The Miracle That Is Air Conditioning

Apparently the Pope does not like air conditioning.  At least for the rest of us.

What he doesn’t seem to understand is how much impact being able to create and control microclimates has on people lives, especially so in nations and regions where heat slows things down and puts people at a productive disadvantage.

Air conditioning has change our live in ways that are not immediately realizable.  Certainly air conditioning has removed the heat of the deep summer.  It’s also allowed people to work through the Summer in place like NYC and Washington DC, as well as other places.  In fact air conditioning made large chunks of the Southwest and South livable and productive.


The story of the modern air conditioner is  yet another remarkable American story.

In 1901, the Buffalo Forge Company was an expert in industrial heating, blowers and exhaust fans, as well as drills and forges. It supplied blacksmiths as well. Owner William F. Wendt wanted to maintain a technological edge, so he hired a farm boy from upstate New York, Willis Haviland Carrier, as a researcher. Carrier had recently graduated from Cornell with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. The pay was $10 a week. He did good work, developing a heating coil system that saved the company $40,000 on its heating bill that first winter alone.

The next summer, Wendt sent him to New York City, where heat and humidity wreaked havoc on a customer, Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company of Brooklyn, Heat and humidity changed the paper in size and water content just enough to throw the printing off register.

On July 17, 1902, Carrier installed the first modern air conditioner. Carrier designed a system that circulated the air through cold water coils. This allowed the company to control temperature, control humidity, circulate the air, and clean the air. Those are the four things that define modern air conditioning. The printer was able to keep temperatures in the range of 70 to 80 degrees while maintaining humidity at 55 percent.

He had invented a machine to do what mankind has tried to do ever since the discovery of summer. The Romans used aqueducts. The Taj Mahal uses large pools of water. In Egypt of antiquity, slaves fanned pharaohs. Carrier used electricity.

Carrier perfected his machine and received U.S. Patent 808897 for an “Apparatus for treating air” on January 2, 1906. The refining of Carrier’s air conditioning would continue after that.

Industrial uses were many. Film, tobacco, processed meats, medical capsules, textiles and other products acquired significant improvements with mechanical air conditioning.

Elsewhere in the essay Miller writes, a “South African gentleman once told me that New York in August was hotter than any place he knew in Africa.” That was exactly the impression I got when I visited Charlottesville in August of 2000 – my first trip to the United States in summer time. I remember saying to my friends back home in Johannesburg that I have never experienced such oppressive heat on my travels through Africa.

Air-conditioning makes our lives more comfortable, but let us not forget the importance of air conditioning for the economy. As Walter Oi writes in The Welfare Implications of Invention, temperature and humidity have a strong influence on labor productivity. For example, in machine shops, labor productivity is at its peak at 65 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity between 65 and 75 percent. Productivity is 15 percent lower at 75 degrees Fahrenheit and 28 percent lower at 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, accident rates are 30 percent higher at 77 degrees Fahrenheit than at 67 degrees Fahrenheit. In many factories, temperature and humidity also affect the product, ruining paper, threads of textiles and so on. Similarly, in the old days, main-frame computers required climate control to function effectively. It was undoubtedly the introduction of air-conditioning that caused value-added per employee in manufacturing in the South to increase from 88.9 percent of the national average in 1954 to 96.3 percent of the national average in 1987.

Best of all, air-conditioning is much, much cheaper and more available than it has ever been!

The fact is that heat pumps are about the most efficient way that exists for  heat and cooling a space. Unlike a direct heating method a heat pump uses electricity to move a medium in a loop, taking advantage of the latent heat in going from a gas to liquid and vice versa.  This makes the unit very efficient.  It also means that a machine can be use to remove heat from a space, which is why an air conditioner works. Making much of the modern world possible.

The usual crowd of swells of course has problems with that, well at least air conditioning for other people than the swells.  We are bombarded with yet more propaganda on how air conditioning is causing “climate change” and how whatever medium being used is a “dangerous greenhouse gas.” Along with the concerns about the “threat” of the people in other countries buying and using air conditioning in their apartments.

As summer temperatures finally settle in, many in the United States take it for granted that they can dial down the thermostat: Americans use 5 percent of all of their electricity cooling homes and buildings. In many other countries, however — including countries in much hotter climates — air conditioning is still a relative rarity. But as these countries boom in wealth and population, and extend electricity to more people even as the climate warms, the projections are clear: They are going to install mind-boggling amounts of air conditioning, not just for comfort but as a health necessity.

That’s already happened in some places. In just 15 years, urban areas of China went from just a few percentage points of air conditioning penetration to exceeding 100 percent — “i.e. more than one room air conditioner (AC) per urban household,” according to a recent report on the global AC boom by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. And air conditioner sales are now increasing in India, Indonesia and Brazil by between 10 and 15 percent per year, the research noted. India, a nation of 1.25 billion people, had just 5 percent air conditioning penetration in the year 2011.

study last year similarly found “a close relationship between household income and air conditioner adoption, with ownership increasing 2.7 percentage points per $1,000 of annual household income.” For Mexico in particular, it therefore projected a stupendous growth of air conditioning over the 21st century, from 13 percent of homes having it  to 71 to 81 percent of homes.

