Chocolate Could Go Extinct by 2050 Due to Climate Change


Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana provide more than half of the world's chocolate.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is warning that if the temperatures keep rising by 2.1C every year over the next 30 years it could wipe out the cocoa plants entirely. Apparently, cacao plants are especially sensitive to climate changes-most of the crops can only be grown in two small countries in Africa, currently-and with the ever-increasing temperatures, the plants are now on track for total extinction as early as 2050 (which, heads up, is only 32 measly years from now).

More importantly, cacao plants are notoriously fussy when it comes to temperature, and even more so when it comes to humidity. In one noteworthy collaboration, the University of California and the Mars Company are teaming up to explore the possibility of using gene-editing technology to create more resilient cacao crops. If it works, it would allow the crops to survive in hotter, drier climates.

Doug Hawkins, of Hardman Agribusiness, said fertilisers and pesticides were crucial to yield a good cocoa crop, but most cocoa is produced by poor families you can't afford these things.

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The chocolate-producing plants only grow in specific locations that are within 20 degrees to the north or south of the equator. New technology, known as CRISPR, is being used by UC Berkeley scientists to modify the DNA of the plants.

Mars, producers of Snickers, Milky Way, and other delights, has pledged a $1billion effort, "Sustainability in a Generation", to reduce its carbon footprint by more than 60 percent by 2050.

"We're endeavoring to bet everything here", Barry Parkin, Mars' central supportability officer, revealed to Business Insider. Although her invention has been viewed as a way to rid humans of diseases and disorders, she believes it has more potential in the improvement of foods. One such project aims to protect cassava - a key crop that prevents millions of people from starving each year - from climate change by tweaking its DNA to produce less of a unsafe toxin that it makes in hotter temperatures.

Sod the diet, we need enjoy the chocolate whilst we still can.