Jun 26, 2019

Higher temperatures could fuel a global energy demand to stay cool

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new peer-reviewed study finds that higher temperatures could bring large increases in energy demand as use of cooling soars, far outweighing reduced need for heating.

Why it matters: The paper published in Nature Communications finds that depending on future warming levels, global demand in 2050 could be 11%–58% higher than what's otherwise expected based on economic development and population growth.

One level deeper: While the total and regional ranges are significant, the paper notes: "We find broad agreement among [Earth System Models] that energy demand rises by more than 25% in the tropics and southern regions of the USA, Europe and China."

What's new: "These are the first globally comprehensive estimates of how much energy demand will change due to the increase in temperatures that is projected to happen, not just globally averaged but depending on where around the globe different climate models say it is going to be hotter rather than colder compared to the global mean,” Boston University professor and co-author Ian Sue Wing tells Axios.

My thought bubble: The paper underscores a sticky problem. Adapting to warming could make cutting emissions even harder if those higher energy needs aren't met with low-carbon sources.

  • The paper — co-authored by researchers with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice — does not model how additional demand will be met.
  • "The emissions story is going to depend on how we choose to generate that additional electricity,” Sue Wing said.

What they did: The study is a global and regional look at potential warming-driven energy demand increases in 2050, looking at use of electricity, petroleum and natural gas in four sectors: industry, housing, business and agriculture.

They modeled a large set of potential outcomes based on 2 major emissions scenarios commonly employed by scientists.

  • One shows emissions soaring essentially unchecked through the century, enabling large temperature increases.
  • The other is an emissions peak around 2040, follow by a plateau and decline, which still brings significant warming.

But, but, but: The authors acknowledge limitations in the modeling and the need for future research.

  • Their analysis does not consider factors including changes in energy prices that could dampen energy demand growth, technological improvements, policy changes and more localized energy demand responses.

Go deeper: A/C demand expected to triple

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Infections number tops 140,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now infected over 142,000 people in the U.S. — more than any other country in the world, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: COVID-19 had killed over 2,400 people in the U.S. by Sunday night. That's far fewer than in Italy, where over 10,000 people have died — accounting for a third of the global death toll. The number of people who've recovered from the virus in the U.S. exceeded 2,600 Sunday evening.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 12 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 721,584 — Total deaths: 33,958 — Total recoveries: 149,122.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 142,106 — Total deaths: 2,479 — Total recoveries: 2,686.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump says his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

World coronavirus updates: Cases surge past 720,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now more than 720,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 33,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health