Climate Change Cachets

The Conservation International organization says climate change is causing habitat loss as bees fail to migrate to cooler areas and establish new hives. A study on bumblebee migrations found that bee territories have shrunk by almost 200 miles in North America and Europe.

Another study found that lower temperatures were associated with lower prevalence of the gut parasite Nosema ceranae, indicating that higher temperatures as a result of climate change could result in more bees infected with Nosema ceranae.


Rising average temperatures caused by climate change could reduce the suitability of lands for growing coffee in Latin America – the world’s largest coffee-producing region – by as much as 88% by 2050.

However, even coffee growing areas that will remain suitable or expand may still be in trouble because bees, which pollinate coffee, will likely also be impacted by climate change, a study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says.

It was the first to look at the relationship between coffee, bees and climate change.

The scientists found that in some areas, the number and diversity of bees would increase, potentially offsetting the negative impacts of climate change on coffee. Overall, they found that both coffee suitability and bee populations will decline.

Today, 91% of the most suitable area for coffee growing in Latin America is within 1,600 meters of a tropical forest – important habitats for native pollinators. By 2050, this number will increase to 97%, meaning conservation of those habitats will be crucial for coffee growers


The number of days of extreme heat is increasing and the number of days of extreme cold is decreasing in Europe.

Research in the journal Geophysical Research Letters finds the number of summer days with extreme heat has tripled since 1950 and summers have become hotter overall. The number of winter days with extreme cold decreased in frequency by at least half and winters have become warmer overall.

“Even at this regional scale over Europe, we can see that these trends are much larger than what we would expect from natural variability. That’s really a signal from climate change,” says climate scientist Ruth Lorenz of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

Lorenz found the number of extreme heat days in Europe has tripled since 1950, while the number of extreme cold days decreased by factors of two or three depending on the region. Extremely hot days have become hotter by an average of 4.14° F, while extremely cold days have warmed by 5.4° F on average.

She says more than 90% of the weather stations studied showed the climate was warming – a percentage too high to purely be from natural climate variability.


Sea temperature and ocean acidification have climbed during the last three decades to levels beyond what is expected due to natural variation alone, Princeton researchers report.

But they say other impacts from climate change, such as changes in the activity of ocean microbes that regulate the Earth’s carbon and oxygen cycles, will take several more decades to a century to appear.

The report published in the journal Nature Climate Change looked at physical and chemical changes to the ocean that are associated with rising atmospheric carbon dioxide due to human activities.


Warmer soil temperatures caused by climate change are expected to reduce soil moisture content in global ecosystems, resulting in higher productivity for wet regions

Britain’s National Farmers’ Union, which represents 55,000 UK farmers, sets a target of net- zero emissions in UK farming by 2040.

The British Broadcasting Corp. reports scientists in Wiltshire are developing small battery-powered robots that could drastically cut diesel-powered tractor use.

“Using robots cuts the energy used in cultivation by about 90%,” says Sarra Mander of the Salisbury-based Small Robot Co.

Sowing is done by planting seeds in the ground without ploughing. Less soil disturbance means more carbon stays locked in the soil.

Drones and tractor-mounted sensors are being used to help farmers work out the exact patterns of moisture, weeds and pests. The data is used to target areas that need work – and leaves the rest undisturbed.

Friends of the Earth is calling for a doubling of tree cover to boost carbon storage, help with flooding and prevent soil erosion.

Farmers who keep their animals outdoors for longer can help to cut emissions thousands of miles away. When animals are indoors, they are often fed on soya imported from Latin America. Soya is often grown on land previously rainforest, so the demand for animal feed in the UK is, critics say, exporting deforestation.

In farming, methane is a major worry.

The NFU says many farmers are using methane from manures and slurries to generate electricity. There is also research into feed additives to reduce methane production in the animals’ guts,.

For lambs, the goal has been to produce animals that fatten more quickly and can be slaughtered earlier. Research in Wales points to reductions of about six days in the time taken to fatten hill lambs, though some farmers report reductions of up to 30 days.


The most commonly grown variety of kiwifruit in New Zealand’s western Bay of Plenty will not be commercially viable by the end of the century because of climate change.

A study in the N.Z. Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science shows Hayward, or green kiwifruit production, centered on Te Puke, 145 miles southeast of Auckland, will become marginal by 2050 and most likely unviable by 2100.

The report says it doesn’t mean the end of the green kiwifruit industry because cooler areas could start growing the fruit.


Climate change could negatively impact banana cultivation in some of the world’s most important producing and exporting countries, a study has revealed.

A study, led by Dan Bebber from the University of Exeter, scientists looked at both the recent and future impact of climate change on the world’s leading banana producers and exporters.

It shows that 27 countries – accounting for 86 % of the world’s dessert banana production – have on average seen increased crop yield since 1961 due to the changing climate resulting in more favorable growing conditions.

Crucially the report also suggests that these gains could be significantly reduced, or disappear completely, by 2050 if climate change continues at its expected rate.

It suggests that 10 countries – including the world’s largest producer and consumer of banana India and the fourth largest producer, Brazil – are predicted to see a significant decline in crop yields.

The study does highlight that some countries, including Ecuador (the largest exporter) and Honduras, as well as a number of African countries, may see an overall benefit in crop yields.

Bebber says the industry is concerned about the impact of diseases such as Fusarium Wilt on bananas, but the impacts of climate change have been largely ignored.

Ten countries are predicted to show at least a negative trend, if not strong declines in yields. These include some of the largest producers such as India and Brazil, as well as Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama and the Philippines, all of which are major exporters.


Alan Harman