STOP HITTING SNOOZE. COFFEE & CLIMATE DELIVER BLEAK WARNING

Dr. Peter Baker, a respected expert on climate change and advisor to Coffee & Climate (C&C), and Stefan Ruge, Progam Manager for Coffee & Climate at Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung, gives a grim description of what to expect in the coffee industry over the next decade.

The “frequency and severity of extreme events…is going to impact the industry as coffee has always been at the mercy of these fluctuations.” Says Dr. Baker who goes on to explain that the process is already happening at a pace faster than was projected. Dr. Baker stops short of saying the frost in Brazil was a direct outcome of climate change, for which there is insufficient evidence to reach a conclusion.

The outlook is not optimistic, but the message is one of defining mitigation strategies based on the knowledge that we will miss our climate targets.

Media Statement

Clearly we did not accomplish what we needed to at COP26, and a weak outcome from that event is made worse by the war in Ukraine which has re-prioritised governments priorities.

screenshot from the webinar – Missed Wake-Up Call: The Coffee Industry and the Impacts of Climate Change

“Stop hitting snooze! The alarm clock is ringing!” – Climate change impacts coffee-growing regions more than expected. It requires immediate action. This is the clear message given by climate scientist Dr. Peter Baker and Stefan Ruge, Program Manager, Climate, at Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS). In an expert discussion organized by the initiative for coffee&climate (c&c), they showed how climate change threatens the livelihoods of smallholder coffee farmers and drew scenarios for the near future.

The…frequency and severity of extreme events… is going to impact the industry as coffee has always been at the mercy of these fluctuations.

Dr. Peter Baker, advisor to C&C, Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS)

“There is no realistic chance of staying below 1.5°C anymore”, was the sobering statement by Dr. Peter Baker. Whereas the overall global temperature rise is now 1.1 to 1.2 °C, the global land temperatures are already at 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The impacts of climate change lead coffee farmers to migrate or diversify out of the coffee business and also threaten their livelihoods through extreme weather events and socio-politic implications.

Baker claims that by now, every country should ideally already have a comprehensive climate adaptation and disaster management team assembled, plans developed and under implementation. Only with immediate action, there is a chance to avoid catastrophic impacts on the sector as a whole. However, efforts of the coffee industry to support farmers so far are often piecemeal and of an inadequate scale. 

Especially smallholder coffee farmers will have to deal with the increasing impacts of climate change. “It is not about coffee alone, it is about the people and supporting them to become resilient to the changes”, emphasizes Stefan Ruge. “The solution is the concerted action of the sector in a holistic approach. The industry needs to become an active partner here.” This effort is made by c&c, a private sector initiative supported by companies such as Lavazza, Tim Hortons, or Tchibo as well as by Sida, our public partner.

I have to say when I started working on this subject 20 years ago, I never imaged I’d be sat here saying these things now

Dr. Peter Baker – conclusion of his talk: Missed Wake-Up Call: The Coffee Industry and the Impacts of Climate Change

c&c innovates, disseminates, and implements climate-smart tools and practices in coffee production, provides them to coffee farmers and supports these in diversifying their production and in increasing their food security. In doing so, it supports farming families in six regions worldwide to effectively respond to climate change and safeguard their livelihoods. c&c’s strategy furthermore includes building up whole climate-smart tropical regions and establishing carbon-neutral and zero-deforestation coffee supply chains. HRNS is the implementing partner of c&c. “As an action-oriented organization we have a lot to do”, argues Ruge. 

Since its founding in 2010, c&c has developed and implemented suitable responses to climate change in seven regions worldwide. With more than 92,000 coffee farming households supported to date, c&c is currently in its third phase of implementation and will reach an additional 80,000 families by 2024.

Author

  • Nick Baskett is the editor in Chief at Bartalks. He holds a diploma from the Financial Times as a Non Executive Director and works as a consultant across multiple industries. Nick has owned multiple businesses, including an award-winning restaurant and coffee shop in North Macedonia.

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