HealthZette

Dire Predictions About the Death of Chocolate

If you believe reports about weather conditions, the cacao tree, and an environmental menace — chocmageddon could be up ahead

If global warming scientists’ predictions are correct, one of America’s most loved treats could fade into history as early as 2050, The Daily Meal reported.

While pleas to save the rainforests may have fallen on deaf ears in the past, the dire possibility of a “sweet death” may be just enough to get people to pay attention. Failing significant changes to the current trajectory, some scientists say weather conditions necessary to grow the cacao trees will be severely threatened over the next 40 years.

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The issue, according to a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Climate.Gov, which was published in 2016, is a cacao tree-killing environmental menace called evapotranspiration. In a nutshell, the condition results when humidity levels are insufficient to sustain the precious trees, which grow exclusively in a narrow latitudinal belt within 20 degrees of the equator, typically in rainforests.

If rising temperatures, carbon emissions, and associated environmental conditions carry on, it will mean chocmageddon —that is, if you believe some reports.

No need to panic. Not just yet, anyway.

The report on Climate.gov says there are steps growers can take to ensure that the world’s supply of chocolate doesn’t take as big a hit as some of the doomsayers are suggesting. So there is plenty of time left to adapt.

The article’s authors cite a number of adaptation strategies that can stem the loathsome tide.

One such strategy involves using seeds bred for drought resistance. Another employs cabruca — a method that involves retaining and/or replanting shade trees around the cacao trees that help combat both rising temperatures and the dreaded evapotranspiration.

The news on the cabruca strategy for protecting the world’s chocolate supply gets even better.

And the news on the cabruca strategy for protecting the world’s chocolate supply gets even better. If the experts that Climate.gov quotes from a Brazilian study are correct, the judicious use of cabruca could actually double cacao production.

Fear not, chocolate lovers. It’s not chocmageddon after all. Long live cabruca — and chocolate bars!

Michele Blood is a freelancer based in Flemington, New Jersey.