Climate Change 'Could Lead To Beer Shortage' And Possible Rise In Prices
Stark warnings about the potential impact of climate change have been issued for years. Global warming could result in extreme weather, such as floods and droughts, which could jeopardise the lives of millions.
Yet, it is hoped a seemingly more trivial warning may get people to sit up and listen, by hitting us with the most terrifying of word pairings - beer shortage.
Indeed, when faced with overwhelmingly morbid projections for the future of the planet and the human race, many of us may reach for a beer. But this may not be an option for all of us in the future, with supplies expected to drop and prices expected to surge, according to research published in Nature Plants.
The harrowing prospect is based on extreme drought forecasts and the projected impact they could have on global barley crops across the course of the next 80 years. The researchers then used economic models to interpret the real-term financial impact that shortages could have on the beer industry.
The study suggests consumption levels could drop by a quarter in the UK, however, the outlook could be particularly dire for Ireland, Belgium and the Czech Republic, where consumption could drop by a third and prices could double. These countries are expected to be impacted the most due to the large quantities of beer they brew from imported barley.
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However, Poland's pocket could be hit the hardest, with a worst case scenario prediction of a fivefold price increase.
Prof Dabo Guan, who is a member of the research team at the University of East Anglia, said the projections of the study should serve as a call to action on climate change.
According to The Guardian, he said: "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.
"There is something fundamental in the cross-cultural appreciation of beer.
"If you still want to still have a couple of pints of beer while you watch the football, then climate change [action] is the only way out. This is the key message."
The research claims that around a sixth of the world's barley supply is currently used in beer production, with the rest used to feed livestock. But in the case of a shortage, the livestock market would be prioritised, heightening the impact on the brewing industry.
Citing prohibition in the United States and the subsequent emergence of the illegal liquor trade, Prof Guan also warned that the shortage could lead to similar disorder.
So cycle to work, wash out your jars and help to save the world (beer).
Featured Image Credit: PA