Energy, sustainable development and health

Air-conditioning increases energy consumption, which increases greenhouse gas emissions if no carbon dioxide-neutral technology is used for energy production. Energy supply failed during the summer heatwave of 2003 in some European countries, when the energy demand rose. Anthropogenic heat production might worsen the urban heat- island effect: Wilby (2003) assumes that the increasing trend in the nocturnal urban heat island in London in spring, summer and autumn has been caused in part by the greater use of air-conditioning in recent decades. The need to use extra energy to counteract the urban heat island disproportionally affects resource-constrained people, who often live in urban areas and thus face the heat-island phenomenon even more directly.

Menne, B. and A. Markandya, Eds., 2004: Energy, sustainable development and health. Background document of the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, Budapest, Hungary, 23-25 June 2004, 122 pp.

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