"A Billion New Air Conditioners Will Save Lives But Cook the Planet"

"Summer in India has always been hot. Increasingly, it's testing the limits of human survival. As temperatures have climbed across the world's most populous nation in recent weeks, more than a dozen people died at an event in central India and thousands crowded hospitals with heatstroke symptoms. Hundreds of schools were closed and the mercury is still rising: Temperatures will hover around 45C (113F) across the northern plains this weekend.

The most immediate fix is mercifully affordable, at least in the short-term.

Demand for air conditioners is surging in markets where both incomes and temperatures are rising, populous places like India, China, Indonesia and the Philippines.

By one estimate, the world will add 1 billion ACs before the end of the decade. The market is projected to nearly double before 2040. That's good for measures of public health and economic productivity; it's unquestionably bad for the climate, and a global agreement to phase out the most harmful coolants could keep the appliances out of reach of many of the people who need them most."

Kai Schultz, Adrija Chatterjee, and Sheryl Tian Tong Lee report for Bloomberg May 16, 2023.

Source: Bloomberg, 05/18/2023