What would the world be without chocolate?
According to scientists, by 2050 the world will experience a shortage of chocolate — if not complete unavailability.
Rising temperatures from climate change are threatening to shrink the strip of rainforests around the equator, where cacao trees — which produce cocoa beans, from which chocolate is made — thrive.
The Windmill @ Emerald Bank owner and self-confessed chocoholic Giulia O’Keefe said the news was her worst nightmare.
‘‘My first thought was, ‘how can that be?’ It certainly pricked up my ears,’’ she said.
‘‘Chocolate is an indulgence but no-one thinks about where it comes from, it just lands in your shopping trolley.’’
Ghana and the Ivory Coast is where 50 per cent of the world’s supply of cocoa comes from, and as the Earth gets warmer the drier climate could mean moving the crops to areas of higher altitude.
Instead of 250m above sea level, the optimal cultivation zone would be at 450m, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Mrs O’Keefe, who makes homemade chocolate goodies under the Chocolate Shop sign at Emerald Bank, urged chocolate-lovers worried about the news to first think about the environment.
‘‘Climate change is a bigger problem that can impact on the simple things in life,’’ she said.
Chocolate makers hope scientists will be able to find ways to help save cacao plants from extinction, with Mars — which makes M&M’s, Snickers and Twix — pledging $1billion to the cause.
According to the World Cocoa Foundation the cacao industry employs 50million people worldwide.