Also see www.losingourcool.com
In Losing Our Cool, I show how indoor climate control is colliding with an out-of-control outdoor climate. In the United States alone, energy consumed by home air-conditioning and the resulting greenhouse emissions have doubled in just over a decade; energy used to cool retail stores has risen by two-thirds. Air-conditioning is approaching 20 percent of year-round electricity consumption by U.S. homes, the highest percentage in history. But air-conditioning has shaped human life in other, sometimes unexpected ways that go far beyond the monthly utility bill.
With reports from some of the world’s hot zones—from Arizona and Florida to India and Australia—Losing Our Cool documents the surprising ways in which air-conditioning changes human experience: giving a boost to the global warming that it is designed to help us endure, providing a potent commercial stimulant, making possible an impossible commuter economy, and altering migration patterns. Though it saves lives in heat waves, it may also be altering our bodies’ sensitivity to heat; our rates of infection, allergy, asthma, and obesity; and even our sex lives. And six out of every seven gallons of diesel fuel U.S. forces haul into Iraq and Afghanistan are used to run air-conditioning.
I’ll leave further description of the book to Publishers’ Weekly:
“Cox provides the first-ever book-length look at the consequences on our environment and on our health of air-conditioning in this enlightening study. He documents how greenhouse emissions increased and ozone depletion skyrocketed once air conditioners became prevalent, and presents staggering statistics: the amount of electricity Americans use for powering their air conditioners alone equals the same amount the 930 million residents of Africa use for all their electricity needs. Cox reveals some surprising information as he explores air conditioning as a potential spreader of contagions … He offers a reality check to proposed solutions that have fatal flaws (and may be worse than the problems they attempt to solve) including “dematerialization,” improved AC energy efficiency, and clean energy options. In addition, he provides a list of changes that will help: reducing indoor heat, using fans, utilizing “cool” roofs, and increasing vegetation. Well-written, thoroughly researched, with a truly global focus, the book offers much for consumers, environmentalists, and policy makers to consider before powering up to cool down.”
Losing Our Cool is published by The New Press.