Climate change may lead to beer shortages

Gwen Vasquez
October 18, 2018

The most popular alcoholic beverage in the world could become a lot more coveted.

Although the frequency and severity of drought and heat extremes increase substantially in a range of future climate scenarios, the vulnerability of beer supply to such extremes was never assessed, they said.

Many companies realize the risks of climate on barley, 17 percent of which is used to make beer.

Average global barley yields during extreme events are expected to drop between 3pc and 17pc, depending on the conditions, said the study, published in the journal "Nature Plants".

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

"Our results show that in the most severe climate events, the supply of beer could decline by about 16 percent in years when droughts and heat waves strike", Davis said.

The research found that the world could end up losing upwards of 17 percent of barley crops over the next 80 years - leading to a significant spike in beer prices.

Climate change threatens the world with drought, rising sea levels, powerful storms - and a global beer "crisis", say researchers.

Profitez de votre bière son prix va fortement augmenter en raison du réchauffement climatique

In other countries with smaller total beer consumption, they face huge reductions in their beer consumption.

"We have to all work together to mitigate climate change". "For perhaps many millennia, and still at present for many people, beer has been an important component of social gatherings and human celebration".

If nothing else can spur the world to combat climate change, maybe the love of beer can. There is, Guan said, "something fundamental in the cross-cultural appreciation of beer".

Steve Davis of the University of California, Irvine, and one of the studies authors says the beer research was done, in part, to drive home an unpalatable message that climate change is and will continue to mess with our daily lives.

Unlike with fresh produce, the price of which often changes with seasonal availability and weather events, consumers are not used to fluctuations in the price of beer. A global average 100% increase in price between now and 2099 is the worst-case scenario, while a 15% increase in price is the best case.

The findings are significant and vary from country to country across 34 global regions. In Ireland, where beer is now quite plentiful, prices could surge by 200% or more.

Climate change has already taken a heavy toll on barley.

The global study involved researchers from the UK, China, Mexico, and the USA, who identified extreme climate events and modelled the impacts of these on barley yields in 34 world regions. A recent study estimates that losses of barley yield could be as high as seventeen percent in the near future, causing the price of beer to rise as a result.

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