Pillars of Action

The Cool Coalition has come together rapidly under the recognition that ensuring the transition to efficient, climate-friendly cooling for all is fundamental for climate action and sustainable development.

Together with its partners, the Cool Coalition works around three key pillars to accelerate the global transition to efficient and climate-friendly cooling:

Advocacy: Highlighting benefits and opportunities of efficient, climate friendly cooling.

Action: Mobilizing commitments to action and targets from leaders in government, business, and civil society and connecting these to global policy processes.

Knowledge Exchange: Building an active learning community that breaks down silos and promotes cross-cutting approaches.

Working Groups

The core of the Cool Coalition’s work is driven by members-led working groups. Since September 2019, Coalition members have created 9 working groups on priority intervention areas in the cooling sector.

National Cooling Action Plans

Context: National Cooling Action Plans (NCAPs) are an important tool to assist countries in identifying pathways to integrate comprehensive action to reduce energy related emissions from cooling aligned with plans related to emissions from refrigerant transition. They also offer an opportunity for a country to consider how to improve access to cooling and address additional SDGs. To date, there have been many different approaches to developing NCAPs ranging from emerging economies like China and India to small climate vulnerable countries like Trinidad and Tobago or Rwanda.

Due to budget and time constraints, a deep analysis across all cooling sectors is often limited in NCAPs produced to date, though they provide an important starting point for reflection. Also, NCAP’s to date are generally based on historical equipment trend analysis and projections but may not be able to fully capture the unmet cooling needs in the emerging economies. Additional support would enable greater breadth of cooling solutions, capturing potential synergies from focusing on multiple sectors at once; and offer an opportunity to integrate the (often overlooked) unmet cooling demand in the NCAP with a particular emphasis on access to cooling, drawing from the recently launched SEforALL cooling needs assessment and upcoming solutions tool.

Objective: Draw upon the experience and knowledge of organisations and countries that have been working on NCAPs to chart a holistic but modular Methodology for the development of NCAPs that cover cooling comprehensively, including various sectors and end-uses, and both met and unmet cooling needs.

The NCAP Methodology has two elements: An overarching Development Process that lays out the sequence of activities involved, including guidelines, good practices, and available resources where applicable, and a Data Assessment Framework that gives an in-depth view into the data gathering and analysis as a key component of the Development Process The process incorporates relevant parameters from the SEforALL needs assessment and the upcoming solutions tool. This will ensure that the NCAP methodology promotes access to cooling while avoiding locking in emissions through low efficiency or high GWP mechanical cooling.


– Lead: Mirka della Cava, Head of Policies, Standards & Programs, Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP), mirka.dellacava@climateworks.org

– Co-Facilitator: Lily Riahi, Cool Coalition Secretariat, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), lily.riahi@un.org

– Co-Facilitator: Marco Duran, Cool Coalition Secretariat, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), marco.duran@un.org

Download the working group’s concept note here.


Pathway to Zero GHG emissions for Cooling

Context: Climate-friendly cooling could cut 8 years worth of global emissions by 2050. But, to achieve this, we need to act fast. Through transformational action on climate-friendly cooling, we get to zero faster and cheaper. A Climate Action Pathway for Net Zero Cooling is needed to map a vision to achieve net zero cooling by mid-century. The pathway lays out, for the first time, a vision for action and key milestones necessary to fully implement the Paris Agreement, exceed the Kigali Amendment and contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Objective: Develop key documents and tools to support the achievement of net-zero cooling for all by 2050 through a focus on three impact areas:

• Passive cooling: Widespread adoption of measures that avoid or reduce the need for mechanical cooling including reducing cooling loads, smart and human centric design and urban planning

• Super-efficient equipment and appliances: A ‘race to the top’ S-curve transformation where the norm is super-efficient cooling equipment and appliances powered by zero carbon energy

• Ultra-low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants and insulation foam gases: Market domination of ultra-low (<5 GWP) refrigerants across all cooling sectors and applications

The net-zero cooling transition will account for different climatic conditions in geographical regions and the different refrigerant needs of sectors. It will also account for the ‘life and death’ nature of the need for cooling, especially as the planet warms and the most vulnerable people require cooling for protection. Whilst it will be possible to significantly reduce energy use for cooling through passive measures and super-efficient equipment, it will remain essential to decarbonise the global residual energy supply and improve system flexibility.


