From the Publisher
“This is an important book. The history of air-conditioning is really the history of the world’s energy and climate crises, and by narrowing the focus Stan Cox makes the big picture comprehensible. He also suggests remedieswhich are different from the ones favored by politicians, environmentalists, and appliance manufacturers, not least because they might actually work.”
David Owen, author of Green Metropolis
“As Stan Cox details in his excellent new book, Losing Our Cool, air conditioning has been a major force in shaping western society.”
Bradford Plumer, The National
“This book is the go-to source for a better understanding of the complexity of pumping cold air into a warming climate.”
“Important. . . .What I like about Cox’s book is that he isn’t an eco-nag or moralist."
Tom Condon, Hartford Courant
“Stan Cox offers both some sobering facts and some interesting strategies for thinking through a big part of our energy dilemma.”
“Well-written, thoroughly researched, with a truly global focus, the book offers much for consumers, environmentalists, and policy makers to consider before powering up to cool down.”
Timothy R. Smith
Cox writes in simple, direct prose. He spaces out statistics with anecdotes and fun facts, making a potentially boring subject interesting.
The Washington Post
Cox (Sick Planet) provides the first-ever book-length look at the consequences on our environment and on our health of air-conditioning in this enlightening study. He documents how greenhouse emissions increased and ozone depletion skyrocketed once air conditioners became prevalent, and presents staggering statistics: the amount of electricity Americans use for powering their air conditioners alone equals the same amount the 930 million residents of Africa use for all their electricity needs. Cox reveals some surprising information as he explores air conditioning as a potential spreader of contagions—of asthma and allergies and possibly even sexual dysfunctions. He offers a reality check to proposed solutions that have fatal flaws (and may be worse than the problems they attempt to solve) including “dematerialization,” improved AC energy efficiency, and clean energy options. In addition, he provides a list of changes that will help: reducing indoor heat, using fans, utilizing “cool” roofs, and increasing vegetation. Well-written, thoroughly researched, with a truly global focus, the book offers much for consumers, environmentalists, and policy makers to consider before powering up to cool down. (June)
In what may be the first book to address the impact of air-conditioning on our environment and our health, research scientist Cox (Sick Planet: Corporate Food and Medicine) presents a well-researched look at its role in migration patterns, development, rising rates of illness, and ecological degradation. The amount of energy required to control indoor climates, especially in American society, is staggering. As a central trigger in feedback loops of energy consumption, greenhouse gases, ozone depletion, and climate change, air-conditioning has also compromised fragile ecosystems by allowing humans to settle in otherwise less-than-desirable areas. Cox challenges us to redefine our personal comfort in the context of environmental responsibility. He acknowledges that we have built a world around air-conditioning, and he successfully advocates controlling our indoor climate by using both earlier cooling methods and new technologies. VERDICT Cox makes a strong case for cutting energy use, redirecting our focus on cooling spaces to cooling people, and restoring the balance between our indoor and outdoor lives. Recommended for readers interested in environmental issues and technologies.—Robin K. Dillow, Oakton Community Coll., Des Plaines, IL