USA: A UN-backed initiative is to look at addressing the challenge of providing access to affordable, sustainable cooling solutions for all.

The new Cooling for All initiative will focus on how growing cooling demands can be met within a clean energy transition, while supporting faster progress to achieve the goals of the Kigali HFC phase down agreements.

It is the brainchild of Sustainable Energy for All, a global initiative led by the former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon to achieve universal energy access.

The group recognises that cooling is 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,” Sustainable Energy for All says.

“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.”

An important part of the initiative will be the formation of a Cooling for All Global Panel, bringing together government leaders, academia, civil society, business and finance leaders.

Rachel Kyte, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All and special representative of the UN secretary-general for Sustainable Energy for All, who will act as secretariat for the global panel, said: “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.”

Sustainable Energy for All sees the investment in more efficient cooling solutions as a great business opportunity for the private sector, and mobilising them to meet the goals of the Kigali Amendment and reduction in HFCs is targeted as a priority.

The Cooling for All work is being funded by the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program. Dan Hamza-Goodacre, the programme’s executive director, 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.