– Co-lead: David Aitken, Associate Director, Carbon Trust, David.Aitken@CarbonTrust.com

– Co-lead: Dan Hamzah-Goodacre, Non-Executive Director, Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP) and Cooling Lead, COP26 Champions Team, dan.hamza-goodacre@climateworks.org


Private Sector

Context: The private sector is a key stakeholder in driving innovation and adoption of efficient and climate friendly cooling technologies and solutions across space cooling, district cooling, cold chain and medical supply sectors. There are currently more than 20 active members of the Cool Coalition business cluster with global representation from industry, institutions and organizations. Two ad hoc activities were initiated by the business cluster in the past year including the development of Corporate Refrigerant Transition Plans and leveraging the EP100 Cooling Challenge tools to improve efficient and climate friendly cooling in supplier and customer facilities. In addition to coordinating engagement with other working group activities, the private-sector working group highlights cooling industry leadership through public commitments and action as well as outreach and advocacy through communications campaigns targeting a range of public and government stakeholders.

Objective: Contribute to global cooling ambition and action through collaboration, commitment and communication of efficient and climate friendly cooling solutions on a global basis by:

– Coordinating private-sector engagement with other Cool Coalition working groups, providing input and in-kind support for working group activities and review of draft deliverables

– Recognizing cooling industry leadership through corporate and association commitments, collective action and stakeholder collaboration

– Communicating the benefits and impact of innovative, efficient and climate friendly cooling solutions through collaboration with local and national stakeholders.


– Leads: Clay Nesler (JCI), Andrea Voigt (EPEE), Jonas Hamann (Danfoss)

– Facilitator: Celia Martinez, Cool Coalition Secretariat, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), celia.martinez@un.org

Download the working group’s concept note here.


Used Cooling Imports in Africa

Context: The importation of used but functional refrigerating appliances and air conditioners is one of the biggest hurdles to pursuing more sustainable cooling solutions in Africa. Dumping of products that are at the end of their useful life is prohibited under the Basel Convention. A few countries such as Ghana have banned the importation of used but functional products. However, enforcement is very difficult given the volumes, various points of entry, and other factors. Export markets for used products have no specific measures to address whether used products are headed to a country that has such a used import ban in place. Data is therefore difficult to gather regarding the quantities, age range, refrigerants and energy efficiency of used products entering Africa.

Many consumers largely base their purchasing decision based on the first cost of a product, rather than considering the lifecycle cost of ownership. When products lack accurate energy labels, consumers are not able to make informed decisions beyond the price, features, and input of sales representatives or fellow consumers. New, more energy efficient models are therefore often at a significant competitive disadvantage relative to used products. Furthermore, local customers are more experienced in buying used products and are aware of an existing repair infrastructure. This combination of factors makes it difficult to set and enforce policies that can transform markets toward more sustainable and life-cycle cost-effective cooling solutions. Based on findings in Ghana, Nigeria and other anecdotes, imported units often waste ~ 2 – 3 times as much electricity as new products that are compliant with robust minimum energy performance standards.

In many countries, recycling infrastructure for cooling equipment is inadequate, often leading to major environmental impacts through the open burning of insulation foams and other informal recycling practices. Given the high global warming potential of refrigerants in this equipment, a lack of proper disposal drives significant climate impacts. Sub-standard repair and refurbishment practices may lead to extraction and exchange of the refrigerants directly into the atmosphere and degradation in equipment performance.

Objective: Bring together interested officials and representatives from industry and civil society to:

• Take stock of the current situation of used cooling equipment importation in Africa (referencing available reports / data sets, experiences of local experts, and key findings from meetings)

• Raise awareness on the environmental impacts along the lifecycle of both new and used cooling products in the African context

• Identify relevant resources that are being applied or could readily be applied to address these issues in Africa • Select a set of potential transformative actions that could be undertaken by interested actors


– Lead: Kofi Agyarko, Ghana Energy Commission, kofiagyarko@gmail.com

– Facilitator: Brian Holuj, Cool Coalition Secretariat, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), brian.holuj@un.org

Download the working group’s concept note here.


Urban Cooling

Context: Cities are where the cooling challenge is felt most acutely. Depending on the climate zone, the urban heat island (UHI) effect can raise urban temperatures as much as 5°C compared with surrounding rural areas and the very nature of urban environments makes access to passive cooling approaches far more challenging. Urbanization and rising incomes also mean that demand for cooling is rising far more rapidly in cities with direct consequences for both city residents and the local electricity systems. The problem is also highly concentrated: just 100 cities account for 18 percent of global emissions—with a disproportionate and growing share of those emissions related to cooling in dense, hot, fast-growing megacities. In both developed and developing markets impoverished and underinvested districts within a city can be urban heat traps placing the problem of access to cooling disproportionally on those least likely to be able to afford it.

