Climate change Is it time for Americans to stop using their air conditioners?

It really depends on where you live in San Diego. La Jolla, Mission Valley, Eastern SD? I bet you if you lived-in the dessert part of the Metro area you will need air-conditioning. Same with the San Fran area: San Fran proper vs Oakland Hills vs Livermore. Lots of microclimates.

bigsnake, you're not wrong.

The beaches here are always cool, but who can afford to live there?

On the other hand, El Cajon and Santee are furnaces, which is why I don't live there.

I live in-between, in the foothills. It does get hot here in the late summer, August-September. Then it can, on some days, get to 100 degrees F, though it's rarely humid. But, if you manage the sun with deep eaves, patio covers, and shutters, and keep windows and doors open for the breeze, it's nice enough for nothing more than a fan.

To the other discussions above, while I wouldn't consider living in Texas or Florida without air conditioning, I think many Americans could do with a lot less a/c (i.e. my neighbors here).
 
Sorry, Maciamo, but one can’t look at one day or base an analysis on a particular heat wave, even if they’re getting more frequent.

I just looked up the data for Brussels and Munich since it was inland. The warm season in both cases is said to be 3.3 months with an “average” “daily” high of 67 degrees.

The problem is that these averages are based on several decades and do not reflect the strong increase in temperatures in the last few years. A typical summer in Belgium used to be in the range of 15 to 25 degrees C, with exceptionally a few days with 30 degrees. Now even spring is hotter than than. Now summer is 20 to 35 degrees - easily 5 degrees above what used to be normal.


The average daily high in Phoenix is 107 degrees.

And how is Phoenix representative of the whole USA, or even the average?

There is no comparison.

Do you mean with cities like New York, Washington, Chicago, Seattle or San Francisco? Agreed. Phoenix is really in a category of its own.

As for building materials, houses built 100 years ago were built with the building materials available locally. Not a lot of bricks available in the Mississippi Delta.

Bricks can be made almost anywhere. Even if the local clay isn't good enough bricks can be imported from other parts of the country. Even Neolithic people imported the huge stones of Stonehenge from Wales. Don't tell me that with modern transportation bricks can't be brought anywhere in the US. Anyway it sounds like an excuse since 90% of American houses are made of wood, not brick. It's not an issue specific to the Mississippi delta.

In the last decades, as I said, homes in Florida, the southwest, are concrete and plaster.

Like in Japan, and that's even worse than wood as concrete heats up quickly and keeps the humidity inside. It's probably the worst choice of material for a region like Florida. What they need is big stones that stay cool in the heat.

I’m all for making air conditioners more environmentally friendly but nobody in the southern states especially is going to get rid of them.

It would already be a big help if people in northern states stopped using them. South States (from North Carolina to Arizona) only represent one third of the US population.
 
bigsnake, you're not wrong.

The beaches here are always cool, but who can afford to live there?

On the other hand, El Cajon and Santee are furnaces, which is why I don't live there.

I live in-between, in the foothills. It does get hot here in the late summer, August-September. Then it can, on some days, get to 100 degrees F, though it's rarely humid. But, if you manage the sun with deep eaves, patio covers, and shutters, and keep windows and doors open for the breeze, it's nice enough for nothing more than a fan.

To the other discussions above, while I wouldn't consider living in Texas or Florida without air conditioning, I think many Americans could do with a lot less a/c (i.e. my neighbors here).

Newer houses in Florida are much better insulated than in the past. Texas houses from what I remember when I lived there were not but that was a while ago so building practices could have changed for the better. Now Florida in the summer is not livable without air-conditioning. I set my air-conditioning during the day at 79F and turn on the fans. No way I could sleep without turning it down to 74F.
I do agree that with better building/shading practices we could reduce but not eliminate air-conditioning. We could also invest in solar roofs/battery units. There are vast parking lots in Southern States that can be covered with solar that will also provide shade for the cars below and possible protect them from hail as well. If not covered with solar panels then use a lighter color coating. There was an effort in the 70s to whiten/lighten the dark tile roofs since they absorb a lot heat. Light colored roofing will help keep attics cooler.

For me transportation has not been tapped yet to reduce not only our carbon dependence but also the pollution and noise. You could start with delivery trucks from UPS/Fedex than can be recharged at night their depots, then commercial trucks for electricians/plumbers etc. While you're at it, reduce the number of long haul trucks on the roads by utilizing rail transportation which is a lot more efficient than trucking. There are a number of companies that are working on long haul electric trucks.
 
It’s counterintuitive, but some say (me) :) :

Lighter colors deflect the sun ray and heat back in the environment - BAD

Dark colors absorb sunlight rays and heat, but they stay confined - Better

To fight our personal heat a white house or a white car are better for us, though it increases Global Warming / Climate Change.

A darker house or car retains the sun ray and heat, and in hot days we'll feel even warmer, but it’s better for the Planet because the heat stay localized.
 
It’s counterintuitive, but some say (me) :) :

Lighter colors deflect the sun ray and heat back in the environment - BAD

Dark colors absorb sunlight rays and heat, but they stay confined - Better

To fight our personal heat a white house or a white car are better for us, though it increases Global Warming / Climate Change.

