Beer Supplies Threatened by Climate Change

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A beer shortage may not be uppermost in climatologists’ minds although a cool drink of one or another kind after a hot day scores highly among life’s pleasures. The Smithsonian reported how climate change may affect future beer supplies. Perhaps this is as good a way as any to illustrate how global warming will affect almost everything.

Barley’s Sensitivity to Heat Threatens Beer Supplies

beer supplies

Harvesting Healthy Barley, Turkey: Ali Riza: CC 2.0

Barley, the main constituent of beer is vulnerable to drought and extreme heat. Susan Scutti of CNN says barley crops could shrink by 17% during severe climate events. However this would not be the most serious consequence of global warming continuing.

Just 17% of global barley production ends up as beer. Most of the rest goes into feeding livestock. If barley production shrinks, Susan Scutti expects governments will curtail supplies to breweries. The imbalance between supply and demand could double the cost of remaining beer supplies. However, the actual impact will vary from country to country.

How This Will Affect Beer Lovers Among the Nations

Australia will get off lightly because Susan Scutti thinks barley production will actually increase. The greatest reductions in beer supplies will be in tropical Central and South America, and Central Africa.

beer supplies

Turning Barley in Brewery: Ian Macilwain: CC 3.0

Ireland may face a 338% increase in beer prices because it has relatively high beer consumption and consumers can afford it. However China will see a fairly radical drop in consumption in poorer, rural areas. Naturally, these numbers are a walk in the park compared to mass starvation in Central / Sub-Saharan Africa. However we publish the information in the hope of denting resistance to global warming in some wealthy communities.

These changes are going to happen because the world did not react to warnings about climate change that began a century ago. Susan Scutti’s research partner Steven Davis comments, “There is definitely a cross-cultural appeal to beer. Not having a cool pint at the end of an increasingly common hot day just adds insult to injury.”


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Preview Image: A Fine Example of a Barley Crop


About Author


I tripped over a shrinking bank balance and fell into the writing gig unintentionally. This was after I escaped the corporate world and searched in vain for ways to become rich on the internet by doing nothing. Despite the fact that writing is no recipe for wealth, I rather enjoy it. I will not deny I am obsessed with it when I have the time. My base is Umtentweni in South Africa on the Kwazulu-Natal South Coast. I work from home where I ponder on the future of the planet, and what lies beyond in the great hereafter. Sometimes I step out of my computer into the silent riverine forests, and empty golden beaches for which the area is renowned. Richard Farrell

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