Thursday, April 10, 2008

Hitting them where it matters

Maybe this will wake a few more people up.

A perfect storm is brewing, coming together with the potential to create a shortage in the world's beer supply. In addition to an ongoing hops shortage, which we first reported last year, failed barley crops are causing further concern in the beer brewing industry, and we can chalk it up to the effects of global warming.

According to Jim Salinger, a climate scientist at New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, the warming globe will likely cause a decline in the production of malting barley, which, when combined with the scarcity of hops right now, stands to have a profound and negative impact on the world's beer supply starting now, and for decades to come.

"It will mean either there will be pubs without beer or the cost of beer will go up," Salinger told the Institute of Brewing and Distilling convention. Though Salinger spoke only of the direct effects on Australia and New Zealand, similar effects could be expected worldwide. He said climate change could cause a drop in beer production within 30 years, especially in parts of Australia, as dry areas become drier and water shortages worsen.

You can take pictures of thermometres and snow, argue over hockey sticks and methodologies, and disregard flooding coastal communities, but you can't ignore beer.

Especially since much of the world's GHG emissions come from states that are also biggest consumers of beer.

Some things must be protected.

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