If all the data on global warming hasn’t scared you yet, maybe this will: Rising temperatures could mean less beer.
A new study published in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature Plants reported that current predictions of the next few decades see beer becoming scarce and thus more far expensive — as much as twice the cost by some estimates.
This scarcity will be the result of a decrease in the production of barely, the main ingredient in beer. Scientists have long known that barely is one of the most heat-sensitive crops. The predicted severe droughts and extreme heat could cause significant losses. Average barely crop losses could range from three to 16 percent, depending on the severity of the climate change.
In the US alone, shortages could reduce the amount Americans drink by up to 900 million gallons — that’s 9 billion bottles of beer!
According to the study, this decrease in supply and increased demand could mean that beer prices double. Ireland — one of the most affected countries — would see prices increase by as much as 338 percent by 2099. That means a six-pack could cost a whopping $21.
In addition to the increased cost, the global beer shortage could have social and political consequences as well. According to Dabo Guan, one of the study’s authors, climate change could trigger a new wave of prohibition where beer is no longer affordable for the working class.
Guan said that the point of this study wasn’t to encourage people to drink their fill today, but rather to get them to think about tomorrow.
“If people still want to have a pint of beer while they watch football, we have to do something about climate change.”
(h/t Business Insider)