Resource Crunch: Why Many Things Cost Much More

By Tom Randall and Eric Roston - 2012-02-06T18:24:40Z

Photograph by Mark Moffett/Minden Pictures/National Geographic Stock

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Peak Coffee--Climate Change May Stress the Beans

Prices for Arabica coffee beans jumped more than fourfold since Starbucks Corp., the world's largest coffee shop owner, had its initial public offering in June 1992. By 2010, java guzzlers consumed an estimated 135 million bags, the most since at least 2000, according to the International Coffee Organization.

Starbucks plans to open its first store in India by August, becoming one of the first companies to take advantage of new rules opening the doors to foreign chains. The downside to adding a billion new potential customers: increasing strain on an already stressed bean.

Rising temperatures and unusual rainfalls in Central and South America have curtailed crops in recent years, a trend that's forecast to worsen as global warming takes a toll on coffee-growing regions.

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