7 Unlikely Things Global Warming Could Take Away

Tall smokestack against a blue sky
Photo: Martin Snicer/Flickr [CC by ND-2.0]

Sure, global warming could wipe out the polar bears and the sea turtle. Maybe global warming will eat up the tundra under rural Alaskan villages or push an obscure Australian frog to extinction. A more cynical person might rationalize, thinking, "Good! The fewer polar bears there are, the less of a chance that I'll end up being eaten by one. And who gives a crap about sea turtles, Aussie frogs, or some random village near the Arctic Circle?" But consider this: what if global warming took away beer? What if it pushed wine to extinction? Now that would get the attention of the average cynic. For some, global warming won't be real until it hits home — at the bar, the beach or the dinner table.

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Life without ... beer


Hops and barley are two must-have beer ingredients that don't respond well to global warming. In recent years, New Zealand has experienced poor barley harvests, and the Czech Republic is watching its prized hops lose potency with each passing season. Researchers from both countries say global warming as the likely culprit. Traditionally stable weather patterns are being disrupted, throwing the growing season out of wack. Beer isn't going away anytime soon, but someday a simple pint might be a lot more expensive if we mitigate the consequences of climate change.

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Life without ... pasta


Another potential victim of disrupted weather is durum wheat, the primary ingredient in pasta. Shifts in weather are projected to increase temperatures and decrease rainfall in key growing areas in Italy and Europe, creating disruption in the harvest. The U.K.'s Met Office released a report on the potential impact climate change could have on Italy and predicted that wheat production would decline beginning in 2020 and disappearing by century's end. Someday we'll tell our grandchildren about the good ol' days when macaroni and cheese was only $.79 a box.

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Life without ... waffles


The blogosphere exploded in response to recent news announcing an Eggo waffle shortage. Stephen Colbert was all over it, vowing to "not leggo" of the story and reported that an Atlanta production plant shut down by flooding was the blame for a shortage predicted to last into 2010. The Economist connected the flooding with global warming,a segue into the more serious issues of climate change, food and warfare. Don't laugh: Eggo's could be the canary in the coal mine.

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Life without ... skiing


Park City, Utah, commissioned a study a couple of years ago that scared the ice out of residents. The study projected that temperatures could rise 6 to 15 degrees by the end of the century, creating a snowless Park City. It's not hard to see how global warming could severely impact skiing and snowboarding — warmer weather means a later start and an earlier end to the season, not to mention less snow, both of the natural and man-made varieties. On the campaign trail in 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama warned New Hampshire residents that global warming could cut into ski industry jobs, a message that more ski executives are beginning to heed. Many resorts are jumping into green energy and starting to lobby for climate change legislation.

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Life without ... Florida

Jim's outside photos/Flickr.

The average elevation of Florida is 98 feet. Most of the state — at least along the coast — is less than 10 feet or so above sea level. Global warming causes oceans to rise, and with a six-foot rise you can pretty much kiss Miami goodbye. Come to think of it, say goodbye to white sandy beaches, super expensive dock-side McMansions, and nightclubs I'll never be cool enough to get into. Heck, with just a three-foot rise in water level, say goodbye to Key West, too.

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Life without ... wine

Mr. T in DC/Flickr.

Affordable quality wine could be a thing of the past in a few decades if projections made by some scientists are accurate and growing regions perfectly suited for growing wine grapes shift north due to warming temperatures. Small changes can make big differences in wine grapes and vineyards are already feeling the impact from hotter summers. The past decade has actually been one of the best on record for vineyards in France due to the warmer temperatures, but if it gets any warmer crops could spoil and places like England and Wales could find themselves home to the perfect growing season. If temperatures keeping rising, wine grapes could run out of room to migrate north and we'll all have to get use to drinking more Vodka.

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Life without ... a lot of things


How much fun can you really have in a worst-case, post-global warming world? Without beer, wine, good food, fun sports, and beautiful beaches to enjoy while staring at scantily clad members of the opposite sex ... I mean, what's the use of getting out of bed in the morning, assuming we still have beds after the world heats up and cooks itself? We'll be forced to walk around in long white Bedouin-like robes — light-colored Snuggies, if you will — venturing forth from our hastily dug subterranean bunkers only to make quick scavenging runs back to civilization, looking for that last batch of food or useful material left behind after the great solar/nuclear war of 2027 between Al Gore's green faction and Glenn Beck's Teabagger brigades. No, that future doesn't look like much fun.