Earth Unscrewed: Cool Solutions To A Warming Planet

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Clare Kelly
by Clare Kelly
16 October 2019

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

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

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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 per cent of maximum theoretical efficiency has been reached by today’s most advanced room air conditioners, with the majority of models reaching only eight per cent efficiency

Air conditioners present us with a power crisis, an energy crisis, a climate crisis and an economic crisis – these will affect global productivity, health, and losses in GDP.

Don't miss this fascinating deep dive into the world of air-con. Listen in and learn about what the Rocky Mountain Institute (along with a global coalition of partners) are doing to solve this global cooling challenge.

Also, be sure to stay tuned until the end of the episode to learn how you can do your bit to help solve the threat that comes from the growing demand for room air conditioning!

- The Rocky Mountain Institute merged with the Carbon War Room in December 2014. The Carbon War Room was founded by Richard Branson as a think tank to work on issues regarding market-based solutions to climate change.

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Earth Unscrewed is Virgin’s podcast about the incredible (and often surprising!) solutions that are providing some serious hope for the future of our planet.