Trouble brewing for beer drinkers as climate change to double prices

16 Octobre, 2018, 12:55 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • No barley no beer A beer brewer pulls malted barley from the mash tun at Wynwood Brewing Company in Miami Florida

Barley growing regions including the northern Great Plains of the USA, the Canadian prairies, Europe, Australia, and the Asian steppe were all likely to experience more frequent droughts in years to come as a result of global warming, the study in the journal Nature Plants reported.

Co-author Dr Nathan Mueller, also from the University of California at Irvine, said: "Current levels of fossil fuel consumption and CO2 (carbon dioxide) pollution - business as usual - will result in this worst-case scenario, with more weather extremes negatively impacting the world's beer basket".

Its main ingredient is barley, and because barley is sensitive to extreme drought and heat, climate change could really hurt the beer industry.

Beer is one of the most popular drinks in the world, falling only behind iced tea and water.

Some countries will get hit harder by beer shortages and higher bar tabs than others, the study found.

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Their prediction: During the most severe climate events, global beer consumption would decline on average by 16%, Guan said, while beer prices around the world would, on average, double. They found that the yield would fall by between 3 and 17 per cent, depending on the severity of the conditions.

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. "We have to all work together to mitigate climate change".

At the same time, the "cross-cultural appreciation of beer" is deep and widespread, he noted.

The researchers said that compared with life-threatening affects of global warming such as the floods and storms faced by millions, a beer shortage may seem relatively unimportant.

The top exporters of barley are Australia, France, Russia, Ukraine and Argentina, with many European countries filling out the top-20.

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