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Cooling Off During Heat Wave Doesn't Have To be a Summer Bummer

During California's heat wave, don't just turn down the AC. Turn it off altogether with some (super basic) suggestions.

While much of the country is finally cooling down after weeks of grueling heat, for the nearly one-tenth of Americans who live in Southern California, summer is just starting to get real. Today marks the peak of a week-long heat wave that's brought triple-digit weather and record-breaking moments to the valleys, mountain ranges, and desert areas—and remarkably beachy weather to the beaches—throughout the Southland.

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Our Reign as Biggest Air Conditioning Hog Will Soon End

Fifty million air conditioning units were sold in China in 2010 alone and these days 40 percent of all energy consumption in Mumbai is from AC.

We're creeping into the dog days of summer—a recent heat wave scorched much of the eastern United States while wildfires have devastated the west—and it's now official that the first six months of 2012 were the hottest ever recorded. New research indicates that climate change will make these heat waves even more likely. There's no doubt that we live in a warming world.

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Not Cool, Man: Cities Crack Down on Stores Blasting Air Conditioning Outside

New York City banned stores from keeping their doors open while the air is blasting. But it's a problem worldwide.


On the very first day they could justify it this summer, big stores in New York City already had their doors open, air conditioning blasting out onto the street. It served as an invitation to potential customers—step inside, it’s cold in here—but it’s not the most environmentally responsible practice. And in New York City, it’s illegal.

Open-door air conditioning is a worldwide plague. Last year The Economist called out Tokyo stores like Louis Vuitton and Hermès for blasting cool air out the door, even while Japan was hustling to keep energy use low after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown. A former Marine and one-time journalist got riled up about the issue two summers ago after he found an entire mall's worth of shops keeping their doors open during a heat emergency. A couple of concerned citizens are trying to end the practice in Hong Kong, while campaigners in Toronto, sponsored by the local power authority, have been fighting it since 2005. And in Seoul, officials preparing for a heat wave are touring stores to ask them to keep the temperature at a reasonable level and the doors shut.

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