With both global temperatures and economic power rising in the developing world, the number of air conditioners is expected to grow from 1.2 billion today to 4.5 billion by 2050. That means that without clean and efficient cooling, greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 will be up 90 percent over 2017 levels.
That’s why more than 20 leaders from Rwanda, Chile, Denmark and beyond launched the Cool Coalition earlier this month.
“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.
It’s possible to do so while keeping within the 1.5˚C limit for global warming, but that means a coordinated effort.
“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,” Kyte said. “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.”
The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol means that countries have started phasing down gases used in many cooling technologies, known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). That’s expected to save almost 0.4°C in warming that is avoided by using other technologies, but Cool Coalition aims to double the benefits with improved energy efficiencies.
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, Empower, Arcelik, 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 in Cold Economy University of Birmingham, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, TERI – The Energy and Resources Institute, United Nations Environment Program.