Cool solutions to a warming planet

In this week’s episode of Earth Unscrewed our presenters, Helen Scales and Seyi Rhodes, speak to Radhika Lalit from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). 


Radhika manages the Global Cooling Prize and in this second episode of our second season, she talks about the incredibly troubling position the planet is in due to inefficient room air conditioners. 


If you haven't stopped to think about your room air conditioner and its potential impact on a warming planet – here’s some context to help frame the global cooling problem:


  • By 2030, over half of the world’s population will live in hot climates – many will experience increased exposure to potentially dangerous heat conditions
  • Due to this increasing risk of heat stress, residential cooling demand across the globe is expected to almost quadruple
  • To meet this demand, approximately 4.5 billion room air conditioners will be in use by 2050 – compared to the 1.2 billion in use today
  • Currently, room air conditioners being commonly sold in the market are EXTREMELY energy inefficient. Only 14 percent of maximum theoretical efficiency has been reached by today’s most advanced room air conditioners, with the majority of models reaching only 8 percent efficiency

This is a power crisis, an energy crisis, a climate crisis and an economic crisis and it will affect global productivity, health, and losses in GDP.


Don’t miss this fascinating deep dive into the world of air con and what is RMI and a global coalition of partners doing to solve this global cooling challenge. Stay tuned till the end to learn more about how we can do our bit to help to solve the critical climate threat that comes from the growing demand for room air conditioning.

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