As global temperatures reach record highs, Sustainable Energy for All today announced a new initiative to identify the challenges and opportunities of providing access to affordable, sustainable cooling solutions for all.
The new Cooling for All initiative will focus on how we embed growing cooling demands that can reach everyone within a clean energy transition, and in turn, support faster progress to achieve the goals of the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment* agreed last year in Rwanda.
Cooling solutions are an essential need for everyday life – from cold supply chains for fresh produce, safe storage of life saving vaccines and medicines, to safe work and educational environments that increase productivity – cooling needs are not just an air conditioner, but a necessity that puts the focus on super-efficient technologies and innovation to meet our needs.
With populations rising, growing cooling needs risk creating a significant increase in energy demand, that if not managed through super-efficient technologies or clean sources, will cause further climate change impacts and a rise in emissions.
The work of the initiative will therefore create a direct intersect between three internationally agreed goals for the first time: the Paris Climate Agreement; the Sustainable Development Goals; and the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment* – with one of the key goals of the amendment to limit consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a potent greenhouse gas used widely in air conditioners and refrigerators.
An important part of the initiative that will support greater, more informed action, will be the Cooling for All Global Panel. The panel will bring together a group of high-level leaders from government, academia, civil society, business and finance leaders who will together better understand the challenges and opportunities of providing access to cooling solutions for all across the world.
The panel will be co-chaired by two governments who are dealing with issues of cooling access in their own countries. The co-chairs will lead the groups work in developing a comprehensive report that offers the evidence, suggested solutions and understanding of how we accelerate the uptake of cooling solutions to create sustainable cooling access for all, including the poorest countries and their citizens who are often disproportionality affected.
Rachel Kyte, Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Energy for All and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), who will act as secretariat for the global panel, said: “As the world grows dangerously warm, access to cooling will become the difference between life and death in some parts of the world that suffer from extreme heat. A clean energy transition is already underway globally that can provide affordable, safe and sustainable energy for all. We must now incorporate cooling for all needs within this transition, while keeping us on track to reach our global climate and energy goals.”
Investing in more efficient cooling solutions provides a great business opportunity for the private sector, and mobilizing them to meet the goals of the Kigali Amendment and reduction in HFCs is a priority. However, estimated costs show investments in super-efficient technologies would be offset by gains in energy efficiency, and could in the long-term create potential savings across business operations.
The Cooling for All work is being funded by the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program. Dan Hamza-Goodacre, Executive Director, Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program, commented: “We need cooling to work, rest, play and worship. In short, life depends on cooling, especially in a warming world. Yet not everyone has access to cooling. That has to change. Which is why the new SEforAll initiative on Cooling for All is so important. It’s time to reap the benefits of cooling for people across the world, whilst limiting the impact on the climate. We can’t keep cooling down by warming the planet up.”
The initiative will convene its first panel meeting this September in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly and Climate Week NYC, where co-chairs and panel members will be announced. The panel’s report will be launched in 2018.