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Climatologist: Demand for more cooling will increase energy use

Published:Monday | September 19, 2011 | 8:44 PM

Adam Moss, Gleaner Writer



Climatologist, Dr. Michael Taylor has made it clear that there will be an increase in the demand for cooling in light of global warming, yielding a necessary increase in energy consumption.



Jamaica currently uses 65 per cent of its energy for cooling and refrigeration, and this percentage would undoubtedly increase if and when temperatures rise.



“We depend on the cool nights to save our energy,” said Taylor, who also heads the physics department at the University of the West Indies at Mona. “We might be running [refrigeration and cooling units] at night.”



Taylor spoke at today’s sitting of the Energy Conference 2011, hosted by the Jamaica Institution of Engineers in conjunction with UWI and the University of Technology.



Dr. Chandrabhan Sharma, professor of energy systems at the University of West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine, argued against a dependence on renewable energy, something he viewed as incapable of dealing with the demands of an energy system like Jamaica’s.



Furthermore, he said global warming is a natural phenomenon related to solar activity and that global temperature increases are, in fact, the cause (not effect) of increased green house gases.



Whether an increase in green house gases results in climate change, or vice versa, is irrelevant Taylor argued.



The key, he noted, is not just the construction of renewable energy; rather it is whether — through the use of LED lights, water harvesting, the re-use of grey water, or renewable energy construction — people take advantage of available resources in the mitigation of overall energy consumption.



adam.moss@gleanerjm.com