A holistic approach to sustainable space cooling at a city level would most logically be structured around the accepted sequence of first working to avoid or reduce cooling loads, then using more sustainable technologies and solutions to serve residual cooling loads, and then optimizing, operation and maintenance practices to optimize the performance of the whole cooling system in the context of the overall energy system.

Objectives While significant work has been undertaken on the subject of sustainable cooling, there is a lack of a handbook of best practices that can be followed at a city level in a manner that does not challenge national pre-emption authority while still providing the opportunity for leadership and transformative action. The aim of this working group is to develop guidance encompassed within a handbook that will enable city officials to develop a sustainable cooling roadmap /urban cooling action plan specific to the needs and opportunities represented by the unique characteristics of their city environment or unique districts within a city.


– Lead: Iain Campbell, Senior Fellow, Rocky Mountain Institute, icampbell@rmi.org

– Facilitator: Lily Riahi, Cool Coalition Secretariat, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), lily.riahi@un.org

– Co-Facilitator: Sophie Loran, Cool Coalition Secretariat, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), sophie.loran@un.org


Cold Chains

Context: The Cold Chain can best be defined as the series of actions and equipment applied to maintain a product within a specified temperature range and other holding parameters while moving it from place of production to consumption.

The food cold chain is critically under-developed in many countries, resulting in food loss and associated social, economic, nutritional and environmental impacts, impediments to rural development and resilience, and food safety issues. Universal vaccine access is also a major challenge in various countries, mainly due to the lack of robust cold chains.

Outdated cold chain technologies and poor design, operation and maintenance lead to excess energy demand and refrigerant use and associated emissions of CO2, high-GWP and ozone depleting refrigerants and air pollution in all categories of cold-chain.

Countries that have made strong progress on immunisation programmes now face a far bigger challenge. The COVID-19 pandemic requires urgent expansion of vaccine cold chains to deliver mass vaccination in a concentrated period of time. The scale of this challenge is currently vastly underestimated by many countries and there is a strong risk of delayed and faltering vaccination programmes, cost-inefficiencies and a legacy of polluting, inefficient and poorly maintained cooling equipment.

Objectives: Provide guidance and advice to the Cool Coalition and its audiences to: access, interpret and understand the evidence to inform strategies, better identify the portfolio of opportunities, make judgements and provide advice about the potential technical and economic viability of pathways, understand requirements across research, skills and partnerships, and help catalyse test-beds and demonstration programmes for researchers and industry to co-develop, validate the real world performance and de-risk innovative decarbonisation / sustainable solutions.


– Co-Lead: Toby Peters, Professor, Cold Economy, University of Birmingham, toby_peters@me.com

– Co-Lead: Satish Kumar, President and Executive Director, Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE), satish@aeee.in

– Facilitator: Sophie Loran, Cool Coalition Secretariat, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), sophie.loran@un.org

– Co-Facilitator: Lily Riahi, Cool Coalition Secretariat, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), lily.riahi@un.org

Download the working group’s concept note here.


Nature Based Solutions for Cooling

Context: The integration of well-designed nature-based solutions (NbS) into buildings and urban environments can help bring nature back into human developments, drastically reduce ambient temperatures, and provide a wide range of health and resilience benefits that reduce the impacts of other risks on the local population. The use of trees, vegetation, water bodies, green roofs/surfaces, in urban environments can improve thermal comfort, mitigate the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHI), reduce energy needs for cooling and ventilation in buildings, increase the livability of the built environment by providing shading, as well as improve air quality, stormwater management, water pollution, carbon capture, green jobs, walkability, access to nature and biodiversity. The recognition of the benefits of bringing back nature to human settlements has led to bold action to support and implement nature-based solutions by some cities and developers. However, the mass integration of nature-based solutions for cooling at the needed scale has not happened to date.

Objective: Help accelerate the development of NbS for cooling globally through the following supporting activities:

– Aggregate and disseminate existing case studies, best practices and insights;

– Align and amplify messaging and outreach efforts on cooling NbS benefits and opportunities

– Support Cool Coalition members in the development of urban cooling strategies and tools that include NbS by providing ad-hoc research and analysis on best practices and lessons learned for planning and financing NbS solutions.

