The Economist | Air conditioning: No sweat

January 6, 2013


The Economist

Air conditioning
No sweat
Artificial cooling makes hot places bearable—but at a worryingly high cost


SUMMER humidity in the Gulf often nears 90%. Winds are scant. Even in the shade the heat hovers far above the body’s natural temperature. No wonder that before 1950, fewer than 500,000 lived along the whole 500-mile southern littoral. Now, rimmed by the mirrored facades of office towers, gleaming petrochemical works, marinas, highways, bustling airports, vast shopping malls and sprawling subdivisions of sumptuous villas, it is home to 20m people. Their lives are made possible by “coolth”—artificially cooled air.

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