Published: Wed, January 03, 2018
Health Care | By Alberto Manning

Chocolate Shortage May Lead To Disappearance Within 40 Years, Scientists Say

Chocolate Shortage May Lead To Disappearance Within 40 Years, Scientists Say

Beyond the glittery glass-and-sandstone walls of the University of California's new biosciences building, rows of tiny green cacao seedlings in refrigerated greenhouses await judgment day.

Chocolate is considered the ultimate comfort food and the best way to beat the stress, but experts have warned that it could go extinct soon.

Cacao plants, and the chocolate that is made from their beans, could disappear as early as 2050.

FYI, other foods at risk of not surviving climate change include coffee, apples, and potatoes. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the USA, cacao trees can only grow within 20 degrees north or south of the equator, where conditions are just right - fairly constant warm temperatures, high humidity, high rainfall, low winds and rich soils, conditions one would expect from rainforests. They thrive only in a region about 20 degrees north and south of the equator, and require rainforest-like conditions described by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as "fairly uniform temperatures, high humidity, abundant rain, nitrogen-rich soil, and protection from wind". The M&M's and Snickers maker is investing $1 billion into a variety of efforts to fight climate change, and the scientists in a plant-genomics program at Berkeley hope to develop hardier cacao plants that won't wilt or rot at their current altitude.

Additionally, floods, droughts and windstorms are already common where cacao is cultivated - and climate change is making these extreme weather events worse and more frequent. Over portion of the world's chocolate now originates from only two nations in West Africa - Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana.

Thankfully, a team from UC Berkeley is working on a possible fix.

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"We're trying to go all in here", Mars' chief sustainability officer Barry Parkin told Business Insider.

Jennifer Doudna, the UC Berkeley geneticist who invented CRISPR, is overseeing the collaboration with Mars.

"By and by, I'd love a tomato plant with organic product that remained on the vine longer", Doudna revealed to Business Insider.

Stash up on your diary milk blocks and scorched almonds because experts are anxious chocolate could run out in the next 30 years thanks to a warming climate.

As far as modern civilization knows, Earth is the only planet with chocolate.

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