A cuppa immune to global warming – Prince Charles hears about biodiversity efforts at Kew visit

The Prince of Wales has been finding out how botanists from Kew Gardens have rediscovered a coffee bean plant they believe is climate change tolerant and tastes good.

Prince Charles had invited a group of chief executives from a range of businesses to join him on a tour of the research centres at Kew.

He wanted to show them how their world leading research and science programmes can provide help solutions for companies striving to become more environmentally friendly.

Kew botanist Dr Aaron Davis gave a presentation in the institution’s herbarium, home to seven million plant specimens, and described how he and colleagues rediscovered a coffee bean in Sierra Leone that was last made into coffee in the 1920s.

They have found that it tolerates much warmer temperatures than the widely used arabica coffee plant – and so could survive a climate change episode.

“We put out wanted posters,” Dr Davis, head of crops and global change at Kew, joked, describing how only a single plant was found at first, followed by others growing in a forest.

Prince Charles who has passionately spoken about biodiversity loss said “It’s a terrible problem, isn’t it, that we’ve made ourselves so vulnerable over the last 60, 70 years, haven’t we, by reducing everything to just two to three species, or even two like the bananas, so we’re much more vulnerable to diseases.”

He added, “This is why biodiversity, regeneration is so critical, isn’t it? And, it seems to me, the combination or the reintroduction I think of agro-forestry systems would presumably benefit hugely from coffee and banana rather than just mono-cultural plantations.”

The prince, who was joined by the president of Gabon Ali Bongo Ondimba was also shown beans from the Zanzibar coffee plant, which was Queen Victoria’s favourite coffee.

In recent years the Prince has convened groups of business leaders through his Sustainable Markets Initiative, aiming to encourage the business world to more actively work together across different sectors to combat the planet’s most pressing environmental issues.

During the tour at Kew one academic described how his efforts to help Ikea verify that the species of rattan used in its furniture is from sustainable sources could be used industry wide. Another team at Kew is helping Border Force identify illegally imported wood.

The visit came as the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew launched its five-year strategy to help stop biodiversity loss and develop sustainable nature-based solutions.

Subscribe to ClimateCast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Spreaker

Watch the Daily Climate Show at 6.30pm Monday to Friday on Sky News, the Sky News website and app, on YouTube and Twitter.

The show investigates how global warming is changing our landscape and highlights solutions to the crisis.

Source: Read Full Article