Why climate change means beer could become more scarce

Climate change could cause beer prices to soar - study

The focus of the study was to examine how climate change would impact your quality of life.

Barley growing regions including the northern Great Plains of the USA, the Canadian prairies, Europe, Australia, and the Asian steppe were all likely to experience more frequent droughts in years to come as a result of global warming, the study in the journal Nature Plants reported.

He pointed to a fall in barley yields in the United Kingdom this spring as proof of climate change's effect on the crop.

"Our results reflect impacts of extreme events as though they happened in the present day", the study says, adding, "Global population and socioeconomic conditions are also held constant".

The findings come a week after a dire United Nations report described the consequences of unsafe levels of climate change including worsening food and water shortages, heat waves, sea level rise, and disease.

Extreme heat and drought could ravage harvests of barley, a key ingredient in beer.

"The world is facing many life-threatening impacts of climate change, so people having to spend a bit more to drink beer may seem trivial by comparison", the study's co-author Dr Steven Davis, of the University of California, said.

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Worldwide barley is used for all sorts of purposes, mostly feeding livestock.

From 2010 to the end of the century, they found, there will be 17 such events if humanity manages to cap global warming under two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and 139 if current rates of carbon pollution persist.

Richard Ellis, professor from University of Reading in England, said that the study, which he was not involved in, could actually be lowballing the price increases for beer if nothing is done to curb climate change, according to The Guardian.

Their prediction: During the most severe climate events, global beer consumption would decline on average by 16%, Guan said, while beer prices around the world would, on average, double.

The study showed that the price surge was highest in countries that drink the most beer: It predicted that a 38 per cent fall in beer supply will lead to massive hikes in its price in Belgium, Canada, Denmark and Poland.

Droughts and heat waves were expected to cause barley declines of up to 17% in parts of the US, Europe, Australia and Asia where the grain is grown most. Consumption in the United States could decrease by between 1.08 billion and 3.48 billion litres.

Saying that the beer industry "certainly understands and is already preparing for shifts in climate", the BA's economist Bart Watson and supply chain expert Chris Swersey write that barley production has always shifted geographically - while production efficiency "continues to grow over time".

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