Tech in the News: Qatar’s Outdoor Air Conditioning Is Not the Real Climate Villain

Valerie Thomas

Posted November 6, 2019

External Article: Slate

Valerie Thomas, the Anderson Interface Professor of Natural Systems with a joint appointment in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the School of Public Policy, was recently quoted in an article entitled “Qatar’s Outdoor Air Conditioning Is Not the Real Climate Villain” for Slate, November 4.

Here's an excerpt:

Climate change is coming for everyone, but it’s coming much faster for some of us. People living in low-income communities are more likely to be affected by storms and floods exacerbated by climate change. Low-lying portions of island nations like the Maldives are projected to be uninhabitable by 2100, and researchers worry that the combination of high temperatures and humidity levels in South Asia and the Persian Gulf could make those regions virtually unlivable.

Qatar, in particular, has recently been the subject of interest in Western media. A recent Washington Post piece reported that Qataris have taken to air conditioning outside spaces, like restaurant patios and sports stadiums built for the 2022 World Cup. Air conditioning, the author wrote, is a “vicious cycle”—the energy required to run AC outdoors requires emissions, which in turn feeds climate change. GQ picked up the news, calling it “environmental lunacy.” One popular tweet linking to the piece says that by running air conditioning, Qataris are “making the heat worse as they try to cool off.”

Read the full story here.

The School of Public Policy is a unit of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.