As global temperatures rise and the growing energy demands of air conditioning threaten to emit more greenhouse gases, over 20 leaders have recently committed to a new global effort on clean and efficient cooling, which can make a huge positive impact on climate change, help achieve sustainable development and save money.
Launched at the First Global Conference on Synergies between the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement, the Cool Coalition aims to inspire ambition and accelerate action on the transition to clean and efficient cooling.
The coalition includes ministers of environment from Chile and Rwanda and Foreign Affairs from Denmark as well as the heads of Danish engineering firm Danfoss and ENGIE, and the leaders of civil society, research, academia and intergovernmental institutions. The Cool Coalition is a global effort led by UN Environment, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program, and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL).
“Demand for cooling is growing, as it must if we are to provide equitable access to a technology that keeps our children healthy, vaccines stable, food nutritious and economies productive,” said Joyce Msuya, Acting Executive Director of UN Environment, and a key leader of the coalition. “But we also can’t allow emissions to get out of hand. The Cool Coalition offers a three-in-one opportunity to cut global warming, improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people and make huge financial savings.”
“In a warming world, cooling is a necessity, not a luxury. We need to provide it to the vulnerable populations who currently have no electricity. Hundreds of millions of people at risk today from extreme heat need protection and we must protect them in a way that also protects the planet from increased carbon emissions,” said, Rachel Kyte, Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Energy for All.
Many cooling technologies use refrigerants that can be 10,000 times more potent greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. On the first day of 2019, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol started phasing down these gases, known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). This amendment can deliver almost 0.4°C of avoided warming from addressing these gases alone.
A combined strategy to phasedown HFCs along with improvements in energy efficiency can potentially double the climate benefits – while saving up to USD 2.9 trillion globally through 2050 by using less electricity, according to figures from the International Energy Agency.