Acting executive director of UN Environment, Joyce Msuya, outlines the role of the newly formed Cool Coalition which was officially launched in Copenhagen, Denmark today.
As global temperatures rise and the growing energy demands of air conditioning threaten to emit more greenhouse gases, over 20 leaders have committed to a new global effort on clean and efficient cooling.
Known as the Cool Coalition, it 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.
But we also cannot 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. 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 $US2.9 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 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.