Study warns climate change may bring major beer shortages

Jo Lloyd
October 19, 2018

On top of rising sea levels and extreme weather, scientists have predicted that human-caused climate change will result in another dire effect: a disruption in the global beer supply.

There is bad news for all beer drinkers across the world as climate change could set skyrocket price as well as dramatic global supply shortage in the coming future, as per a new study.

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

A climate change economics professor, Dabo Guan, stressed that other problems, such as food security, storm damage and fresh water scarcity, pose a greater risk to the world than the prospect of beer shortages, and that people in so-called developing nations will be worst affected.

"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 study's researchers said that similar to prohibition-era laws, a global beer shortage will have the biggest impact on the working class.

Even in less severe extreme events, beer consumption drops by four per cent and prices rise by 15 per cent, researchers said.

CNN reports that Guan and others hatched the idea for the study when they went out for beers in China after a series of lectures. In China and the US, the barley yield is actually predicted to rise, but "not enough to offset the global decrease", the study says.

It's thought the price of a 50-centilitre bottle in Ireland could soar to almost $5 U.S. (4.30€), while the Czech Republic and Poland - where beer is cheaper - would see huge relative increases. We then modelled what this would mean for barley yields in 34 world regions which either produce or drink a lot of beer.

These are global average results, however, which can hide significant regional variation.

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.

The study models extreme climate effects in the present day, and researchers acknowledge that new technology or new barley varieties may seek to mitigate the effect of climate change. One factor to consider is that barley is mostly used to feed livestock, and beer is ultimately more dispensable than meat. "A sufficient beer supply may help with the stability of entertainment and communication in society". "That makes sense. This is a luxury commodity and it's more important to have food on the table".

According to The Guardian, he said: "There is little doubt that for millions of people around the world, the climate impacts on beer availability and price will add insult to injury".

"Although some attention has been paid to the potential impacts of climate change on luxury crops such as wine and coffee, the impacts on beer have not been carefully evaluated", he said, according to ScienceDaily.

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