Scientists Predict Chocolate Will Go Extinct by 2050
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A new effort the University of California Berkeley, however, is using CRISPR technology to modify the DNA of the cacao plants, according to the Independent. Hopefully, the genetically modified plants will be able to survive rising temperatures and farms won’t have to be relocated to higher elevations.
NOAA’s report states that climate change will affect not the current generation of cacao plants, but the next one, meaning that, “there is time for adaptation.” But the outlook still seems dire: NOAA warns that 89.5% of land currently used to cultivate cacao will no longer be suitable by 2050. The agency recommends focusing on farming specific breeds of cacao seeds that are resistant to drought and supporting more efforts to grow cacao seeds using a traditional Brazilian method called cabruca, in which additional trees are planted in the rainforest to provide cacao trees with shade—a critical element the seeds need to survive.
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Climate change will clearly have far-reaching consequences for the way people eat, and thankfully scientists are already figuring out ways to adapt to the forthcoming crisis. In the meantime, next time you take a bite of chocolate, you should take the time to savor it.