Climate change could mean beer drinkers pay more for their favorite malted beverage in coming years. Scientists say barley, a key ingredient in beer, could soon face more frequent drought and heat waves in the regions where it’s grown, reports Wired.
Research published in Nature Plants examines what the changing climate will mean for beer production by studying conditions in barley-growing regions and their effect on yield and, ultimately, supply.
“During the most severe climate events, the study predicts that global beer consumption would decline by 16 percent, an amount about equal to the total annual beer consumption of the United States in 2011. It also expects average beer prices to double.” -Wired Climate Change Might Double the Cost of a Beer
Farmers are no stranger to adaptation, and many have added or researched irrigation systems to mitigate some risk. However, barley growers have been forced to tap into reserves in recent years because of an extremely wet and warm winter that caused the crop to sprout prematurely, Wired reports.
The study indicates average yield loss ranges from 3% to 17% depending on the severity of drought and extreme heat conditions. Farmers will need to continue to adapt to new and changing weather conditions, and industry needs to follow.
“Many farmers are already adapting to the slowly warming planet—with advanced plant breeding techniques to create more drought-resistant grains, for example, and by using more efficient irrigation systems to conserve water.” -Wired
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