Julia Poska | October 18, 2018
Last week, the 2018 Iowa Climate Statement warned of worsening extreme heat and rain events statewide as climate change progresses. A new study published this week has predicted what, for some, might be an even scarier outlook: global beer shortages.
International researchers studied how recent extreme climate events, like drought and heatwaves, have impacted barley yields and beer prices around the world. They used their findings to model potential future impacts in more extreme events.
They predict that during severe events global barley production will fall by 3 to 17 percent, leading to a 16 percent global decline in beer consumption. It would be as if the United States stopped drinking beer altogether.
Different regions of the world would feel the drop unequally; countries that already drink less beer would face greater scarcity. Argentina would consume about 32 percent less beer, the study said.
The United States would see a reduction of 1.08 to 3.48 billion liters, about 4 to 14 percent of the quantity consumed nationally in 2017, as reported by the National Beer Wholesalers Association.
In such a shortage, researchers said beer prices would about double in most places.
Lead UK author Dabo Guan from the University of East Anglia said more studies on climate change economics focus on availability of staple crops like corn and wheat, in a press release about the study.
“If adaptation efforts prioritise necessities, climate change may undermine the availability, stability and access to ‘luxury’ goods to a greater extent than staple foods,” he said. “People’s diet security is equally important to food security in many aspects of society.”