The case for civil society action

With populations all around the world being increasingly affected by extreme heat waves, the paradox of cooling as a driver of global warming is increasingly taking centre stage in public debates. The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol provides a good opportunity to engage policy-makers on this issue and to accelerate change. Adopted in 2016 and in force since January 2019, the Amendment aims to progressively phase-down the use of HFCs by about 85% by 2045 while exploring opportunities to improve energy efficiency in the cooling sector.
Yet, the road to action is long:

  • National energy strategies have so far focused on greening electricity and e-mobility; sustainable cooling has drawn comparatively less attention.
  • In many developing countries, only a fraction of the food consumed passes through a cold-chain at some point on route from the point of production to the table.
  • Many governments have yet to ratify the Kigali Amendment, and the frst cuts in HFC use in developing countries do not occur until 2024.
  • Most cooling equipment purchased today is far below the most efficient technologies available on the market.
  • Some cooling technologies, notably traditional air conditioners, have evolved incrementally since their development over a hundred years ago due to the lack of market signals for demand for dramatically more energy efficient cooling.
  • In some countries, excessive cooling behaviors are deeply ingrained and hard to shift.

Civil society actors have a crucial role to play by setting out a positive vision, mobilising and accelerating change by governments, businesses and citizens in order to ensure that affordable, efficient and climate-friendly cooling for all is achieved without jeopardizing our own survival and that of the habitat in which we live.

Framework for civil society action

The Cool Coalition takes an inclusive view of civil society action to promote affordable, efficient and climate-friendly cooling for all. To help elevate cooling as an inclusive, impactful and urgent opportunity, the Coalition welcomes ambitious action that:

  • reduces demand for cooling by behaviour change and smart design;
  • harnesses waste, free and currently untapped resources for meeting cooling needs;
  • is transformational for mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and/or adapting to climate change, in terms of novelty or scale;
  • brings sustainable development co-benefts and access to cooling for all who need it;
  • is replicable and can be scaled up;
  • is measurable, especially in terms of GHG and particularly carbon pollution reduction, and deliverable in 3 – 5 years;
  • is an innovative technology or approach and visibly inspiring for others looking to take action.

The following section presents a framework through which civil society actors can contribute to the efficient and climate-friendly cooling agenda. Five categories of action are listed:

  • Research
  • Awareness‑raising
  • Advocacy
  • Stimulating innovation and demonstrating
  • Leading by example.

Civil society groups and organizations can of course pursue actions across several of these categories, with their scope for action being dependent on organizational history, experience, and expertise, but also on national contexts and resources.