In a warming word, cooling in all its forms is critical to protect vulnerable populations, keep food fresh from farm to fork, keep vaccines stable, workforces productive and digital economies viable. In many parts of the world life is barely tolerable without cooling and yet billions of people live without access to coolingi. Conventional cooling is already greater than 7% of global GHG emissionsii. Left unchecked, cooling emissions are expected to double by 2030 and triple by 2100, driven by heat waves, population growth, urbanization, and a growing middle class. So, reducing cooling emissions – while meeting cooling needs for all – is a critical part of the transition to inclusive net-zero emissions societies.
The cooling sector presents a very significant emission mitigation opportunity. The UNEP-IEA Cooling Synthesis Report estimated that by combining energy efficiency and refrigerant changes, the world can avoid the equivalent of 4-8 years of total annual GHG emissions by 2050. Meeting future cooling needs sustainably can also reduce the costs of the energy transition by $3.5tn by 2030.
Recognizing the importance of cooling in tackling climate change and achieving the SDGs, several initiative and actions have been announced since the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol entered into force in 2019 to accelerate efficient, climate-friendly cooling. What would be helpful at this stage is a global status check and an overview of implemented country actions as well as an evaluation of new opportunities and how far the world is from being on track to a net zero cooling pathway. In order to tackle this gap, the Cool Coalition 2022-2023 workplan and strategy adopted in January includes the development of a Global Cooling Status and Opportunities Report (“the Report”).
Overall, the Report will provide an in-depth assessment of two key policy-relevant questions:
- What is the aggregate effect of country cooling actions in terms of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases in 2030, does this contribute to closing the overall emissions gapiv, and how does it compare with cooling emission pathways consistent with net-zero cooling by 2050?
- How can country cooling action/ambition be enhanced, and implementation accelerated to bridge the overall emissions gap and what is the potential mitigation contribution of these actions / areas?
- Limited to inclusion of actions and activities that are able to be measured at a national level for potential inclusion in future enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions.
- All cooling associated with lowering dry and wet bulb temperature including both passive and active cooling strategies with application segmentation covering 1) space & process cooling, 2) food & health cold chain.
- Cooling Emissions to include direct emissions from refrigerants and indirect emissions from energy consumption.
- Recognition of cooling as an adaptation strategy through baselining closure of the assessed cooling access and national cold chain gaps
- All countries able and willing to participate subject to sufficient responses to data requests for material data gaps not available in the public domain.
- We will endeavor to secure and provide country level context for activities outside of the modelled data sets including but not limited to food loss associated with incomplete cold chain, in country activity on urban greening and commentary on state level activity where national pre-emption does not apply.
The report will provide a consistent global overview on status and trends on efficient, climate-friendly cooling, deliver key political messages and recommendations including shared targets, and present opportunities to accelerate action in this decade (by 2030). The report data may provide useful input to the UNFCCC Global Stocktake, and contribute to the advocacy to countries on the inclusion of efficient cooling activities in their future enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions.
- Overall Project Lead: Lily Riahi, Coordinator, Cool Coalition, UNEP
- Advisory Committee Chair: Iain Campbell, RMI
- Report Content and Deliverables: Ian McGavisk, Cool Coalition, UNEP