CBS: Coffee 'Might Be Heading For Extinction' Due to Climate Change

On Monday's Early Show, CBS took advantage of Americans' love of coffee to hype climate change, bizarrely claiming that "your morning cup might be heading toward extinction." Contributor Taryn Winter Brill turned to a left-leaning organization to reinforce the claim that climate change "could have a devastating effect on future coffee production."

Fill-in anchor Jeff Glor teased Winter Brill's report by stating that "the top scientist at Starbucks says climate change threatens to severely limit coffee production around the world for decades." As he introduced the segment, he went even further by using the "extinction" line. The contributor explained that it was actually "the director of sustainability for Starbucks [who] said that climate change is threatening the world's coffee supply"

The Starbucks executive in question is Jim Hanna, who according to an online bio, "joined Starbucks Coffee Company in November 2005, leading the company’s initiatives to minimize its environmental footprint...Prior to Starbucks, he served as Director of Environmental Affairs for Xanterra Parks & Resorts at Yellowstone National Park. In the position, Jim oversaw Xanterra’s many progressive environmental initiatives...Jim earned a BS in Environmental Sciences from Washington State University."

Todd Sanford, Union of Concerned Scientists | NewsBusters.orgWinter Brill then played two sound bites from Todd Sanford, who was identified on-screen as being a climate scientist for the Union of Concerned Scientists. The contributor never mentioned the left-of-center ideology of the organization. Sanford claimed that "climate change...could have a devastating effect on future coffee production." The CBS personality added that "increased carbon emissions have been linked to global climate change. So for coffee lovers, the idea of waking up without their morning brew could be a wake-up call to lead a more eco-friendly life."

Near the end of the segment, Winter Brill upped the ante by zeroing-in on another popular consumer item supposedly at threat- chocolate: "I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but chocolate production is also being affected.....they say by the year 2050, certain areas around the globe will not be able to sustain growing cocoa because of climate change."

Earlier in 2011, the CBS contributor served another left-leaning cause by hyping the "caloric catastrophe" of movie theater popcorn.

The full transcript of Taryn Winter Brill's report from Monday's Early Show, which aired 44 minutes into the 8 am Eastern hour:

JEFF GLOR: Coffee lovers, get ready for a jolt. A group of scientists believes your morning cup might be heading toward extinction.

ERICA HILL: Boy, that's good news on a Monday morning. (laughs) There is some good news here.

'Early Show' contributor Taryn Winter Brill tells us that news isn't exactly being welcomed by millions of bleary-eyed folks who depend on that cup of joe every day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANNOUNCER (voice-over, from TV commercial): There is no other coffee like the 100% Colombian.

Taryn Winter Brill, CBS News Contributor | NewsBusters.orgTARYN WINTER BRILL (voice-over): Try and imagine a world without coffee. For millions of early risers, that morning cup of joe is part of a daily ritual.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: I need caffeine in the morning.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: Without my morning cup of coffee, I'd probably be cranky.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: I love my coffee in the morning. It makes me a happier person during the day.

WINTER BRILL: But for scientists, the reality is no laughing matter. On Friday, the director of sustainability for Starbucks said that climate change is threatening the world's coffee supply, telling The Guardian newspaper, 'What we are seeing as a company as we look 10, 20, 30 years down the road- if conditions continue as they are- is a potentially significant risk to our supply chain, which is the Arabica coffee bean.'

TODD SANFORD, CLIMATE SCIENTIST, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS: Coffee likes a pretty narrow range of temperature, and one of the hallmarks, really, of climate change will be increased extremes in temperatures.

WINTER BRILL: Scientists say climate change will cause heavier rains, longer periods of drought, and higher rates of insect infestation in the tropical areas where coffee is grown- factors that could have a devastating effect on future coffee production.

SANFORD: Those of us who enjoy our morning cup of coffee- we may not always realize the future climate- due to increased temperatures, extreme precipitation- really could, in some ways, put that at risk.

WINTER BRILL: Increased carbon emissions have been linked to global climate change. So for coffee lovers, the idea of waking up without their morning brew could be a wake-up call to lead a more eco-friendly life.

[CBS News Graphic: "Trouble Brewing: Scientists: World Coffee Supply Dwindling"]

HILL (on-camera): Tara Winter Brill is with us this morning. (Winter Brill laughs) Wow, sort of sobering-

WINTER BRILL: That four cups of coffee, by the way- (laughs)

GLOR: Oh, you're charged up then?

WINTER BRILL: A little bit-

HILL: So you're using up the whole coffee supply? Thanks a lot.

WINTER BRILL: Guilty as charged. But, I mean, the thought of it- being around people who haven't had their morning fix. Can you imagine? Are you both coffee drinkers?


HILL: We do both drink coffee, but I limit myself to a couple a day. But, you know, maybe in some ways, this could be good for us- sort of wean us off our addictions to the coffee a little bit-

WINTER BRILL: Okay-

GLOR: Yeah. Well, maybe not- (Winter Brill and Hill laugh) I'm not sure I could do that. (Glor laughs) I do find it amusing that you're doing it with a straw.

WINTER BRILL: Right. This is actually water. I cut myself off-

HILL: You don't want to stain your teeth, though-

WINTER BRILL: No-

GLOR: Do you- you don't do the straw with coffee, do you?

WINTER BRILL: I do- don't tell anybody.

GLOR: Oh, really? With hot coffee- really?

WINTER BRILL: I do, and proud of it-

HILL: A lot of people do!

WINTER BRILL: Yes, yes- exactly.

GLOR: Oh, how about that!

HILL:  It's all about the tea. Now, wait, so you were telling us in the break it's not just coffee, though, that may be affected?

WINTER BRILL: Yes. I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but chocolate production is also being affected.

HILL:  If you it tell me is there a problem with red wine, you are out of here! (Glor laughs)

WINTER BRILL: (laughs) Not yet, not yet, but they say by the year 2050, certain areas around the globe will not be able to sustain growing cocoa because of climate change.

HILL: Which is- I mean, it's all actually very serious stuff-

WINTER BRILL: It is-

HILL: So it makes you rethink a few things.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center