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Climate change is set to see the price of your beer and coffee soar

You might be one among 1.4 billion other people around the world who rely on their daily cup of coffee to get you through the morning.

But with the way things are heating up, you might not be able to bank on your cheap caffeine hit for much longer. Nor should you bank on your regular Friday nights at the pub where beer flows so freely from the tap.

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Research shows climate change is raising temperatures and disrupting the conditions required for high-quality coffee plants to flourish.

Not only that, but extreme weather conditions such as drought and heat will cause drops in barley yields across the world – meaning less barley to make beer, lower beer consumption, and ultimately higher price tags on your schooner.

What’s going to happen to my coffee?

Changing conditions in the climate means the amount of area that is suitable for growing coffee crops will decrease dramatically, according to a study by the US-based National Academy of Sciences.

“Climate change impact assessments suggest a significant reduction, up to 50 per cent, in the global area suitable for coffee farming by midcentury,” the report said.

“Our results suggest that coffee-suitable areas will be reduced 73–88 per cent by 2050 across warming scenarios, a decline 46–76 per cent greater than estimated by global assessments.”

Not only this, but coffee production is dependent on pollination by bees – and the diversity and distribution of bee species is slated to drop thanks to climate change.

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“Coffee production will likely be affected by climate change in two ways: directly, through the effects of changes in temperature, rainfall, or extreme events on coffee production, and indirectly, through changes in pollination services.”

But of course, it’s not just our access to the coffee bean that will be affected: a suffering coffee industry will see people’s businesses and personal lives at stake.

“Such losses will affect the livelihoods of 100 million people in the coffee industry.”

What’s going to happen to my beer?

As our temperatures climb, so too does the likelihood and severity of “extreme events” – such as drought and heat – on barley-growing regions.

Ultimately, this will cause “considerable disruption” to the global barley supply, reduce the amount of barley available for beer production, and drive down the amount of beer we consume.

“During the most severe climate events … our results indicate that global beer consumption would decline by 16 per cent […] (roughly equal to the total annual beer consumption of the United States in 2011), and that beer prices would, on average, double (100–656 per cent of recent prices),” stated a research article by British-based science journal Nature Plants.

“Even in less severe extreme events … global beer consumption drops by 4 per cent … and prices jump by 15 per cent,” the article said.

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“Although the effects on beer may seem inconsequential in comparison to many of the other—some life-threatening—impacts of climate change, there is nonetheless something fundamental in the cross-cultural appreciation of beer.

“For perhaps many millennia, and still at present for many people, beer has been an important component of social gatherings and human celebration.

“Although it may be argued that consuming less beer is not disastrous—and may even have health benefits—there is little doubt that for millions of people around the world, the climate impacts on beer consumption will add insult to injury.”

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