Losing Our Cool

Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air-Conditioned World (and Finding New Ways to Get Through the Summer)

A freewheeling and groundbreaking investigation into how our growing reliance on air conditioning has transformed the planet—and its continuing consequences for us all

“With energy at the root of the biggest crises we face, air conditioning must be dealt with as a subject of debate, not as an assumption. To wrestle with the question of air-conditioning is to confront the staggering task we face in keeping the world habitable for humans.” —from Losing Our Cool

One of the Mother Nature Network’s ten “must-read environmental books” of the year, Losing Our Cool is the first book to examine how indoor climate control is helping send our outdoor climate reeling out of control. With summers growing hotter and energy demand heavier, Stan Cox shows how air-conditioning transforms human experience in surprising ways, by altering our bodies’ sensitivity to heat; our rates of infection, allergy, asthma, and obesity; and even our sex lives. It has also enabled an irrational commuter economy, triggered a migration toward the American South and West, and created the kind of workplace in which employers wear sweaters in July. But, as Cox shows us, by combining traditional cooling methods with newer technologies, we can make ourselves comfortable and keep the planet comfortable as well.


“This book is the go-to source for a better understanding of the complexity of pumping cold air into a warming climate.”
—Maude Barlow
“Well-written, thoroughly researched, with a truly global focus, the book offers much for consumers, environmentalists, and policy makers to consider before powering up to cool down.”
Publishers Weekly
“This is an important book. The history of air-conditioning is really the history of the world’s energy and climate crises, and by narrowing the focus Stan Cox makes the big picture comprehensible. He also suggests remedies—which are different from the ones favored by politicians, environmentalists, and appliance manufacturers, not least because they might actually work.”
—David Owen, author of Green Metropolis
“Stan Cox offers both some sobering facts and some interesting strategies for thinking through a big part of our energy dilemma.”
—Bill McKibben
“As Stan Cox details in his excellent new book, Losing Our Cool, air conditioning has been a major force in shaping western society.”
—Bradford Plumer, The National
“Important. . . . What I like about Cox’s book is that he isn’t an eco-nag or moralist.”
—Tom Condon, Hartford Courant

Books by Stan Cox

Any Way You Slice It
The Past, Present, and Future of Rationing

Stan Cox

How the World Breaks
Life in Catastrophe’s Path, from the Caribbean to Siberia

Stan Cox, Paul Cox

Goodreads Reviews