Rising ambient temperatures due to climate change will increase urban populations’ exposures to extreme heat. During hot hours, a key protective adaptation is increased air conditioning and associated consumption of electricity for cooling. But during cold hours, milder temperatures have the offsetting effect of reducing consumption of electricity and other fuels for heating. We elucidate the net consequences of these opposing effects in 36 cities in different world regions. We couple reducedform statistical models of cities’ hourly responses of electric load to temperature with temporally downscaled projections of temperatures simulated by 21 global climate models (GCMs), projecting the effects of warming on the demand for electricity circa 2050. Cities' responses, temperature exposures and impacts are heterogeneous, with changes in total annual consumption ranging from
Current projections of the climatesensitive portion of residential electricity demand are based on estimating the temperature response of the mean of the demand distribution. In this work, we show that there is significant asymmetry in the summertime temperature response of electricity demand in the state of California, with highintensity demand demonstrating a greater sensitivity to temperature increases. The greater climate sensitivity of highintensity demand is found not only in the observed data, but also in the projections in the near future (2021–2040) and far future periods (2081–2099), and across all (three) utility service regions in California. We illustrate that disregarding the asymmetrical climate sensitivity of demand can lead to underestimating highintensity demand in a given period by 37–43%. Moreover, the discrepancy in the projected increase in the climatesensitive portion of demand based on the 50
 NSFPAR ID:
 10167469
 Publisher / Repository:
 Nature Publishing Group
 Date Published:
 Journal Name:
 Scientific Reports
 Volume:
 10
 Issue:
 1
 ISSN:
 20452322
 Format(s):
 Medium: X
 Sponsoring Org:
 National Science Foundation
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