Beer is the prom king of alcoholic beverages, winning the popularity contest in terms of total volumes drunk. And because its main ingredient, barley, is sensitive to extreme drought and heat, climate change will cause undue pain for all who love their lager, new research suggests.
Global warming will lead to substantial decreases in barley crop yields, causing beer shortages and a sharp rise in the price of a pint, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Plants.
“The aim of the study is not to encourage people to drink more today,” said Dabo Guan, a co-author of the study and a professor of climate change economics at University of East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom. Instead, the study is trying to say that climate change will impact your quality of life.
Gathered in a bar after a series of lectures in China, Guan and a group of climate change scientists wanted to find a new way to collaborate. “We were drinking beer,” he said, and they thought, “Maybe we can do something on beer, because nobody has done that.” The key question was obvious and direct: How much more will we pay for a pint of beer? What will be the climate change impact on luxury essentials?