Published: Wed, January 03, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Scientists urge action to save chocolate from climate change

Scientists urge action to save chocolate from climate change

Tiny, green cacao seedlings are being kept in refrigerated greenhouses with the hope they can thrive in dryer, warmer climates. The year 2050 is when they predict that people will be forced to satisfy a sweet tooth with toffee or caramels seasoned with tears.

Cacao is a somewhat moody plant, only thriving in a few remote areas of the planet, and it doesn't do very well in unpredictable climates.

But in countries such as Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana they are fast running out of usable farm land with officials now facing a dilemma of whether to move into terrain which is currently preserved for wildlife.

Yet, those regions won't be appropriate for chocolate in the following couple of decades.

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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.

"We're trying to go all in here", Mars' chief sustainability officer Barry Parkin told Business Insider. "There are clearly responsibilities the world is inclining toward at the same time, to be honest, we don't believe we're arriving sufficiently quick on the whole".

Mars' decision to collaborate with UC Berkeley scientists is a part of this initiative.

Cacao plants require a rainforest environment with consistent temperature, plentiful rain, and high humidity.

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Berkeley's gene-editing technology, called CRISPR, has been in the works for a while, though when it gets attention, it's nearly always for the potential to eliminate genetic diseases or (sort of on the extreme end of this) build "designer babies".

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

The research lab she oversees at UC Berkeley is called the Innovative Genomics Institute. A large number of the endeavors by graduate understudies there concentrate on utilizing CRISPR to profit little holder ranchers in the creating scene.

Cocoa beans grow best in mixed groves where plants and trees use each other to provide nutrient and shade, but more and more farmers are growing their beans in "monocultural" groves made of only cocoa trees.

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