Published: July 20, 2017

As global temperatures reach record highs and heat waves become the norm across the globe, Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), a global initiative led by former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to achieve universal energy access, improve energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable energy, has launched a new campaign to identify the challenges and opportunities of providing access to affordable, sustainable cooling solutions for all.

Cooling for All will focus on how the growing cooling demand fits into the clean energy transition and, in turn, support faster progress towards the goals of the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment to phase down consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), powerful greenhouse gases that have significant global warming potentials.

Cooling solutions go well beyond air conditioning —  they are essential for everything from cold supply chains for fresh produce to safe storage of vaccines and medicines and safe work and educational environments that increase productivity. Developing efficient and sustainable technologies that allow us to meet rising energy demands, while reducing impacts is, therefore, critical.

The initiative will work to create a direct intersect between the Paris Climate Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment. It will establish a global panel to bring together a group of high-level leaders from government, academia, civil society, business and finance to support greater, more informed action by sharing important information about the challenges and opportunities that exist in providing access to cooling solutions around the world.

The panel will be co-chaired by two governments who are currently dealing with issues of cooling access in their own countries. They will lead the group’s work in developing a comprehensive report that offers potential solutions for accelerating the uptake of accessible, sustainable cooling solutions for all, including the poorest countries and their citizens.

“As the world grows dangerously warm, access to cooling will become the difference between life and death in some parts of the world that suffer from extreme heat. A clean energy transition is already underway globally that can provide affordable, safe and sustainable energy for all,” said Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for SEforALL. “We must now incorporate cooling for all needs within this transition while keeping us on track to reach our global climate and energy goals.”

Investing in more efficient cooling solutions is expected to unlock new business opportunities for the private sector, while helping achieve the goals outlined in the Kigali Amendment. Additionally, estimated costs show investments in super-efficient technologies would be offset by gains in energy efficiency and could in the long-term create potential savings across business operations.

“We need cooling to work, rest, play and worship. In short, life depends on cooling, especially in a warmer world,” said Dan Hamza-Goodacre, Executive Director of the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program, which will fund Cooling for All initiatives. “Yet not everyone has access to cooling. That has to change. Which is why the new SEforALL initiative on Cooling for All is so important. It’s time to reap the benefits of cooling for people across the world, whilst limiting the impact on the climate. We can’t keep cooling down by warming the planet up.”

The initiative will convene its first panel meeting this September in New York during the UN General Assembly and Climate Week NYC, where co-chairs and panel members will be announced. The panel’s report will be launched in 2018.