Climate change is the biggest threat to all of civilization that our species has faced since the 1980’s. Scientists say rising seas are going to envelope major cities around the world, while heatwaves are set to bring wildfires and torrential rains bring floods. And the global economy is stuffed.
However, as if that was not bad enough, it turns out that climate change might even mess up that most holy of traditions — the weekend.
The world’s most pre-eminent climate scientists have submitted thousands of reports warning of the danger of continuing to spew carbon into the atmosphere. And yet the governments of the world have continued to ignore them.
Thankfully, 42 breweries have weighed in to illuminate us about the true scale of the threat — we might actually run out of beer. From California to the Czech Republic, hop production is being hit by rising temperatures and a lack of water. Beer could also start to taste worse, according to the Czechs, but their beer is rubbish anyway.
“Changes in climate caused by human activity have the potential to create unprecedented social, economic and environmental challenges,” said a spokesman from Diageo.
The company that owns Guinness. Maybe now people will start to listen.
The weather is the deciding factor in any weekend. Is it going to be parklife or board games? The news is mixed. Across the world, weather extremes are becoming more frequent. So that might mean more scorchers and beach days.
However, warmer air also holds more water, says Bob Ward, policy and communications director at London’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change. Meaning climate change is also set to bring more rainfall, “increasing the risk of flooding, both inland from rainfall and along our coasts due to sea level rise.”
This all roughly translates to more of everything, except normal.
Carbon dioxide does not just heat up the atmosphere, it also turns the ocean into an acidic soup that eats away the shells of much-loved molluscs.
The ocean has increased in acidity by 25 percent since the Industrial Revolution. If it continues, many shellfish are in danger of disappearing from the fishmonger.
In the UK, very little is known about the future of the industry, said Steve Colclough, the director of the marine section of the Institute of Fisheries Management.
“This is an extremely difficult subject and nobody has the information,” he said.
However, if the situation in the US is anything to go by, there is trouble ahead. In the Pacific northwest, the oyster industry has already lost US$110 million because of more corrosive water.
The world is running out of chocolate. That is because climate change and crippling poverty are driving Africa’s cocoa farmers to produce other crops. Which is a bit rubbish, because your date’s chocolate mousse is set to get a lot pricier.
In four decades, the amount of land available for growing cocoa has dropped 40 percent. In the next 40 years, the temperature in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, where 70 percent of cocoa is grown, is set to rise by 2oC. That is going to make it too hot and dry for cocoa trees.
We are already on the way to peak chocolate. By 2020, world cocoa demand is set to outstrip supply by 1 million tonnes. That is 90,909,090,909 Lindt balls.
When there are people suffering in poor countries, there is nothing worse than a hangover. Except maybe a hangover with no coffee.
Annoyingly, the coffee growers of flooded Honduras and drought-stricken Brazil and all those other places you did not know your coffee came from might not be able to get coffee beans to grow in a warmer climate.
The problem has already started to have an impact in Vietnam, where farmers have run out of water and stopped sending coffee overseas.
Amazingly, coffee growers do not tend to drink much coffee. Maybe because they earn roughly half the price of a cappuccino a day.
THE HAIR OF THE DOG
You might want to hold on to that middling Chateauneuf-du-Pape you tore the budget supermarket price tag off so your friends thought you bought it at an indy bottle shop — it is going to become a lot rarer.
The traditional wine regions of France, Chile, Australia and California are all going to become too hot to supply your favorite plonk.
Thankfully, you probably will not have to go without. Just realign your snobby wine vernacular. As warm temperatures shift north, so will wine growing regions.
So look forward to laying down a nice bottle of Swedish red for your grandchild’s birth wine.
Karl Mathiesen is a freelance journalist with a background in wildlife conservation.
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