Should air-con become a basic necessity in a warming world?

The National University of Singapore's School of Design and Environment officially launched SDE4, "the first new-build net-zero energy building in Singapore", in January 2019.
The National University of Singapore's School of Design and Environment officially launched SDE4, "the first new-build net-zero energy building in Singapore", in January 2019.PHOTO: RORY GARDINER

The hotter, hellish weather is turning me into the devil's advocate, arguing for air-conditioning to become a basic necessity.

While the angel on my right shoulder whispers, "Save the earth. Switch off the air-conditioner", I feel the hot breath of the devil on the left as it says: "Switching it on saves our skin, and it shouldn't be just for those who can afford it."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 25, 2019, with the headline 'Should air-con become a basic necessity in a warming world?'. Print Edition | Subscribe