Air Conditioning is the Next Looming Menace in Global Warming Fight

By Gary Cutlack on at

Scientists doing the worrying about global warming are suggesting that there's a new energy and resources hog about to speed the planet's transformation into Mars mkII, warning that increasing demand for air conditioning from developing countries will soon absorb more power than that used by us lot to overheat our living rooms.

As we sit here, shivering in the UK, with our toes in our kneepits to stop them from going numb, researchers from University of Birmingham warn that a "cold crunch" caused by increasing demand for aircon and refrigeration from hotter countries could undo the planet's efforts to reduce carbon output.

By the year 2050, in fact, they think the planet could use more heat overall on keeping things and people cold than keeping us warm, as urbanisation of warm rural areas races ahead and everyone still wants cold milk.

A report to be published by the Birmingham Policy Commission this week will ask governments, academics and inventors to put more effort into developing the "Cold Economy" of refrigeration -- an industry still based on using masses of electricity or diesel pumps to chill chemicals as it was doing 100 years ago -- and creating a technology roadmap to come up with more efficient cooling products, buildings, and encouraging people to adopt new lifestyles. [Guardian]

Image credit: Aircon from Shutterstock