I know, I know … Europeans also believe in the fantasy that they can live in a socialist utopia of sorts and the bill will never come due too. Er, except in Greece, of course.
This “new” outrage, though, is simply the usual Euro “superiority” fantasy. They always have a better/smarter/eco friendlier idea and we New Worlders, well, we’re wasteful, uncouth and unsophisticated barbarians, or something:
Overall, it’s safe to say that Europe thinks America’s love of air-conditioning is actually quite daft. Europeans have wondered about this particular U.S. addiction for a while now: Back in 1992, Cambridge University Prof. Gwyn Prins called America’s love of air-conditioning the country’s “most pervasive and least-noticed epidemic,” according to the Economist. And according to the Environmental Protection Agency, it’s getting worse: American demand for air-conditioning has only increased over the past decades.
The U.S. has been the world’s leader in air-conditioning ever since, and it’s not a leadership Americans should necessarily be proud of. According to Stan Cox, a researcher who has spent years studying indoor climate controlling, the United States consumes more energy for air conditioning than any other country. In many parts of the world, a lack in economic development might be to blame for a widespread absence of air-conditioning at the moment. However, that doesn’t explain why even most Europeans ridicule Americans for their love of cooling and lack of heat tolerance.
Well good for them. Because as we recall back in 2003, their “superiority” worked out so well for them, didn’t it?
At least 35,000 people died as a result of the record heatwave that scorched Europe in August 2003, says an environmental think tank.
The EPI calculated the huge death toll from the eight western European countries with data available. “Since reports are not yet available for all European countries, the total heat death toll for the continent is likely to be substantially larger,” it says in a statement.
France suffered the worst losses, with 14,802 people dying from causes attributable to the blistering heat. This is “more than 19 times the death toll from the SARS epidemic worldwide”, notes the EPI.
Yes, that’s right, air conditioning can save lives. Lots of lives, apparently.
I’ll bet those 35,000+ might have found air conditioning being available to be lifesaving? We certainly lose a few to heat each year, but I’ll be honest, if I’d lost 35,000+ to heat in a single summer, I wouldn’t be smug enough to bring up America’s affection for air conditioning in a negative way.
But then, we’re talking about Europe, aren’t we? The land of very short memories, it seems.