Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

The brutal price of air conditioning

According to the 2018 global report of the International Energy Agency, demand for air conditioning will triple by 2050, which will increase electricity consumption and carbon dioxide emissions and thereby accelerate the rate of global warming.

It is forecast that within 30 years, the number of air-conditioned buildings may increase from 1.6 to 5.6 billion, while the one billion tonne annual carbon dioxide emission of the sector will at least double.

Today, about 3.4 billion air conditioners are operating around the world, and they consume 9 percent of the total amount of electricity produced.
By 2050, that ratio will increase
to 12.5 percent.

In the United States and Japan, 90 percent of households have air conditioning, and even China has reached 60 percent. According to a new energy report from Bloomberg, demand has begun to increase in the poorest regions where warming has the strongest impact. This claim is confirmed by a study published in Nature, which states that in India, for instance, the number of presumably cheap and not particularly energy efficient air conditioning units producing cool air could increase from thirty million to as much as a billion by 2050.

Data indicate that cities are warming faster than the global average. Urban climate researchers have found that the drastic warming of urban areas is caused by extra anthropogenic heat, 80 to 90 percent of which is produced by the air conditioning devices operating during the summer in residential and office areas.

Research indicates that in Hong Kong
the extra heat produced by
air conditioning accounts for a
1 Celsius increase in temperature,
even assuming that the outdoor units are perfectly insulated and all buildings have appropriate shading and ventilation.

According to researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory of the University of California, there is a way out of the vicious circle: climate-friendly development of air conditioning technology could reduce the negative impact by 20–25 percent. They believe that improving the efficiency of air conditioners could reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by about 89.7 gigatonnes.

90 percent of US and Japanese households are air-conditioned Photo: Shutterstuck

Source: Qubit

Further information: IEA

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