At the ongoing Conference of Parties, COP28 in Dubai, over 60 nations have pledged to cut down cooling emissions keeping the global temperature in mind.
According to the UNEP, based on the current policies, between now and 2050 the installed capacity of cooling equipment globally will triple, resulting in a more than doubling of the electricity consumption. This will lead emissions from cooling to surge to 6.1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in 2050, equivalent to more than 10 percent of global projected emissions in that year. This rapid increase in cooling will strain electricity grids in many countries, presenting a major hurdle to the ongoing transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.
Near-zero emissions from cooling – with improved access to cooling – can only be accomplished through the implementation of synergistic policies, regulations, training and financial instruments that work together to create a strong and sustainable cooling ecosystem. It requires mainstreaming cooling within a national-level regulatory or legal framework as well as developing National Cooling Action Plans and streamlining finance, the report adds.
The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that, “Heat is a growing health risk, due to burgeoning urbanisation, an increase in high temperature extremes, and demographic changes in countries with ageing populations” Looking at these trends, cooling will need to expand for both stationary applications (residential and non-residential space cooling, cold chains and process cooling) and transport applications.
By employing passive cooling techniques we can significantly slash cooling requirements while upholding indoor comfort and preserving cold storage temperatures.
Also by adopting strategies like enhanced insulation, reflective surfaces, thermal mass utilisation, natural and architectural shading, ventilation, thoughtful urban and landscaping design, strategic orientation, and specific window and door features all contribute to curbing heat ingress and decreasing building cooling needs.
Also Read: UN Report On Alarming Climate Surge
One can cut cooling emissions by driving energy efficiency. Installing and operating equipment at high energy efficiency, combined with passive cooling load reduction, could lower 2050 electricity use for stationary cooling equipment below the 2022 level despite the massive increase in cooling.
Apart from this, we can also achieve this target by phasing down climate-warming refrigerants faster than the timelines established under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, accompanied by energy efficiency drive.
“Under the Kigali Amendment, actions to limit the use of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol are expected to prevent the emissions of up to 105 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent of greenhouse gases, helping to avoid up to 0.5 degree celsius of global temperature rise by 2100 – a truly unparalleled contribution to climate mitigation efforts.
It is also the single largest contribution the world has made towards keeping the global temperature rise “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, a target agreed at the Paris climate conference.”
The ‘Global Cooling Pledge,’ a collaborative effort between the United Arab Emirates hosting COP28 and the UNEP-led ‘Cool Coalition.’ It lays out a roadmap for implementing passive cooling strategies, emphasising insulation, natural shading, ventilation, reflective surfaces, elevated energy efficiency standards, and a rapid reduction of climate-harmful hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants.
Following the outlined recommendations could yield a significant reduction in projected 2050 emissions, slashing them by approximately 3.8 billion tons of CO2 equivalent from the usual cooling practices.
This will result in enabling an additional 3.5 billion people to access refrigeration, air conditioning, or passive cooling solutions by 2050. It will also ensure cutting end-user electricity bills by a whopping US$1 trillion in 2050 and cumulatively by US$17 trillion from 2022 to 2050.
Apart from this the pledge will Diminish peak power demands by 1.5 to 2 terawatts (TW), nearly double the current total generation capacity of the EU. And nations can also avoid investments in power generation infrastructure estimated at $4 to $5 trillion.