La progression des revenus favorise l'usage du conditionnement d'air

Dans une récente étude publiée par le PNAS, des chercheurs de l'Université de Californie ont examiné le lien entre le climat, l'accroissement des revenus et l'acquisition de conditionneurs d'airs.
In a new study published by PNAS, two researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, examined the relationship between climate, income growth, and air conditioning adoption. In particular, they analyzed data on 27,000 households in Mexico, a country with varied climates.

Under conservative assumptions about income growth, their model predicts near universal saturation of air conditioning in all warm areas within just a few decades, versus a 13% ownership rate today. Temperature increases contribute to this surge in adoption, however income growth alone explains most of the increase.

They also examined the enormous global potential for air conditioning and list the top 12 countries in terms of air-conditioning potential, defined as the product of population and cooling degree days (CDDs): India, China, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Philippines, United States, Vietnam, Thailand and Mexico.

Excluding the US, the list is dominated by middle- and low-income countries with warm climates. A total of almost 4bn people live in these 11 countries, subject to an average of 2,700 annual CDDs.

They considered the case of India with four times the population of the US, but also more than three times as many CDDs per person. Thus, India’s total potential demand for cooling is 12+ times that of the US. India already experiences frequent brownouts and blackouts, which would be exacerbated by increased air conditioning if infrastructure does not keep up with demand.

According to the authors, what air conditioning will mean for electricity consumption and carbon dioxide emissions depends on the pace of technological change. Continued advances in energy efficiency or the development of new cooling technologies could reduce energy consumption impacts substantially.