We need cooling to keep our children healthy, vaccines stable, food nutritious, energy supply stable, economies productive, and environment clean. In warming world, access to cooling is not a luxury. One billion people face immediate risks from lack of access to cooling, the vast majority in Asia and Africa.
Around 30 per cent of the world’s population is currently exposed to life-threatening temperatures for at least 20 days a year and heat waves already lead to 12,000 deaths annually across the world. These numbers will increase as the planet warms. Lack of cooling kills, but so does providing inefficient, polluting cooling. If left unchecked, emissions from cooling are expected to double by 2030 and triple by 2100, driven by heat waves, population growth, urbanization, and a growing middle class. Cooling will be one of the top drivers of global electricity demand over the next three decades. By 2050, space cooling alone will consume as much electricity as China and India today. This doesn’t even include the demand for cold chain. But solutions exist to providing cooling solutions for all while keeping the planet cool.
Often the greatest opportunity lies in the greatest challenge. A united effort is needed if we are to cut global warming, improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people, and realize huge financial savings.
Global collaboration by a wide range of actors in the form of a ‘Cool Coalition’ can do much to achieve these goals.
As global temperatures rise and the growing energy demands of air conditioning threaten to emit more greenhouse gases, over 20 leaders today 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 was assembled by UNEP with the belief that a unified effort of governments, cities, businesses, and civil society that share the objective of advancing efficient, climate-friendly cooling will be more effective in bringing about change than any of us acting alone.
In September 2019, the Cool Coalition became one of the official outcomes and “Transformation Initiatives” put forward by the Executive Office of the Secretary-General for the UN Climate Action Summit in New York.
The Cool Coalition is a global multi-stakeholder network that connects a wide range of key actors from government, cities, international organizations, businesses, finance, academia, and civil society groups to facilitate knowledge exchange, advocacy and joint action towards a rapid global transition to efficient and climate-friendly cooling. The Cool Coalition is now working with over 100 partners, including 23 countries.
The Cool Coalition promotes an ‘reduce-shift-improve-protect holistic and cross-sectoral approach to meet the cooling needs of both industrialized and developing countries through urban form, better building design, energy efficiency, renewables, and thermal storage as well as phasing down HFCs.
Cool Coalition members are collaborating on science, policy, finance and technology to meet growing demands for cooling in a comprehensive manner, all aimed at raising climate ambition in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals while complimenting the goals of the the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol and Paris Climate Agreement.
The overall approach is to:
• REDUCE where possible the need for mechanical cooling through better urban planning and building design, and the use of nature-based solutions such as green public spaces and green roofs and walls.
• SHIFT cooling to renewables, district cooling approaches, solar powered cold chains, etc.
• IMPROVE conventional cooling by increasing the efficiency of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment and demand response measures.
• PROTECT vulnerable people from the effects of extreme heat and consequences of unreliable medical and agricultural cold chains.
• LEVERAGE cooperation between different actors active in cooling to achieve a greater collective Impact.