Sober moment: climate change predicted to push up beer prices

Barley grain used in the production of beer at the Asahi Kanagawa Brewery in Japan

Given the apocalyptic warnings in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released last week, a price hike on your favourite brew may not seem like the most pressing issue related to out changing climes.

The report, released Monday, details how the world's most popular alcoholic drink is under threat as extreme heatwaves and droughts will increasingly damage global barley crops.

Beer drinkers might pay more for and find less of their favorite beverage as climate change comes for barley.

"It's really to alert people in developed countries: Climate change impact will happen to you as well". Assuming countries take no other actions to mitigate climate change, trade balances or resource allocations, such losses will roughly double beer prices in many countries.

Even in less severe extreme events, beer consumption drops by 4% and prices rise by 15%.

The study was conducted by a group of climate change scientists who wanted to draw an accurate picture of how global warming wouldn't just affect natural resources, but also what they termed "luxury essentials". The U.S. wouldn't be far behind, with beer consumption projected to fall by an average of around 1.75 billion liters.

To reach their findings, researchers looked at 80 years of different climate change models - which includes temperature and rainfall - to estimate how it would alter the yield of barley throughout the world.

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"The public may care more about the changing climate after realizing how it will affect their weekend parties, socialization and even their watching of the World Cup", the researcher said. This in turn would ultimately result in "dramatic" falls in beer consumption and a rise in beer prices.

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

During the most severe climate events, global beer consumption would decline on average by 16%, Guan said, while beer prices around the world would, on average, double.

"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.

It's thought the price of a 50-centilitre bottle in Ireland could soar to almost $5 United States (4.30€), while the Czech Republic and Poland - where beer is cheaper - would see huge relative increases.

"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". "This is a paper born of love and fear", he said.

"If you want to have the choice for not only beer but chocolate, coffee, tea, cigars - all of those crops are very much vulnerable to climate change".

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