Now it’s a climate crisis

Maybe this will do the trick.

I mean, if hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, drought, rising sea levels, blizzards, typhoons, heat waves and tsunamis aren’t enough to make our Congress creatures do anything about climate change, maybe this will.

Maybe this news will be what it takes for Congress to drop the huge bags of cash delivered to them each day by oil, gas and energy lobbyists and take action.

I want to warn you that the piece of news that I’m about to share with you is not for the faint of heart. If you’re standing up, you probably ought to sit down. If you’re sitting down, you probably ought to stand up.

I’m telling you, this news is devastating. Are you ready?

OK (deep breath). Here it comes:


I’m sorry I had to break the news to you so harshly, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate actions.

According to a story in The New York Times, researchers have concluded that by the end of the century, drought and heat will have a devastating impact on barley production around the world. Barley, of course, is one of the most important ingredients in beer, the other important ingredient being — to use a technical term — “Dilly Dilly.”

The Times story referred to a study published in something called Nature Plants that says declining barley crops could, for example, result in a 20 percent drop in beer supplies in the United States and double the cost of a bottle of beer in Ireland.

That’s right. In Ireland!

Now granted, given the death and destruction caused by extreme weather patterns in the world lately, worrying about beer might seem to some to be insensitive.

But Dabo Guan, one of the researchers who conducted the study, insists that the beer angle is important. Guan said that many of the people who scoff at climate change seem to be under the impression that it won’t seriously affect them. Many of the people who scoff at climate change figure that only poor people in poor countries will suffer.

But that’s not the case, Guan said. Rich people in rich countries will suffer less than the poor, but they will suffer.

Climate change “may not affect our bread,” he said, “but it will affect our beer.”

The idea for a study on what impact climate change might have on beer was hatched in … wait for it … a bar.

According to the Times, after a day at a scientific meeting in China, a few participants met in a bar. The group included a climate scientist, a crop modeler and an economist.

Oddly enough, that’s the opening line from one of my favorite jokes: “A climate scientist, a crop modeler and an economist walk into a bar. The bartender says, ‘We don’t get many climate scientists, crop modelers and economists in here,’ and the economist says, ‘At these totally market-based prices, I can see why not.’”

I didn’t say it was a good joke.

Thankfully, brave people like Jess Newman, director of agronomy for Anheuser-Busch, have sprung into action, unlike our Congress creatures.

“We take climate uncertainty very seriously,” she said.

To that end, Newman said, Anheuser-Busch is constantly monitoring climate studies, working on new strains of barley and collecting data from its barley farms and the farms of its suppliers.

“The barley nerds are on the case,” she said.

That’s right. A beer company is doing more about climate change than Congress.


Who knows, maybe news like this will force Congress into action. Of course, that will likely depend on one thing.

The size of the bags of cash beer lobbyists carry.