FunNature & AnimalBeer, in danger due to climate change

Beer, in danger due to climate change

In recent years, scientists have discovered a link between climate change and our consumption of such popular and massive items as wine and coffee. Thus, added to our security and the future of the planet, we now know that rising global temperatures will also affect what we eat and drink.

It is the conclusion of new research led by experts from the University of East Anglia (England) that exposes, for example, that severe weather events could cause a shortage in the world’s beer supply.

The study warns that drought and heat – increasingly widespread and deep – can cause substantial decreases in barley yields around the world, affecting the supply used to brew beer and, therefore, the presence of less product. in the market and its corresponding increase in the price of beer.

The most popular alcoholic beverage in the world, threatened

Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world by volume consumed. Although the frequency and severity of drought and heat extremes increase substantially in a variety of future climate scenarios, the vulnerability of the beer supply to such extremes has never been assessed. Up to now.

In recent years, the beer sector has consumed around 17% of the world’s barley production, but this proportion varies dramatically among the major beer-producing countries, for example, from 83% in Brazil to 9% in Australia. The results of the new study reveal possible losses in average yield ranging from 3% to 17%, depending on the severity of the conditions.


During the most complex climatic events, the results indicate that world beer consumption would decrease by 16%, or what is the same, 29,000 million liters and the prices of this drink will double on average everywhere.
Even in less severe extreme events, beer consumption falls 4% and prices rise 15%.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Plants , suggest that total beer consumption declines more with climate change in countries that consume the most beer . For example, the volume consumed in China, today the largest consuming country, falls more than any other country as the severity of events due to climate change increases, falling by 4.34 billion liters in the most severe scenario.


“More and more research has begun to project the impacts of climate change on global food production, focusing on staple crops such as wheat, corn, soybeans and rice. However, if adaptation efforts prioritize needs, climate change may undermine the availability, stability and access to luxury goods to a greater extent than staples, “explains Dabo Guan, leader of the work.

Study development

The experts identified extreme weather events and modeled their effect on barley yield in 34 regions of the world . They then examined the effects of this lack of barley supply on the supply and price of beer in each region under a series of future climate scenarios.

Some countries with the lowest total beer consumption will face huge reductions: the volume of beer consumed in Argentina falls by as much as 32% during the most severe weather events. Even in the less important climatic events, total beer consumption in Argentina and Canada decreases by 0.27 trillion liters (16%) and by 0.222 trillion liters (11%) respectively.


The countries where beer is currently more expensive, for example Australia and Japan, are not necessarily where the price change will be most shocking.
Changes in the price of beer in a country are related to the ability and willingness of consumers to pay more for beer rather than consume less, so that the largest price increases are concentrated in relatively wealthy and historically loving countries. of beer (like Germany).

Their findings show that the supply of barley globally and nationally decreases progressively in years of more severe extreme events, with the highest average supply decreasing by 27-38% in some European countries, such as Belgium, the Czech Republic and Germany.

Reference: Decreases in global beer supply due to extreme drought and heat, Nature Plants (2018). DOI: 10.1038 / s41477-018-0263-1, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41477-018-0263-1

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