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Oct192012

08:50:54 pm

Climate Change and Air Conditioning

As temperatures go up, so does society’s need to keep cool by using air conditioning. The more society uses air conditioning, the global climate will change. Global climate changes effect how much energy the world uses. More and more people across the globe are staying cool by using air conditioning. Scientists around the world are becoming more and more alarmed about the effect of the gases these air conditioners omit on the environment. These powerful chemicals are a component of the agents causing global warming.



A treaty named the Montreal Protocol, which is approximately 25 years old, was created to mandate the control of harmful gasses such as CTF coolants. CFC coolants cause enormous damage to the ozone layer. The treaty was created in the hopes of protecting the ozone layer by stopping these coolants from being used by the general public. The CFC coolants that are exceedingly damaging to the ozone layer have been predominantly eliminated from use.



However, scientists warn that while theses new gases, known as HCFCs, are contributing to global warming thousands of times more than carbon dioxide. HCFC’s are not as damaging to the ozone layer as previous gases used were, but they are being used in record amounts. In the developing world their use has more than doubled in the past two decades alone. These rising level of use have scientists concerned.



The HCFC coolant called 410a is labeled “environmentally friendly” because it does not damage the o-zone layer. The warming effect it has though over 2,000 times that of carbon dioxide. Because of its environmentally friendly reputation, industrialized countries began switching to it over a decade ago. The Montreal Protocol treaty does not control the rise of these coolants because it only regulates any ozone depleting gases.



As a matter of fact, leading scientists in the field have considered that if all appliances that are entering the world market today use the newest gases currently employed in air-conditioners, up to 27 percent of all global warming issues will be attributable to those gases by 2050. On average, air conditioning emits more greenhouse gasses while it is pushing the heat out of a house or building than a furnace uses putting that same heat into a house or building.




In particularly hot countries, such as India and China, sales of air conditioning units grow by a vast 20% each year. This rise in sales is attributed to a fast growing middle class. And in spite of the United States’ goal to eliminate the use of HCFCs, China and India are continuing to use them. The possible demands for air conditioning of Mumbai and India alone are expected to be about a forth of those of the United States. At this time, the technology to create a commercial alternative to air conditioners that is completely environmentally friendly just does not exist.
The changing climate will undoubtedly lead to more hot days and more hot days and heat waves. Consequently, people will continue to use additional energy and air conditioning to stay cool. As this happens, it is very likely that blackouts and electricity shortages will increase. Meaning the cure to one global environment problem is only causing another.



In what many would call ironic, the act of cooling off by air conditioning only seems to be making our planet even warmer. Which leads to a vicious cycle of turning the air conditioning on to cool off and in actuality the air conditioning is simply making the planet even hotter. Most electricity is produced currently by burning fossil fuels; using more electricity to run air conditioners will also add more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.



At this time northern California is using hydro-power to produce electricity. However, with climate changes come shifting precipitation patterns. Irregular precipitation patterns could mean that some areas will no longer have the water necessary to make hydro-power. As climate change causes precipitation patterns to shift some areas that currently have plenty of water to make hydro-power, such as northern California, might not have enough water in the future. If enough electricity can not be produced, these areas could experience power shortages and blackouts.



What can we do about climate change?




  • Keep air conditioner efficiency in mind.
  • Plant tree around your home and office that provide shade, cooling naturally.
  • Use fans more often’ ceiling fans are great.
  • Save energy by turning the thermostat down a few degrees.
  • Choose energy efficient appliances.



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