Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) this month is establishing a Cooling for All Secretariat to help deliver universal access to cooling.
Access to cooling is not a luxury. It’s about fresh food, safe medicines and protection from heat for populations in a warming world. It’s an urgent development challenge that could have important ramifications for our climate. It is an issue of equity that requires fast action to protect the most vulnerable. It is vital for economic productivity by allowing workers, farmers and students to work in comfortable environments.
The Cooling for All Secretariat will serve to promote awareness of the need for universal access to cooling, provide data and knowledge about the issue, and help coordinate focused responses.
Universal access to cooling is a multifaceted challenge and an important one if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and fulfil the Paris Agreement. Productive economies, a stable climate, and millions of lives depend on sustainable access to cooling.
The Secretariat will have a number of important objectives. It will develop tools for government and civil society to measure access to cooling gaps and deploy solutions based on cooling needs. It will publish an annual Cooling for All Outlook to benchmark progress on closing access to cooling gaps while setting required targets. It will work with industry, donors and international organizations to design pilot projects.
As temperatures soar, populations grow, and cities expand, these actions are necessary if we are to achieve the speed and scale needed to deliver sustainable and affordable access to cooling for all.
Governments, cities, the private sector, and the international community have to take urgent action to finance and demonstrate solutions that meet the cooling needs of those most at risk.
This includes focusing on innovations and investments to keep agricultural cold chains clean and intact to reduce hunger and malnutrition, increase the income of poor farmers, and drastically reduce food wastage.
In rural villages, renewable energy can power cold storage in medical clinics, meaning that families can take their children to be vaccinated with confidence that it will be effective.
Cities can employ simple tools such as painting roofs white and planting more trees to mitigate high temperatures and protect workers from heat so they can be more productive. The employment of district cooling and other solutions will also reduce overall energy demand for cooling and lessen reliance on inefficient air conditioners and other cooling devices.
These efforts can be supported in three ways. One is to finance and deploy current efficient solutions. Two is to invest in zero-carbon or no-to-low global warming potential cooling innovations for the future. Three is to think systematically about meeting cooling needs while minimizing energy demand through district cooling and solar home systems that power fans and refrigerators.
We must collectively rethink how we understand cooling needs across cities and cold chains, and design and finance solutions and technologies that meet those needs.
Governments with vulnerable populations must measure their access gaps and design sectoral and regional solutions to shrink them, including through National Cooling Plans.
Industry needs to seize the opportunity to design and produce hyper-efficient cooling devices at affordable prices for the rising global middle class, which represents a potentially significant market.
Cities need to develop heat action plans and ensure that new buildings have the greatest degree of natural cooling possible.
The Cooling for All Secretariat will support these initiatives as a coordinating platform, while providing the tools and data for action.
Our purpose is to help partners to understand issues related to access to cooling and to obtain resources relevant for access projects, while helping government policymakers to identify what needs to be done and providing the resources to assist them.