Global Air Conditioning Use To Rise Dramatically

Researchers have found that air conditioning usage could rise dramatically by the end of the century, news site ARY News reports.

A study by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley has shown that most of the air conditioning usage will come from equatorial environments in the tropics and subtropics (home to some three billion people), where just a slight increase in income leads many people to purchase air conditioners to improve their quality of life.

The team based their study on 25 million electricity customers in Mexico, using the data to create a model of what might lie ahead for the rest of the world.

They found that a 2% annual increase in household income, when combined with forecasts about rising temperatures due to climate change, could result in near-universal use of AC units.

Low-income countries are expected to see the biggest take-up of air conditioning (where the technology is still relatively uncommon). The nations with the greatest potential for increased usage are Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, the US and Vietnam.

Worldwide sales have already "exploded" in recent years, with China buying up 64 million units in 2013 - more than eight times as many as were sold in the United States, said the researchers. "Under modest assumptions about income growth, our model implies that the fraction of households with air conditioning will increase from 13% today to more than 70% by end of century," said the study.

The research has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed US journal.