Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Inefficient Air Conditioning Drives Global Warming, UN Report Finds

Energy
Cheap, inefficient devices create a vicious cycle that further drives global warming. Tinou Bao / Flickr / CC by 2.0

Air conditioning systems are a significant contributor to global warming pollution that can and should be made more efficient, a new UN report shows.


"If we deal with cooling wrong, we essentially cook ourselves," Gabrielle Dreyfus, the cool efficiency program manager at the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, said on a press call.

As climate change drives up global temperatures, demand for air conditioning is expected to quadruple by 2050. To provide cooling units to everybody who needs them — not just those who can afford them— the world would need up to 14 billion units by 2050, according to the report.

However, cheap, inefficient devices — especially when powered by coal- or gas-fired power plants — create a vicious cycle that further drives global warming, while improving cooling efficiency could bring multifold benefits.

Completely banning hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs – a group of potent but short-lived greenhouse gases that are still used in many cooling devices – could trim global warming by up to 0.4°C by the end of the century.

A switch to more efficient air conditioning units could cut global energy consumption by the equivalent of all the 2018 coal-fired generation in China and India combined.

The report also calls for low-tech efficiency improvements, which will especially benefit low-income communities and communities of color.

For a deeper dive:

AP, Gizmodo, Thomson Reuters Foundation, The Guardian, CNBC

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a White House Clean Energy Investment Summit on June 16, 2015 in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC. Alex Wong / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

With presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden's climate platform becoming increasingly ambitious thanks to nonstop grassroots pressure, fossil fuel executives and lobbyists are pouring money into the coffers of President Donald Trump's reelection campaign in the hopes of keeping an outspoken and dedicated ally of dirty energy in the White House.

Read More Show Less
The Food and Drug Administration is now warning against more than 100 potentially dangerous hand sanitizers.
Antonio_Diaz / Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now warning against more than 100 potentially dangerous hand sanitizers.

Read More Show Less
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference on July 1, 2020 in New York City. Byron Smith / Getty Images

While the nation overall struggles with rising COVID cases, New York State is seeing the opposite. After peaking in March and April and implementing strict shutdowns of businesses, the state has seen its number of positive cases steadily decline as it slowly reopens. From coast-to-coast, Governor Andrew Cuomo's response to the crisis has been hailed as an exemplar of how to handle a public health crisis.

Read More Show Less
A whale shark swims in the Egyptian Red Sea. Derek Keats / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Gavin Naylor

Sharks elicit outsized fear, even though the risk of a shark bite is infinitesimally small. As a marine biologist and director of the Florida Program for Shark Research, I oversee the International Shark Attack File – a global record of reported shark bites that has been maintained continuously since 1958.

Read More Show Less
A girl sits under a temporary shade made by joining two bed in Churu, Rajasthan on June 4, 2019. Temperatures in the Indian desert city hit 50 degrees C (122 F) for the second time in three days, sending residents scrambling for shade. MONEY SHARMA / AFP via Getty Images

Current efforts to curb an infectious disease show the potential we have for collective action. That action and more will be needed if we want to stem the coming wave of heat-related deaths that will surpass the number of people who die from all infectious diseases, according to a new study, as The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less
America Pikas are found from the Sierra Nevada to the Rocky Mountains, and have been migrating to higher elevations. Jon LeVasseur / Flickr / Public Domain

By Jenny Morber

Caribbean corals sprout off Texas. Pacific salmon tour the Canadian Arctic. Peruvian lowland birds nest at higher elevations.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Biologists are studying the impact of climate change on the Nenets and their reindeer herds. Deutsche Welle

Biologist Egor Kirillin is on a special mission. Deep in the Siberian wilderness in the Russian Republic of Sakha, he waits on the Olenjok river until reindeer come thundering into the water.

Read More Show Less