A darker house or car retains the sun ray and heat, and in hot days we'll feel even warmer, but it’s better for the Planet because the heat stay localized.

Not true, a white or reflective roof reflects as much as 80% (white) and 90% (aluminum) back into space, lowering the albedo (reflectivity) of the whole planet. Not to mention that it keeps the roof temperature about 10% above free air temperature. On a 100F day, it keeps the roof itself at about 110F where as dark asphalt roof shingles can reach as much as 180F. Now if you're up north where heating and not air-conditioning is the problem then you want dark roof shingles to absorb as much heat as possible during the winter.
 
Not true, a white or reflective roof reflects as much as 80% (white) and 90% (aluminum) back into space, lowering the albedo (reflectivity) of the whole planet. Not to mention that it keeps the roof temperature about 10% above free air temperature. On a 100F day, it keeps the roof itself at about 110F where as dark asphalt roof shingles can reach as much as 180F. Now if you're up north where heating and not air-conditioning is the problem then you want dark roof shingles to absorb as much heat as possible during the winter.

Not True! Most of the deflected heat is not going into Space: Greenhouse Effect and Atmospheric Pressure :)

... besides that, you agreed with what I said, you made my point, thank you!
 
Not True! Most of the deflected heat is not going into Space: Greenhouse Effect and Atmospheric Pressure :)

... besides that, you agreed with what I said, you made my point, thank you!
I'm not sure if he is going back to space or not. But even if it is not shouldn't change anything for the Earth temperature if it is absorbed by the dark paint or going back into the atmosphere. So white painting is always better. If the heat is reflected back into space, that's a plus. If it's trapped into the Earth's atmosphere, at least it cools down buildings and requires less air conditioning.
 
The problem is that these averages are based on several decades and do not reflect the strong increase in temperatures in the last few years. A typical summer in Belgium used to be in the range of 15 to 25 degrees C, with exceptionally a few days with 30 degrees. Now even spring is hotter than than. Now summer is 20 to 35 degrees - easily 5 degrees above what used to be normal.




And how is Phoenix representative of the whole USA, or even the average?



Do you mean with cities like New York, Washington, Chicago, Seattle or San Francisco? Agreed. Phoenix is really in a category of its own.



Bricks can be made almost anywhere. Even if the local clay isn't good enough bricks can be imported from other parts of the country. Even Neolithic people imported the huge stones of Stonehenge from Wales. Don't tell me that with modern transportation bricks can't be brought anywhere in the US. Anyway it sounds like an excuse since 90% of American houses are made of wood, not brick. It's not an issue specific to the Mississippi delta.



Like in Japan, and that's even worse than wood as concrete heats up quickly and keeps the humidity inside. It's probably the worst choice of material for a region like Florida. What they need is big stones that stay cool in the heat.



It would already be a big help if people in northern states stopped using them. South States (from North Carolina to Arizona) only represent one third of the US population.

The sunbelt represents 1/3 of the population now, but they are the fastest growing region. At even 1/3 it represents over 100 million people.


Predicted growth rates.
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Phoenix is just an example of the weather of Nevada, Arizona, etc, the desert southwest.

Maybe it's better to visualize the entire country so it's easier to see how different it is from northwest and northern Europe.

Average-High-Temperature-of-the-US-May.jpg

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Average-High-Temperature-of-the-US-July.jpg


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weatherspark.com provides high and low temperatures (and averages) by year and month for numerous European locations. Munich in July in 2018 had an average high in the low seventies, and mid seventies in August. There were individual very hot days, but those are the averages, and it seemed about the same in 2019.

A large majority of the U.S. has a climate in summer much hotter than northwestern and western Europe, and much of it has winters much colder. Some, like the midwest, are both hotter and colder in the respective seasons. Western Europe really benefits from the Gulf Stream.
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Not True! Most of the deflected heat is not going into Space: Greenhouse Effect and Atmospheric Pressure :)

... besides that, you agreed with what I said, you made my point, thank you!

No it does go back into space unless absorbed by dark particulates in the air such as soot. It has the same effect as snow or ice cover for northern/arctic climates. Climate scientists are freaking out about losing all the reflective effect of snow/ice in places like Northern Canada/ Alaska/Arctic Ocean/Greenland/Siberia and have it replaced by much darker sea water/grasses.
 
No it does go back into space unless absorbed by dark particulates in the air such as soot. It has the same effect as snow or ice cover for northern/arctic climates. Climate scientists are freaking out about losing all the reflective effect of snow/ice in places like Northern Canada/ Alaska/Arctic Ocean/Greenland/Siberia and have it replaced by much darker sea water/grasses.

Blow your nose after spending a few hours outside in a City, (London too), ... soot is everywhere, ... more or less,
...another Greenhouse ‘Trapping’ Effect.
 
I began this conversation by saying ‘Counterintuitive’ because the extra variables change or prevent what seems obvious and common knowledge from taking place.
 
