Global warming to leave us crying in our costlier beer

New research shows climate change could cause a global beer shortage. Source Master1305/Shutterstock

New research shows climate change could cause a global beer shortage. Source Master1305/Shutterstock

"For perhaps many millennia, and still at present for many people, beer has been an important component of social gatherings and human celebration", the team said in their report.

A new study led by Wei Xie, an agricultural scientist at Peking University, constructed at least five climate models that show that extreme weather conditions, including heat waves and droughts, could reduce barley yields by 3 to 17 percent - numbers which would inevitably affect consumers worldwide.

The world's beer drinkers will be drowning their sorrows after a study found that the price of a pint could double because of climate change.

Some countries will get hit harder by beer shortages and higher bar tabs than others, the study found.

Per capita, most of the top-20 beer-drinking nations are in Europe, along with the United States, New Zealand and Australia.

Beer prices could double worldwide and the US could see 20% decline in beer consumption-that's about 10 billion cans of beer.

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Extreme heatwaves and droughts will increasingly damage the global barley crop, meaning a common ingredient of the world's most popular alcoholic drink will become scarcer.

The next step was to estimate how these "barley supply shocks" would affect the production and price of beer in each region.

In a climate-addled world where staple crops such as wheat, corn, soybeans and rice are predicted to decline in yield and nutritional value, pressure will likely mount to use barley as a source of food rather than to make brew. The study's researchers said that similar to prohibition-era laws, a global beer shortage will have the biggest impact on the working class. He added that "there is something fundamental in the cross-cultural appreciation of beer".

"Climate change may undermine the availability, stability and access to "luxury" goods", said Guan.

As the adage goes, "It's all fun and games until the beer runs out".

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