A new study from climate researchers in the United States, China and Britain has indicated that a beer shortage is imminent due to climate change.
The Nature Plants journal reported that drought and heat will impact barley production, citing a process-based crop model. Climate change models have predicted a rise in worldwide temperatures until 2099. A temperature rise of 2°C, will result in harvests decreasing by about 10%. While a 4°C rise will cause beer production to decrease by a whopping 17%.
“If emissions of heat-trapping gases from the burning of coal, oil and gas continue at the current rising pace, the likelihood of weather conditions hurting barley production will increase from about once a decade before 2050 to once every other year by the end of the century,” according to an Associated Press report.
The researchers only analyzed the statistics documenting the effects of heatwaves and drought, but not general warming - which will also affect barley growth. Heatwaves accompanied by incessant droughts will gradually reduce the global harvests of the crop. In 2010, droughts in Russia and floods in Europe caused a 20% loss in crop harvests. The price for grain jumped between 40%-70%.
About 17 percent of the world’s barley is used for beer production. At least two-thirds of the barley goes into six-packs, drafts, kegs, cans and bottles in the United States, Brazil and China.
Beer prices will double or even triple, in countries like Ireland, where the cost is already high. Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink by volume consumed.
“The price of beer is going to change a lot, example in Ireland, the price per bottle of beer (500ml) will shoot up from $2.5 to almost $5. In Poland and the Czech Republic, their price is going to shoot up from 70 cents per bottle to $3.5 dollars per bottle. This is going to see a significant decline in consumption for the beer industry,” professor in climate change economics at the University of East Anglia, Dabo Guan, told Sputnik.
Countries like Belgium and the Czech Republic, widely known as ‘beer-loving nations’, will be the hardest hit, according to the journal’s research.
Overall, Europeans consume about 100 liters of beer annually.