Want To Get Action On Climate Change? Show How Beer Is At Risk
By Hank Campbell | April 3rd 2015 12:23 PM | Print | E-mail
It's not always easy getting people mobilized about the climate. I can't think of a single environmental or pollution issue in the last 40 years where someone did not say a new policy would kill their business.
Now, like with people claiming Peak Oil for the last few decades, eventually they have to be right - and America has 93 million people out of work so while more restrictions on domestic industry did not cause all of that, it sure has not helped, so critics of environmental policy can claim a Pyrrhic victory, but so can environmentalists because all of those people not driving to work have led to American CO2 emissions being back at mid-1990s levels.
Basically, people are polarized, and both sides have practiced their framing - but beer is the one thing that can be common ground for everyone.
Climate change could significantly increase the price of beer. How so? Carbohydrates in the brewing process could be at risk in a global warming scenario. Normal starch in modern plants is different than in older plants because short-term-thinking organic farmers of the past bred for taste qualities over things like drought resistance.
Decades ago, organic farmers moved plants away from optimum survival by tinkering with the natural order of things. Luckily, modern science is here to help undo their mess. In the Journal of Cereal Science, a pilot study reintroduced genes that enabled sorghum to withstand water stress that had been bred out. "Stay green" genetic optimization in other plants will prevent normal starch from becoming resistant starch, University of Queensland researcher Peter Gous told Cameron Atfield at The Brisbane Times, and that means the price of beer will not skyrocket when global warming hits. If we embrace genetics, that is.
It's good that science is working on undoing the damage of pre-GMO inefficient breeding techniques, and good this is getting attention in the scientific literature and in my blog. Beer worry will get a lot more people mobilized than that dopey "The Day After Tomorrow" film ever did.
So if you don't want to pay $20 for a beer, you'd better hug a biologist. They are going to optimize plants so they need less water and create less environmental stress. What, biology might help solve climate change too? That's an anti-science hippie head explosion waiting to happen. What's next, GMO marijuana?
Citation:Peter W. Gous, Jovin Hasjim, Jerome Franckowiak, Glen P. Fox, Robert G. Gilbert, 'Barley genotype expressing “stay-green”-like characteristics maintains starch quality of the grain during water stress condition', Journal of Cereal Science, Volume 58, Issue 3, November 2013, Pages 414-419 doi:10.1016/j.jcs.2013.08.002
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