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Trouble now brewing for beer drinkers as climate change to double prices
16 October 2018, 11:32 | Justin Tyler
Enlarge Barley grain used in the production of beer at the Asahi Kanagawa Brewery in Japan Tomohiro Ohsumi Bloomberg Getty Images
But study co-author Dabo Guan, professor of climate change economics at University of East Anglia, issued a warning for concerned beer-drinkers: Don't drink away your worries about the effect of global warming.
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.
It continued: "Although it may be argued that consuming less beer is not disastrous-and may even have health benefits-there is little doubt that for millions of people around the world, the climate impacts on beer consumption will add insult to injury".
The researchers said that compared with life-threatening affects of global warming such as the floods and storms faced by millions, a beer shortage may seem relatively unimportant.
Barley, the main ingredient in beer, is particularly sensitive to extreme weather events such as droughts and heatwaves, which scientists say will become more frequent as the average temperature rises.
Study co-author Steve Davis of the University of California, Irvine, said the beer research was partly done to drive home the not-that-palatable message that climate change is messing with all sorts of aspects of our daily lives.
Only the highest quality grain - less than 20 percent - is used to make beer, with most of the rest used as feedstock.
The research claims that around a sixth of the world's barley supply is now used in beer production, with the rest used to feed livestock.
The price of beer could rise sharply this century - and it has nothing to do with trends in craft brewing.
"Although some attention has been paid to the potential impacts of climate change on luxury crops such as wine and coffee, the impacts on beer have not been carefully evaluated", he said, according to ScienceDaily.
"Current levels of fossil fuel consumption and Carbon dioxide pollution - business as usual - will result in this worst-case scenario, with more weather extremes negatively impacting the world's beer basket", said co-author Nathan Mueller.
In China - whose 1.3 billion people collectively down more brew than any other nation - consumption would fall by a staggering 4.3 billion litres in a bad year.
In the United Kingdom, beer consumption could fall between 0.37 billion and 1.33 billion litres, while the price could as much as double.
Decreasing yields would leave less barley for beer production, as its use as food and cattle feed takes precedence.
The future also looks grim four ur European neighbours too, with countries such as Belgium, the Czech Republic and Germany, seeing their total decline in beer production would landing between 27% and 38%.
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