No summer blockbuster. No Las Vegas and no skyscrapers in Dubai. No chocolate bars when the weather gets hot. Air conditioning is one of those things we take for granted but that has transformed the world around us, for good and for bad.

There are 1.6 billion air conditioners in the world today and they consume an estimated 10% of all electricity. Both these figures are likely to rise dramatically as the climate changes.

But when air conditioning first appeared people were slow to adopt it. People were so used to suffering extreme heat that it's as if it was hard to believe this godsend was real. Now it is hard to imagine life in many parts of the world without it.

Who do we have to thank for this transformative piece of technology?

How did Queen Victoria keep cool?

And what is the connection between Hollywood's summer blockbusters and air conditioning?

Our guest to explore this world-changing technology is Salvatore Basile, author of – Cool: How Air Conditioning Changed Everything.

The episode was produced by Emily Whalley


The senior producer is Charlotte Long


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