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Cooling Coalition seeks path to sustainable cooling

DENMARK: Refrigeration and air conditioning equipment companies Danfoss and Engie are backing a new coalition to accelerate action on the transition to “clean and efficient” cooling.

Launched at the First Global Conference on Synergies between the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement in Copenhagen last week, 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). In addition to the heads of Danfoss and Engie, the coalition includes ministers of environment from Chile and Rwanda and foreign affairs from Denmark, as well as the leaders of civil society, research, academia and intergovernmental institutions.

The Cool Coalition is described as a unified front that links action across the Kigali Amendment, Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals. It will inspire ambition, identify solutions and mobilise action to accelerate progress toward clean and efficient cooling.

“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.”

2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record, with unprecedented peak temperatures recorded across the planet, from 43°C in Baku, Azerbaijan, to the low 30s across Scandinavia. Already, 30 per cent of the world’s population face potentially dangerous temperatures for more than 20 days a year. Heatwaves cause 12,000 deaths annually.

“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,” said Rachel Kyte, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All.  

“This necessity is something that can be delivered within a 1.5º pathway. We need to provide sustainable cooling at speed and scale so that we can ensure everyone has safe food, safe vaccines, and comfort at work. 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.”

Amidst rising temperatures and spending power, the number of air conditioners in use is expected to rise from 1.2 billion today to 4.5 billion by 2050. The coalition maintains that if the world continues down this path, emissions from the sector will grow 90% by 2050 over 2017 levels. This is equivalent to emissions of 12 GtCO2e in 2050 – equivalent to almost one quarter of global emissions in 2017.

The Cool Coalition, quoting figures from the International Energy Agency, says a combined strategy to phase down HFCs along with improvements in energy efficiency can potentially double the climate benefits – while saving up to $2.9 trillion globally through 2050 by using less electricity.

“As a leading provider of cooling solutions, and a supporter of climate action, Danfoss is committed to leading the industry to implementing sustainable solutions. Already today, we have cooling solutions that are more energy efficient and climate friendly, we need to start implementing them. Working with the Cool Coalition, we can do much more and allow everybody to benefit from cooling both people and planet.” Kim Fausing, president and CEO of Danfoss.

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