Published: Tue, October 16, 2018
Science | By

Beer prices to spike as climate hots up, scientists warn

Beer prices to spike as climate hots up, scientists warn

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.

"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", co-author Nathan Mueller added in the release.

A new study suggests climate change will cause a global beer shortage.

Barley, the main ingredient in beer, is extremely sensitive to temperature and drought, and because humans have really fucked up the planet, it means the temperature is increasing which will lead to substantial decreases in barley crops. These countries are expected to be impacted the most due to the large quantities of beer they brew from imported barley.

Even in less severe extreme events, beer consumption drops by 4% and prices rise by 15%.

A pint could double in price in the United Kingdom as a result of "severe weather events" that could result in a shortage of barley used to brew beer.

Under four different weather models that were created for the years from 2010 to 2099, the world's barley growers would see "yield losses [that] range from 3 percent to 17 percent depending on the severity of the conditions", the researchers say.


The research claims that around a sixth of the world's barley supply is now used in beer production, with the rest used to feed livestock.

"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.

"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, in a statement.

Beer prices were predicted to rise most in wealthy beer-loving countries such as Belgium, Canada, Denmark and Poland.

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.

In the United Kingdom, the researchers said, beer consumption could fall by between 0.37 billion and 1.33 billion litres, while the price could as much as double. Volume declined 0.4 percent, while dollar sales rose 1.2 percent, led by imports, craft beer and domestic super premiums. Few people would complain if global warming ruined Brussels sprouts, he added.

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