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Air-conditioners do great good, but at a high environmental cost

“AIR-CONDITIONING cannot be a grand success in the [American] South for the reason that the honest natives of the region recognise the natural summer heat as a welcome ally, in that it makes the inside of houses and offices agreeably uninviting.” In the annals of mistaken predictions, this one—made in 1935 by Clarence Cason, author of “90° in the Shade”—merits an honourable mention. In fact, air-conditioning soon became universal south of the Mason-Dixon line, turning the South into an engine of prosperity and even reshaping its politics by luring Republican migrants to a region that had once been a Democratic stronghold.

The stifling summer of 2018 in the northern hemisphere has been a banner season for air-conditioners and a reminder of how they have changed the world. Sales in France in the first three weeks of July were 192% higher than in the same period of 2017. In Japan, the government is helping schools install coolers. In Texas, on the orders of a judge, the state government has been…

Source: The Economist Newspaper
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