Beer prices to spike as climate hots up, scientists warn

An employee of the Shepherd Neame brewery in Faversham Kent pours a glass of beer to sample. Research suggests that climate change will affect barley harvests causing yields to fall and beer prices to rise

A new study, published in Nature Plants, highlights that extreme weather conditions, such as droughts and heat waves, in conjunction with global warming, will cause "sharp declines" in barley crops, the primary component of beer. Decreases in global barley supplies would lead to proportionally larger declines in the amount of barley used to make beer, as the grain is also used in more important products, he added.

Reference Decreases in global beer supply due to extreme drought and heat.

The research found that the world could end up losing upwards of 17 percent of barley crops over the next 80 years - leading to a significant spike in beer prices. Consumption in the U.S. could fall by between 1.08bn and 3.48bn litres.

"Climate change may undermine the availability, stability and access to "luxury" goods", said Guan. But researchers behind the report said it will affect the quality of life for many people. But he wrote in an email, given what is going on in terms of climate change, "It feels a tad trivial to talk about beer."One can only ask: to whom?From Ireland to England, China to the Czech Republic, the love, or "like" of beer has made it the most popular alcoholic beverage on the planet".

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Dabo Guan, a professor of climate change economics at the University of East Anglia and the study's lead author, said beer issues pale in comparison to other climate induced problems, including food security, storm damage and fresh water scarcity.

The study also said that extreme-heat events linked to a reduction in barley production are years away, as the scientists' models looked well into the current century.

Drinkers in the United Kingdom would be forced to cut back their consumption by 25% in a worst-case climate change scenario, and in the USA, 14% fewer bottles would be opened.

"That's comparable to all the beer consumption in the United States", he added, "Future climate and pricing conditions could put beer out of reach for hundreds of millions of people around the world".

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In a worst-case scenario beer prices would double worldwide, the study says, and people would drink 16 percent less beer.

Guan said that less consumption of beer and price hike in the future may actually be beneficial as it will promote a healthier lifestyle among heavy drinkers.

According to the study, the world may see beer prices double on average this century in the highest temperature increase scenario, and even in lowest increase scenarios, beer lovers will still have to dig deeper to cope with a 15-percent price rise. As barley is predominantly utilized to manufacture beer, the lesser yield of the crop across various geographies would make it harder for the breweries to produce the beverage.

The study was supported by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the British Academy and Philip Leverhulme Prize.

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Tyler runs the business with his mother, Tracy Dooley, who is Thomas Jr.'s ex-wife. Similarly, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, could be called Princess Henry of Wales.

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