The Air Conditioning Conundrum

Fascinating piece by Brad Plumer:

So would Americans have to use a good deal less A/C and learn to suffer through the heat if we wanted to convert to renewable energy, lower our carbon emissions, and have any hope of staving off global warming? Cox thinks so…

Another problem is that a large part of our economy likely depends quite heavily on air conditioning, especially in warmer parts of the country. … And without air conditioning, worker productivity would plummet during the hotter months (long summer vacations, of course, are out of the question—that's crazy socialist talk). Fun little dilemma we have here...
This is something I haven’t much considered before, aside from our personal use of air conditioning. We try to use it as little as possible. In Chicagoland summers, that’s not easy, but we try to make do as often as humanly possible with open windows, box fans, and ceiling fans. I regularly suffer with heat edema, prickly heat, and severe water retention in high temperatures, but I really try to forego the A/C as much as I can. I find, though, that when we have guests over in the summer, they have a much lower tolerance for it than we do the later it gets in the season, so we usually have to put on the air.

Check out Brad’s post at least, if not also the two-piece article at AlterNet by Stan Cox to which he’s responding. I’d be interested to hear some thoughts on this issue.

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