Climate Change Could Make Beer Prices Double, Study Says

Climate change could cause beer prices to soar - study

Beer shortage looming?

But Dabo Guan, one of the study's lead authors who is a professor of climate change economics, noted that beer has been part of human history for thousands of years.

A new study, published in Nature Plants, highlights that extreme weather conditions, such as droughts and heat waves, in conjunction with global warming, will cause "sharp declines" in barley crops, the primary component 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.

It continued: "Although it may be argued that consuming less beer is not disastrous-and may even have health benefits-there is little doubt that for millions of people around the world, the climate impacts on beer consumption will add insult to injury".

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

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If millennials don't kill the beer industry, climate change just might.

Only the highest quality grain - less than 20 percent - is used to make beer, with most of the rest used as feedstock.

"While the effects on beer may seem modest in comparison to numerous other-some life-threatening-impacts of climate change, there is nonetheless something fundamental in the cross-cultural appreciation of beer", Guan said.

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.

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 impact on beer prices would vary accordingly.

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To understand how climate change is going to affect production and prices of beer, scientists at the University of Peking (China), the University of East Anglia (UK), and the University of California, Irvine, (US) created three mathematical computer models for predictions.

Climate change could reshape the barley and beer market, the researchers say, depicting a situation where China - which now drinks more Budweiser than the US - would scale back its beer consumption. Consumption in the USA could decrease by between 1.08 billion and 3.48 billion litres.

Decreasing yields would leave less barley for beer production, as its use as food and cattle feed takes precedence.

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.

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