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The warm beer chart

Filed under: — gavin @ 13 April 2011

Perhaps a way to connect with Joe Sixpack?

Tagline: If we can pay as much attention to the Earth as we do to our beer, we probably wouldn’t need to worry about global warming.

Design by S. Han, loosely based on IPCC (2007), courtesy of the “Artist as Citizen” initiative. (Full size pdf version)

55 Responses to “The warm beer chart”

  1. 1
    jyyh says:

    Kevin C #104: One can of course assume El Nino effects even the temperatures in the polar regions but connecting the dots is far from easy. I took AMSU lower tropospheric plot and tried to connect various heatvawes in various el Ninos at but as can be seen the subtropical ridge at some 35-40 deg N/S is quite an efficient barrier for rigid behaviour for extra energy to move, at least in the 2-dimensional(Low troposphere)/time plot.

  2. 2
    Greg Simpson says:

    Sounds good. I don’t like beer anyway.

  3. 3
    Tony Sidaway says:

    As a chap who just got off the Clapham Omnibus[1] and is happily swilling a tasty pint of traditional English[2] warm beer, I take exception to this post.

    [1] Chingford actually, but it could just as easily have been Clapham.

    [2] Er, actually it’s called Rooster’s Angry Yank I.P.A. It’s a bitter brewed in Yorkshire from American hops, but they didn’t think “Bitter American” worked, hence “Angry Yank.” It’s served at a temperature that does not anesthetize the palate and it has a pleasantly aromatic attack with a lovely nutty decay. If this beer were human, I would probably shag it. At least after three pints I might.

  4. 4
    B Buckner says:

    Nah, the hotter it gets, the better a cold beer will taste.

  5. 5
    Dave Lambers says:


  6. 6
  7. 7
    Andy Revkin says:

    Definitely an improvement on the IPCC “burning embers” effort. The Artist as Citizen project inspired a heap of new approaches in the contest that grew out of my “embers” coverage on Dot Earth:

  8. 8
    One Anonymous Bloke says:

    Some of these things will work, others will fall flat on their face. It’s still worth doing them. This made me laugh at least.

  9. 9

    Now you’ve got my attention on this crazy figure. Are the rising temperatures associated with each year (i.e., 1960 = 0 C) relative to average “room” (aka atmospheric) temperature? Cuz a beer at zero degrees Celsius (+32 F) is quite cold; certainly drinkable at +6 degrees C (+42 F)in 2100.

    More to the point; if we’re going to use drawings to help raise awareness, I suggest they be peer reviewed by a panel of experts. We certainly don’t want to get off to a bad start…oh, wait a minute. As scientists we have already failed miserably at communicating observations of ongoing climate change, the cause of climate change, how our climate will change, and what we can do about it.

    Maybe someone else should be in charge of these drawings!

  10. 10
    Snapple says:

    This just seemed silly and condescending to me. Probably I’m not the democraphic it’s aimed at.

  11. 11
    Didactylos says:

    Yes, websites that are 100% Flash. What a good idea! Aren’t designers clever!

    Oh, wait….


    The sad thing is that none of the entries I looked at even attempted to present information in an easy to understand way. The beer one is equally unhelpful, but at least appeals to a particular demographic.

    Flash: Just Say No.

  12. 12
    adelady says:

    snapple – it’s not really aimed at a demographic. It’s aimed at getting people to think, re-think?, their attitudes generally.

    If it lightens the tone so that people who’ve previously been dismissive or antagonistic can more easily say, “Oh, you might have a point.” without losing face, it’s A Good Thing.

  13. 13
    russwylie says:

    i sense a cover up, why does the chart not show price over time ?

    alarmists say by 2100 its £100 a can of beer, denialists say rubbish, lager is getting cheaper over time so its £3.

    new study says beer != lager -> furore.

    some beer reviewed citations :

  14. 14
    David B. Benson says:


    Err, not.

  15. 15
    Hank Roberts says:

    By 2100 you will connect the valve on your beer canister to the house CO2 collection system, vent the compressed gas through the Head Capture Filter into the sealed home vegetable greenhouse (warning, do not enter greenhouse without supplemental oxygen); once the volume of compressed CO2 expands into the capture system, that will have cooled the beer down to drinkable temperature.

    Each beer canister will weigh, oh, six or eight pounds.
    And your home-grown tomatoes and broccoli will taste vaguely like hops.

  16. 16
    Marshall says:

    In a world where people drink Bud Light, not likely.

  17. 17
    seamus says:

    Randall W. Parkinson said, “As scientists we have already failed miserably at communicating observations of ongoing climate change, the cause of climate change, how our climate will change, and what we can do about it.”

    I don’t think so. Scientists do a good job at communicating all of these things, or at the very least an acceptable job. Instead of thinking it’s the scientists who are failing, perhaps it would be more accurate to say it’s the rejectionists who are succeeding. Just because something is backed up by solid evidence and well-communicated, does not necessarily mean people will accept it.

