011. But now we've reached the land of projection. Nearly half a decade ago, researchers were warning that 2020 will be the year when demand finally outstrips production. When the havoc we have wreaked on the climate drives up the price of our simplest pleasures.
Cacao trees can only grow between around 20 degrees longitude of the equator. They are fussy plants that require specific, uniform temperatures, high humidity, highly nitrogenous soil and lots of rain. But as climate change brings the heat to countries like Ghana and the Cote d'Ivoire (two of the biggest chocolate producing-countries), the decreased rainfall and increased aridity could threaten the delicate cacao trees.
Probably more threatening to your average overworked college student is the fact that the same changes that threaten chocolate, also pose a risk to coffee bean production. The same conditions that are ideal for cacao trees are perfect for coffee bushes. But as water becomes scarce, coffee farmers are seeing their crop yields fall. Vietnam's coffee growers stopped exporting a few years ago, with Honduras and Brazil likely to follow.
And for the partying folks, the same is true of beer. Yes, that cheap six-pack staple of parties and game nights could soon become as scarce and expensive as fancy wines. This is largely due to the drop in hops growth, which is an essential part of flavoring beers.
But no matter which way you slice it, climate change means that the smell of chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven, or the taste of hot coffee in the morning, may all soon become nothing more than a distant memory.
If all this has gotten your taste buds in a tizzy, you can literally put your money where your mouth is and make a donation to the Conservation Fund or the Environmental Defense Action Fund. If you're short on cash but blistering with rage, call your local senator or representative and tell them how much this matters.