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To weather a changing climate, coffee needs bees, trees: study

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Editor’s note: The world is slowly waking up to a bitter reality: that climate change could squeeze coffee supplies just as global demand for it is surging. With a major initiative under way to help make coffee completely sustainable, new research published today highlights just what is at stake for one of the world’s most widely traded commodities.

For coffee lovers, a new research paper is grounds for worry.

Rising average temperatures caused by climate change could reduce the suitability of lands for growing coffee in Latin America — the world’s largest coffee-producing region — by as much as 88 percent by 2050, the study found.

But your morning cup does not depend on suitable climes alone — it also relies on bees to pollinate coffee trees. How will those bees fare as the climate changes? Not that well, according to the study, which found that average bee diversity will decline between 8 percent and 18 percent in coffee-suitable areas — but not enough of a drop on its own, the researchers found, to imperil the viability of coffee crops in places where it will still…

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