Chilling Facts About Air Conditioners

The heat is on. But before you crank up the A/C, some cold hard facts about the impact of air conditioning on the environment.

A Washington state man wheels his air conditioner out of storage during 100 degree temperatures in 2008. (AP)

It’s automatic now. Summertime moves in, and the A/C goes on in millions of American homes and workplaces. 

We don’t live in the heat. We chill. 

Meanwhile, outside, the planet’s getting hotter. We may not want to hear it, but my guest today says we’re deep into a collision course between air conditioning and the environment. 

We now spend far more energy on cooling than heating. And the rest of the world – India, China – has just begun to crank up the A/C. 

This Hour, On Point: as summer moves in, global A/C on high, and a call to look back to the open window, the porch, and the fan.


Stan Cox,  a writer, scientist, and plant biologist who lives in Salina, Kansas. His book “Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths about Our Air-Conditioned World,” will be published in June.

Alicia Silva, interior designer and architect at Synergy Design Studio in Seattle, Washington. She writes for the blog “Building Seattle Green” for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

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