Commentary: Coffee, Climate, and Salmon

Source: Todd Myers, Washington Policy Center, October 1, 2019. Todd will be one of our debaters (along with Daniel Malarkey of Sightline) discussing the Snake River dam removal at our Energy Leadership Summit on November 19, 2019.

A few times a week, I bump into data that undermine popular environmental narratives. It is not surprising, but still depressing, the number of times activists, reporters, and politicians make claims that are at odds with available data. Here are three I saw today.

Todd Myers, Washington Policy Council
Todd Myers, Washington Policy Council

Climate change isn’t killing coffee

Eight years ago, reporter Melissa Allison wrote a three-part series claiming “Climate change takes toll on coffee growers, drinkers too.” The claim was that increasing temperatures had reduced yields and, as a result, “the fate of coffee in Costa Rica could be a bellwether for food production — and prices…”

critiqued the story at the time because the claim that climate change was harming coffee crops was based not on data, but an unsubstantiated claim by one person.

Now, eight years later, even as worldwide temperatures have increased, arabica coffee prices – the type grown in Costa Rica – have fallen from about $3 a pound to $1 a pound. Far from driving prices up, prices have declined dramatically even as temperatures have continued to rise. It is a reminder not to rely on tenuous and short-term trends to make grand claims about the future.

Read the full story here.

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