The case for government action

Cooling growth challenges the energy system. To ensure that pressure on the energy system from cooling demand is kept to a minimum, it will be essential for governments to carefully assess cooling needs and rethink how cooling can be provided, with policy, business models and finance to match. It will require reduced reliance on conventional cooling technology and will, for example, require a shift from active to passive cooling, smarter building codes and ‘cooler’ urban planning; as well as shifting the modality of cooling to district energy systems in cities and off-grid systems in remote areas.

Current, conventional cooling technologies, such as air-conditioning and refrigeration, rely on human-made refrigerants – fluorinated (F) gases – that can be 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide in causing global warming. Left unchecked, F-gases could account for nearly 20 percent of climate pollution by 2050, which is why the HFC phase down of the historic Kigali Amendment to
the Montreal Protocol – and its ratification by national governments – is critically
important.

Cooling’s large and growing demand for electricity, often from fossil fuels, means that it poses a serious challenge to reducing emissions. Action by governments on energy efficiency, managing energy demand for cooling and promoting alternative cooling solutions – to accompany and accelerate the F-gas phasedown – is critical and could amount to more than doubling the climate benefits from phasing out high global warming potential refrigerants.

In addition, by integrating efficiency into the implementation of the Kigali Amendment, governments have an opportunity to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals. This requires an assessment of populations at risk, and solutions – through finance, technology, and holistic thinking – that meet cooling needs.

The framework for government action

Governments are critical actors in addressing the cooling challenge. The Cool Coalition takes an inclusive view of government action to promote efficient, climate-friendly cooling for all. The Coalition particularly welcomes ambitious action on cooling that:

  • Is transformational on mitigation or adaptation, in terms of novelty or scale;
  • Brings sustainable development co-benefits;
  • Is replicable and can be scaled up;
  • Is measurable, especially in terms of GHG reduction, and deliverable in the next 3 to 5 years;
  • Is innovative, in terms of technology or approach, and visibly inspiring for others looking to take action.

Our framework for government action on cooling focuses on three, sometimes overlapping, realms of activity:

  • Domestic: actions at the national and sub-national level to promote, and enhance access to efficient, climate-friendly cooling solutions;
  • Regional: collective government action where there are common interests, motivations and pooled resources to promote efficient, climate-friendly cooling;
  • International: action by governments to assist others – technically, financially – in supporting access to and innovation in, efficient, climate-friendly cooling for all, whilst also boosting trade.