How climate change is threatening some of our favourite foods

From cheese to wine: these foods and drinks could be in danger of extinction.

Click here to read the Spanish version.

The industry ‘fights’ the climate emergency as if it were some kind of battle between modernity or capitalism and mother earth. A paradigm that is haunting the lands and crops of the world’s major coffee producers, putting the possible extinction of coffee on the table.

In the midst of this dark reality, activists and/or agents of change are trying to combat the possible collapse of civilisation induced by climate change. A claim that is at the forefront of culture, and that endangers the supply of coffee or other food and beverages in the future.

Global coffee consumption is expected to double to 6 billion cups of coffee per day by 2050, putting its supply in doubt. Furthermore, according to Science Advances, around 60% of all wild coffee species could become extinct, as well as the popular Arabica coffee species, which is also under threat, according to the IUCN.

Beyond coffee, other foods such as chocolate and cheese could also be affected by climate change, due to a number of factors such as increasing deforestation and rising temperatures. In addition, many species are in danger of extinction according to National Geographic, experiencing a loss of habitat or genetic variation that threatens thousands of species.

Focusing on the exquisite world of cheeses, the classic camembert is ‘on the brink of extinction’, according to an article by the French National Centre for Scientific Research; along with other versions such as brie, which has also been in the news for its uncertain fate.

That alarm was raised in the 20th century, when a single strain of the fungus Penicillium camemberti began to be used for camembert and brie. Over time, the fungus would lose its genetic diversity and its ability to produce the sexual spores needed to create the soft, creamy cheese.

The possible extinction of wine has also been a topic of collective debate for many years. The reality is that there are some grape species that have been threatened by the climate emergency, altering the taste of wine and its outcome, as was the case with the French in particular, as reported in TIME magazine in 2020.

Chocolate has also been the subject of talk of possible extinction by 2050. An omen deduced from the cocoa productions near the equator, which are seeing their conditions affected. In that year, much of its land in West Africa will be less suitable for growing the plant, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Similarly, the sea has been deeply affected by this global crisis, which affects, among many animals, some of the salmon species. According to the Endangered Species Act, some Pacific sockeye salmon and two species of Chinook salmon are endangered.