10 ways climate change threatens our way of life: Way No. 1 — Air conditioning on all the time

global-warmingSupporters of the fossil fuel burning status quo often claim that the measures we need to take to slow climate change threaten our way of life, meaning our comfortable, modern, industrialized, consumer, capitalist way of life. In fact, the truth of the matter is that there is likely no greater threat to our way of life than global warming itself.

And this threat isn’t an off-in-the-distance, one-hundred-year-out threat we can save for our great grandchildren while we continue to enjoy our way of life regardless of the consequences. This threat to our comfortable, happy, easy way of life is here, right now.

And it takes both large and small form. For 10 days, we’re focusing on 10 ways climate change is undermining our lifestyle, here and now. Here’s way No. 1 that climate change is crimping our way of life:

ac-unitWay No. 1 –>AC on all summer long
With temperatures regularly soaring into the 90s and 100s across much of the United States this summer, more and more Americans – including more than a few dedicated energy conservation geeks (we’re among these 😉 – are finding themselves turning on the home air conditioning more and more often for longer and longer periods of time.

Running a central air conditioner takes a lot of electricity, typically anywhere from 2 to 7 kWh per hour for the average American household. This places extra demand on utilities to produce more peak load power, and to burn more fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. All of which further intensifies global warming, which then forces more and more of us to turn on the AC even more often. It’s a perfectly vicious vicious cycle.

And, unless you’ve got a home solar system that covers 100 percent of your electric use, you’re going to be paying a lot for that extra electricity you’re burning to keep yourself cool.

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On top of that, as things heat up, we spend less time outdoors during what, for many, at least in the Northern Tier of the U.S., is typically the best time of year to be outdoors.

More fossil fuels burned, which locally contribute to poorer air quality and, on a global basis, to climate change, more money being wasted on your home electric bill, which means less money for other things, and, finally, more time trapped indoors while we escape the increasingly excessive summer heat – how’s that for crimping your lifestyle?

And, of course, we’re only just getting started with the endlessly and relentlessly hot summer thing – it’s only going to get hotter and more uncomfortable from here on out.

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