Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

‘Losing Our Cool’ in the News

In A/C news, About the book on June 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm

In July-August:

ABCNews.com, Chicago Tribune, Hartford Courant, London’s Daily Mail, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung FOX Business, and on KWCH-TV

(And in September I took a stab at explaining why “You can’t buy a better agriculture” for Al Jazeera English)

Over the past year or so:

Stan Cox in the Washington Post on “D.C. without A.C.

New York Times: “No Air-Conditioning, and Happy

Kevin Canfield on Losing Our Cool in the Los Angeles Times

A review by Mother Nature Network, which named Losing Our Cool one of the “Ten must-read environmental books of 1010”

David Owen in The New Yorker on “The Efficiency Dilemma” (Dec. 20-27, 2010; sorry, subscription-only)

Cox in the Los Angeles Times on how we live and work in the A/C world

An interview with Ryan Brown of Salon.com

The A/C dilemma in the Persian Gulf

Chicago Sun-Times (pdf): Mark Brown tries to convince his wife to turn off the A/C

Hear an interview with Cox on NPR’s Marketplace, and read tips on keeping cool

Hear “Chilling Facts About Air Conditioners“, a one-hour interview and call-in with Stan Cox on the NPR program On Point

The downside of A/C on NPR’s Here and Now

Watch the KSN-TV report, also seen on the Weather Channel and NBC affiliates across the U.S.  

Hear “Life without Air-Conditioning” on The Takeaway

Cox on the A/C life in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

More on keeping cool from Yes! magazine

Tom Condon on Losing Our Cool in the Hartford Courant

With National Geographic News Watch

Rob Sharp in The Independent (UK): Cold Comfort

Cox answers adversaries via CounterPunch

Does this A/C make me look fat?

The Wichita Eagle on Losing Our Cool

The Foreign Policy Association blog

Losing Our Cool interview: video on MSNBC

A review by the Dallas Morning News

An article on Losing Our Cool in the Boston Globe.

Q&A on A/C in the business world, in the New York Post

Jason Zasky talks with Cox: Failure magazine

Interview with the Belgrave Trust

Interview (mp3) with Alex Smith of Radio Ecoshock

KWCH-TV interview

A Minneapolis Star-Tribune interview

Glenn Beck doesn’t want to hear about turning off the A/C

Nevada shaped by fans of A/C: the Las Vegas Sun

TIME on the history of air-conditioning

An interview with the National Post‘s Joe O’Connor

Macleans: How Air-Conditioning Changed the World

An A/C  Q&A with Discovery’s Planet Green

How to stay cool without A/C even in America’s hot zones

A CBC Radio interview

Stan Cox in the Hartford Courant: Air-Conditioning is Sapping Our Society

Paul Cox: “Birth of the Air Conditioner

Read Chapter 1 of Losing Our Cool:

rightsideChapter 1 — reprinted in pdf format by ColdType

Read Chapter 1 here

Publisher’s Weekly reviews Losing Our Cool.

A review in the Cleveland Plain Dealer

A Globe and Mail interview on staying cool in Canada

An essay written by Stan Cox for Powell’s Books: “In Making Our Own Weather, Have We Remade Ourselves?”.

A May 19 story in the Salina Journal.


An Attempted Defense of Air-Conditioning

In A/C news on June 8, 2011 at 1:36 pm

You now can read, all in one place, the most comprehensive set of arguments in favor of air-conditioning yet put forth. Dr. Arthur Diamond of the University of Nebraska at Omaha has placed online the text of a paper entitled “Keeping Our Cool: In Defense of Air Conditioning,” which he presented in April to a meeting of the Association of Private Enterprise Education in Nassau, Bahamas. (This morning, I debated the pros and cons of A/C with Dr. Diamond on Joy Cardin’s Wisconsin Public Radio program. Here is the link to the audio.)

Acknowledging in his paper that critics’ chief objection to air-conditioning is its contribution to greenhouse emissions, Diamond purports to put that issue to rest in a quick eight lines of text and ten footnotes. The notes pointed to sources, many familiar, who disagree with the broad global scientific consensus that human-caused climate change poses a grave threat. Diamond writes,

“First, some phenomena often attributed to global warming may be due to periodic and hard-to-predict natural variations. Second, global warming creates opportunities in addition to problems, e.g., it would reduce the costs of shipping over, communicating in, and retrieving oil [!] and minerals from the Arctic, and would increase agriculture and animal husbandry in places like Britain and Greenland. Third, other problems exceed in severity any problems caused by global warming [referenced to three articles by Bjørn Lomborg]. Fourth and finally, in a system of entrepreneurial capitalism, creative inventors will find ways to reduce global warming [suspending giant mirrors in space, lauching light-absorbing chemicals into the upper atmosphere], and innovative entrepreneurs will find ways to adapt to it.” [e.g., dredging up silt in Bangladesh to block rising seawaters or using spongey material for constructing sidewalks in New York]

Having thus briskly dealt with air-conditioning’s central contradiction, Diamond goes on to outline the benefits of air-conditioning. His main argument here is that people should be “free to choose” to use technologies that they like, and that air-conditioning is something that everyone likes, or at least should like. To defend the idea that control of body temperature is important to civlization, he cites the ability of Cro-Magnon humans to make animal-skin clothes that allowed them to survive freezing European winters — a discussion that might be relevant if he were defending artificial heating, not cooling. He goes on to note that excessive heat can be dangerous to vulnerable populations, that it harms health and productivity, and that it promotes crime and aggression. For a discussion of all of those and other pro-A/C arguments, you can read my book Losing Our Cool.

In our conversation, Dr. Diamond referred to the recent New York Times article on how Chicago plans to adapt to global warming. As I noted previously, the plan includes installing air-conditioning in all 750 of the city’s public schools. That can be expected to generate about a ton and a half of additional carbon dioxide per cooled classroom, to help ensure that the next generation of students will be even more dependent on A/C!