Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Beer prices to spike as climate hots up, scientists warn

Beer Climate Change Beer prices to spike as climate hots up, scientists warn
Theresa Hayes | 16 October, 2018, 23:32

This study comes shortly after the release of a United Nations report that warned we have until 2030 to stop climate change from raising temperatures above a key threshold.

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. In 2016, the World Meteorological Organization estimated that the world was already at 1.2 degrees Celsius (34.16 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

Global warming is likely to trigger more frequent droughts in barley-growing regions such as the U.S. northern prairies and the Asian steppe, the study said.

Climate change threatens the world with drought, rising sea levels, powerful storms - and a global beer "crisis", say researchers.

"Climate change will affect all of us, not only people who are in India or African countries", coauthor Dabo Guan of the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom tells Reuters. Instead, he told CNN, we have to work to stop it.

"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", said co-author Nathan Mueller, an assistant professor of Earth system science at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).

Only the highest quality grain - less than 20 percent - is used to make beer, with most of the rest used as feedstock. The researchers then used economic models to interpret the real-term financial impact that shortages could have on the beer industry.

Under the most severe scenario for a decline in crops, the price of beer could as much as double in some countries, they found. That equals out to about 29 billion litres less. The biggest consumer of beer today, China, is expected to see a drop of 4.34 billion litres.

However, the study's authors noted that different regions of the world will experience the change in quantity and price differently.

Just 17 percent of the world's barley crops are harvested to brew alcohol, while most of it goes to feed livestock.

Climate change could reshape the barley and beer market, the researchers say, depicting a situation where China - which now drinks more Budweiser than the US - would scale back its beer consumption.

In a statement, Guan said that the increase in beer prices "will add insult to injury" for those living in the new environmental conditions, according to ScienceDaily. "A sufficient beer supply may help with the stability of entertainment and communication in society".

"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. "This is the key message", said professor Dabo Guan of the University of East Anglia, another researcher on the team.