Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Air conditioning: Fossil fuels used for AC in the US is same as all power used in Africa

Air conditioning guzzles 15 per cent of total American energy consumption, higher than any other country, using the same amount of fossil fuel as the whole of Africa employs for all its energy needs. Global air-conditioning demands cannot be quantified, but this summer's high temperatures have prompted a surge in air con sales in China, for example. While British air conditioning is less of a societal "must-have", according to the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), its use is set to swell here by 50 per cent over the next 20 years.
"Air conditioning's environmental damage is not limited to emissions of greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting chemicals," says writer Stan Cox, whose book Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air-Conditioned World is generating a buzz in America. "Lavish deployment of indoor climate control may indeed make it possible for us to live anywhere on the planet, but is that wise?" Indeed, from the sun-scorched deserts of Dubai to the sands of Arizona (the "air conditioning capital of the world"), inappropriately designed and located construction requires yet more refrigeration. Artificial cooling links arms with global warming – the higher the temperatures, the more cooling we need – in a chilling positive-feedback hoedown.

Lee Kwan Yew said that air conditioning was the single most important development that allowed Singapore to develop as it had. Having lived there I think I agree with him.


Sebastian said...

That's amazing! how industrialized they are for having that air conditioning. Honestly I really don't have wide background on fossil fuels only when I was in college.

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