Let's close the discussion on regional variations of climate within the USA. I agree that the hot-dry and hot-humid regions of the south require air conditioning. That does not explain why over 85% of Americans living in regions described as cold or very cold feel the need to have air conditioning (as opposed to 1% in regions with a similar climate in Europe). That's even more than in the mixed-dry/hot-dry parts of the US like West Texas, southern New Mexico and Arizona, where "only" 78% of homes have AC.

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The bottom line is that Americans should think twice before turning on their AC when it's not absolutely necessary. High July/August temperatures in the 70°F (21-26°C) like in New England, Michigan or Washington state are comfortable and do not necessitate AC. Temperatures in the 80°F (26-31°C) outside should be perfectly bearable without AC inside in a well insulated home that remains a few degrees cooler than outside.

But perhaps the most important is to opt for newer models of air conditioners using R290 instead of HFCs or HCFCs. The refrigerant gas using HCFCs is known as R22, while those using HFCs are called R-410A, R-32, and R-134. Their Global warming potential (GWP) are respectively 1810, 2088, 675 and 1430. R22 also depletes the ozone layer. The only environmentally friendly refrigerants are R290 and R600A, which have a GWP of only 3! (source)
 
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Yesterday The Guardian published an article explaining how the UK has become so hot in summer that people are considering air conditioning for the first time in their life.

Considering air con? That’s how much the UK’s climate has changed already

"I don’t think I had a single conversation about air conditioning until 2005, when a burst of August weather that we would now consider a respite felt like the mouth of hell.

Sitting in a pub living some Smiths lyrics (gasping, dying, but somehow still alive), a lugubrious friend who took delight only from grim irony said: “If this carries on – which it will, because it’s not a freak event – everyone will want air conditioning, which will only make climate change worse.” I said: “Don’t be ridiculous; this is freak weather, not British weather. Nobody will want air conditioning, because it’s an Americanism, culturally anathema, like Halloween.” Fifteen years later, air con is all anyone talks about. I may also have been wrong about Halloween.
"
 
Yesterday The Guardian published an article explaining how the UK has become so hot in summer that people are considering air conditioning for the first time in their life.

Considering air con? That’s how much the UK’s climate has changed already

"I don’t think I had a single conversation about air conditioning until 2005, when a burst of August weather that we would now consider a respite felt like the mouth of hell.

Sitting in a pub living some Smiths lyrics (gasping, dying, but somehow still alive), a lugubrious friend who took delight only from grim irony said: “If this carries on – which it will, because it’s not a freak event – everyone will want air conditioning, which will only make climate change worse.” I said: “Don’t be ridiculous; this is freak weather, not British weather. Nobody will want air conditioning, because it’s an Americanism, culturally anathema, like Halloween.” Fifteen years later, air con is all anyone talks about. I may also have been wrong about Halloween.
"

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53788018

'Highest temperature on Earth' as Death Valley, US hits 54.4C
17 August 2020What could be the highest temperature ever reliably recorded on Earth - 130F (54.4C) - may have been reached in Death Valley National Park, California.
 
I'll give up my A/C when you give up your heating system.

We are a little bit warmer over hear on average and you are a little cooler over there, so I guess it's even trade, yes?
 
Norway, Sweden and Iceland may not need their air conditioners. In Texas and Georgia, they do. Africa and India's populations are exploding, and as their economy improves, they are going to want air conditioners. I say let them beat the heat. Why put the HVAC guys out of work to boot? This doomsday global warming bs is highly political and propagandized. I believe a lot of doomsayers just want to control other people. I just want control my room temp.
 
I'll give up my A/C when you give up your heating system.

We are a little bit warmer over hear on average and you are a little cooler over there, so I guess it's even trade, yes?

Touche.

Quit burning that wood and coal. Quit using that electric heat. Quit eating, consuming, reproducing, and breathing. It's all good for the environment.
 
Touche.

Quit burning that wood and coal. Quit using that electric heat. Quit eating, consuming, reproducing, and breathing. It's all good for the environment.

Europeans know what's best for Americans. They are sure it is comfortable in big cities without A/C. Also they know what's politically best for us. Its American stupidity that we don't see the beauty of open borders for Hispanics.
 
change your electrical system from 110 V to 250 V.
 
I'll give up my A/C when you give up your heating system.

We are a little bit warmer over hear on average and you are a little cooler over there, so I guess it's even trade, yes?

Nordic Europeans use more energy per capita than other Europeans because they have higher heating consumption. But even so, their total energy consumption is lower than that of Americans (except for Icelanders but they are really up north and have a tiny population of 360,000).

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WorldMap_EnergyConsumptionPerCapita2010.jpg

This energy use represents the total of gas, petrol, coal, wood and electricity consumption in watts or in thermal unit equivalents. It does not take into consideration that air conditioners also emits greenhouse gases with 2000 times greater global warming potential than CO2 from burning gas, coal, wood or petrol.

In other words, even if the energy consumption was exactly the same for Europe and the USA, energy used for heating causes much, much less global warming than energy used for cooling (unless very new models of AC are used).
 

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