  18. 18
    Radge Havers says:

    I have a theory that, being swamped with imagery, we’ve entered an age where static images have lost power in the sense that they are no longer iconic. (Viral on YouTube is something else.)

    That said, I thought the cartoon was amusing and pretty mild by today’s standards. The thing about humor is that it is, by it’s nature, somewhat evanescent and twisted. Take a joke it too literally or read too much into it, and you will kill even the best of them.

  19. 19

    At first I thought it was clever. Now I think it does not work. It actually offers very little real information and not enough humor… rather it is merely clever display. And it calls attention to a serious lack of predictable scenarios discussed here on RC.

    For instance, with a huge fraction of global agriculture resting within a few feet of sea level – I would think that with a foot of sea level rise we would see a fairly large impact to food and drink.

    RC has mentioned scenarios back in 2004 – otherwise there is little to find.

    “The models are not going to be able to tell you what will happen in 2080, but more what may happen at the time of doubling of CO2 , whenever that may be. It turns out the much of the climate is only weakly dependent on the rate of change of the greenhouse gases (though there are some important exceptions). So the result at the time of doubling doesn’t much matter whether it takes 70 or 100 years to get there.”

    I realize that opening up discussion to future projection scenarios might be overwhelming – but there is so much in tipping points that is vitally important. After a quick search here in RC – I am left wishing for more.

  20. 20
  21. 21
    Chris Colose says:

    This doesn’t work for outreach, but I did think it was a good Colbert-style humor piece. I was actually surprised at the degree of seriousness taken by some of the comments so far; I only read it like raypierre’s previous “sheep-albedo feedback’ article. It’s also similar to the bathing suit image showing ‘proof of global warming.’ Perhaps enough humor is a form of outreach? If it isn’t outreach though, it still brings a chuckle to someone…not bad either way.

  22. 22
    MangoChuthey says:


    COORS + BEER = CO2 + ER-ER + BS


    I don’t deny climate change, I know climate changes

  23. 23
    Tony O'Brien says:

    Heat does rather nasty things to wine. Liquid bliss shipped across the nation and caught in a sudden heat wave, bloody horrible.

  24. 24
    Dan H. says:

    If we bottled the beer, but did not drink it because it got too warm, imagine how much CO2 would be removed from the atmosphere.

  25. 25
    Jaime Frontero says:

    Yeah sure. All you ‘beerists’ are just making money hand over fist, promoting further studies in bars… getting sloshed on the taxpayer (that would be ME) dime!

    And anyway, all the beer-drinkers I see on the TeeVee say it’s a hoax: when you pop the top on one, the spritz cools off the next one in line.

    Why don’t you beerist jerks get a clue – and get me some whisky (over ice, if you’d be so kind) while you’re up?

  26. 26
    Roger Andrews says:

    I don’t think the science here would survive beer review.

  27. 27

    #24–According to Steve Goddard, all beer ought to be warm anyway, as it’s pressurized.

    #7–“Some of these things will work, others will fall flat. . .” Flat and warm, too? Horrors!

    Or should I say, “Barmageddon?”

  28. 28
    CM says:


    > Flat and warm, too?

    I guess that’s what Thomas L. Friedman was getting at. “Hot, Flat, and…” okay, maybe “Crowded” doesn’t make all that much sense in beer terms, but then, “flat” never made much sense of globalization, either.

  29. 29
    Terry says:

    You should have put some temperatures on the graphic, either absolute or dT, otherwise Joe wont connect the dates with temperature.

  30. 30
    Nick says:

    This infographic has enough typos and design errors to make me far more alarmed about the designer’s skills than global warming.

  31. 31
  32. 32
    Brian Dodge says:

    “If we bottled the beer, but did not drink it because it got too warm, imagine how much CO2 would be removed from the atmosphere.” Dan H. — 14 Apr 2011 @ 7:30 AM

    No need to imagine. World consumption is about 1.5e11 liters, and the CO2 content is 4-7 g/liter, so about 0.0025% of CO2 emissions. Assuming I didn’t drop a decimal point here or there.

  33. 33
    David B. Benson says:

    Brian Dodge @30 — That’s it! Bottle alotta beer!

    [Response: Bottling beer and then not being allowed to open them is against the Geneva Convention, and rightly so.–Jim]

  34. 34

    I like the concept…but not sure that the actual drawing works that well. Making good and descriptive graphic images is the best way to get through to many parts of the population because they go to sleep when most scientists or politicians start speaking.

  35. 35
    jyyh says:

    But the people who did this forgot there’s also the champange/sparkling wine effect that is harder to measure since they get drinked on more private occasions. A new controversy in climate studies is clearly emerging. Anyway, good to see the effect of leaving the jug undrinked measured so well :-).

  36. 36
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    Vote for Climate Change Communicator of the Year at

    This is the last day of voting.

