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Why this Matters: The study shows that climate change will widen the vast inequities that already exist between the rich and the poor. And this isn’t just a matter of sweating it out; heat can be deadly, and pressure on power grids from high demand for cooling can lead to blackouts. To protect the world from increasingly extreme heat, action must be taken to close the cooling gap, and find less energy-intensive ways to keep cool.
The paper argues for “the critical role of economic development in shaping how energy consumption patterns respond to climate change” and concludes “that much of the world will remain too poor in the coming decades to spend substantially on energy-intensive cooling technologies.”
Cooling Down the Developing World
The research found that much of the developing world lacks air conditioning. For example, while 90% of American homes have some air conditioning, only 5% of homes in India have air conditioning. Similarly, the demand for electricity in the US is likely to rise by just 2.7% by 2099, but Indonesia may see an increase of almost 100%; India of 145%; and Nigeria of nearly 2,100%.
Some governments are already taking action. In September, the Biden Administration released a plan to combat extreme heat that includes supplying cooling infrastructure and assistance to underserved households and communities. But these policies have yet to reach the Global South, and international funding for climate mitigation in poor nations is still lacking.
The study’s authors hope the data will help policymakers address inequity in their climate policy. Lead author Solomon Hsiang, co-director of the Climate Impact Lab, said, in a statement: “Our hope is that the best available data-driven science will be used to design climate change policies in the US and internationally. Our children and grandchildren cannot afford for us to make these decisions based on intuition or gut feelings.”
By WW0 Staff For the United States, the post-Trump, pre-COP26 road to Glasgow has been paved with ambition and humility. In a major speech, the President’s Envoy, John Kerry, previewed the results of his climate diplomacy before heading into two weeks of intense deliberations of world leaders. Speaking at the London School of Economics — […]
Next week, the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow will draw hundreds of world leaders to Glasgow to determine the path forward five years after the Paris Climate Agreement (for a primer, read this) as new science underscores the urgency. The conference aims to squeeze countries to strengthen the commitments they’ve made towards securing global net-zero […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor In a report released last week, the Department of Defense (DOD) confirmed that existing risks and security challenges in the US are being made worse due to “increasing temperatures; changing precipitation patterns; and more frequent, intense, and unpredictable extreme weather conditions caused by climate change. Now, the Pentagon is […]
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