Global warming to leave us crying in our costlier beer

18 October, 2018, 09:43 | Author: Emilio Conner
  • Climate change could cause beer prices to soar - study

"For example, assuming that adaptation efforts are successful in preventing yield decreases due to changes in mean climate, extreme events will still result in increasingly large production losses, and the frequency and severity of these events increase with temperature increases".

But study co-author Dabo Guan, professor of climate change economics at University of East Anglia, issued a warning for concerned beer-drinkers: Don't drink away your worries about the effect of global warming. But perhaps understanding the threats to the beloved beverage will make some people more inclined to care about the impact of climate change on the world's crops.

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

Climate change has already taken a heavy toll on barley.

Even under the two middle-range climate models used in the study, beer consumption is forecast to fall by an average of around 2 billion liters in China alone. The team put this output into a social economic model that included beer production estimates and worldwide trading forecasts.

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Prof Guan said while climate change research has started to examine the impact on world food production, it tended to focus on staple crops such as wheat, maize, soybean, and rice. To put that perspective, it's the equivalent of 29 billion litres, or the annual beer consumption in the U.S. They examined scenarios resulting from climate change and then figured out the impact on global barley yields and beer prices. "We have to all work together to mitigate climate change". The world can see as much as a 17% decrease in the production of barley, which experts believe could DOUBLE the average cost of beer.

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

Some countries will get hit harder by beer shortages and higher bar tabs than others, the study found. A decrease in the global supply of barley leads to a dramatic regional decrease in beer consumption and an increase in beer prices. A particularly bad drought might double the price of a bottle of beer in Ireland. "Under the worst scenario", he said, China would lose 10 percent of its beer supply and the United States 15 to 20 percent.That won't happen if Anheuser-Busch has anything to say about it, however. Some northern areas of the USA and Asia could see barely increases, but Guan says these will be minimal compared to losses.

"Really, the countries who love beer will suffer a lot", he said.

"It may be argued that consuming less beer isn't itself disastrous, and may even have health benefits".

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