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Increasing populations, incomes, urbanization, and temperatures could “triple the number of AC units installed worldwide by midcentury, pushing the total toward 6 billion,” as James Temple reported for the MIT Technology Review. This could create one of the “largest sources of rising electricity demand around the world.”
Increasing Air Conditioning Units, Increasing Costs
As the world gets warmer, we will need more air conditioning units. But this “is, and always will be, a massive guzzler of energy,” to quote Temple. And it also guzzles more costs. As a new study published by ScienceDirect shows, if a household starts to use air conditioning, they will spend between 35% and 42% more on electricity. This can, as Charlton noted, put “an additional burden on families who might not be able to afford the most efficient appliances and could result in spending being diverted away from food or education towards cooling.”
What does this world actually look like, though? As the MIT Technology Review has argued, it must be clean. Temple writes, “Transitioning the electricity grid as a whole to greater use of clean energy sources, like solar and wind, will steadily reduce the indirect greenhouse-gas emissions from the energy used to power air-conditioning units.”
There are about 1.7 million viruses that afflict mammals and birds, and about half of them could potentially infect humans, just like COVID-19, SARS, HIV, and Ebola. But a team of researchers at UC Davis are attempting to help prevent another pandemic from disrupting the world, by creating an app called SpillOver.
Why this Matters: The scientists creating the app believe that by creating a prioritized watchlist of viruses, we can better have improved detection and thus reduce the risk of disease transmission and maybe even preemptively develop vaccines, therapeutics, and public education campaigns for the viruses that pose the greatest risk.
Why This Matters: We’ve been relying on old data about farmworkers’ exposure to pesticides for the past 30 years, and thus the full picture of the harmful impact of these products on people has been underappreciated.
A coalition of 63 health, wildlife, and environmental organizations has written a letter urging the Biden administration to adopt policies to combat the increased threat of zoonotic disease spillover into human populations. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts say that human population expansion and increased interactions with wildlife, present increased chances for future pandemics as well.
Why This Matters: According to the World Health Organization, there are over 200 known zoonoses, diseases that have jumped from non-human animals to humans.
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