Air conditioning, energy, and climate change

2012-08-25

in Economics, Politics, The environment

Here’s a statement liable to make a person think about ethics, international relations, climate change, and energy:

As Stan Cox points out in his book, “Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air-Conditioned World“, America uses more energy for air conditioning than Africa uses for everything.

While it certainly illustrates some of the injustice that now exists between countries, it also touches upon the ways in which our present choices can be an injustice toward future generations, as well as how climate change can beget more climate change. As people get richer and the world gets hotter, more energy is likely to be used for air conditioning. Since much of that energy will come from fossil fuels, that will in turn cause more climate change.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt August 26, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Many places in the US which currently have a significant population would be uninhabitable without air conditioning. It’s not so much a luxury as a necessity in these areas.

That being said, my belief is that there are simply too many humans. What we do about that is a very difficult question.

Milan August 27, 2012 at 12:11 am

I agree that population reduction through voluntary birth control has appealing characteristics. It could play an important role in reducing the peak atmospheric concentration of CO2, for instance.

Given how costly unwanted children are to both individuals and the state, a strong utilitarian case can probably be made for providing various modes of effective contraception to all citizens at taxpayer expense.

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