Beer and action may not seem to go together, but they do now – as demonstrated last week when 24 breweries across the nation signed a Climate Declaration to reduce the environmental impact of their operations while also supporting national climate action. Brewers from 12 states issued a call to action to others, with seven breweries from Oregon leading the charge. They were joined by four brewers from Washington, two a piece from Colorado, Michegan, and New Hampshire, and others from California, Hawaii, Maine, North Carolina, Vermont, and Wyoming. Ireland’s Guiness joined the coalition as the honored first international signatory.
The beer industry faces serious climate change impacts. Warmer temperatures and extreme weather events are harming the production of hops, a critical ingredient of beer that grows primarily in the Pacific Northwest. The resulting lower yields, combined with rising demand, has driven the price of hops up by more than 250 percent in the past decade. Clean water resources are also becoming scarcer in western regions as a result of climate-related droughts and reduced snow pack. Although many brewers are implementing solutions that lower their carbon footprints, increase their water and energy efficiency, and cut costs, they recognize that strong policies are also needed for tackling climate change at the scale and pace that’s needed.
So in honor of St. Paddy, enjoy a guilt-free green beer and follow the example of these leaders who are brewing with the climate in mind. And green cheers to taking action to reduce the footprint and impact from our own lives and spheres of influence, while supporting political action within our communities, cities and states.
WASHINGTON -- A group of 24 brewers from across the country have come together to cut greenhouse gas emissions from their operations and call for strong national action to address climate change.
The breweries, which include Smuttynose Brewing Company, Guinness and Allagash Brewing Company, have signed onto the Climate Declaration organized through the sustainable business group Ceres. The declaration pledges that each company will take its own action to reduce emissions from its business, and will also support political action at the national level.
Jenn Vervier, director of strategy and sustainability at New Belgium Brewery, which is based in Fort Collins, Colorado, said action on climate change makes a lot of sense for the brewery because it uses a lot of energy in heating, cooling and transportation, and uses a lot of water. Rising emissions, too, are expected to have negative effects for the beer industry because it relies on the cultivation of barley and hops, which aresensitive to changes in the climate.
New Belgium Brewery has already installed 300 kilowatts of solar at its brewery in Colorado, and it capture methane generated in its operations, which it then burns to generate 15 percent of its electricity.
Vervier said the advocacy for national climate action also makes sense for brewers. "Even if we were to be ourselves climate neutral, it's such a small drop in the bucket," she said. "It's going to take a cleaner grid to lower the emissions from manufacturing."
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