Least Air Conditioned City In Us

Least Air Conditioned City In Us – It happens all the time. Every summer, unprecedented heat rises in cities in the United States – in Washington, Oregon and Idaho; in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio; and in Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey. Last week, a heat wave melted records in Texas with highs consistently hitting 100 for days. And just when people need it most, the grid goes down. Each year, hundreds of people die from heat-related illnesses in the United States, and thousands more end up in emergency rooms from heat stress. Compared to other extreme weather events, the immediate response of American leaders to the extreme heat was minimal. Therefore, many places remain unprepared. So what can we do to make our cities more resilient?

The urban heat crisis is not limited to North America, of course. Extreme heat kills more people than any other weather-related disaster in the world, including hurricanes, floods and wildfires. In England, temperatures reached 104ºF for the first time in recorded history, and the heat sparked wildfires across Europe. In India, cities that have been inhabited for centuries are now lifeless with temperatures as high as 123ºF. And, given that most carbon emissions come from developed countries, climate change is making the situation worse. Heat waves are getting hotter, more frequent and longer. Currently, 2.2 billion people – that’s 30% of the world’s population – currently experience life-threatening heat for at least 20 days a year, and scientists estimate that heat could threaten up to 66% of human life by the end of the century. . Unlike much of the film’s violence, the heat is invisible, though it is immediate and omnipresent. This also makes it very dangerous. Nothing short of a dramatic decline in fossil fuels will slow this trend.

Least Air Conditioned City In Us

Least Air Conditioned City In Us

Many of us who live in the United States assume that we have the best solution to this mess: air conditioning. The United States uses more energy for cooling than any other country in the world. In 2016, 328 million Americans – less than 5% of the world’s population – understood more cooling energy than the 4.4 billion people living in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, excluding China. (One big exception: more than half of global cooling-related emissions now come from China and the United States combined. Globally, demand for cooling is growing rapidly, and it’s growing in the United States, where it’s everywhere. Today, 88% of homes in the United States use some form of air conditioning -devices compared to about 4% of homes in Europe.As the summer heats up, it gets even colder for Americans.

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The Unexpected History Of The Air Conditioner

Then you would think that in the country with the most air conditioners in the world, we would solve the worst heat crisis. But while it seems like an obvious solution to our summer woes, our dependence on air conditioning doesn’t seem like a viable solution in the long or short term. In some cases, air conditioning can make our crisis worse – and clearly there are better solutions in the community that we should strive for.

Least Air Conditioned City In Us

During the 2019 New York heat wave, the limits of air conditioning as a common solution to the city’s heat emergencies became clear. On a Sunday in July, at the start of a three-day fire that brought the heat index to 113ºF, neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens were left without power. As the system dealt with record energy loads — mostly for room air conditioners — several parts of southeast Brooklyn’s power grid failed. In response, Con Ed, the investor-owned monopoly that serves as the city’s public utility, intentionally shut off power to an additional 33,000 residents to “prevent further fires and protect the integrity of the power system.” More than 50,000 people – including the elderly in several large centers as well as children – suffered without power for more than twenty-four hours. Perhaps most telling is that those neighborhoods, especially Canarsie and Flatlands, are overwhelmingly black (59%) and Latino (8%).

An Edison Inc van parked on a street in the Bronx, New York, United States, on Saturday, July 20, 2019.

Least Air Conditioned City In Us

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The reason here is the problem. It is not uncommon or limited to New York. It’s happening in cities across the country. Con Ed targeted the predominantly poor black and brown neighborhoods in Southeast Brooklyn as a viable buffer zone for the rest of Brooklyn and the city as a whole. “Important equipment” and overall “energy system integrity”—that is, in whiter, wealthier, more commercialized cities—were privileged over the Canarsie and Flatlands communities.

Heat waves affect almost every part of the planet’s surface, but cities create a specific problem. In the United States, the hottest cities are where more than 80% of Americans live. Now – it kills about 1,300 people a year. tall, dense buildings; lack of leaves; waste heat from cars and buildings (including air conditioners); And heat-absorbing materials such as asphalt and roofing all combine to create “urban heat islands.” During a hot afternoon, some urban areas can reach temperatures 15ºF higher than outside the city. It could mean the difference between discomfort and death.

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Least Air Conditioned City In Us

As with climate-related disasters, the urban heat island affects the population disproportionately. The elderly, children and those with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart problems are particularly at risk. And those who work outside; the poor; homeless people; Those who do not have access to shade or water facilities such as swimming pools; who lives alone; alcohol; and those who do not have safe access to health care.

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It is not equal. The NYC “Environment & Health Data Portal” notes that “the risk of heat wave-related illness or death is higher in communities with higher surface temperatures and less green space, and poor communities of color that experience racial and historical segregation.” Indeed, communities that have historically experienced racism and segregation (eg the red line) are hot.

Least Air Conditioned City In Us

Of that history. Less money to plant trees in Harlem a decade ago means there’s less shade today, which means the area is a bit warmer than it is further south. In NYC, blacks make up only 22% of the population, but they account for about 50% of the city’s heat deaths. In cities across the United States, neighborhood median income is an extremely good indicator of plant density.

Air conditioning divides us by race and class – especially in inflation. Since the low-income color area is warmer, it may take some time

Least Air Conditioned City In Us

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(ie more money) to cool the houses in those communities to the same temperature as in affluent areas. Additionally, a recent study found that blacks spend hundreds of dollars more on their energy bills than whites, even though they are 50% more likely to forgo basic necessities and 40% more likely to keep their homes cool to pay for them. Bigger accounts. Thus, although black families appear to have equal access to energy, the energy infrastructure continues to burden non-whites more than whites.

In a heat wave, first and foremost, we need to ensure that everyone in the city stays safe by finding reliable ways to cool down. For those who can, this means running a personal AC unit in a residential setting – at least for now. But this response to a heat emergency doesn’t feel like an emergency response at all. And it doesn’t work when the network fails. This makes survival dependent on individual consumer choices, which leaves the most vulnerable to harmful heat and reinforces the inequalities that exist in our cities.

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Least Air Conditioned City In Us

An air conditioner in an apartment building during a heat wave in Austin, Texas, the United States, on Tuesday, July 19, 2022.

A Refrigerant Cost

What if we gave air conditioners to everyone who needs them? Some cities, such as New York, have air conditioning and energy assistance programs to guide them through programs such as the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), but they can be demanding or complicated to research and participate in. Activist groups like Harlem’s WE ACT are working hard to connect residents to these programs and keep them cool, but in other cities air conditioning is rarely supported for those who need it most. At best, these programs are temporary solutions. In a country that does not see basic, sustainable health care as a human right, air conditioning support for those struggling to survive seems, at best, perhaps, if not miraculous.

Least Air Conditioned City In Us

Our air conditioning repair is so intense that the only solution most of us can come up with to our air conditioning crisis is… more air conditioning. The ultimate irony is missing: air conditioning itself contributes greatly to global warming. Most AC units also use refrigerants that emit thousands of greenhouse gases (GHGs) that are more capable of trapping more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, the primary GHG. Direct emissions into the atmosphere make up about 3% of US emissions. Fortunately, recent international agreements eliminate these chemicals, but even so, their elimination is far from guaranteed. Ten years ago, another international agreement phased out CFCs, the refrigerant’s predecessor, but recently factories in East Asia briefly resumed production of these ozone-depleting chemicals. Reduces costs. and banning such chemicals without incentive programs

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