Public Release: 

'Cool Coalition' comes together to save lives, energy and trillions for the global economy

Emissions from cooling sector set to grow 90 percent by 2050 without action

UN Environment

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IMAGE: As global temperatures rise, growing energy demands for air conditioning threaten to cause a major increase in greenhouse gas emissions. The new global 'Cool Coalition' of 23 leading figures and institutions... view more 

Credit: PXHERE public domain

Copenhagen, Denmark - As global temperatures rise and the growing energy demands of air conditioning threaten to emit more greenhouse gases, over 20 leaders today committed to a new global effort on clean and efficient cooling, which can make a huge positive impact on climate change, help achieve sustainable development and save money.

Launched at the First Global Conference on Synergies between the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement, the Cool Coalition aims to inspire ambition and accelerate action on the transition to clean and efficient cooling.

The coalition includes ministers of environment from Chile and Rwanda and Foreign Affairs from Denmark as well as the heads of Danish engineering firm Danfoss and ENGIE, and the leaders of civil society, research, academia and intergovernmental institutions.

The Cool Coalition is a global effort led by UN Environment, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program, and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL).

"Demand for cooling is growing, as it must if we are to provide equitable access to a technology that keeps our children healthy, vaccines stable, food nutritious and economies productive," said Joyce Msuya, Acting Executive Director of UN Environment, and a key leader of the coalition.

"But we also can't allow emissions to get out of hand. The Cool Coalition offers a three-in-one opportunity to cut global warming, improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people and make huge financial savings."

2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record, with unprecedented peak temperatures recorded across the planet, from 43°C in Baku, Azerbaijan, to the low 30s across Scandinavia. Already, 30 per cent of the world's population face potentially dangerous temperatures for more than 20 days a year. Heatwaves cause 12,000 deaths annually.

"In a warming world, cooling is a necessity, not a luxury. We need to provide it to the vulnerable populations who currently have no electricity," said Rachel Kyte, Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Energy for All.

"This necessity is something that can be delivered within a 1.5 degree-pathway. We need to provide sustainable cooling at speed and scale so that we can ensure everyone has safe food, safe vaccines, and comfort at work. Hundreds of millions of people at risk today from extreme heat need protection and we must protect them in a way that also protects the planet from increased carbon emissions."

Amidst rising temperatures and spending power, the number of air conditioners in use is expected to rise from 1.2 billion today to 4.5 billion by 2050. If the world continues down this path, emissions from the sector will grow 90% by 2050 over 2017 levels. This is equivalent to emissions of 12 GtCO2e in 2050 - equivalent to almost one quarter of global emissions in 2017.

Many cooling technologies use refrigerants that can be 10,000 times more potent greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. On the first day of 2019, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol started phasing down these gases, known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

This amendment can deliver almost 0.4°C of avoided warming from addressing these gases alone.

A combined strategy to phase down HFCs along with improvements in energy efficiency can potentially double the climate benefits - while saving up to USD 2.9 trillion globally through 2050 by using less electricity, according to figures from the International Energy Agency.

The Cool Coalition is a unified front that links action across the Kigali Amendment, Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals. It will inspire ambition, identify solutions and mobilize action to accelerate progress toward clean and efficient cooling.

The Champions in the coalition will inspire action by:

  • leading by example on how to advance clean and efficient cooling;

  • sharing the scientific case for action;

  • securing high-level commitments in the run up to the Secretary General's Summit;

  • motivating others to meet their requirements under the Kigali Amendment and Paris Agreement;

  • promoting collaboration;

  • advocating for more innovation, greater investment, better information, and increased capacity to move towards clean and efficient cooling.

The Cool Coalition will complement and build upon ongoing successful programs to advance clean and efficient cooling, including, the Cooling for All Secretariat, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Programme, private sector action like the Global Cooling Prize, and other initiatives.

SELECT COMMENTS:

"Only together will we address major challenges such as cooling for all without warming the planet. That is why the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program, a collaboration between 17 foundations, is joining this coalition of the willing. Together we will share technical and policy solutions, scale up finance, and take action at scale." - Dan Hamza-Goodacre, Executive Director, Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program

"Affordable and clean cooling is essential for sustainable economic development in Africa, the health of citizens, and the well-being of the planet. We know that comprehensive policies and clear action plans result in the adoption of energy efficient products. That's why Rwanda is working with our partners to implement a clear set of standards and labels for refrigerators and air conditioners. I encourage all nations to prioritise clean cooling and work together to achieve the goals set through the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol." - Vincent Biruta, Rwanda's Minister of Environment

"Chile is experiencing an exponential growth in cooling demand as global temperature rises. Like almost every nation in the world, we need cooling solutions for the benefit of our people. Preventing an increase in emissions from the cooling sector is already part of our climate agenda under our commitment to the Paris Agreement and the Kigali Amendment of the Montreal Protocol. The Cool Coalition join forces and take actions towards cleaner and more sustainable cooling, ensuring that we can provide people with the cooling they need while protecting the planet." - Carolina Schmidt, Minister of the Environment of Chile, and Designated President of the next global meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

"As a leading provider of cooling solutions, and a supporter of climate action, Danfoss is committed to leading the industry to implementing sustainable solutions. Already today, we have cooling solutions that are more energy efficient and climate friendly, we need to start implementing them. Working with the Cool Coalition, we can do much more and allow everybody to benefit from cooling both people and planet." - Kim Fausing, President and CEO, Danfoss.

"ENGIE is committed to working towards a carbon neutral world, which we cannot achieve without sustainable cooling. We have a real opportunity to make huge energy efficiency gains on the path to carbon neutrality, but we need governments, civil society and the private sector to work together. The Cool Coalition will create the space for us to take full advantage of the opportunity and keep our planet cool. - Isabelle Kocher, CEO of ENGIE

"Not only does renewable energy provide the opportunity to meet the increasing energy demand for cooling by limiting carbon emissions, it also ensure access to cooling by providing needed energy in rural/off-grid areas in developing countries. Together with energy efficiency, renewable energy can decarbonise the cooling sector. REN21 will work with the Cool Coalition to develop renewable energy as an integrated component to its sustainable cooling work." - Rana Adib, Executive Secretary, REN21 (the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century)

The Cool Coalition currently includes:

  • Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy

  • C40

  • Care Without Harm

  • CLASP

  • Climate and Clean Air Coalition

  • Danfoss

  • ENGIE

  • Energy Foundation China

  • Environmental Investigation Agency

  • Global Cool Cities Alliance

  • International Solar Alliance

  • Kigali Cooling Efficiency Programme

  • Minister of Environment of Chile

  • Minister of Environment of Rwanda

  • Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

  • Natural Resources Defense Council

  • REN21

  • Rocky Mountain Institute

  • Sustainable Energy for All Initiative

  • Toby Peters, Professor, Cold Economy, University of Birmingham

  • Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation

  • TERI - The Energy and Resources Institute

  • United Nations Environment Programme

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