Of Chocolates and Climate Change
By Vijay Jayaraj
Chocolate lovers across the world had a shocking beginning to their new year when they were informed of the coming chocolate apocalypse. The chief suspect again — climate change.
The mainstream media ran news columns that claimed the death of chocolate within 30 years. They blamed climate change as the driving factor of this prophetic chocolate fall.
Cocoa — the plant from which chocolate is derived — grows on either side of the equator under favorable climatic and soil conditions. Any drastic changes in these conditions will alter or inhibit the growth of cocoa plants.
The recent claims, however, stem from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report that forecast the extinction of cocoa plants by 2050, due to a temperature increase of 3.8°F (2.1°C).
These temperature figures are from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) climate assessment reports that use computer models to predict an increase in global temperature levels.
But these are the very same models that have been declared faulty by even the staunchest climate crusaders. The models were found wanting when they failed to capture the changes in the temperature during the past 20 years.
The global temperature levels showed no significant increase during the last 20 years, thus proving wrong the “business as usual” scenario of the computer models that predict a 3.8°F increase in temperature.
In contrast, the constant increase in carbon dioxide concentration levels from human emissions were found to have no significant impact on the global temperature levels during the past 20 years.
Moreover, cocoa plants have survived through much warmer temperature levels in the past.
The oldest known chocolate use dates back as far as 1900 BC, when people groups in Mexico indulged in cocoa-based drinks. More research revealed their extensive use in Utah during the 8th century.
Cocoa plants, since then, have survived through multiple cold and warm periods.
The Roman warm period (2,000 years ago) and the medieval warm period (1,000 years ago) were equally warm as the current warm period that the earth is going through. And cocoa plants evaded extinction during the brutal little ice age around the 16th century.
Even if the climate forecast of IPCC and NOAA were true, they will not affect the survival of cocoa plants. This is good news for chocolate lovers like myself, who can sigh in relief and trust in the fecundity of cocoa plants for the rest of the century.
Republished from Earth Rising.