Climate change could skunk your beer, environmentalists warn

Sipping a cold beer on a hot summer day, you might not think about how climate change can hurt your favorite fermented beverage.

PennEnvironment’s Adam Garber thinks you should.

“What we actually know is that if the climate continues to warm, it’s going to devastate three of the key ingredients of the beer in your hand: barley, hops and water,” Garber told a party at a Fishtown brewery last week.

The audience boos. Drought, Garber continued, is hurting hops, which are mostly grown in the Northwest, and reducing water sources. And extreme heats, he added, is destroying barley crops.

“I know,” Garber said over the crowd’s beery boos. “It’s pretty depressing.”

And so are coastal flooding projections and a glacier the size of Delaware breaking off of Antarctica. But PennEnvironment is thinking of creative ways to engage people on climate change. That’s why they invited Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey, to Evil Genius Brewery on Thursday. The bar was packed, despite the  pouring rain outside.

Pennsylvania’s senior senator encouraged people to go to rallies and to send letter and make phone calls to their local and state representatives.

“No issue that we could all work together is more important,” Casey told the audience. “We know that that job got much harder when the President of the United States made the wrong decision about Paris [Accords], but we are not going to allow his decision to slow us down.”

Casey said he’s going to continue fighting to reduce carbon emissions at a state level, push back on deregulation and engage more bipartisan support on the senate.

The senator also said the Democratic party was not doing enough to help people working on the coal industry to transition to other jobs, and that he will make a robust effort to make that happen.

“That’s going to be difficult and expensive, but we can’t just leave them behind,” Casey said.

Casey said fighting climate change needs bipartisan action and creative outreach to different communities.

“Sportsmen’s groups, hunters and people who hunt and fish,” Casey said. “The faith community, people of all different faiths coming together saying this is god’s creation, it in our care and we’ve got to care for it appropriately.”

Science historian Audra Wolfe asked Casey about his position on the Regulatory Accountability Act. Opponents to the bill say that, despite the name, it actually deregulates big corporations, fossil fuel companies and industrial polluters. Casey said he would not support it.

“It’s a very, very dangerous  bill that can basically hamstring regulatory agencies abilities to make new regulations,” Wolfe told PlanPhilly. “It allows industry to have a lot of hearings about regulations they think are overly burdensome, but also opens possibilities for uncertainty.”

As you’d expect, the crowd of environmentalists ended the evening with a big cheers for making a better planet.

About the author

Catalina Jaramillo, Reporter

Catalina Jaramillo covers environment and sustainability for PlanPhilly and WHYY. She tells stories on how climate change, pollution, and policies regulating air, water, land, energy, food and waste affect residents on their everyday lives. She’s also interested in stories about nature and how people interact with it. Before joining WHYY, she wrote and produced stories for publications in New York City, Mexico and Chile. She has taught journalism in Chile and at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in NYC. She has been a Metcalf and a Fulbright fellow, and is a graduate of Columbia School of Journalism. She was born and raised in Santiago, Chile, and has been living in Philadelphia since 2014, in front of Norris Square Park, in Kensington. She tweets as @cjaramillo and you can email her in English or Spanish at

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