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Asia Minute: Asia Drives Rising Air Conditioning Demand


When trade winds slow, it’s a time for air conditioning for many people in the islands.  While demand for air conditioning rises along with temperatures, that demand is growing around the world — including in Asia. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

If you flick on the air conditioner when it gets hot, you’ll be getting a lot of company. By the year 2050, worldwide energy demand from air conditioners is expected to triple.

That word came Tuesday from the International Energy Agency — which produced a report called “The Future of Cooling.”

The group’s executive director called the growing electricity demand for air conditioning “one of the most critical blind spots in today’s energy debate.”

Take India. Right now, air conditioning accounts for about 10 percent of the country’s electricity use. In about thirty years, air conditioning could suck up 45-percent of India’s electricity.

In Southeast Asia, air conditioning has already contributed to a skyrocketing demand for energy.

A group called Eco-Business released a report this year showing energy demand from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations jumped 70-percent from 2000 to 2016 — with a large portion going to higher demand for air conditioning.

Credit Aam422 / Good Free Photos
Good Free Photos
Mumbai, India

One problem in many parts of Asia: inefficient machines draining more electricity than needed.

Another issue: excessive cooling in public buildings — chilling occupants and wasting energy.

While air conditioning is common in advanced economies, the International Energy Agency says of the nearly three billion people living in the hottest parts of the world, just eight-percent of them have indoor cooling.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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