emfizz.com January 19, 2018

The world is going to run out of chocolate

03 January 2018, 12:52 | Todd Saunders

REUTERS Dado Ruvic

Mars Snickers

Cacao, the plant that chocolate comes from, is in danger of disappearing due to warmer temperatures and drier conditions, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The new year is kicking off with some scary news for chocolate lovers: By 2050, climate change could severely hamper the growth of the cacao plant or even cause its extinction, according to an article in Business Insider.

Cacao, like coffee plants and wine grapes, are notoriously delicate trees to grow.

These plants grow in very specific conditions and areas - within 10 degrees north and south of the equator - featuring nitrogen-rich soil, lots of humidity and abundant rainfall.

Because of its dependence on such a limited area of land and its extreme reactiveness to small shifts in climate, cacao is particularly vulnerable to global warming.

Now two West African countries, Ivory Coast and Ghana, produce more than half the world's cocoa but this region is forecast to be hit by rising temperatures and droughts.

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Fortunately for chocoholics, a rescue mission has commenced.

In September, the company promised $1 billion as a feature of an exertion called "Supportability in a Generation", which intends to diminish the carbon impression of its business and production network by over 60% by 2050. Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley and Mars (the company behind candy bars like Snickers and M&M's) have teamed up to find a solution to the problem. New technology, known as CRISPR, is being used by UC Berkeley scientists to modify the DNA of the plants.

Barry Parkin, Mars' chief sustainability officer, told Business Insider: "We're trying to go all in here..." While the geneticist who invented CRISPR, Jennifer Doudna, acknowledged some risk inherent to the technology, which could potentially eradicate human diseases, she said it could have a big impact on the food we eat.

CRISPR is involved in another project to protect cassava, a crop that saves millions of people from starvation each year, from the effects of climate change by tweaking its DNA to produce fewer toxins in warmer temperatures.

So enjoy your chocolate while it lasts!

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