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Coffee, with a pinch of salt

Bloomberg has an article out claiming that coffee production is being hit by climate change:

Global Coffee Shortage Looms as Market Braces for Climate Change

Rising consumption, especially in emerging markets, means global production will have to rise by an extra 40 million to 50 million bags of coffee in the next decade, said Andrea Illy, the chairman and chief executive officer of Illycafe SpA, a roaster based in Trieste, Italy. That’s more than the entire crop of Brazil.

Throw in the looming threat of climate change, as well as low prices that are discouraging farmers from increasing output, and you’ve got a potential problem. It’s something producers, government officials and industry representatives are trying to tackle this week at the Global Coffee Forum in Milan.

A shortage and low prices eh? Sounds a bit odd. Odder still is this graph of global coffee production. Spot the climate change effect if you can.

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Reader Comments (46)

It's clear Whitney McFerron isn't the brightest bulb in the box. Just another lefty journo who can't even be bothered to check even the most basic facts.

Anyone who writes shortage and low prices in the same sentence must be an arts graduate.

Oct 2, 2015 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

the chairman and chief executive officer of Illycafe SpA, a roaster based in Trieste,

In Glasgow a 'roaster' is a stupid, untrustworthy person.

Just sayin.

Oct 2, 2015 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

...It’s something producers, government officials and industry representatives are trying to tackle this week at the Global Coffee Forum in Milan....

Lot of third-world nations there. Lot of lobbyists and activist groups living off grants there. Lot of companies trying to present themselves as popular, trendy and pro-environmental, while increasing cultivation in rainforests. Lot of government representatives with grants to give away....

I'm not surprised that climate change is 'mentioned'.

Oct 2, 2015 at 3:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Is it because South American coffee farmers (for example) have found more lucrative crops to grow for cash?

Columbia's finest is in high demand, and climate change has no part in it.

Oct 2, 2015 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Global warming, if anything, causes higher minimum temps - not maximum temps - which means less frost (the big coffee killer), longer growing seasons and larger cultivatable areas. So can nobody ever be optimistic just for a wee change? All of history tells us most plant-life prefers warmer to colder.

Oct 2, 2015 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Should all the EU's solar farms be converted to grow coffee? They can't produce anything farming sunshine, so coffee must be worth trying. It is solar powered, and there is genuine demand for coffee.

Oct 2, 2015 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Just looked at Whitney's LinkedIn page where she lists amongst her special talents "fact checking" and "investigative journalism". Lucky trades descriptions don't apply to social media claims I think.

Oct 2, 2015 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

"Throw in the looming threat of climate change, as well as low prices that are discouraging farmers from increasing output, and you’ve got a potential problem."

So low prices are caused by a coffee shortage!

This is just the opposite of what is taught in every course in economics, finance and business everywhere in the world.

The writer seems to be a denier of the law of supply and demand. But never mind he does not deny that climate change will be catastrophic.

Oct 2, 2015 at 3:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrederick Colbourne

Extreme climate is coming.
This is a real scare. Yesterday it was reported that Aviemore had both the UK's highest and lowest recorded temperatures, in a single 24 hour period.
Strangely the BBC did not jump on it.

Oct 2, 2015 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoonhamer

"Bloomberg has ..."

self snip
Mother taught if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything.

Oct 2, 2015 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn F. Hultquist

This was covered in yeaterday's Radio4 programme 'Insiode Science' Write on Kew festival at Kew Gardens, Preserving global biodiversity. The programme was a complete load of typical BBC climate change nonsense/propaganda from start to finish. See if you dare listen to it without throwing your radio/whatever through the window.

Oct 2, 2015 at 4:08 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

That reminds me: what happened to the dippy Louise Gray of The Telegraph?

Oct 2, 2015 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

They're following the example set by (among others) people who are 'concerned' about polar bear populations and Pacific island real estate:

- ignore evidence of thriving polar bear populations and lack of rising sea-level threat impact on beachfront real estate prices and coastal development

- claim that polar bears and Pacific islanders are endangered species due to vague, hypothetical, or imaginary looming climate disaster

- profit!

Oct 2, 2015 at 5:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterfortunatecookie

I had a look at the coffee/climate change numbers back in May.

What's the point though? The process of packaging and re-packaging climate stories is not in any way challenged by debunking the numbers: the organisations that produce them don't give a stuff; and the vapid journalists who reproduce them are either too thick or too determined to look closely at the numbers.

Oct 2, 2015 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Fortunatecookie, so what we need is to get polar bears to grow coffee on remote islands. There is the risk of polar bears getting addicted to cafeine, but apart from that, it fulfils the requirements of 3 imaginary risks of climate change, with one simple and wholly impractical solution, climate science perfection.

Oct 2, 2015 at 6:54 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

That reminds me: what happened to the dippy Louise Gray of The Telegraph?

