Climate Change May Threaten The World’s Beer Supplies, According To New Study

The study is being criticized as being 'trivial' by some, but for many around the world, a dwindling supply of beer is no laughing matter.

A group of friends toast their beers together.
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The study is being criticized as being 'trivial' by some, but for many around the world, a dwindling supply of beer is no laughing matter.

As previous reporting from the Inquisitr pointed out last week, the world has less than a decade to figure out what it can do to stave off the detrimental and cataclysmic crises that climate change will bring about.

But if that’s not enough to convince some people to act, maybe this will: The world’s beer supplies will be significantly hampered by the end of the century if we fail to act.

A joint study among scientists and mathematicians in China, Britain, and the U.S. found that drought and temperature increases around the globe could dwindle barley supplies — a main ingredient in beer — causing price increases and limiting the amount of beer available to citizens of nations around the world, the New York Times reported.

Some questioned whether talking about beer was really all that important, including Christopher Field, a faculty director at Stanford Woods Institute who spoke with the Times. Although Field wasn’t part of the study himself, he did point out that other natural disasters and effects of climate change warranted attention rather than the alcoholic beverage.

“It feels a tad trivial to talk about beer,” Field said.

But one of the authors of the study, Dabo Guan of Tsinghua University in Beijing, defended the use of beer in the study to explain how disastrous climate change was.

Richer nations and wealthier individuals, Guan noted, will suffer less when the effects of climate change come about. But for “luxury” items like beer, these nations and people, too, will feel the bite of climate change.

Climate change “may not affect our bread, but it will affect our beer,” Guan added.

Beer is a good indicator for how bad climate change could be for another reason. For as long as archaeologists have known human civilizations to have existed, they’ve known there to be beer (or other alcoholic beverages) to have been there as well, as Time Magazine noted earlier this year. So a world without beer — or even a world with a limited supply of the drink — would be a huge change to how our civilization has celebrated, toasted, and mourned together than in years past.

How bad could it be for beer drinkers? Supplies in the United States, for starters, could dwindle down by about 15 to 20 percent. Under the rules of basic economics, smaller supply means higher prices — in Ireland, the researches estimated that beer bottles could cost twice as much in the year 2100 as they do today, in relative dollars.

The study is an estimation of what could happen, and the model bases the future prices of the beverage on what the current markets appear to reflect. Still, the study should put a bit of alarm in the minds of any remaining skeptics on the issue — especially if they’re a beer drinker.