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I am not the most environmentally responsible person (really, my recycling habits are atrocious, but that's another story entirely) and yet even I can not deny the extremely negative impact that air conditioners have on the environment. Stan Cox, author of Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air-Conditioned World (and Finding New Ways to Get Through the Summer)
, wrote last year in the Times
, "Cooling of America's buildings and vehicles has the annual global-warming impact of almost half a billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. (Three-fourths of that is attributable to fossil fuels, the rest to refrigerants.) We consume more energy for residential air-conditioning than do all other countries combined, but that's about to change. Home-cooling demand worldwide is projected to increase tenfold before 2050, stimulated by rising incomes and rising temperatures in already-warm regions. Such staggering growth will swamp out efficiency gains, outstrip renewable energy and accelerate warming." This is a pretty big deal. So the next time you are forced to hear about how someone is super into composting and thinks that you too should start storing garbage in your refrigerator because it's good for the environment, just look them square in the eye and say, "Well, at least I don't have air conditioning." This is not a good way to make friends, but it is a good way to make yourself feel morally superior. Win some/lose some, you know?