Oct 2, 2015 at 4:44 PM | ssat

She's gone freelance. You could hire her if you want. :-)

Oct 2, 2015 at 6:58 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

The coffee climate scare has been around for a while. Wrote up a previous headlined version in essay The Last Cup of Coffee.

Oct 2, 2015 at 7:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterRud Istvan

Load of kopi luwak

Oct 2, 2015 at 7:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

I seem to recall that climate change was going to put paid to beer and chocolate as well. Even if it were true that warmer climates would make it too hot or dry to grow certain crops in the places where they grow them at present, the obvious answer is to grow them further north.

Oct 2, 2015 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

Sadly, my favorite coffee WAS from Yemen.

Oct 2, 2015 at 8:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterSlywolfe

The ICO pages tell a different story and blame the low prices to the global slump in commodity prices. Nothing warmista there. The meeting in Milano was addressed to trade and agricultural ministers, including Japan and Russia, so not much ecoBS there.
On the other hand, Illy produces excellent roasted coffee, one of my favourites, but is quite expensive, so it has to appeal to rich hippies, guardianistas and eco-yuppies through an enviro-trade-fair-concerned-whatever image.

I should add that their way of fair trading, if true, seem ok to me.

Oct 2, 2015 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterPatagon

IF there is a shortage due to the farmers not being paid enough then there is only one thing to be blamed - Fair Trade, where the farmers in developing countries get a pittance and the fat cats in the developed world rake it in.

Oct 2, 2015 at 9:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

"Just looked at Whitney's LinkedIn page where she lists amongst her special talents "fact checking" and "investigative journalism". Lucky trades descriptions don't apply to social media claims I think." --John B

In Newspeak, "investigative journalism" means investigating a stack of press releases to see if there's any really alarming stuff in there. "Fact checking" means checking that those press releases are from reliable sources, like Puffing-and-Boast or Doomberg or Greenpreach.

Oct 2, 2015 at 9:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

What the coffee growers are worried about is Global Cooling not Global warming. Warming increases minimum temperatures, which means less frost. Frost is the coffee killer. More CO2 and a,longer growing season is just what they need. Let's all just think a bit, plant-life prefers warmer to colder and the more CO2 the better.

Oct 3, 2015 at 5:20 AM | Unregistered Commenternicholas tesdorf

Yes, shortage and low prices in the same paragraph. The writer is a couple if cans short of a 6 pack.

Oct 3, 2015 at 6:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterImranCan

Oct 2, 2015 at 7:24 PM | Unregistered Commenter Rud Istvan wrote:

The coffee climate scare has been around for a while. [...]

Yes, and I recall first seeing this particular scare a few years ago. Alas, for the advocacy crowd, there seems to be nothing new under the "climate scare" sun. So the advocates are evidently reduced to the only climate related activity at which they seem to excel: Recycling;-)

And speaking of "recycling" ... Last year - as the UN entered into a $4.5 trillion twilight zone - readers may recall that Lord Stern (along with his sidekick, former President of Mexico, Felipe Calderón) had introduced the first product of their "Global Commission on the Economy and Climate" and had announced that:

The New Climate Economy is the Commission’s flagship project. It provides independent and authoritative evidence on the relationship between actions which can strengthen economic performance and those which reduce the risk of dangerous climate change. We reported in September 2014. [my bold-hro]

Alas, this did not quite catch fire, and/or "inspire" the world. So this year, this dynamic duo (and a bunch of recycled high profile friends**) have decided to launch the "Energy Transitions Commission" which was evidently "inspired" by last year's Stern-Calderón effort.

In perusing the Energy Transitions Commission's available literature, I did notice that the word "dangerous" was somewhat conspicuous by its absence. Although I must confess that I only skimmed the available buzzwords galore, so I might have missed it!

And who knows, perhaps this convoluted coffee crisis will make it into their first report;-)

** TERI head honcho Rajendra Pachauri's purported successor-in-waiting, and once upon a time IPCC-nik, Ajay Mathur is included in this list of luminaries. Quelle surprise, eh?!

For those who might be interested, relevant links and further details available via my: Lord Stern’s new kid on the climate-energy recycled inspiration block?

Oct 3, 2015 at 7:18 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Yip, definitely a hockey stick, no doubt about it. Must be all the CO2 that coffee plants put out.

Oct 3, 2015 at 7:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterPunksta

Bloomberg is now worse than useless as a source of financial or business information.

What person with even a modicum of financial or economics knowledge will pay scant attention to anyone who states a market a market is experiencing rapidly growing demand and very low prices and then claim that the problem is one of supply shortage of inability to supply because of "climate change" or anything else.

It like those idiots who say we are now at "peak oil" at the same time as low prices are closing marginal output and exploration around the world.

Oct 3, 2015 at 8:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Nearly as bad as the spaghetti crop scare!.

Oct 3, 2015 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterBeth Cooper

Try agin.

