If your perennial New Year’s resolution is to curb your chocolate consumption, then it may be easier to keep than you think — in about 30 years. Experts warn the world’s chocolate supply could dwindle to almost nothing by 2050.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says we reached a tipping point in 2016. And, unless major changes are made, the number of areas where cacao trees can grow will be dramatically reduced.
Those trees, which are critical for the production of chocolate, only grown in very specific conditions. But climate change is raising temperatures and reducing rainfall in the narrow band of the Earth where they grow most prevalently.
The NOAA report isn’t new — nor is the study it cites, which was conducted in 2013. However, it has recently turned a lot of heads.
The upside is that even though the U.S. has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Accord, most countries are still taking steps to reduce carbon emissions — and many large U.S. companies say they still plan to honor the terms of the accord.
And NOAA notes that despite things looking dire for chocoholics, the worrisome predictions are not certain. The study NOAA cited examined 294 locations that grow cacao trees. Of those, only 10.5% showed increasing suitability for cacao production; the remaining 89.5% were likely to become less suitable by 2050.
However, says researcher Peter Läderach, who headed the study, “these changes in climatic suitability are predicted to take place over a time period of almost 40 years, so … there is time for adaptation.”