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Report plots pathways to near-zero emissions

KENYA: A new report presented at COP28 calls for a faster global phase down of HFCs, higher energy efficiency standards and passive cooling strategies to reduce emissions.

It is recognised that as the world warms, and as incomes and populations grow, demand for cooling is rapidly growing. People need cooling to protect themselves from rising temperatures and to keep food fresh, vaccines viable and economies productive.

Based on current policies, between now and 2050, it is estimated that the installed capacity of cooling equipment globally will triple, resulting in a more than doubling of electricity consumption. This would lead to a surge in emissions of 6.1 billion tons CO2e in 2050, equivalent to more than 10% of global projected emissions that year.

Prepared as a collective output of the Cool Coalition, led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the report, Keeping it chill – How to meet cooling demand, has been published to support the Global Cooling Pledge, a joint initiative between the United Arab Emirates as host of COP28 and the Cool Coalition. 

The 121-page report maintains that a “comprehensive and systemic shift” to sustainable cooling is required to minimise the growth in emissions while increasing access to cooling for vulnerable and underserved communities. 

It recognises that meeting growing cooling demand sustainably presents one of the biggest opportunities to protect people, prosperity and the planet. On the path to sustainable cooling, it spotlights cooling policy trends, technologies and investment opportunities to help close the gaps in access, affordability and information. 

The report models total emissions from cooling, both direct and indirect, across all sectors, including space cooling, and the cold chain.

It looks at a 2022 baseline and provides projections and intervention scenarios to reduce emissions, while improving access, up to 2050.

The modelling allows evaluation of the different measures and pathways by which near-zero emissions from cooling can be achieved, alongside development priorities such as access to cooling for all. 

The report also provides a status check and an overview of national policy and regulatory actions across all cooling sectors in 192 UN member states. 

It identifies three key areas for integrated action: passive strategies to address extreme heat and reduce cooling demand in buildings and the cold chain; higher energy efficiency standards and norms for cooling equipment; and a phase down of HFC refrigerants at a faster rate than is currently required under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, while improving the energy efficiency of cooling equipment. 

The report is free to download here.

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