Tuesday, 9 April 2013

What does wine, coffee and chocolate have to do with climate change?

Post written by R. Cretney.

Recent news articles have been taking a popular angle in raising awareness of the effects of climate change on agriculture and food production.

Research released today, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States shows that Californian, Chilean and Mediterranean grape producing regions will be hit hard by shifts in growing conditions due to climate change

 Other recent research has shown that other popular food items such as coffee, honey and chocolate are at risk from increasing severe weather events, pests and diseases as a result of a shifting climate. Even Starbucks acknowledged the risk of climate change in 2011 and began lobbying the Obama administration to work on the issue.

 But the news is not all bad for New Zealand. The climactic changes may make it easier to grow grapes here. The author's model shows land suitable for grape growing increasing by 168%. This could provide a new industry for agricultural production that is negatively affected by other shifts in the climate and may increase our already strong brand as a wine producing nation.

 For other industries though the authors recommend using increasingly creative farming techniques and less water intensive means of production. So who knows about the future of coffee and chocolate, but at least the future of global wine production shows promise for New Zealand. Next week we are going to have a look at how your personal food choices can affect the global climate but investigating different dietary choices.

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