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Beer prices to spike if climate change continues, say scientists

18:39 16/10/2018

The price of a standard beer in Belgium will increase by about 40% if global warming continues, according to a new study carried out by international scientists and published in Nature Plants. The study looked at the effects of the cost of barley should climate change continue unhindered at its current speed.

Barley will become more scarce – and thus costlier – with increased heat waves and droughts, according to the Chinese and American agricultural and earth systems scientists who carried out the study. They then calculated price spikes across a number of countries.

“We have different climate models, but the impact of weather extremes on beer has never been investigated,” said the scientists in a statement. In Belgium, a half litre of beer will cost about $2.77 (€2.38) more than it does now. For a standard 25cl beer, that means about €1.19 more.

But even a drastic fall in greenhouse gasses over the coming years will still mean an increase of at least 42¢ per half litre in Belgium, according to the scientists.

Barley-producing countries that will suffer the most should temperatures rise by 2°C will be China, the US, Germany and Russia, according to the report. The price increase will hit Ireland, Italy, Canada and Poland especially hard, it said, with a pint doubling in cost in Ireland.

“The world is facing many life-threatening impacts of climate change, so people having to spend a bit more to drink beer may seem trivial by comparison,” said Dr Steven Davis of the University of California. “But there is definitely a cross-cultural appeal to beer, and not having a cool pint at the end of an increasingly common hot day just adds insult to injury.”

Photo: Herwig Vergult/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw