Webinar with the authors of The Cooling Solution, photographic and scientific exhibition selected as one of the best climate change communication projects in the second edition of the CMCC Climate Change Communication Award “Rebecca Ballestra”. The webinar is part of the Foresight Dialogues webinar series, organized in the context of the CMCC Climate Change Communication Award “Rebecca Ballestra” initiative.
The rush of almost every household on the planet to buy an air-conditioning unit as soon as they can afford one is having implications on climate change mitigation. Scientific research meets photography in a project that sheds light on the reasons why air conditioning has become the leading cooling solution in a warming world, and on how we can keep cool without overheating the planet.
Over the last 50 years, air conditioning has established itself as the most immediate, and most intensely advertized strategy to cope with extreme heat in different parts of the globe. From 1990 to 2016, global annual sales of this technological solution to combat uncomfortable temperatures more than tripled to reach 135 million units worldwide, with the bulk coming from the residential sector alone.
While our world is already heavily dependent on energy, in the next few decades, large parts of society will continue to adapt to rising temperatures by increasing the demand for cooling energy. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), 10 new air conditioning units will be sold every second for the next 30 years, bringing the number of installed cooling units to 5.6 billion globally by 2050. Without drastic improvements in energy efficiency and in the use of low-carbon energy sources, the additional energy demand driven by space conditioning will make the efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions more difficult and costly.