Thursday, August 13, 2015

Heavy Smug Emissions

From a WaPo article linked by Unc, in which the Euros are chastising Americans for something again. This time they're cocking a snook over air conditioning and our profligate Yankee use of it:
"Cooling uses much more energy than heating, which is why many Europeans prefer sweating for a few days over continuously suffering under the effects of global warming in the future."
Well, yeah, Pierre and Hans, I'd rather sweat for a few days than get hit with a big power bill, too.

Thing is, since we don't live in the far off frozen wastelands like you, it's not "sweating for a few days"; here it would be sweating for a few months. Or practically the whole year in places like Miami, New Orleans, or Houston.

There's a reason the population of our industrialized North massively outnumbered that of the South in our Civil War: Because before air conditioning, not many people chose to live in places where the summertime climate can kill you dead. It's certainly not conducive to industry or a modern economy.

Why is there a stereotype of Southerners talking slowly and ambling languidly, rather than hurrying about like chattering New Yorkers? Because acting like that between May and September down around Atlanta or Birmingham is courting heatstroke.

Air conditioning didn't just help the modern Sun Belt economy, it's practically solely responsible for it. Twelve US states are partially or entirely located below the 35th parallel north; the only parts of Europe that far south are Crete and Cyprus, which are not areas known for contributing to the industry of the continent.

Conversely, only our northernmost tier of states is above the 45th parallel: Oregon and Washington, Montana, the Dakotas, parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin and Michigan, a bit of New England... You know what I noticed in Washington state? Neither of the houses I visited had A/C. Nor did the abode of friends in New Hampshire, until they added a window unit upstairs recently to make the occasional summer heat wave more bearable in the loft bedroom. Do you know where the 45th parallel crosses Europe? The French Riviera. Balmy Lombardy. The pleasant Piedmont.

This is the HVAC equivalent of the Parisian or Londoner asking the suburban Texan what he needs that truck for when he could just take the Underground or Metro to work like they do. What you call hell, Hans, he calls home.