As The Planet Gets Hotter, People Turn Up The Air Conditioning–Thus Making The Planet Hotter–And The Pattern Is Getting Exponentially Worse
Summer in the northern hemisphere has already pushed the planet to the brink of yet another record-breaking year for heat. Much of the U.S. is enduring temperatures above 100°F (38°C) driving one of the world’s most air-conditioned countries to crank up their clanking, greenhouse gas-spewing machines.
And North America isn’t even the worst of it–in India temperatures recently reached a blistering 124°F or 51°C; temperatures in Qatar, slated to host the 2022 World Cup reach these highs regularly.
But with such temperatures growing more and more common across the globe, in conjunction with the increase in disposable income available to many in the developing world, air conditioning may be hastening our doom when it comes to global warming.
For example, in China, a newly robust middle class flush with cash is plunking down money for air conditioning at double the rate they were just five years ago. Over 60 million air conditioning units are sold in China annually now, more than eight times as many as are sold in the U.S. each year.
This is having a massive snowball effect, if you’ll pardon the phrasing.
For one thing, the increased power usage alone is bound to drive up the rate at which greenhouse gasses being released into the atmosphere. A typical room AC units uses 10 to 20 times more power than a ceiling fan, which means that meeting the demand of all these newly AC-ready homes in China alone will result in billions more tons of carbon dioxide emissions for the atmosphere and oceans to absorb.
And that doesn’t even take into account the other refrigerating gasses like freon and the like that are used to create that chilly that we all love in the summertime.
And the pattern in China is not an isolated one. Researchers looking at Mexico–a country where incomes have been rising for some time–and found that as income increased, so did the purchase and use of air conditioning units. Some models predict that hot areas in Mexico will have 100 percent coverage of AC within just a few decades.
Same goes for India: as more people earn more money, they will buy AC units.
And the world will get hotter due to all those excess greenhouse gasses being released, so more people will buy air conditioning, and so on, with no end in sight.
One can only hope that we see the light on solar energy before we are all consumed in a fireball of flame some summer in the not too distant future.