"global Warming," More Air Conditioning, and More Energy
There are countless ways in which the world will require more energy, lots more energy. Unfortunately, most of these continually go brushed aside by rich Westerners that already have all the energy that they want conveniently at their fingertips. But, outside our bubble, over 6.2 billion humans still live in undeveloped nations, assuring that global energy demand has really just begun.In our IPCC-reported warming world, one key area that will require massive amounts of more energy is: naturally enough.....cooling. The world now faces surging demand for air conditioning, refrigeration, etc. that is mounting so fast that it could obliterate emission targets and make the incremental requirement for more coal, oil, and natural gas far greater than some Western leaders want you to know.Generally using more electricity for air conditioning than all other countries combined, the U.S. has no room to complain. Our residential air conditioning needs alone devour 6-8% of the countryâs electricity, or about 290 terawatt hours per year, more electricity than is used in all sectors in Mexico, with 125 million people.To illustrate, home central air conditioning systems can gobble up over 3,000 kWh per year, or more electricity per capita than is used by more than half of the world. Hot states like Florida and Texas have 98% of homes using air conditioning. The air conditioners in our cars alone use some 655,000 barrels of gasoline per day, more gasoline than Germany and Italy use in total combined. And again, definitely not a panacea even for air conditioning, energy efficiency benefits go vastly overstated.Remember âThe Jevons Paradox" and âThe Rebound Effect?" No, of course not, but they're both critical yet conveniently ignored concepts that explain how greater efficiency often allows people to actually use more, not less, energy.For example, since 1980, room air conditioning units have increased their efficiency by about 60% (i.e., require 60% less electricity). But, played out in real life, efficiency frequently doesn't equate to absolute demand reductions.More efficiency in cooling has just allowed allowed us to use more air conditioners, with families often having 2, 3, or even 4 rooms cooled by individual units. (I'm suddenly reminded of Back to the Future's"Oh honey, he's teasing you, nobody has two television sets." Well now, everybody does!). In fact, electricity demand per air conditioned American household has increased over 40% since 1990 alone.U.S. Home Electricity Needs for Air Conditioning are Immense Source: JTCAs it turns out, it's not just Americans that want air conditioners to make cars, homes, and offices more comfortable, while also making cities more livable. And the rest of the world deserves the same luxuries that we have much more so than many Western leaders apparently realize.And it all equates to...more energy, lots more energy - no matter what.Propelled by a warming world and a quickly growing middle class, the developing countries, which often sit in hotter regions, are experiencing a surge in air conditioning. Global electricity demand for air conditioning is projected to rise nearly 35 times by 2100 as incomes increase and urbanization swells at its current staggering rate of 75 million people a year, an environmental and developmental positive:Indeed, talk about âGlobal Warming:" the world's cities are now adding the metropolitan areas of Tokyo, Mexico City, and New York City combinedâ¦every year. And we already know: 1) air conditioners make the surrounding outside air even hotter, part of the "The Heat Island Effect" (have you been to Manhattan in August?) and 2) urbanites devour nearly 4 times more energy than their rural counterpartsdue tomore money and better access.According to the EPA, cities can be a whopping22Â°F hotter at night than surrounding areas.Andone analysis projects that even with "successively more efficient generations of equipment," global electricity consumption for home cooling will still increase nearly 8-fold by 2050, not much better than the 10-fold gain that would occur without efficiency improvements.Soaring China, of course, leads the pack. Looking to become a consumer-based economy, China has been selling 50-75 million home air conditioners per year, in a country where coal is 77 % of electricity. In fast follower India, where coal is 70% of electricity, air conditioning already accounts for nearly 45% power use in Mumbai, 23 million people sweltering in perhaps the worldâs largest hottest city, still consuming just 7-10% of the electricity that New Yorkers do. Dr. Michael Sivak, a leading expert at the University of Michigan, has found that the potential cooling demand in Mumbai is nearly 25% of the demand for the entire U.S.The young and scorching Middle East will be a major player too, which will greatly impact the global oil market. For example, about 55% of Saudi Arabiaâs peak summer power consumption goes to air conditioning, eating up over 1 billion barrels of oil a year.Demonstrating the hugely inconvenient truth for some that the world has just started to consume electricity for air conditioning, Dr. Sivak finds that:Unsurprisingly, itâs rising personal incomes that will continue to lead to more air conditioners and more electricity use in the poor countries.From 2015-2030, the real GDP per capita in the developing nations will nearly double to $8,650, which will still be just 1/6 of what Americans earn today. So, our complaints about energy usage should and will continue to fall on deaf ears.My apologies to His Holiness, but air conditioning is hardly a âharmful habit,â but plain and simply a matter of public health, particularly in a warming world that is overwhelmingly poor. Even in the well-equipped and rich United States, heat waves kill hundreds of people per year, with the elderly particularly vulnerable.How bad could it get in the undeveloped world? The Indian heat wave in May killed at least 2,500 people, while theheat wave in Pakistan in June killed over 1,200.The Explosion in Mega-Cities Mean More Air Conditioning (over 10 million inhabitants) Source: JTC; EPAAnd the Undeveloped Nations are Much Hotter (mega-cities as the example) Source: Holiday Weather; Sivak; JTCIndeed, cooling is a vital part of the 21st Century that will no longer be confined to the developed world, nor just air conditioning. Many medicines, for instance, require constant refrigeration, andelectricity deprivation creates a breakdown in the crucial vaccine ââCold Chain" that quietly kills the very same poor people that too many Americans seek to restrict energy options for. Not to mention the criticality of cooling for chemicals, steel, and plastics manufacturing, along with the Internet's technologies and data centers.Even the noble goal of enormous poverty reduction means more energy demand via cooling. For example, China has lifted 650 million people out of poverty since 1990, and back then, just 10% of Chinese families owned a refrigerator, but today itâs close to 95%.And rest assured Mr. Gore thereâs so much more to come: for example, 750 million Indians have no refrigeration. These refrigerators can devour 500 kWh, or more electricity than hundreds of millions of Indians use, which would certainly boom the country's current 600 million tonnes of coal used to generate power.This all explains why the "divestment" and "stranded asset" movements against coal, oil, and natural gas are not only dangerously hypocritical, but their success is surely an impossibility. They are, in fact, a creation of the Western mind (an Archie Bunkerish "pigment of your imagination"), where energy supply based on fossil fuels is highly available and reliable.Everywhere you turn, our most fundamental energy reality is becoming increasingly obvious: energy demand and the need for moreenergy supply is going up, up, up. Cooling is just another example of how renewables will have to run much faster just to stand still. The increasing needs of humanity arethat great.With the undeveloped world adding 2.4 billion humans by 2050, the world is already greatly energy deprived. Over 950 million Sub-Saharan Africans, for instance, use less electricity than 4.9 million Alabamans.No sir.....irreplaceable and supplying 85% of all energy, producing coal, oil, and natural gas and generating electricity are very good businesses to be in. Their futures are very bright, regardless of what you keep hearing from those in natural gas-powered offices in San Francisco.