China Is Starting to Grasp the Cost of Climate Change

China Is Starting to Grasp the Cost of Climate Change

SOURCE: TruthDig DATE: January 2, 2019 SNIP: China’s cities now have a better idea of what global warming is going to cost. New research warns that for every rise of one degree Celsius in global average temperatures, average electricity demand will rise by 9%. And that’s the average demand. For the same shift in the thermometer reading, peak electricity demand in the Yangtze Valley delta could go up by 36%. And the global average rise of 1°C so far during the last century is just a start. By 2099, mean surface temperatures on planet Earth could be somewhere between 2°C and 5° hotter. That means that average household electricity use – assuming today’s consumption patterns don’t change – could rise by between 18% and 55%. And peak demand could rise by at least 72%. [Researchers] found that for every daily degree of temperature rise above 25°C, electricity use shot up by 14.5%. Compared with demand during the household comfort zone of around 20°C, on those days when temperatures reached 32°C, daily electricity consumption rose by 174%. The implication is that more investment in air conditioning is going to drive even more global warming: other research teams have already identified the potential costs of heat waves and repeatedly warned that demand for air conditioning will warm the world even further. In the US, there are already signs that power grids may not be able to keep up with demand in long spells of extreme heat. Shanghai is a bustling commercial powerhouse of a city: other parts of China have yet to catch up. The study found that higher-income households reached...
The air conditioner paradox: heating the world while cooling our homes

The air conditioner paradox: heating the world while cooling our homes

SOURCE: National Observer DATE: July 13, 2018 SNIP: The use of air conditioners is predicted to explode as year after year sets new “hottest temperatures on record.” According to a May 2018 report by the International Energy Agency, the number of air conditioners worldwide will skyrocket from 1.6 billion units today to 5.6 billion units by 2050. That would spell trouble for the planet because of the energy air conditioners need and some of the chemicals they use. China leads the world with 569 million units installed, and now spends 68 times more electricity for cooling than it did in 1990. With a burgeoning middle class, China’s demand for air conditioners is rising faster than anywhere else in the world. Because of all the demand for energy, air conditioning is on the rise as a driver of climate change. In the U.S., it’s about six per cent of the country’s total residential energy use, according to a 2013 report by the Energy Information Administration, but that number might soar to almost 20 per cent by mid-century if things continue. In addition to electricity demand, air conditioners — especially ones used in developing countries — use hydrofluorocarbons, (HFCs) which are potent greenhouse gases. Even though HFCs represent a small portion of total greenhouse gas emissions, they trap thousands of times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. While HFCs don’t leak into the environment when an air conditioner is working properly, they cause damage if they aren’t carefully disposed of. In 2009, half of Canadian households (50 per cent) reported having some type of air conditioning system to combat...