The US has approximately 5% of the world’s population. And uses 25% of the world’s electricity. And fully one third of that goes on air conditioning.
That’s 8% of the world’s electricity on keeping you guys cool.
7 billion gallons of petrol a year are used in US car air-con systems – equivalent to the total oil consumption of Indonesia, population 240 million.
What’s more, the Chinese haven’t even got started. Every ten days another coal-fired power plant opens somewhere in China big enough to serve all the households in Dallas. The Chinese already use more coal than the US, the EU and Japan combined. And they are getting the air-con bug: the market has grown by 70% each year.
The cultural effects have already taken their toll. Air con has made the Central/Southern American siesta redundant. The rise of the internet means warehouses of servers that need to be kept at low ambient temperatures – this alone was cited as a major reason for the rolling blackouts in California this summer. And the major problem is that air con is a con: it creates a positive feedback loop whereby the heat ejected raises the temperature for everyone else, and so more and more people end up getting them, which raises the temperature even more.
So what do we do? Turn it down. Chill out. Slow down. Take a bath. Have a siesta. Before we all fry.
//Check out the full article in Prospect [here]//