The scientist Stan Cox, in his 2018 book “Losing Our Cool”, blames air con for “resource waste, climate change, ozone depletion and the disorientation of the human mind and body”. Air conditioning emits some half a billion tonnes of CO2 annually, and the coolants used are even more polluting than CO2.
Air conditioners fuel a vicious cycle: they pump out heat, making the outside world hotter still. One study found that they increased the temperature of Phoenix, Arizona on summer nights by 2°C.
An air conditioned society, complains Cox, has fewer free communal spaces, and more commercialised indoor venues, such as shopping malls. It has also ended traditions such as the siesta, and condemned its users to what one critic calls “thermal monotony” – a global standard of 22°C (incidentally, a level calibrated to suit men, who have a higher metabolic rate than women).
My comment: I cringe with embarrassment. The height of summer was so scorchingly hot that we had a new aircon machine installed on the roof. Just shows – even environmentalist epicureans can sometimes be hypocrites. But not often! (at least, that’s my claim).