(AA) — Global warming will increase sales of air conditioners, which in turn will increase climate change, according to a forthcoming study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The growth of global economies will allow more consumers around the world to buy more comforts, including air conditioners, according to the researchers from the University of California Berkeley. The increased use of air conditioners, however, will require significantly more electricity.
Air conditioning and global warming, the study’s authors contend, become a spiral that can cycle toward environmental disaster. As global temperatures rise, more consumers will buy air conditioners, which then add to more global warming.
The authors claim that action should be taken now, before a large mass of people around the world have the means to afford air conditioners.
“In the near future, over a billion people in Africa, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico and other low and middle income countries will be able to purchase their first air conditioner resulting in a massive increase in energy demand,” Paul Gertler, a professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and co-author of the study, said in a statement. “Now is the time for the public and private sectors to collaborate and develop infrastructures capable of accommodating rising demand, as well build air conditioners that are more energy efficient and more affordable for poorer populations.”
Gertler and lead study author Lucas Davis, also of the Haas School of Business, studied data from 27,000 households in Mexico. The team found that as income increased in warm areas, people were far more likely to buy an air conditioner.
The researchers also looked at countries like India, that has a larger population and warmer temperatures are more common than in the United States.
As the economy grows, according to the study, the increased use of air conditioning will cause noticeable stress for India’s already overwhelmed energy infrastructure.