After last week’s major announcement from the IPCC, there are plenty of good reasons to feel terrified about the future. The news that we might have as little as 12 years left before global warming boils us all alive should be enough to scare the bejesus out of any sensible, sane politician. Unfortunately, an angry, coal-obsessed carrot is in the White House and the rest of the world seem far too worried about might what appear on Twitter to pay much attention to anything else. If the seriously scary scenarios described in the IPCC report fail to prompt action, then surely nothing will.
But, for all the doom mongers out there, there may be a ray of hope on the horizon. For, if there is one urge more powerful than the instinct for survival, it is the need to protect our beer. A world without a Friday pint is not a world worth fighting for. As a new report reveals, stopping climate change may be the only way that we can avoid this nightmare. Global warming suddenly got serious.
According to expert agriculture journal Nature Plants, the issue revolves around how global barley production may be affected in the event of dramatic climate change. The study, which has the genuinely appalling title “Decreases in global beer supply due to extreme drought and heat”, states "Although not the most concerning impact of future climate change, climate-related weather extremes may threaten the availability and economic accessibility of beer."
An international team of researchers working in China, the UK and the USA spent a significant period evaluating "the effects of concurrent drought and heat extremes projected under a range of future climate scenarios" and concluded that, based on current temperature changes and other shifting environmental factors, climate change could cause the cost of a pint to double in price in the very near future. And you thought losing your home to the rapidly rising ocean was bad.
The main threat to the world’s booze is not, according to the report, a consistent rise in temperature, but rather the inconsistent and occasional extreme weather events that will be associated with that rise. Researchers found that “during the most severe climate events”, such as sudden droughts and floods, barley yields could fall be as much as 17%, and cause the cost of a six-pack to increase by anything between $1 and $8.