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Climate change could rob us of chocolate

Climate change could shrink the world’s supply of chocolate, Undark reports. Rising temperatures and increasingly frequent droughts in West Africa are projected to turn large portions of the cocoa-producing region to savanna by 2050, scientists report in the journal Science of the Total Environment. The researchers drew on United Nations climate predictions and temperature data from more than 750 data stations in the region stretching from Cameroon to Sierra Leone, where 70% of the world’s cacao crop is produced. Cacao is usually grown on the borders between forests and savanna, areas that are particularly vulnerable to shifts in temperature or rainfall. Scientists fear that the loss of these growing areas could drive further deforestation in West Africa as farmers scramble to find new growing areas. The study urges farmers to employ shade covers to keep their plants cool, and to shift to more drought- and disease-resistant varieties of cacao.

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