SACRAMENTO - Americans with air conditioning in their homes have likely been getting a lot of use out of their systems recently. But are people overusing their A/C?
Since air conditioners were first put on the market in 1939, they've been part of everyday life in the American household, as well as at work, in the car or inside stores and restaurants.
Eric Klinenberg, professor of sociology at New York University wrote an opinion piece in Time magazine recently, pointing out that global energy consumption is soaring. The expectation of air conditioning convenience is spreading to countries where American culture carries influence.
For example, sales of air conditioners rose 20 percent in India and China last year.
Klinenberg says all of this is happening while people simultaneously burn through fossil fuels in 'suicidal fashion'.
He says it is destroying the environment, and insists regulation is needed because people are likely not going to volunteer to reduce their usage.
According to Klinenberg, New York City recently prohibited stores from pumping arctic air out onto the searing sidewalks in an attempt to lure customers inside.
By constantly blasting air conditioning to provide immediate relief from soaring temperatures, humankind is ultimately making for hotter long-term temperatures by contributing to global warming.
According to Stan Cox, author of the 2010 book "Losing Our Cool", air conditioning in the United States already has a global-warming impact equivalent to every U.S. household driving an extra 10,000 miles per year.