In the waning hours of 2017, like a politician holding inconvenient news for a Friday afternoon, Business Insider published a terrifying headline: “Chocolate is on track to go extinct in 40 years.” That claim was repeated uncritically around the web as the story gained viral strength, capping a year of difficult news.
Contrary to its click-ready headline, however, the primary focus of article concerned a joint effort by scientists with the UC Berkeley Innovative Genomics Institute and the Mars candy company to create a genetically modified form of cacao — the plant used in chocolate production — resistant to the future effects of climate change and habitat loss.
Biological extinction, as implied by the headline this information was packaged in, refers to the complete and total removal of a species from the planet—a far cry from a “considerable reduction in area” reported by the IPCC.
Ingrid Parker, a professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz, told us that while climate change may make it harder to grow cocoa in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, other countries are capable of growing the crop as well….
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