Will Climate Change Leave Chocolate Out of Menu by 2050?

03 January, 2018, 01:45 | Author: Earnest Huff
  • Oh dear lord we might run out of chocolate in the next 30 years

Cacao plants need very specific conditions to grow, such as high humidity, abundant rain and nitrogen-rich soil, according to Forbes.

And according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration a temperature-rise of just 2.1C over the next 30 years will spell bad news for the plants, and chocolate lovers everywhere.

Cacao plants are slated to disappear by as early as 2050 thanks to warmer temperatures and dryer weather conditions. Over portion of the world's chocolate now originates from only two nations in West Africa - Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana.

That's why candy maker Mars pledged $1 billion last September toward sustainability efforts aimed at saving chocolate, Business Insider reports, with the corporation recruiting University of California researchers to develop a sturdier cacoa plant that won't wilt in drier climates.

However, the best use of this tecnology could be in the developing world where these plants are increasingly threatened by climate change, more pests and lack of water.

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FYI, other foods at risk of not surviving climate change include coffee, apples, and potatoes.

Mars' decision to collaborate with UC Berkeley scientists is a part of this initiative.

"We're trying to go all in here", Mars' chief sustainability officer Barry Parkin told Business Insider. The research of Jennifer Doudna, who works at UC Berkeley, was important to the creation of the gene-editing technology (but a heated legal battle concluded that the patent belonged to the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.) Doudna will be working on the chocolate-preservation project as well.

An ardent tomato nursery worker, Doudna figures her device can profit everybody from substantial food organizations like Mars to singular specialists like herself. His team will use the revolutionary, emerging genetic engineering technology called CRISPR-Cas9. One such project aims to protect cassava - a key crop that prevents millions of people from starving each year - from climate change by tweaking its DNA to produce less of a unsafe toxin that it makes in hotter temperatures.

As if there wasn't already good enough reasons to care about how we treat the planet, this catastrophic effect certainly is.

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