Of all the sweltering places on planet Earth, one of the most sweltering has to be India. Here in the U.S., we think that Washington, D.C. has brutal summers, where average daily highs get up to over 85 degrees F in July and August, and often 30 or more days a year go over 90. Or there's Houston, where an average of almost 100 days per year hit 90 or above. But we are small time compared to India, where many of the major cities like New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore have high temperatures consistently above 90 for close to half the year. And, given that India has been a poor country, up until now few have had air conditioning to give them any relief from the heat. The poor Indians have just suffered the heat in silence for all of human history.
That is, until now. Suddenly, starting about 20 years ago and accelerating more recently, India has been experiencing real economic growth and transformation. Indian people by the tens of millions have been moving into the middle class. And, you will not be surprised to learn, one of the first things that many of them want to acquire with their new-found wealth is air conditioning. Thus air conditioning is sweeping through India. The New York Times reports on the story in its October 12 edition:
DELHI — A thrill goes down Lane 12, C Block, Kamalpur every time another working-class family brings home its first air-conditioner. Switched on for a few hours, usually to cool a room where the whole family sleeps, it transforms life in this suffocating concrete labyrinth where the heat reached 117 degrees in May. “You wake up totally fresh,” exulted Kaushilya Devi, a housewife, whose husband bought a unit in May. “I wouldn’t say we are middle class,” she said. “But we are closer.”
Well, we mustn't have that! The worldwide progressive project to keep the poor poor has now caught on to the uppity Indians, and has swung into action to throw them back down into poverty and suffering. At the forefront, as you would expect, are the UN, together with the U.S., led by our President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. Don't believe me? Keep reading in that same New York Times article:
[I]n Kigali, Rwanda, negotiators from more than 170 countries gathered this week to complete an accord that would phase out the use of heat-trapping hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, worldwide, and with them the cheapest air-conditioners that are just coming within reach of people like Ms. Devi. Millions of Indians might mark the transition from poverty with the purchase of their first air-conditioner, but as those purchases ease suffering in one of the planet’s hottest countries, they are contributing profoundly to the heating of the planet. . . . President Obama has sent Secretary of State John Kerry and Gina McCarthy, the Environmental Protection Agency chief, to Kigali to push for a rapid global phaseout. Mr. Obama hopes to lean on the friendship he has carefully cultivated with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and to create one final major piece of his climate change legacy.
Somehow, Obama, Kerry, McCarthy, et al., have convinced themselves that they are saints on a sacred mission to "save the planet." Hey, HFCs are "heat-trapping gases"!
HFCs function as a sort of supergreenhouse gas, with 1,000 times the heat-trapping potency of carbon dioxide. While they account for just a small percentage of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, scientists say a surge in the use of HFC-fueled air-conditioners would alone contribute to nearly a full degree Fahrenheit of atmospheric warming over the coming century. . . .
You ask, can anyone show us the actual empirical proof that these "HFC" coolant gases actually "warm the planet" as much as these "scientists" hypothesize, before we compel another generation of a billion or so Indians to a lifetime of sweltering? Of course there is no such empirical proof. Why do we need empirical proof when we are on a holy mission to save the planet?
According to the Times article, there is another generation of coolants now on the market. But unfortunately they are much more expensive than the HFCs, as well as more volatile and more difficult to handle. The effect on India of requiring air conditioners to use only the new coolants will be to price many hopeful members of the middle class out of the air conditioning market for some years or decades. But hey, what does their suffering count for in this equation? They are just poor, stupid Indians.
Meanwhile, back in Washington, we may have air conditioners that use mostly the new coolants, but they also draw plenty of electricity produced by those evil fossil fuels, that produce their own "heat-trapping gases." Do you notice a single government functionary in Washington, from the lowest bureaucrat up to and including the President, going without air conditioning, ever, even for a day? I didn't think so. My proposal is, if they think it's OK to take air conditioning away from the Indians, then they should do without it themselves.
Somehow, they think they are saints. But they are not. They are monsters.