The Government of India, as G20 President, and the Government of the United Arab Emirates, which holds the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) Presidency, put cooling firmly on the international energy agenda at the High-Level Dialogue on Sustainable Cooling on Friday, 21 July, which was part of the Clean Energy Ministerial-Mission Innovation Summit in Goa, India.
At a time when unprecedented heatwaves are gripping many regions of the world, today’s event highlighted how urgent action is needed to deliver sustainable cooling solutions that will protect people without hastening climate change.
Several ministers and high-level representatives rallied behind the Global Cooling Pledge, its calls to action on sustainable cooling, and the steps the global community must take to achieve a “Cool COP28”, specifically one that sparks commitments towards improving sustainable cooling access.
The Global Cooling Pledge is an initiative led by the COP28 Presidency and supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) led Cool Coalition and its partners, including Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SEforALL) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
“This voluntary pledge offers state and non-state actors a unique chance to enhance voluntary commitments to climate mitigation, adaptation, resilience and investments towards sustainable cooling,” highlighted Ms. Ligia Noronha, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Head of the New York Office UNEP
Previewed earlier this year, it calls for progress on nature-based solutions, super-efficient appliances, food and vaccine cold chains, district cooling, and National Cooling Action Plans, among others.
During this High-Level Dialogue organized alongside G20 Energy Transition Ministerial in Goa, Dr. Sultan al Jaber, COP28 President-Designate and the UAE’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, said, “We have a unique opportunity to deliver a significant collective response to the cooling challenge via this very important initiative – the Global Cooling Pledge. This Pledge aims to improve efficiency and increase access to sustainable cooling. It is gaining momentum, with more than 20 early supporters, including India and Denmark.”
The COP 28 President-Designate was joined by Dr. Jitendra Singh, Indian Minister of Science and Technology, Dan Jørgensen, Danish Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy, Rohit Monserrate, Mayor of Panaji and international energy sector leaders to call on governments to join the Global Cooling Pledge in the lead up to COP 28.
Speaking on behalf of the Government of Denmark, Dan Jørgensen, Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy and Cool Champion, declared, “It is clear that achieving universal access to sustainable cooling requires international corporation, dedicated climate finance, and leadership from key players.” He then urged decision-makers from government, private sector and civil society to raise awareness and advocate for a global approach to sustainable cooling.
Recent record-breaking temperatures, including some exceeding 50 degrees Celsius, accentuate the need for progress on sustainable cooling for all. New data from the Chilling Prospects research series show progress is not moving quickly enough to beat the heat. Around 1.12 billion people are still at high risk due to a lack of access to cooling, a decrease of just over 20 million compared to last year. The most acute and dangerous cooling access gaps are in the poor rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa and in the growing cities in high-temperature regions of the Global South.
In these areas, people face risks to their health, safety and productivity because they cannot access the cooling they need. Bringing them cooling solutions is, therefore, a critical development and climate issue, as rising demand for cooling needs to be met sustainably. Currently, conventional cooling, such as air conditioning, is already responsible for over seven per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions are on a path to doubling by 2050 without stronger action.
“Over the next few months, Sustainable Energy for All is looking forward to working with you all partners on the success of the Global Cooling Pledge, and subsequently support countries to implement the solutions after the Pledge,” said Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for SEforALL, and Co-Chair of UN-Energy.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
About Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL)
SEforALL is an international organization that works in partnership with the United Nations and leaders in government, the private sector, financial institutions, civil society and philanthropies to drive faster action towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) – access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030 – in line with the Paris Agreement on climate.