Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), an international environmental group, has released an update to its 2018 study regarding the challenges the developing world faces in providing affordable cooling (refrigeration and comfort cooling) in a sustainable way that doesn’t exacerbate the climate crisis.
The new report – “2019 Chilling Prospects: Tracking Sustainable Cooling for All” – provides policy makers, the private sector and development financiers with tools and guidance on how to accelerate progress on areas of priority, according to the executive summary. It was written with technical assistance from the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP).
“With just over 10 years to deliver the [United Nations] Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] and avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change, this is not an abstract concept,” said Vincent Biruta, Minister of Environment, Government of Rwanda, in the foreword of the 2019 report. “Cooling for All is an issue of equity that demands our focus right now.”
The original 2018 report, “Chilling Prospects: Providing Sustainable Cooling for All,” was a global wake-up call and a call to action. The new report takes stock of the progress made and celebrates the acceleration in solutions to sustainable access to cooling, explained the foreword.
“While there has been marked global action on sustainable access to cooling, there is still significant work to do in scaling solutions and delivering them to those who need them most,” states the executive summary. “There are still at least one billion people at high risk of lack of cooling access, and more than two billion who are ready to acquire a cooling device.
The 2019 report has the following six recommendations to help drive sustainable access to cooling for all.
- Define targets for the critical nine countries: The nine countries with the highest vulnerability to cooling gaps must set specific goals for reducing them by sector, specific geographic location and with specific timelines.
- Cooler cities: Cities can take action to reduce extreme heat impacts, including local heat action plans, improving building codes and envelopes, utilizing district cooling with available heat sinks, and scaling up the use of shading as well as cool and vegetated roofs and walls.
- Cooler agriculture: There is an urgent need for greater commercialization to improve designs, produce at scale, and develop business models to make solutions for clean agricultural cold chains affordable.
- Bring industry and finance to the fore: More must be done to engage manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and financiers to deliver promising cooling technologies to the “base of the pyramid.” Stronger participation from the financial community must include new partnerships and business models, including servitization (cooling as a service).
- Support for capacity building and skills development: Policymakers need to be brought up to date with current thinking in order to train people to work on access to cooling, and to develop training programs that support these outcomes.
- Raising awareness: There must be far greater recognition and focus on the critical issue of access to cooling in addressing poverty and achieving the SDGs.