The changing climate is going to take all kinds of improbabilities and turn them into the new normal. Case in point: Even Starbucks can't afford to buy coffee these days.
As extreme weather wreaks havoc on one of the world's major coffee producers, Craig Russell, Starbucks's head of coffee, told the Wall Street Journal that the company has halted its purchases of Brazilian beans.
Brazil, which is responsible for about a third of global coffee output, in the midst of its worst drought in decades; as a result, coffee production is down, and prices are way up -- futures have surged about 90 percent this year. Once the drought is over, things are only expected to get worst: heavy rains anticipated for later this year threaten to further slow the harvest and reduce crop quality.
"No one really knows" how bad the crop loss will be, Russell said. "Our strategy is stability. To have stability, you don't chase the market."
For now, Starbucks is quick to reassure customers that they aren't yet raising prices. But as Russell told the WSJ, "Eventually, you have to buy coffee" -- and with the world facing a shortage of 11 million 60-kg bags of beans, there's no guarantee that we'll be able to keep doing so without shelling out more cash.