HOLD on to your pint because we’ve got some bad news for beer drinkers.
The world is expected to see “dramatic” supply shortages and price hikes of the golden nectar as climate change threatens its key ingredient, according to new research.
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.
These extreme weather events are expected to occur as often as every two or three years in the second half of the century if we stay on the current climate trajectory, the report said. Barley yields will drop by between three and 17 percent during these times, leaving the beer industry significantly short stocked.
While many countries keep emergency reserves of staple crops such as corn, rice and wheat to stave off price spikes and shortages, most do not do so for barley, making it vulnerable to climate.
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. But researchers behind the report said it will affect the quality of life for many people.
“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,” said Prof Dabo Guan at the University of East Anglia, one of the research team. “There is something fundamental in the cross-cultural appreciation of beer.”
China is expected to suffer the most severe shortages in this century, followed by the United States, Germany, and Russia, the report said.
Ireland will feel the pinch with the highest price hikes – up to an eyewatering +193 percent – during extreme weather periods.
To avert a beer-brewing disaster, researchers are encouraging policymakers to act now on climate change and throw their support behind policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“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,” Guan said. “This is the key message.”