Published: Wed, October 17, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Heat waves, drought will drive up beer costs

Heat waves, drought will drive up beer costs

"Decreases in the global supply of barley lead to proportionally larger decreases in barley used to make beer", said lead author Dabo Guan, a professor of climate change economics and the University of East Anglia in Britain.

Beer may be among the casualties of climate change thanks to its main ingredient, barley, struggling to grow during droughts and extreme heat, according to a new study.

The study suggests consumption levels could drop by a quarter in the United Kingdom, however, the outlook could be particularly dire for Ireland, Belgium and the Czech Republic, where consumption could drop by a third and prices could double.

Again, price and consumption changes would vary widely from country to country, with the greatest price increases being concentrated in relatively affluent and historically beer-loving countries. But it predicts that domestic beer consumption will still fall as more barley would be exported.

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Steve Davis of the University of California, Irvine, says the beer research was partly done to drive home the not-that-palatable message that climate change is messing with all sorts of aspects of our daily lives.

Following a report from the United Nations last week, additional research revealed that there are climate-related potential problems looming for several key brewing nations, including Belgium, the Czech Republic and Ireland, the journal Nature Plants reported. "A sufficient beer supply may help with the stability of entertainment and communication in society".

Changes in barley supply would cause beer prices to double, on average, and global beer consumption would fall by 16 percent. Your beloved brewskis will soon be in jeopardy, thanks to climate change. Extreme weather conditions will affect the supply of major crops resulting in difficulty to meet the increasing demand of the popular alcoholic beverage across the world. According to coverage of the study, "under low greenhouse gas emission scenarios, barley crops - and ultimately beer prices - are only impacted in minor ways".

Scientists say that global climate change will soon cease production of beer, and this will be the case if the mankind will not be able to restrain the temperature rise.

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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". Perhaps most notably, the scientists predict that "today's average six-pack in the USA would cost around $16", not taking inflation into account.

The global study involved researchers from the UK, China, Mexico, and the U.S., who identified extreme climate events and modelled the impacts of these on barley yields in 34 world regions.

If millennials don't kill the beer industry, climate change just might.

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