Beer and Climate Change

The climate change issue is becoming bigger by the day. Recently, researchers have found out that the growth of the overall temperature due to climate change is beginning to have adverse effects on barley crops. This might seem insignificant, but it is very important to a large group of people: the beer lovers. The rise in temperature and the prolonged droughts have caused the prices of barley to skyrocket. All of this can leave a really sour taste in the mouths of beer drinkers around the world.

Malted barley, a grain used in the creation process of some of the world most beloved beers like IPAs, stouts, and pilsners,are highly sensitive to changes in temperature and drought. Due to climate change, both of those are increasing by the day. According to the study, by the year 2099, the yields for malted barley may drop by as much as 17 percent when compared to the yields during the period from 1981 until 2010. These projections are the worst case scenario. Unfortunately, looking at the way that technology is advancing and how much greenhouse gasses we are producing, this scenario is still likely.

Because of the shortage of barley, prices of the grain could double in price in some countries. Also, the rate at which people consume beer on a daily basis may drop by as much as 16 percent. That is the lowest it has been since 2011.

All of this is being calculated using computer simulations. This specific simulation projects climate conditions, global market reactions, and plant responses up until the year 2099. When the scientists applied the lowest possible increase of temperatures due to climate change, the drop in barley yields was about three percent. As a result of the decrease in crop yields, barley prices rise by 15 percent.

But barley is not the only affected crop. Crops like maize, wheat, soy,and even grapes are affected by the global rise in the average atmospheric temperature. The crops are further affected by the growing number of insects swarming them. And this is something that has, again, been caused by the rise in temperature. The higher the temperature gets, the more the pests breed.

Scientists are currently trying to develop a way to battle the negative effects of climate change. One of the ways they are trying to counteract this is by dimming the atmosphere of the Earth. By adding a tiny layer of particles into the atmosphere, the scientists are hoping to dim the light coming from the Sun. The plan is that this dimming effect also lowers the overall temperature on the Earth’s surface. The research is promising, but the fact that the atmosphere is dimmed means that less light is coming through and the plants will develop more slowly. This will again affect the yields of crops, but to a lesser extent than the predictions that are currently in place.

So there is hope for beer lovers everywhere, but the threat of beer shortage is more than real. The sooner we find a solution to climate change, the better.


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