World’s Beer Supply Threatened by Climate Change

World’s Beer Supply Threatened by Climate Change

World’s Beer Supply Threatened by Climate Change

Average global barley yields during extreme events are expected to drop between 3pc and 17pc, depending on the conditions, said the study, published in the journal "Nature Plants".

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.

Here's a reason for climate-change sceptics to rethink their resistance: The erratic and extreme droughts and heat caused by climate change are leading to a shortage of beer and a spurt in prices of the popular alcoholic beverage, a study has shown.

Though not falling into that category, China, the largest beer-consuming country, may also witness an 83-percent rise in price, according to the study.

In a climate-addled world where staple crops such as wheat, corn, soybeans and rice are predicted to decline in yield and nutritional value, pressure will likely mount to use barley as a source of food rather than to make brew.

Here in the US, two thirds of the barley crop is used to make beer.

This could lead to beer shortages, driving the prices up in countries including China, the US, Germany and Russian Federation.

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The effects described in the report are complex, as the researchers used several forecast tools - one to predict a range of climate scenarios, one for agricultural yields and another to see the economic conditions that would be a likely result.

Overall, Sluyter said Guan and his team's research contributed to the larger picture where climate change proved to be a significant threat against the world's food supply.

Only 17 per cent of the globe's barley is actually used in brewing; most is harvested as feed for livestock.

However, some individual countries may see much greater price hikes than these averages, since the study factored in how much demand will be able to withstand the price pressure.

People's diet security is equally important to food security in many aspects of society. Worse, in Ireland for example, beer may see a price increase of 193%! There is, Guan said, "something fundamental in the cross-cultural appreciation of beer".

"If you want to have the choice for not only beer but chocolate, coffee, tea, cigars - all of those crops are very much vulnerable to climate change".

Davis also tells Yahoo Lifestyle: "Changes in mean climate will reduce barley yields if farmers do nothing, but we make what may be a heroic assumption that barley growers will be able to counteract the gradual shifting of temperature and precipitation". The impact on beer prices would vary accordingly.

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