“We expect that the demand for cooling as economies improve, particularly in hot climates, is going to be an incredible driver of electricity requirements,” U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in an interview.

In most ways, of course, this is a very good thing: Protecting people from intense heat — a town in India this month saw temperatures exceed 123 degrees Fahrenheit — is essential for their health and well-being. It’s just that it’s going to come with a huge energy demand, and potentially huge carbon emissions to boot.

Overall, the Berkeley report projects that the world is poised to install 700 million air conditioners by 2030, and 1.6 billion of them by 2050. In terms of electricity use and greenhouse gas emissions, that’s like adding several new countries to the world.

Apparently the Administration   doesn’t like air conditioning either.  At least for little people.

Gina McCarthy wrote an op-ed for the guardian last year in which she emphasized the EPA’s attack on air conditioning. The title of the article is all you need to know – Potent greenhouse gases should have no place in our air conditioning units. 

Refrigeration, and insulation are also on the hit list because they contain HFCs (Hydrofluorocarbons). Without any proof, she’s declared them “hundreds or thousands” of times more damaging than CO2. “Hundreds…thousands”, no difference to her.

At the international meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Dubai, all parties agreed on a “Dubai Pathway” for controlling climate-change-inducing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) worldwide, which the TPP will be used to foster. HFCs are chemicals used in air conditioning, refrigeration, foams and aerosols as replacements for many ozone-depleting substances that are being phased out under the Montreal Protocol.

We are now looking for “global laws,” according to McCarthy.

McCarthy wrote: President Obama’s Climate Action Plan is aimed at reducing HFC emissions both at home and through international leadership. Over the past year, the EPA has completed four separate actions that both expand “the list of safer alternatives to HFCs and prohibit them from certain uses in the refrigeration air conditioning, foam, and aerosol sectors where safer alternatives such as hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs), hydrocarbons and lower-polluting blends are available.”

Of course this is just a case of it worked once, lets fool people and do it again for profit.

This will cost us but two crony companies will rake in the money.

The EPA is going to ban HFCs and it will happen soon.

They will do this under the Clean Air Act which is one of the worst power grabbing acts passed by the EPA. It circumvents Congress as do the Clear Water Act and Clean Power Plan. Together, they will ruin our economy.

The EPA is writing legislation.

In 1990, Congress amended the Clean Air Act to create a regulatory regime for implementing the Montreal Protocol. The Clean Air Act §612 then established the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program, which is the device for achieving the ozone treaty’s goals. Under SNAP, the EPA is empowered to ban chemicals that deplete the ozone layer, if the agency concludes that there are alternatives that would do less environmental harm, according to

It allows the EPA to pick winners and losers.

HFCs were put in as a result of the Montreal Protocol which congress approved to close the hole in the Ozone layer. For 25 years, they have not posed a threat to the ozone layer, they are non-toxic, and they are non-flammable. Now they are seen as having high “potential” global warming footprints and as more dangerous than CO2.

The Montreal Protocol was never meant to mitigate global warming but he’s expanding the US version along those lines any way. Congress only passed the Protocol because they thought they were fixing a hole in the Ozone layer. The Protocol never approved banning HFCs but Obama is doing it by fiat via the EPA.

Du Pont and Honeywell are pushing for this change because Americans will be forced to buy their products. pointed to the problem of banning HFCs which are nonflammable and can be operated under low pressures. The available products closest to market for commercial refrigeration are highly flammable or must be used under very high pressure. Yet the EPA is saying that non-flammable HFCs are a greater risk to human health than those that can can go up in flames or have to operate under high pressure due to the HFCs potential carbon footprint, which is totally abstract.

That is ridiculous, even for the EPA.

Obama Tells the World Yet Again That He’s Going After Air Conditioning

And sure enough, here’s the press release from Honeywell and Dupont. Frankly I want my Freon back.  It’s apparent at this point that all this is is more crony and companies using the government to force us to buy stuff that’s literally dangerous so that they make money from patent for the new gasses.

There’s also the old Malthusian angle here as well.  It’s part and parcel of the same people who have been worrying about doom to deny the benefits of technologies to most of the rest of us.  This way of thinking has been going back all the way to the early days of the Rockefeller Foundation and the fact is that it’s nothing more than cultish thought without reason or understanding behind it.

Perhaps it’s time that we, the people stopped listening to the constant propaganda from a bunch of lunatic globalists living in their own cult and stop accepting the constant demands that we live smaller lives.

The Malthusian equations don’t have any relevance in the real world of thinking and adapting people and why should we “make do with less” so that a bunch of swells can live large?

Update: A nice little piece from the ASME.

For more on the dysfunctional economy click Here or on the tag below.




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