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Coffee, Tea & Climate Change

June 1, 2015

Coffee, tea, and cocoa are just some of the crops that could be affected by rising carbon dioxide levels and temperatures with climate change.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Yosomono flickr Yunnan Tea Plantation CC BY 2.0

A tea plantation in Yunnan Province, China. (Yosomono/Creative Commons License BY 2.0, via flickr)

Climate change in a cup. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The rich flavors that coffee, tea, and cocoa are known for are highly dependent on the climates where they are grown. But as carbon dioxide levels and temperatures rise with climate change, these crops could be in danger, reports Christina Larson, a contributing correspondent for Science magazine.

CHRISTINA LARSON:

In Assam, which is a region of India famous for its tea, summer temperatures are already hovering near the upper limit for tea plants, so there’s a real concern that further temperature increases could endanger the tea crop.

HIRSHON:

What’s more, a recent study suggests that the world’s most popular type of coffee bean is also nearing its temperature threshold in many growing regions. And, drought in Africa could lower the yield of cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate. The good news? She says increased C02 could cut the amount of addictive nicotine in tobacco plants. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.