UK: Climate change makes beer more expensive

A recent study published in the scientific journal Nature Plants projects a beer price hike of more than 36 percent due to extreme heat and drought associated with climate change. Dabo Guan, Professor in Climate Change Economics at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, and his colleagues combined a series of climate and economic models to predict how extreme weather produced by climate change is likely to affect barley crops.

Economic models used in the study suggest that farmers will seek to sell their barley rather to livestock breeders than to brewers when barley falls short of demand. Currently almost one fifth of the global barley production is used in the production of beer. When barley prices increase the proportion of barley used in beer is expected to decrease as brewers seek to replace barley by other ingredients. However, as those ingredients will most likely also increase in price, beer prices will inevitably rise.

According to the study, Irish beer drinkers will be hardest hit during years with extreme weather with an expected price increase of $4.84 per pint of beer, followed by Canada with $4.34 more. Those figures do not include the price hike of hops which will also suffer under drought conditions.

Even U.S. president Donald Trump, who tweeted in 2012 that "the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive," has recently acknowledged that the climate change was real. “I don’t think it’s a hoax,“ he said. “But I don’t know that it’s manmade. I think something’s happening. Something’s changing and it’ll change back again,” he added touting his own “natural instinct for science.”

Although the hike in beer price is probably not the most important consequence of climate change, Dabo Guan wants to emphasize with his study “that climate change will impact people’s lifestyle,” even those of people in industrialized countries, who may be shielded from the worst effects of climate change on food supply.

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