Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Inefficient Air Conditioning Drives Global Warming, UN Report Finds

Energy
Inefficient Air Conditioning Drives Global Warming, UN Report Finds
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.

Presidential nominee Joe Biden has not taken a stance on gas exports, including liquefied natural gas. Ken Hodge / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Simon Montlake

For more than a decade, Susan Jane Brown has been battling to stop a natural gas pipeline and export terminal from being built in the backcountry of Oregon. As an attorney at the nonprofit Western Environmental Law Center, she has repeatedly argued that the project's environmental, social, and health costs are too high.

All that was before this month's deadly wildfires in Oregon shrouded the skies above her home office in Portland. "It puts a fine point on it. These fossil fuel projects are contributing to global climate change," she says.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Eating lots of fruits and vegetables will boost the immune system. Stevens Fremont / The Image Bank / Getty Images

By Grayson Jaggers

The connection between the pandemic and our dietary habits is undeniable. The stress of isolation coupled with a struggling economy has caused many of us to seek comfort with our old friends: Big Mac, Tom Collins, Ben and Jerry. But overindulging in this kind of food and drink might not just be affecting your waistline, but could potentially put you at greater risk of illness by hindering your immune system.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A graphic shows how Rhoel Dinglasan's smartphone-based saliva test works. University of Florida

As the world continues to navigate the line between reopening and maintaining safety protocols to slow the spread of the coronavirus, rapid and accurate diagnostic screening remains critical to control the outbreak. New mobile-phone-based, self-administered COVID-19 tests being developed independently around the world could be a key breakthrough in making testing more widely available, especially in developing nations.

Read More Show Less
A meteorologist monitors weather in NOAA's Center for Weather and Climate Prediction on July 2, 2013 in Riverdale, Maryland. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Trump White House is now set to appoint two climate deniers to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in one month.

Read More Show Less
A plastic bag caught in a tree in New Jersey's Palisades Park. James Leynse / Stone / Getty Images

New Jersey is one step closer to passing what environmental advocates say is the strongest anti-plastic legislation in the nation.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch