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Home environmentalism Europe Environmentalists Killed More Europeans Than Islamic Terrorists Did

Environmentalists Killed More Europeans Than Islamic Terrorists Did

"Do Americans Need Air-Conditioning?" a New York Times piece asked in July. Air conditioning, it argued, is bad for the environment and makes us less human. It ran quotes suggesting that, "first world discomfort is a learned behavior", and urging "a certain degree of self-imposed suffering".

If environmentalists ruled the world, air conditioning wouldn’t exist. And there’s a place like that.

90% of American households have air conditioning. As do 86% of South Koreans, 82% of Australians, 60% of Chinese, 16% of Brazilians and Mexicans, 9% of Indonesians and less than 5% of Europeans.

A higher percentage of Indian households have air conditioning than their former British colonial rulers.

Temperatures in Paris hit 108.6 degrees. Desperate Frenchmen dived into the fountains of the City of Lights with their clothes on. Parisian authorities announced that they were deploying heat wave management plan orange, level three, which meant setting up foggers in public parks and distributing heat wave kits. The kits consist of leaflets telling people to go to libraries which have air conditioning.

France24, the country’s state-owned television network, advised people suffering from temperatures rising as high as 110 degrees to take cold showers and stick their feet in saucepans of cold water.

A 2003 heat wave killed 15,000 people in France. And, in response, the authorities have deployed Chalex, a database of vulnerable people who will get a call offering them cooling advice.

The advice consists of taking cold showers and sticking their feet in saucepans of cold water.

Desperate Frenchmen trying to get into any body of water they can have led to a 30% rise in drownings. The dozens of people dead are casualties of the environmentalist hatred of air conditioners.

Only 5% of French households have air conditioning. Even in response to the crisis, the authorities are only deploying temporary air conditioning to kindergartens.

The 2003 heat wave killed 7,000 people in Germany. And, today, only 3% of German households have air conditioning. Germany’s Ministry of the Environment refused to back air conditioning as a response to global warming.

Temperatures in Dusseldorf hit 105 degrees. Officials in Dusseldorf had recently rejected proposals to install air conditioning systems because they’re bad for the environment.

The climate action head at Germany’s Institute for Applied Ecology explained that air conditioning wouldn't work because there's not much wind during heat waves, and the country can't end reliance on coal and run air conditioners at the same time. You can have air conditioners or save the planet.

But not both.

The issue isn’t poverty. in Greece, one of the poorest countries in Europe, 99% of households have air conditioning. What it comes down to is a willingness to choose comfort over environmental dogma.

In Europe, people are dying because they’ve been told that their sacrifices will save the planet.

The 2003 heat wave killed 70,000 people in Europe. That’s more than Islamic terrorists have.

When environmentalists claim that global warming is a greater threat than Islamic terrorism, they’re half-right. Global warming isn’t real, but the measures taken to fight it are killing thousands of people.

And it doesn’t have to be this way.

In 2007, only 2% of Indian households had air conditioning. Those numbers have more than doubled. India is expected to field a billion air conditioning units by 2050.

“I am not rich," an Indian laundryman earning $225 a month, who had just put in air conditioning, told a disapproving Agence France-Presse, but we all aspire to a comfortable life."

Some of us do.

The 2003 heat wave killed 2,000 Brits. The current heat wave has led to London being placed on a Level 3 health watch. But air conditioning in the UK still hovers at 3% of households. And every summer, the local media lectures Brits on the evils of air conditioning.

Every heat wave is treated as a compelling argument for reducing power to save the planet. The heat and its accompanying misery are treated as heralds of a global warming apocalypse. Soon, we are told, it’ll be hot all the time, the waters will rise, the icebergs will melt, and life will perish from the earth.

When a heat wave consumed Europe in 1540, leading to the hottest temperatures on record and the deaths of thousands, the people blamed a higher power. In England, where the River Trent dried up, the megadrought was blamed on Henry VIII’s sacrilegious crackdown on monasteries. Modern Europeans have a simple, rational explanation. Mother Earth is angry because we’re using air conditioners.

Or other people are.

China has 569 million installed air conditioners. More than any other country in the world. South Korea has 59 million air conditioners. That’s more than France, Germany and the UK combined.

Europe’s sacrifice is not only senseless, it’s also meaningless.

Vietnam has become a booming market for air conditioners. 17% of Vietnamese households now have one. Indonesia is leading its own boom in air conditioning. As is much of Asia and the Middle East.

Europe can go on letting its people die for the environment, but it won’t make any difference.

Air conditioning isn’t some American fetish, as European elitists sneer. It’s a worldwide movement. Every country that can manage it is getting air conditioners. Meanwhile people are dying in France.

While the rest of the world is cooling off, Europe is in thrall to a pagan pseudoscientific cult.

Its tenets insist that the planet is a living entity, but fail to understand its true implications. The climate is part of a living entity which changes on a timescale that challenges human understanding. For a thousand years of recorded history, Europe has undergone alternate warming and cooling periods. The Medieval Climate Anomaly was an example of how complicated those cyclical changes could be.

A heat wave isn’t proof that we’ve sinned against Mother Earth by heating and cooling our homes. It’s a reminder that the environment operates on an inescapable scale that is vaster than human beings.

We can cut down forests and build dams. But so can beavers. We cannot change the climate.

The bones of hippos have been found under Trafalgar Square. The Chauvet Cave in France includes pictures of rhinos. The Little Ice Age killed off England’s vineyards in the 14th century. The Thames began to freeze over in the 17th century. The Viking colonization of America collapsed under the wave of cold.

Air conditioning and heating are not how we change the climate. They’re how we cope with it.

Environmentalism has so hopelessly tangled human civilization and the environment that we are no longer able to understand the planet on its own terms, instead of as a luddite eschatology in which the climate is a deity punishing us for our civilizational ingenuity with hot weather and natural disasters.

And that makes it extremely difficult to adapt to the changes in a healthy way.

A century ago, Americans beat the heat by wading in fountains, sleeping on roofs and fire escapes, and escaping the city. Air conditioning has made it possible for us to live and work across the entire country.

In 1896, a heat wave killed thousands of Americans. New York City authorities resorted to the same measures as their modern Parisian counterparts, turning on fire hydrants and handing out ice.

Those temperatures amounted to a mere 90 degrees.

In 1902, Willis Carrier invented the air conditioner in Brooklyn. He imagined a world in which, “The average businessman will rise, pleasantly refreshed, having slept in an air-conditioned room. He will travel in an air-conditioned train, and toil in an air-conditioned office.” We live in that world now.

At the New York World’s Fair, while temperatures outside hit 90 degrees, Carrier debuted an Igloo display. Two giant thermometers contrasted “Nature’s temperature” with “air conditioning”.

It sold itself.

Air conditioning allows New Yorkers to shrug off 90-degree weather and go on living and working.

Today, New York is the home of the Green New Deal which believes in following Europe’s trends. If New York adopts Europe’s environmentalism, it will discover what living in 1896 really felt like.

Environmentalists have killed thousands of Europeans. They can kill thousands of Americans too.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center's Front Page Magazine.

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Thank you for reading.


  1. Anonymous21/8/19

    Take the deaths from heat statistics with a pinch of salt. They're political, not reality. Like the imagined deaths from air pollution that only exist in a computer model (in modern countries that have the cleanest air in modern history).

    Globally relative cold weather kills 20 times as many people as relative heat, even in Australia cold kills 6 times more than heat.

    The fact that global warming might be beneficial - that is not an acceptable idea!

    The climate change alarmists want you to believe that heat waves and maximum temperatures are increasing rapidly and killing people.

    Global measured mean temperatures are rising slightly because the measured minimums are, not the maximums so much - the reasons for that are debateable. But the temperatures people experience in cities are being continuously boosted by more and more square miles of concrete and tarmac (UHI), but that is not global warming.

  2. Anonymous21/8/19

    Who would think that reverie of the 1950s and
    earlier would instill optimism, enthusiasm?
    A kid like me could pick up a copy of Popular
    Mechanics Magazine and marvel at the wonders
    just around the corner. Back yard helicopters,
    Salk vaccine, fluoride, jets and rockets,
    plentiful energy and food, home appliances.

    We really were inventing our way into a world
    of plenty where even the poorest benefit.
    But much was shunted into pessimism, envy and
    old hatreds.

    Rewarding people for creativity, risk and
    achievement will shower us with wonders again.
    The positive sum game of free enterprise
    banishes crippling European paranoia and
    leftist apocalyptic fear mongering.


  3. The environmentalist religion is an insanity from which there seems to be no cure...except, maybe dying from Heat Stroke!

  4. I lived in suburban Athens in the early 80ies without AC - it was bearable, mostly because there was a constant breeze from the sea, and the second-floor apartment I rented had high ceilings, tall windows and good airflow all around. Six summers in Spain, in the Ebro River valley - only one of those summers was nearly unlivable because of the heat; got by with window fans, especially at night. Lived in Seoul, ROK for a year, and OMG - needed AC in the summer. Live in South Texas now, in a house not optimized for good natural airflow (I wish that it was! Oh, how I wish that it was!) and it is unendurable without AC, especially when the late afternoon temperature hits three digits. See, what these Brits and French, and Germans don't quite grasp is that most of the USA is in the same latitude as North Africa. Northern Europe is in the same latitudes as Canada. The misery they are feeling now is what we in Texas feel for five or six months of the year, night and day, day in, day out.

  5. I hate to pour cold water on this, but... there are other reasons that northern Europeans don't have air conditioning. An important one is that it rarely gets hot, and air conditioners are expensive, so they choose to spend their money on something else.

    Remember, the UK is farther north than the entire continental US. So is much of France and most of Germany. Furthermore, they are downwind of the ocean for most of the time - due to the prevailing westerlies.

  6. One point that usually doesn't come up when discussing American vs European preferences about air conditioning is that the only major U.S. cities farther north than Rome and Barcelona are Minneapolis and Seattle. It's a lot hotter in most of the United States than in Europe. It's been in the 90s these past few days in Detroit, Chicago, and Cleveland. In Europe that would be a heatwave. In the U.S. midwest, it's called summer.

  7. We see a similar hostility to A/C in the UK. I live in one of the warmest parts and don't have it, as I would only need to switch it on for a few days for a typical year. It just doesn't get that hot for long enough.

    For those that hold CO2 to be a deadly poison, it makes more sense to ban fridges and freezers - essentially the same device as an A/C - or central heating. I assume the thinking (I use the term loosely) is that an A/C unit is observed to be blowing hot air out into an already hot outside so it has a big emotional impact.

    Nor do I hear calls to ban A/C in cars, which could hardly be better designed to get baking hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter.

  8. Those who want to get a feel for why Vietnam has turned so eagerly toward air conditioning might watch a 1999 movie filmed in Vietnam, Three Seasons. The name comes from Vietnam's three seasons: 1. hot and humid, 2. warm and humid, and 3. hot and dry. The misery that results is all too obvious in the film.


    There's another factor at play here. In the parts of the U.S. that have milder winters, air conditioning is often provided by energy-efficient heat pumps. I suspect that what they save in winter heating is more than enough to cover summer cooling.

  9. Whenever France has a heatwave I picture a widow's window where an air conditioner should be.

  10. Anonymous22/8/19

    Enlightened people should walk around with sandwich boards on their backs. On these boards would be printed, in soy ink, all the Marxist Virtues they adhere to, be it recycling the paper in Q-Tips, eating only vegetables (that died of natural causes), or throwing Two Minute Hate Parties in their lofts.

  11. Being concerned about the environment is rational, after all the Earth is our home. But there's a difference between being concerned about maintaining our home and being "Green". Green is the secular neo-pagan religious movement of the urban atheist.

    A secular religion with an agenda that will set up a system of worldwide governance under the auspices of the most corrupt and incompetent entity the world has ever known - the United Nations.

    The fact of the matter is to be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. And since virtually everything they promote has demonstrably been an abject failure, to continue down those avenues of thought means they must be a bit insane.

  12. I have lived in Germany now over 30 years and honestly find it a waste to have an AC here. It is simple in that you open windows evenings and nights to cool and close them about 9-10am. With our 2 ft thick walls the house stays cool enough. Our heat waves don't last that long.

  13. The whole point of the "Green" movement is to guilt rich countries into giving money to poor countries who supposedly bear the "burden" of climate change. Until a leader has the guts to point THAT out, and say that the West will not transfer one green dollar to the Third World, the hoax will go on.

    I did not ask the Third Worlders to multiply like rats and create more mouths than they can feed. They chose to have a population explosion. Let them feed themselves and keep me out of it.

  14. The whole point of the "Green" movement is to guilt rich countries into giving money to poor countries who supposedly bear the "burden" of climate change. Until a leader has the guts to point THAT out, and say that the West will not transfer one green dollar to the Third World, the hoax will go on.

    I did not ask the Third Worlders to multiply like rats and create more mouths than they can feed. They chose to have a population explosion. Let them feed themselves and keep me out of it.

  15. Anonymous25/8/19

    Floridamam, Third Worlders multiply like rats
    to ensure that enough kids survive to care for
    the parents. It’s really our fault for the
    vaccines, antibiotics, sanitation that forced
    so many to stay alive. OUR missionaries, NGOs,
    and Peace Corps wandered into that pristine
    chinashop and broke all the porcelain.

    If you don’t understand and agree, you are
    a racist!


  16. There are so many completely wrong statements here it's not worth reading or commenting. This author is a total maroon. however, here's just one ex; of course heating and air conditioning change the planet. They use energy. Saying they don't is just another typical way for a right wing nutter to avoid personal responsibility. We are, in fact all responsible for our use of energy, and for the pollution it has created that is helping to destroy our world. this person, and their flawed logic should be ignored, not read.

  17. Kenan Meyer5/9/19

    Killing people, probably as many as possible is ONLY a bad idea, if you don't eat them!


  18. Anonymous6/9/19

    "There are so many completely wrong statements here it's not worth reading or commenting."

    Said the "maroon" as it read then commented. Nutsycoocoos Are Murder is simply too too -- its flawed logic should be ignored or you're gonna be so hexed with hissy fit widdle foot stamps of creche brat tantrum harrumphing! Ooo! Ow Ooo! Me good. U bad. Bad bad bad! Pass the pablum and Ritalin please. Taxi! Bedlam and step on it.


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