Double-Double Trouble

Written by Dr Klaus L.E. Kaiser

There is a shock coming, your morning double-double or latte might soon cost you double-double as well. Coffee plantations are under attack from—you may have guessed it—“climate change.” The wholesale “climate” and soon consumer prices for coffee beans are rising sharply as coffee plantations are experiencing production problems.Al Gore coffee

What’s the Cause?

As D. Carrington reports in The Guardian, “climate change will brew a bad-tasting, expensive cup of coffee.”

As (nearly) everyone knows, coffee trees grow best in a sunny but cool climate, sort of like the North Pole in summer or the South Pole in winter. But don’t take my word for that. Just trust the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) whose numerous models have all been predicting calamitous “climate change” for the last twenty-plus years. It’s not that their models were wrong, nature just delivered an unexpected and yet to be explained “pause.”

Cause of the “Pause”

The cause of the “pause” really is not the models’ or modellers’ fault. The real problem is that nature has difficulties reading their reports and properly interpreting them. Obviously then, we need to train nature better, perhaps a pre-JK class “feel-good” assignment would do to rectify that.

In any event, sunspots, solar cycles and other scientific explanations of the “pause” could then easily be explained-away. Given the right political will we may even be able to make nature conform to the models. 

But I digress, the subject was coffee. Where did it come from originally?

Coffee’s Origin

The coffee bean is the fruit of (not surprisingly) the coffee tree (Coffee spp.,Rubiaceae family). Prior to 17th century or so, the coffee plant was only known from the eastern highlands in Africa. However, some horticulturalists thought that the plant would also grow well in the New World and established coffee plantations in the Caribbean and Brazil. The coffee plants did so well in Brazil, that the country soon became the main producer and exporter of the beans. In effect, Brazil created a near monopoly on producing coffee beans for the whole world at that time (well over 100 years ago). Needless to say, Brazil was keen to keep it that way and took many precautions to prevent any export of viable coffee beans to other areas of potential coffee cultivation.

However, with the human spirit ever so enterprising, it was just a matter of time until that system of control broke down. It happened when an enterprising “hunter” managed to successfully export some stuffed birds to places not controlled by the Dutch coffee merchants of the time. The birds were stuffed alright—with viable coffee beans; ditto for Brazil’s de facto monopoly. At least so have I read.

Coffee Production

Ever since its introduction to the New World, the coffee production is dominated by Brazil and other countries in South and Central America. In recent decades increasing quantities are also produced in Southeast Asia. However, Africa, where the coffee plant originates, barely registers on the world scale of quantities produced as evident from the table below.coffee table

 

A) Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, 5th ed., 1896, Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig & Wien.
b)Wikipedia.
c) Production in 2013, International Coffee Organization.

Though the world population has increased approximately fourfold between one hundred years ago and the present, coffee production has only tripled. In addition, I freely admit, I probably drink more of the stuff than my grandparents likely did. So, consumption is up and production has not kept pace. Is that a result of “climate change?”

Coffee and “Climate Change”

It never ceases to amaze me to see what kinds of problems are being blamed on “climate change.” Good or bad, these days it’s just about “de rigueur” for the author(s) of any report to attribute any and all problems on this mysterious catch-all phrase of “climate change.” What is even more vexing is that any scientific proof of such claims is not required. After all, it’s all self-explanatory and based on “settled science.”

Of course, the real cause of the declining coffee production is fungus- and insect-derived problems befalling these large mono-cultures. These problems would be easy to overcome with genetic improvements of the coffee plants as has been done for grains and other fruits. However, some coffee aficionados vehemently resist such intentions. They want their morning double-double beanies grown without the use of any “-icides” or genetically enhanced beans.

I think here is your chance to invest in my up-and-coming enterprise of the Greenland Mountain Coffee Cooperative (GMCC). With the claimed rapid melting of the ice sheet on Greenland it ought to be just a matter of time when your investment in coffee trees on Greenland’s slopes (yet to be planted) will bear a rich harvest. The GMCC is currently taking on new (only well-heeled) members; serious inquiries welcome. We’ll even invite you to a free double-double.

 
Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser  Bio

Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser Most recent columns

Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser is author of CONVENIENT MYTHS, the green revolution – perceptions, politics, and facts
convenientmyths.com

Dr. Kaiser can be reached at:mail@convenientmyths.com

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Comments (1)

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    Plchampness

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    Coffee issues are all about the Free Market. There are frequent mismatches in supply and demand and the price fluctuates. However there are plenty of coffee growing countries now and they can increase supply if the price justifies it.

    You say “[b]Though the world population has increased approximately fourfold between one hundred years ago and the present, coffee production has only tripled. In addition, I freely admit, I probably drink more of the stuff than my grandparents likely did. So, consumption is up and production has not kept pace[/b].”

    That cannot be. Production has kept pace. Supply equals demand unless there are huge stockpiles, which is unlikely. Actually a lot of the increase in population (third world) does not drink coffee.

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