21 November 2023
Side Event – District Cooling: Delivering A Net-Zero Energy Future and Urban Heat Resilience

Date: 5 December 2023                                   Time: 14:30-15:15 (GMT: +04:00)                                        Event Language: English                                                         

Format: In-person                                             Location: COP28 UNEP pavilion, Dubai, United Arab Emirates   

Organized by: United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP-led Cool Coalition

Supported by: Tabreed


Description & Objectives of the session:


Cities are highly vulnerable to rising temperatures from climate change and this is made worse by the urban heat island effect. By 2100, cities across the world could warm by 4.4°C, impacting human health, productivity, and quality of life. As citizens turn to air conditioning (AC) to beat the heat, emissions from energy-use and refrigerants increase rapidly and power grids are strained as inefficient AC units turn on during peak periods. For the billions without AC units they must suffer in hot cities made even hotter by heat expelled from AC units and with unreliable power supply during heatwaves. To address these issues, local governments and industry worldwide are increasingly turning to district cooling as a low carbon model for AC needs that can build resilience in the power grid, reduce urban heat-island, and provide affordable cooling.

Convened by UNEP and the Cool Coalition, this side event will hear from national and subnational governments, industry and finance on their efforts and challenges to scale district cooling and key benefits, including emission reduction, climate and energy system resilience, and reduction of urban heat island. The panel will discuss how to accelerate uptake of district cooling in new markets and the role of government in this effort. Critically, the panel will discuss how district cooling can be delivered in harmony with efforts to reduce the upfront need for AC through passive cooling in buildings and heat-resilient urban design, as well as the integrated policies and business models to unlock this. This comprehensive approach to cooling is laid out through the commitments in the Global Cooling Pledge – one of the nine non-negotiated declarations, pledges, and charters that constitute key outcomes for the COP28 Presidential Action Agenda.

We Will: Efficient, Climate-Friendly Cooling for All
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