Climate change is the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere. In order for human beings to keep cool, despite this warming, there are industrialized mechanisms that help us survive the heat.
Unfortunately, the only mechanisms that are effective in keeping people cool, air conditioners, are also the worst contributors of dangerous hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which destroy the Earth’s atmosphere.
Air conditioners increase climate change. From this, a cycle occurs: People need air conditioners because it is hot; but, it is hot because people are using air conditioners.
In the United States, it has been observed that mortality rates, due to heat, declined as much as 80% in the United States between 1960 and 2004 due to widespread access to air conditioning (Greenstone). This statistic should be applied to the dilemma in India.
In India, only 5% of the population has access to air conditioning (Greenstone). People are dying from the heat. In order to save millions of Indians from dying of heatstroke, they need air conditioning. However, if they are given the air conditioning they need, then climate change is progressed.
Air conditioning is a critical survival tool in our world. Thanks to climate change, daily temperatures are increasing. Therefore, the likelihood for increased mortality rates due to heat exposure, in India, is certain if there are not preemptive steps taken today. These steps must prevent furthering climate change, but must also provide cool air that is needed to survive.
I propose that new technology is created that does not emit HFC’s. This should be the preeminent pursuit for scientists. Indians need air conditioning, but the Earth needs its atmosphere. The added irony of the dilemma in India is that the technology that they desperately need, is the exact technology that contributes to the problem of climate change.
- Greenstone, Michael. “India’s Air-Conditioning and Climate Change Quandary.” The New York Times, 26 Oct. 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/10/27/upshot/indias-air-conditioning-and-climate-change-quandary.html. Accessed 13 Jan. 2017.