We're Facing a Beer Shortage Because of Global Warming
In case you weren't convinced before, climate change is really going to fuck us over. A new study tracking beer and extreme weather found that—guess what!—rising temperatures around the globe will hurt barley production (along with the livelihoods of millions). Fewer barley crops means less beer, and less beer means higher beer prices. Cheers 'em while you got 'em.
For their study, published Monday in the journal Nature Plants, researchers compared models forecasting climate change, crop production, and global economic trends and found that the future for beer drinkers looks grim indeed. Because barley is susceptible to drought and heat, global beer consumption could drop by as much as 16 percent in the most severe examples of climate change. That could make beer prices double on average around the globe. In less severe outcomes, beer prices would still rise by 15 percent.
"In the median extreme year under higher warming scenarios, we found that beer prices in the U.S. [would] increase by $1.19 per six-pack, but in the more severe extreme years prices would more than double, rising by $8.31 per six-pack," study co-author and associate professor of Earth system science Steven Davis explained, per Popular Science.
"IN THE MORE SEVERE EXTREME YEARS PRICES WOULD MORE THAN DOUBLE, RISING BY $8.31 PER SIX-PACK."
And the U.S. is sitting pretty. Beer friendly countries like Belgium, Poland, and Canada could see more extreme price hikes; in Ireland, a six-pack of beer could cost $20 more than it does now, Davis said. He also predicted beer drinkers in poorer countries like China wouldn't be able to afford six packs at all.
"Really, the countries who love beer will suffer a lot," study co-author and professor of climate change economics Dabo Guan told CNN. And isn't that pretty much everyone on this poor, overheating chunk of rock?
On the bright side, Americans are willing to pay $1.30 more for a six-pack of beer produced with sustainable, planet-friendly practices. We haven't totally lost hope.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.