Beer shortage due to climate change? Yes, it could happen

Beer shortage due to climate change? Yes, it could happen

"Climate change will affect all of us, not only people who are in India or African countries", coauthor Dabo Guan of the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom tells Reuters.

A new study published on Monday in the journal Nature Plants says that global warming will cause a decrease in barley crops, leading to a shortage of beer and causing a price hike.

If you crave a pint (or two) at the end of a hard day, brace yourself: climate change is poised to make your favourite lager, ale or IPA more scarce and pricey.

As a result, the cost of beer could soar.

Another recently-released study warned of "catastrophic" dips in mental health for some if climate change causes the global temperature to increase by 2 degrees Celsius (35.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

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

"Current levels of fossil fuel consumption and Carbon dioxide pollution - business as usual - will result in this worst-case scenario, with more weather extremes negatively impacting the world's beer basket", said co-author Nathan Mueller, an assistant professor of Earth system science at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).

By volume, beer is by far the most popular alcoholic drink in the world, with almost 200 billion litres produced in 2017.

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"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", said co-author Steven Davis, UCI associate professor of Earth system science. Less than 20 percent of the world's barley is made into beer.

During the most severe climate events, the results indicate that global beer consumption would decline by 16%, or 29 billion litres - roughly equal to the total annual beer consumption in the U.S. - and that beer prices would on average double.

The price of beer could rise sharply this century - and it has nothing to do with trends in craft brewing. They found that the yield would fall by between 3 and 17 per cent, depending on the severity of the conditions.

In 2017, USA beer sales exceeded $34 billion, according to Brewbound, which cited data from IRI Worldwide.

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.

"That's comparable to all the beer consumption in the United States", he added, "Future climate and pricing conditions could put beer out of reach for hundreds of millions of people around the world".

In China - whose 1.3 billion people collectively down more brew than any other nation - consumption would fall by a staggering 4.3 billion litres in a bad year.

Beer production could plummet thanks to global warming.

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