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2018-05-15. The World Wants Air-Conditioning. That Could Warm the World.

posted May 18, 2018, 2:45 PM by Alan Gould
By Kendra Pierre-Louis, The New York Times. For GSS Energy Use chapter 8. Excerpt: ...there is growing concern that as other countries adopt America’s love of air-conditioners, the electricity used to power them will overburden electrical grids and increase planet-warming emissions. The number of air-conditioners worldwide is predicted to soar from 1.6 billion units today to 5.6 billion units by midcentury, according to a report issued Tuesday by the International Energy Agency. If left unchecked, by 2050 air-conditioners would use as much electricity as China does for all activities today. Greenhouse gas emissions released by coal and natural gas plants when generating electricity to power those air-conditioners would nearly double, from 1.25 billion tons in 2016 to 2.28 billion tons in 2050, the report says. Those emissions would contribute to global warming, which could further heighten the demand for air-conditioning. Right now air-conditioning is concentrated in a handful of countries, mainly in the United States and Japan, and increasingly in China. While 90 percent of American households have air-conditioning, “When we look in fact at the hot countries in the world, in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, where about 2.8 billion people live, only about 8 percent of the population owns an air-conditioner,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the energy agency. As incomes in those countries rise, however, more people are installing air-conditioners in their homes. The energy agency predicts much of the growth in air-conditioning will occur in India, China and Indonesia. ...The report also envisions a role for renewable energies — especially solar power, which to some degree aligns the peak of its energy generation, in the middle of the day, with the peak demand for cooling.... https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/15/climate/air-conditioning.html