Oh no! Climate change will threaten beer supply, double prices

Beer Climate Change

Given the apocalyptic warnings in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released last week, a price hike on your favourite brew may not seem like the most pressing issue related to out changing climes.

The parts of the world where barley is grown - including the northern Great Plains, Canadian prairies, Europe, Australia and the Asian steppe - are projected to experience more frequent droughts and heat waves. Wallace says that climate change is on the minds of all craft brewers as they plan for how to avoid future shortages of both barley and hops.

In the United Kingdom, beer consumption could fall between 0.37 billion and 1.33 billion litres, while the price could as much as double.

"High-quality barley is even more sensitive to extreme weather events linked to climate change", Guan told AFP.

Global warming is likely to cause a major drop in global yields of barley - a vital ingredient for brewers.

The three big cereal crops for human consumption are corn, wheat and rice, she said: "Those three make up about 50% of the world's calories, so they're huge in people's diets".

Over the course of time, the team used computer models to predict potential extreme climate impacts on barley yields in 34 regions around the world.

Reuters reported that many companies realise the risks of climate change on barley, 17 percent of which is used to make beer.

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The research showed that beer consumption worldwide could diminish by 16 percent during the most severe weather conditions; prices would double on average.

Drinkers in the United Kingdom would be forced to cut back their consumption by 25% in a worst-case climate change scenario, and in the U.S., 14% fewer bottles would be opened. In the Czech Republic, it could be six or seven times as expensive.China and the United States drink the most beer, due to their populations.

Here in the USA, two thirds of the barley crop is used to make beer.

"For beer drinkers, this (study) converts an abstract concept. into the more real future price of beer", Ellis said, according to The Guardian. "A sufficient beer supply may help with the stability of entertainment and communication in society", according to Guan. To add insult to injury, prices for beer could increase anywhere from 15% to 50%.

"It may be argued that consuming less beer isn't itself disastrous, and may even have health benefits", Guan said in a statement from the University of East Anglia, where he works.

"Really, the countries who love beer will suffer a lot", he said.

"If you want to have the choice for not only beer but chocolate, coffee, tea, cigars - all of those crops are very much vulnerable to climate change".

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