According to a document from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the changing temperatures around the world will make growing cacao plants nearly impossible within the next 30 years.The chocolate-producing plants only grow in specific locations that are within 20 degrees to the north or south of the equator. The West African countries of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are currently among the leading producers of chocolate, generating more than half of the world’s supply.The plants thrive in the rainforest because of its stable temperatures with high humidity, heavy rain, rich soil, and protection from wind.
NOAA claims that the effects of climate change will gradually push the perfect climate for growing cacao into higher and less suitable areas. This is why in an attempt to save chocolate, scientists at the University of California are teaming with candy industry giant Mars to change the genes of the plant.Using the gene-editing machine CRISPR, the team hopes to make cacao plants more resilient to the changing weather conditions around the world. If successful, scientists say the crop’s seedlings would be able to survive in drier and hotter climates.