Starbucks warning: World coffee supply could evaporate

Starbucks warning: World coffee supply could evaporate
SEATTLE - Coffee lovers the world over are facing a potential jolt - and not the kind that comes from that cup of java first thing in the morning.

Starbucks is warning of a serious threat to world coffee supply - due to climate change - which could mean the caffeinated beverage loved by millions is on the verge of extinction, according to news reports.

In a telephone interview with the Guardian, Jim Hanna, the company's sustainability director, said its farmers were already seeing the effects of a changing climate, with severe hurricanes and more resistant bugs reducing crop yields.

The company is now preparing for the possibility of a serious threat to global supplies.

"What we are really seeing as a company as we look 10, 20, 30 years down the road – if conditions continue as they are – is a potentially significant risk to our supply chain, which is the Arabica coffee bean," Hanna said.

That news is not going down well among coffee aficionados.

"I wouldn't want to live in a world without coffee, to be honest with you," says coffee lover T.J. Nolan.

Adds coffee drinker Tim Root: "This is probably my fourth cup of coffee today. I'd be pretty miserable."

The Union of Concerned Scientists is raising a similar alarm about a world without coffee, in TV ads and testimony before Congress.

The group is warning that heavy rain, long droughts and insect infestations linked to climate change threaten the future of Americans' cup of morning joe, according to a report by ABC News.

"In barista-speak, that means no venti, no grande - not even a tall," says ABC News reporter Barbara Pinto. "So Starbucks may hedge its beverage bets, investing in a chain of smoothie and juice bars.

"It's not the same," Shana Durham told ABC News. "And there are a lot of calories compared to coffee."

And there's more bad news. Another report out this week warned the future may also be bitter - for chocolate. Global warming, the report says, could make parts of Africa too hot to grow cocoa.

So far, Congress hasn't acted on the warnings and doesn't seem to take them too seriously.

Meanwhile, skeptics of global warming say these warnings are brewing unnecessary concern - a tempest in a coffee pot.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player