– Link thermal comfort to existing urban NbS efforts on adaptation, pollution, biodiversity, water management.

– Contribute and support the development of a NbS content for the Sustainable Cooling for Cities Handbook under development by RMI, UNEP and GCoM.

– Contribute to COP 26 preparation and possibly other global events to help highlight the benefits NbS for cooling.


– Lead: Jennifer Lenhart, Global Expert on Cities, WWF  Jennifer.Lenhart@wwf.se

– Facilitator: Irene Fagotto, Cool Coalition Secretariat, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), irene.fagotto@un.org

Download the working group’s concept note here.


Renewable Energy Cooling

Context: A wide range of renewable-driven technology options already exist in the market. They include among others, solar driven cooling devices, such as solar air conditioners and solar refrigerators, biomass and geothermal driven cooling, or free cooling technologies, which use low-temperatures from the surroundings (e.g sea, lake, river, aquifers) as cooling source. In addition to the climate benefits, renewable energy driven cooling solutions coupled with cold energy storage offer a solution to stabilize already stressed electricity grids by reducing electricity load surges caused by rising AC units.

The range of applications of these solutions is also wide. Renewable cooling has a potential far bigger than many typical applications today. While cooling of the built environment (space cooling) will continue to be the most important market segment, other applications like renewable-based cold storage will grow to significant market shares. Their success in the market will play a decisive role in transforming the heating/cooling market from conventional – mainly fossil – fuels to clean and secure renewable energy.

The availability of data on renewable-driven cooling options is scarce. The renewable cooling market is still small but is growing fast. We need to accelerate the shift to renewable-energy driven cooling solutions by raising awareness, increasing knowledge, and exchanging best practices to scale-up the use and expand the market for these technologies.

Objectives: Promote and mainstream the use of renewable energy in the cooling sector and provide guidance to countries and various stakeholders on how to integrate renewable energy sources in cooling by:

– Mobilizing the institutions, companies, local and national governments that are leading the development and use of RE driven cooling solution. Get their insight and compile their knowledge and best practices to be shared with other cities and countries.

– Reaching out to countries and cities with rising cooling demand. Raise their awareness on renewable energy-drive cooling options, share knowledge and best practices, facilitate peer to peer exchange and provide policy guidance on how to incorporate renewable energy in the cooling sector.


– Lead: Yong Chen, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), YChen@irena.org

– Co-facilitator: Parimita Mohanty, United Nations Environment Programme, mohantyp@un.org

– Co-facilitator: Celia Martinez, Cool Coalition Secretariat, United Nations Environment Programme, celia.martinez@un.org

Download the working group’s concept note here.


Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) Informal Dialogue On Sustainable Cooling

Context: There is a critical window of opportunity and an urgency to act on sustainable cooling in 2021. Multilateral Development Banks have an important role to play in supporting countries in delivering this transformational action.

Given this window of opportunity, a strong interest for technical discussions between MDBs and relevant stakeholders, and the view that there is opportunity to enhance cooling’s visibility leading into COP26 and beyond, E3G has established an informal dialogue within the Cool Coalition to support a continued exchange among MDBs and other relevant stakeholders.

In the first instance, an informal dialogue among MDBs will be convened by E3G on the topic of “A Whole Systems Approach to Sustainable Cooling”. As no such informal or formal dialogue currently exists between MDBs specifically on the issue of sustainable cooling, a key short-term outcome is knowledge exchange and an enhanced strategic understanding of cooling between MDB stakeholders. Building on this, the project will kick off an improved recognition of cooling concerns in MDB’s strategies and operations.

Download the informal dialogue concept note here.

Objectives: Launch and sustain a constructive dialogue between MDBs on the integration of sustainable cooling considerations in their portfolio analysis and activities. Enhance trilateral (industry, MDB, civil society) understanding of cooling needs for MDBs and cooling stakeholders. Build the case for sustainable cooling mainstreaming among MDBs


Sindra Sharma-Khushal, Policy Advisor – E3G, sindra.sharma@e3g.org

Dileimy Orozco, Senior Policy Advisor – E3G, dileimy.orozco@e3g.org 

Larissa Gross, Research Manager – E3G, larissa.gross@e3g.org

Mark Lister, Advisor, Cool Coalition, mark.lister@un.org