Is cooling the house heating up the planet?

In many parts of the country, this summer was one of the hottest in history. The Twin Cities tied a record stretch of 39 days at or above 80 degrees.

A lot of us have been running our air conditioners non-stop.

Five percent of all the electricity used in the U.S. goes to cool our homes.

And climate scientists say we can expect more hot summers. Which raises a question: How much does the energy we use for air conditioning contribute to global warming?

MPR News

And the answer to their question, of course, is yes but only trivially and it’s extremely unlikely we’ll be able to detect it and distinguish from the noise of natural variation.

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2 responses to “Is cooling the house heating up the planet?

  1. Not all places have been hot. San Diego region for instance has been much cooler than normal for this Summer. Funny about two weeks ago in my town of Poway (a suburb of San Diego) we had a heat wave and power alerts, but for most days the temperature was 2 degrees below the normal for the week, and this was our summer hot peroid. Only two days beat the average high, and by a small margin, now we are 5 – 10 degrees below normal again.

    The crazyness is that if our utility has to declare a power alert for below normal temperatures, I don’t think they can survive a normal year (To be fair two major power plants in the area have unscheduled closures, including one which may end up permanent. )

  2. What of the people who are lucky enough to live in Phoenix, AZ, the sixth largest city in the U.S., where the summer temps can reach 115 F or so? Are they to sweat and suffer? Not likely.

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