Study warns climate change may bring major beer shortages
18 October, 2018, 05:14 | Author: Sherry Houston
As the vulnerability of beer supply to the severity and frequency of heat extremes and drought has never been assessed, the research team deployed a global economic model (Global Trade Analysis Project model) and a process-based crop model (decision support system for agrotechnology transfer) to evaluate the future decline in barley yields globally.
Only 17 per cent of the globe's barley is actually used in brewing; most is harvested as feed for livestock. Changes in barley supply would cause beer prices to double, on average, and global beer consumption would fall by 16 percent.
Here in the USA, two thirds of the barley crop is used to make beer. Under the most severe scenario for a decline in crops, the price of beer could as much as double in some countries, they found.
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.
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. The king of US beer production remains Budweiser, which produces the No. 1 (Bud Light) and No. 3 (Budweiser) top-selling brands. In terms of how the public should take the news, Dr. Guan was adamant on one point: "Our aim is not to encourage people to drink more beer now".
We know that climate change will mean less barley - but what about beer? Climate change "may not affect our bread", he said, "but it will affect our beer."The idea for the study came up at - where else? - a bar, Dr. Guan said".
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The focus of the study was to examine how climate change would impact your quality of life. That is roughly equal to the total annual beer consumption of the US.
In the US, this could mean a reduction of hundreds of millions of gallons of beer. Hoping to determine how the grain's outlook might impact beer availability and pricing in the future, an worldwide team of scientists ran a series of computer models in three areas: climate, crops and economics.
In a worst-case scenario of severe climate change events, the price of a six-pack of beer could rise by $28 in some countries.
"There is little doubt that for millions of people around the world, the climate impacts on beer availability and price will add insult to injury", continued Guan. Imagine a worst case of a 20 percent drop in supply in the United States, or a doubling of prices per bottle in Ireland.
Xie told Xinhua that the research tried to fill in the blank of climate change studies on "high value-added agricultural products", as previous research mostly focused on the impact on food crops.
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