A while ago, I asked whether wars on water, burning fossil fuel or air conditioning will kill us first.
Turns out it’s probably air conditioning.
Currently, we’re facing a couple of problems. We’re polluting the oceans with plastics, stressing many strands of the food chain and fish much more than we should. Sounds bad but we’ll run out of oil for plastics before we can poison everything and fishing fleets will quickly disappear with their prey – along with a few million people. So that sucks but it’s not a big problem in the sense that it’ll kill us – it will most likely resolve itself by becoming uneconomical.
Same goes for burning fossil fuels. We have a lot of them but the amount is finite and we’ll eventually run out of them. In a few years, the effect on the environment will put a lot of strain on the global economy. We’ll lose ships and planes in storms or they can’t even leave port. But again, as soon as this happens, the supply of fossil fuels will dry up since the platforms to make them available won’t be able to survive the weather we created.
Water? There will be wars over water but they will be pretty local. Israel, for example, will have to build many desalinating plants. And terrorists will love to blow them up. But water is on the radar since everyone involved is aware that access to water is so important.
AC is going to kill us? I must be kidding, right?
First of all, no one believes that air conditioning is a problem. But think about it:
- Asia is mostly tropical. People are getting more rich and demand better living conditions.
- AC need a lot of electricity which comes from mostly from fossil fuel
- The coolants will heat up the planet much more efficiently than any other gas we produce as soon as it leaks and it will – most people in Asia know the concept of recycling but they dump their broken stuff in the forest just like we did a few years ago.
- Staying cool is essential to be productive and to be able to concentrate. It’s not (only) a luxury.
- “The Cost of Cool” – NY Times
- “Cooling a Warming Planet: A Global Air Conditioning Surge” – Yale Environment 360