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Experts say one main factor has made Easter eggs more expensive: '10 times more likely'

This could be an unfortunate annual tradition.

This could be an unfortunate annual tradition.

Photo Credit: iStock

If you've been to the grocery store to stock up on chocolate eggs for Easter, you may have noticed your wallet was hit a little harder than usual.

Unfortunately, if global heating persists, this could be an unfortunate annual tradition.

What's happening?

A BBC report detailed that a heatwave in West Africa is partly to blame for a shortage of cocoa beans. The increased temperatures have affected crop growth, leading to reduced yields. 

Since the region provides a large percentage of the cocoa beans used by the chocolate industry, this has resulted in high demand and rising costs, which are being passed on to consumers. According to consumer watchdog Which?, cited by the BBC, some eggs have seen price rises of 50% or more. 

As temperatures continue to rise, the likelihood of extreme weather events like heat waves will increase. If action isn't taken to curb the release of planet-warming gases like carbon dioxide and methane, this likely won't be an isolated event.

"Experts say that human-induced climate change has made the extreme heat 10 times more likely," the BBC observed.

Why is this so concerning?

In addition to making the Easter egg haul either more expensive or less impressive, there are huge implications for the livelihoods of cocoa farmers in West Africa.

Per the BBC, World Weather Attribution estimated that the region will likely experience extreme heat waves every two years, which will impact the earning potential so many people in cocoa farming countries like Ivory Coast and Ghana rely on.

While El Niño, a recurring weather pattern that occurs every two to seven years, has made the issue more pronounced in the last 12 months, that doesn't mean it has to be present to affect crops. Temperatures are steadily rising worldwide regardless, with 2023 said to be the hottest year on record. El Niño is just emphasizing the issue.

But a warmer climate is not just making heat waves and drought more likely. It's also bringing intense rainfall, which encourages the spread of fungal diseases that can tear through cocoa plants.

What can be done about rising food prices?

Cutting pollution is the obvious answer. While this is mostly the responsibility of governments and industry, who need to enact meaningful change among the biggest polluters, there are ways that we can all help reduce the release of planet-warming gases.

Cutting reliance on single-use plastics will stop the excessive production of these items, which pollute the atmosphere from creation to disposal. According to the University of Colorado Boulder, the extraction of dirty fuel used to make plastic and its transportation produces between 1.65 and 13.8 million tons of planet-warming gases. 

Meanwhile, if plastics end up in landfills after being thrown out, they release polluting methane gas. Landfills are responsible for more than 15% of methane production, and this gas is far more potent than carbon in terms of heating potential.

When it comes to chocolate, though, supporting cocoa farmers and crop pickers as they navigate the changing climate is essential. Buying from sustainable producers will allow farmers to adjust their practices and pay their staff a fair wage.

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