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WEDNESDAY, Feb. 9, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Global warming will lead to longer, hotter summers. But increasing the air conditioning may not be a viable solution, a new study warns.

Investigators found climate change could cause Americans’ demand for air conditioning to exceed the nation’s power-generating capacity within a decade.

This could lead to prolonged outages during summer heat waves, putting many lives at risk, the researchers recently reported in the journal. Earth’s future.

“It’s a pretty clear warning to all of us that we can’t keep doing what we’re doing or our energy system will fail in the next few decades just from summer air conditioning,” said Susanne Benz, geographer and climatologist. scientist from Dalhousie University in Canada, said in a press release from the American Geophysical Union. She did not participate in the new study.

The researchers said the global climate is expected to exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming by the early 2030s, which could push up summer air conditioning demand in the United States between 8% and 13% .

As a result, average US households could face eight days without air conditioning during the summer, but those in some Midwestern states could experience 12 days without air conditioning.

The projections suggest what could happen if nothing is done to increase electricity production, increase efficiency and take action to combat climate change, according to the study’s authors.

The study focused only on the impacts of climate change and did not take into account possible population increases, changes in wealth, behavior or other factors that affect air conditioning demand, noted the researchers.

“We have tried to isolate only the impact of climate change. If nothing changes, if we as a society refuse to adapt, if we do not meet the efficiency requirements, what would that mean?” said the study’s lead author, Renee Obringer, an environmental engineer at Penn State University.

“We’ve seen this before in California — the state’s power providers had to institute blackouts because they couldn’t provide the electricity needed,” Obringer said.

It resulted in 599 heat-related deaths, according to official state data, but the true number could be closer to 3,900.

Those most likely to be affected by loss of air conditioning due to power outages are low-income, non-white, and older people, Obringer noted.

Benz said: “When they say there will be two weeks where you won’t have a chill on average – in reality some people will have a chill. Poor people will have less chill.”

More information

To learn more about extreme heat, go to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCE: American Geophysical Union, press release, February 3, 2022

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