Will Chocolate Go Extinct?

Here is some Valentine's Day news that is not so cheery.  An article in Business Insider carries the headline, "Chocolate is on track to go extinct in 40 years."

The concern is that cacao plants, which are the natural source of chocolate could go extinct by 2050.

Cacao plants can only grow within a narrow strip of rainforested land roughly 20 degrees north and south of the equator. That is where the temperature, rain, and humidity all stay relatively constant throughout the year.

More than half of the world's chocolate now comes from just two countries in West Africa — Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

The plants are victims of fungal disease and climate change.  The threat of fungal disease has been known since 2010 when it essentially destroyed cacao trees in Central America, their original natural habitat.

Cacao plants are quite sensitive. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) uses climate models that predict that by the year 2050 a 3.8°F or 2.1°C increase in temperatures and drier conditions will occur in the current growing areas and further shrink possible growing areas.

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