Climate Change Likely to Ding Beer Supply

Climate change could cause beer prices to soar - study

Beer shortage looming?

The biggest consumer of beer today, China, is expected to see a drop of 4.34 billion litres.

More widespread and severe drought and heatwaves threatens to substantially decrease barley crops - a key ingredient in making a pint. Jess Newman, the company's director of agronomy in the United States, said, "We take climate uncertainty very seriously".

The United States in particular will see a 20% overall reduction in beer consumption under the worst-case climate change scenario, while the per bottle price spikes by 50%, Guan said. Instead, the researchers provided a tangible example of how global warming will impact quality of life by showing its effects on a favorite beverage of the working class: Beer.

'Depending on the severity of the weather, the average production loss should be between 3% and 17%,' the researchers predict, meaning a decline in production and a decline in consumption. Instances of severe climate change could reduce the global beer consumption by 29 billion liters.

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.

"We have to all work together to mitigate climate change", said Guan, according to CNN.

"During the most severe climate events, our results indicate that global beer consumption would decline by 16 percent and that beer prices would, on average, double". Similar methods have been used for many studies on staple foods such as wheat and rice, as well as wine - but not previously for beer.

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As beer supplies shrink, wealthy, traditionally beer-loving countries are likely to see the most drastic price hikes.

The authors of the study did note that the goal of the study is not meant to persuade people to consume more beer while the price is low. Inputting a decline in barley supply into their computable general equilibrium model, the researchers consistently found that the ratio of the grain going to beer brewing decreased even more.

"Decreases in global beer supply due to extreme drought and heat", Wei Xie, Wei Xiong, Jie Pan, Tariq Ali, Qi Cui, Dabo Guan, Jing Meng, Nathaniel D Mueller, Erda Lin, and Steven J Davis.

That's because the largest price increases will be found in affluent areas as well as beer-loving ones, while countries where beer now costs the most (like Australia and Japan) are not necessarily where future price hikes will be the highest.

It continued: "Although it may be argued that consuming less beer is not disastrous-and may even have health benefits-there is little doubt that for millions of people around the world, the climate impacts on beer consumption will add insult to injury".

"Really, the countries who love beer will suffer a lot", he said.

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