Air Conditioning Can't Stop Climate Migration

 Humans are being pushed out of our temperature comfort zone.

An additional 1 billion cooling units are expected to be installed by the end of the decade. It’s one of the main ways in which humans are adapting to more frequent and intense heatwaves.

 New research sheds light on the fact that, just like other animals, humans are still tied to a climate niche. Going back millennia, this niche is the mean annual temperature (MAT) associated with the best conditions for humans to flourish.

An analysis of global population density gives us a peak MAT of about 13C

The dip in the middle corresponds with drier climates that aren’t as suitable for us, our livestock or our crops; therefore, it has lower population densities, such as parts of the Middle East. 

The study, published in Nature,

As things stand, current policies and action put us on track for 2.7C of warming above pre-industrial temperatures by 2100. This would leave a staggering 2 billion people – 22% of the projected end-of-century population – exposed to unprecedented heat (defined as being a MAT of 29C and above). 

India — set to be the world’s second-biggest market for cooling units after China by 2050 — and Nigeria would be the worst affected population-wise, with a combined 900 million people living in dangerously hot temperatures.

Bloomberg 23 May 2023


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