Oct 3, 2015 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterBeth Cooper

I've lost track of the number of 'coffee price scares' we've heard. In the 1970s I recall coffee producers issuing warnings about failed crops to boost prices which, mysteriously, never seemed to fall back again when crops 'recovered' in succeeding years.

This sounds like the same old opportunism dressed up in the fashion of the day. And the bandwagon creaks on...

Oct 3, 2015 at 11:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterUncle Badger

Can anyone confirm whether crime goes up to pay for increased prices of illegal drugs, due to shortages caused by climate change? Or does the price of illegal drugs simply reflect supply and demand economics, and the success of Law Enforcement Agencies in restricting the supply?

Official figures for Columbian exports of coffee, may not be everything they are cracked up to be.

Oct 3, 2015 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Pablo Escobar said that the essence of the cocaine business was "Simple: you bribe someone here, you bribe someone there, and you pay a friendly banker to help you bring the money back."

Seems the funding MO hasn't changed just the business.

Oct 3, 2015 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

This calls for some exaggeration.

"Christ how worried I am about the possibly rising prices of coffee beans! Christ how badly the production has spiralled down during the last 40 years! Peak coffee! Scarcity for us to share! Holy moley what could I do if price of coffee tripled? I'd be bankrupted!! Get rid of your SUVs now and stop using plastic bags!!!!11!"

Now could these genia get a life? There is no such thing as dropping prices with growing demand without a fully socialist system. Soviet Union had demand separated from prices. They ran out of stuff because prices didn't go up with demand. There is no way the global markets worked that way.

Oct 3, 2015 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterwert

Being greenies they're very hot on recycling and that goes for GW stories as well.

Are they going to fit this lot in before Paris? Watch the press and listen to the radio for the answer.

Oct 3, 2015 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Hard as it is to believe coffee prices are at 30 year lows, with increased consumption there must be massively increased production.

Coffee 30 year low prices except at your local coffee place.....middle men making all the money..

Oct 3, 2015 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterScott

In the past it was because of weather in Brazil or elsewhere. With the thieving needed to bring taxes to the world in Paris it has suddenly become climate change.

They truly are as corrupt as can ever be possible

Oct 3, 2015 at 7:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Poised for a 3.5 million bag deficit following a 6.4 million bag deficit the prior year. Isn't that an improvement?

Also strange how increasing consumption not the headline rather than ClimateChange™ (as opposed to the real climate change we have been accustomed to since the year dot).

Oct 3, 2015 at 8:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterSven Mills

Mrs Marshall comes from Parana State in Southern Brazil. The North of the state, from Maringa to Londrina, 30-50 years ago was the centre of the Brazilian coffee industry when it accounted for over half of global production. The soils are extremely rich. Problem is that every few years there is a hard frost that turns the bushes black. After such a frost in 1975 plantations moved north to Mato Grosso, where there is never a frost and average temperatures. Many of the farms are now given over to soya, cassava and sugar cane instead.
A few degrees of warming will mean coffee production moving south again. As an indication according to Wikipedia, in the City of Londrina the coldest month of July has a mean of just 17 degrees - similar to London in July. The record low was -2.8C. Cuiabá in Mato Grosso averages 22 degrees in that month.

Oct 3, 2015 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

Where is this headline? "England out of Rugby World Cup; Climate change a factor!"

I think we should be told.

About as truthful as this nonsense about coffee ,which I remember was first aired a few years ago.

Oct 4, 2015 at 6:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris B

The coffee growing regions of Colombia are mainly at altitude rather than in the plains (anything below 1200m is considered too tropical) - I've driven through over the Cordilleras from Bogotá to Cali and to Medellin and through Boyaca.

They don't tend to coincide with coca growing regions:

many of which have long been controlled by FARC and its predecessors (e.g. M19).

Oct 4, 2015 at 10:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

"...low prices that are discouraging farmers from increasing output..."

So Bloomberg has economically ignorant journalists!

Oct 4, 2015 at 5:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoubting Rich

A MATHEMATICAL discovery by Perth-based electrical engineer Dr David Evans may change everything about the climate debate, on the eve of the UN climate change conference in Paris next month.

It turns out the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has over-estimated future global warming by as much as 10 times, he says.

Oct 4, 2015 at 7:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterhusq

I'm not a bright guy, it's okay I've accepted it but when I saw this on TV today I thought, "something doesn't seem right."

I usually equate a shortage of something with, duh, an actual shortage, but that's not what this is, is it. If I can figure this out then shouldn't the way smrater people at the learning institutes be able to get it?

Oct 5, 2015 at 1:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterMichaelS

"Just looked at Whitney's LinkedIn page ........" --John B

Just two questions, John -

1) Has Whitney included a photo on her Linkedin profile?
2) If yes, did you send her a comment about it?

Oct 5, 2015 at 3:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavidsb

Is that a "peaberry" coffee bean in the center? Excellent!

Oct 6, 2015 at 1:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteamboat McGoo

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