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As the earth warms, sustainable cooling becomes paramount in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, safeguarding against heat stress, enhancing productivity, curbing food loss, and improving access to healthcare.
On the sidelines of the 14th Clean Energy Ministerial, alongside the G20 Energy Transitions Ministerial Meeting, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 President Designate, urged countries to join the global cooling pledge, a partnership between the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the COP28 Presidency.
In close collaboration with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll), the Global Cooling Pledge aims to expand cooling to protect the most vulnerable communities, especially in the global south, small island states and least developed countries, from extreme heat, keep food fresh and vaccines safe. Dr. Al Jaber urged countries to unite and join the pledge.
“We cannot expand cooling on a business-as-usual basis. Without strong policy action, emissions from the sector will rise from 7% to 10% from today. To solve this dilemma, we need a rapid transition to energy-efficient and climate-friendly cooling.”
Al Jaber highlighted that the cooling dilemma could provide access to those needing it without undermining the energy transition. The initiative incentivizes governments and all stakeholders to act on sustainable cooling in five areas: nature-based solutions, super-efficient appliances, food and vaccine cold chains, district cooling, and national cooling action plans.
“Food and medicine all depend on cooling. It is a topic of critical importance across climate mitigation and adaptation. Cooling is also a matter of climate justice ─ with heat disproportionately impacting lower-income communities and families,” Dr Al Jaber said.
Dr. Al Jaber said there is a “unique opportunity” to deliver a collective response to the cooling challenge via the Global Cooling Pledge.
This pledge aims to improve energy efficiency and increase access to sustainable cooling. It is gaining momentum with more than 20 early supporters ─ including India and Denmark. But there is more to be done. “I call on all countries to join the Global Cooling Pledge in the lead-up to COP28,” he said.
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