The fans of "ambrée", "lager", "ale", "pilsen" and other types of beer must prepare to face shortages: climate change threatens to drastically reduce the production of barley, the cereal at the origin of the good malts for its production.
The extreme weather events that affect this cereal will cause the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world to become more rare and more expensive, according to a study published this Monday.
"A fall in world barley production means an even greater drop in the production of barley beer," said Dabo Guan, professor of climate change economics at the University of East Anglia (Norwich, Great Britain), stressing that "crops of the highest quality are the most sensitive. "
Only the barley of the best quality (less than 20% of the world produced) is dedicated to the production of beer.
If global warming continues at the current rate, the main adverse events (droughts, heat waves of unusual gravity) will affect each of the main areas of barley cultivation at least once a year, which will cause a 16% drop in world beer production.
This is the equivalent of what is drunk in a year in the United States today, the researchers calculated in their study published in Nature Plants. The average price will double as a result of these crises.
In the most optimistic scenario possible (with a large immediate decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, which is not at all the way it is currently moving), about 20 major weather events would affect the regions where barley is grown up 2100, which would reduce world beer production by 4% and increase its price by 15%.
Some countries will be particularly affected, according to the study. Among the twenty main consumer regions (per capita) are currently Europe, the United States, New Zealand and Australia.
The main exporters of barley in the world are Australia, France, Russia, Ukraine and Argentina, followed by some other European countries. The big importers are China, Saudi Arabia and Iran, followed by three beer monsters, Holland, Belgium and Japan.
In a world in which climate also threatens to reduce the production and nutritional value of other cereals, such as wheat, corn and rice, barley could also be used as a priority for food use.
"Climate change could reduce availability, stability and access to 'luxury goods'," says Guan.