Blasting air conditioner in warming world — another twisted byproduct of how we live


Burning fossil fuels leads to climate warming, which leads to burning more fossil fuels for cooling, which leads to more climate warming. The vicious cycle described in the article “Climate change vs. energy use” (Metro, Aug. 6) is just another example of a general problem with our growth-obsessed economic system.

Our economy burdens itself. The opioid addiction crisis arose because of greedy and reckless behavior in the pharmaceutical industry. Landfills are overflowing with junk mail because the post office sees it as a moneymaker. Farmers buy more energy-intensive fertilizers because the market demands agricultural practices that deplete the soil. We spend needless billions on health care as result of air pollution that could be avoided with better regulation. And we don’t require conservation because doing so could hurt profits — better to consume more stuff.

These extra costs that we impose on ourselves are rooted in a system with an insatiable appetite for economic growth. We fail to constrain “growth” even where the net value of that economic activity is negative. Being forced to turn up the air conditioning to be comfortable in an overheated climate is just another byproduct of misplaced priorities and an economy that needs some serious rethinking.

Frederick Hewett