Could chocolate go extinct by 2050?

Chocolate-growing regions in danger
Official notice
Before disappearing, it could get more expensive
Climate change is the main culprit
Droughts and rising temperatures
Ghana and Ivory Coast
Two Celsius degrees hotter
Future lack of rain
Five years till maturation
Demand will increase
First steps
DNA modification
Recommendations to farmers
A traditional but effective measure
Price increase
White chocolate could survive longer
Chocolate is not ‘on track’ to go extinct
Chocolate-growing regions in danger

By 2050, rising temperatures will push today's chocolate-growing regions more than 1,000 feet uphill into mountainous terrain, much of which is currently preserved for wildlife, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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Official notice

Oxfam was the organization that launched the serious warning and set, in the middle of the 21st century, the date on which chocolate could cease to exist.

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Before disappearing, it could get more expensive

Of course, much earlier, around 2030, chocolate could be such an exclusive luxury that it could resemble delicacies such as caviar.

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Climate change is the main culprit

According to Oxfam Intermón’s report, climate change is the culprit for making chocoholics fear for their future.

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Droughts and rising temperatures

Specifically, they speak of droughts and extreme temperatures as the causes that will lead to definitive damage to cocoa crops around the world.

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Ghana and Ivory Coast

The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) looked, in a report, directly at Ghana and Ivory Coast, two of the largest cocoa producers on the planet, with more than 50% of production behind them.

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Two Celsius degrees hotter

According to CIAT, in these two countries temperatures will increase by around 2ºC (35.6ºF) between now and 2050, which would make the cocoa harvest almost unviable, since it needs tropical, humid climates and temperatures of around 20ºC (68ºF).

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Future lack of rain

The seeds of the cocoa tree, which grow in tropical climates with abundant rainfall throughout the year, would be seriously affected by the lack of rain and the increase in temperature.

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Five years till maturation

A cocoa tree needs around five years to reach its point of maturity and has a lifespan of 30 years. For this reason, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, affirms that climate change will not affect this generation of cocoa plants, but the next.

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Demand will increase

With the amount of demand that exists in today's globalized society, five years is a very long process, that, in the coming climatic changes, many crops will not be able to deliver.

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First steps

What measures can be taken to try to save the chocolate? For now, Mars, one of the world's leading chocolate manufacturers, has partnered with the University of California at Berkeley to genetically modify cocoa plants.

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DNA modification

CRISPR is a technology that allows the DNA and genome to be modified on demand so that cocoa plants can survive in drier and warmer environments.

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Recommendations to farmers

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recommends that farmers grow specific cocoa plants that are more resistant to drought.

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A traditional but effective measure

Another measure being implemented is to use Brazil's traditional sustainable method known as “Cabruca”, in which trees are planted in the jungle to provide more shade for the cocoa plants.

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Price increase

There are still quite a few options to save cocoa, but what seems clear is that in the medium-term future, chocolate will become a much more expensive item than it is today.

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White chocolate could survive longer

Many brands have begun to use cocoa substitutes to reduce its purity and thus make it more affordable to the general public. White chocolate, for instance, doesn’t contain solid cocoa, like milk and dark chocolate, although it contains cocoa butter, milk and sugar.

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Chocolate is not ‘on track’ to go extinct

Despite warnings, many scientists, like Megan Hochstrasser, science communications manager at UC Berkley, told USA Today that "Chocolate is not 'on track' to go extinct in 40 years."

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