Trouble now brewing for beer drinkers as climate change to double prices

Climate change could cause beer prices to soar - study

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

"But there is definitely a cross-cultural appeal to beer, and not having a cool pint at the end of an increasingly common hot day just adds insult to injury".

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

On top of rising sea levels and extreme weather, scientists have predicted that human-caused climate change will result in another dire outcome: a disruption in the global beer supply. These countries are expected to be impacted the most due to the large quantities of beer they brew from imported barley.

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.

Forty-three percent of Americans said beer was their favorite type of alochol in 2016, according to Gallup, with 32 percent saying the same about wine and another 20 percent sticking by hard liquor.

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

The price of beer could rise sharply this century - and it has nothing to do with trends in craft brewing.

Beer prices were predicted to rise most in wealthy beer-loving countries such as Belgium, Canada, Denmark and Poland. Dabo Guan, a co-author of the study and a professor of climate change economics at the University of East Anglia, and a team of scientists examined scenarios resulting from climate change and then figured out the impact on global barley yields and beer prices.

Guan and colleagues calculated the impact of severe weather events under different future climate scenarios - ranging from a sharp reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to our current "business as usual" trajectory - on yields in the world's 34 most important barley-growing regions. He also suggested that beer price hikes and shortages could affect social stability, comparing the situation to the Prohibition era in the United States, which saw the rise of organized crime based on the supply of illicit liquor.

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 next step was to estimate how these "barley supply shocks" would affect the production and price of beer in each region.

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