  37. 37
    Paolo says:

    OMG !!! I never thought it was this bad. Now that the data presented by the IPPC in this way, now I see how serious the problem really is. What can I do! I like the idea to put our unwanted CO2 in beer…we just need to find the right brand that nobody wants to drink anyway. That’s is the problem, isn’t it? I suggest the feds put together a Blue-Ribbon panel to hopp on this issue and study which beer is best for CO2 storage. I also suggest congress pass a Bar Bill to create a hefty tax levied on anyone who chooses to buy and drink the swill.

  38. 38

    re: #28, there is a temperature scale above the cans, from 0 to +6c

    As one of the organizers of this contest over a year ago on Dot Earth, thanks to Gavin for posting, this one was one of my favorites, though it didn’t make the finals. As an allegory, I find it oddly and disturbingly precise, looking at it again. The entry for 2040, “Beer officially start to suck. People are shocked…” seems to capture a whole world of experience in very efficient language.

    For those who would like to try their skills on an even better-funded climate communication contest, here’s a current one from Norway:

    The top three entrants will receive approximately $18k to develop their pieces, and the winner will receive a production budget of about $96k to produce and distribute the winning piece. Deadline is May 1st.

  39. 39
    David says:

    It’s a nice illustration, but I think it is far from reality. This is maybe a decade of global warming, but the next one can become an ice age. We are dealing with speculations. [I call poe on this one. -moderator]

    [Response: The next decade can become an ice age eh? And it can’t be that far from reality given that numerous beers are already known to “officially suck”, well ahead of schedule–Jim]

  40. 40
    Everett Rowdy says:

    For a lot of people, say around 2050 or so, your warm beer is going to taste a lot like salt water.

  41. 41

    #40–“Beer, beer everywhere, and not a drop to drink?” (Apologies to Coleridge.)

    Evidently, killing the planetary radiative equilibrium is much, much worse than killing an albatross. Well, that does make intuitive sense.

  42. 42
    caerbannog says:

    Reminds me of an old joke that goes back to the bad old days of Lucas Electronics:

    Q) Why do the Brits drink warm beer?

    A) They all have Lucas refrigerators!

  43. 43
    Russell says:

    Growers in Burgundy start to worry about competition from New Zealand Pinot Noir

    Africanized Phyloxera beetles ravage Argentine Malbec fields

    Napa Valley replanted in shiraz as heat stress decimates 20th century cabernet plantings

    Krug’s first vintage of English champagne is served at coronation of King Harry IX

    Blaming barrage of fruit bomb years for Bordeaux price skid, Chateaux Ausonne declares bankruptcy after 2200 years

    Plankton-starved penguins swim north to Madeira and swarm inland to devour ripening grapes. Last Malmsey produced.

    Grape glut and influx of refugees from French vineyardS leads to
    replacement of haggis with sole Veronique as Scotland’s national dish.

    Extinction of barley in Ireland precipitates rebranding campaign for Guinness Port

    Siberia surpasses Quebec as world’s largest exporter of porter

    Groenlander Doktor trockenbeerenauslese served for dessert at Nobel awards banquet

  44. 44

    Groenlander Doktor trockenbeerenauslese served for dessert at Nobel awards banquet”

    . . . and climate change denialists finally admit it’s warmer than during the MWP.

    (Of course, they still insist that 1) the observed warming is entirely “natural,” and that 2) it’s just started cooling again.)

  45. 45
    Ian North says:

    “Tagline: If we can pay as much attention to the Earth as we do to our beer, we probably wouldn’t need to worry about global warming.”

    For most beer lovers it doesn’t matter how hot the earth get so long as there’s still beer in the world.

    Now if you pay Joe six-pack in beer to use less energy and consume less natural resources then you’ve got a win-win. the earth will be saved because all he will do is sit around on the couch all day drinking beer which is all he wants to do anyway.

    Beer = the end of global warming.

    Of course then you have the problem of getting the labor to produce the beer.

  46. 46
    Snapple says:

    I don’t think that denigrating people and calling them ignorant drunks will make them believe that you care about them and want to help their descendants survive global warming.

  47. 47
    Russell says:

    I am deeply shocked by this website’s lack of advertisements for solar distilled rum, and carbon-negative biochar- filtered Jack Daniel’s Really Green Label

  48. 48
    Radge Havers says:

    Russell @ 43

    The death of haggis AND a plague of penguins! In the same post no less!

  49. 49
    Scientific American says:

    Snapple, what is wrong with ignorant drunks? They have a right to their opinions too, which are equally valid with opinions of all those eye-glazing scientists. Peer reviewed science is just stuffy editorializing, isn’t it? Let both sides be heard, the debate is not over!

  50. 50
    Russell says:

    Jim: this is a deplorable anti- Swiss canard.

    Unopenable beer bottles were devised by Geneva’s echt Calvinists as a warning to the preterite