Urban heat island

Four key takeaways from the Chilling Prospects 2022 Climate Special


Published at COP 27 in November 2022, the Chilling Prospects 2022 Special: Delivering Cooling for All, SDG7 and Climate Action, dives deeper into how progress towards SDG7.2 (renewable energy) and SDG7.3 (energy efficiency) can reduce the number of people at risk and support achieving SDG13 (climate action). 

According to the Chilling Prospects 2022 main report, in 2030, as many as 1.22 billion rural and urban poor may still be at high risk of lacking access to cooling solutions if current trends continue. In contrast, achieving SDG7.1 (universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy) and SDG1.1 (eradication of extreme poverty) by 2030 could spare nearly half a billion people from the high risk of extreme heat.

In this scenario, over 2 billion lower-middle-income people would remain at medium risk and 1.37 billion middle-income people at low risk, progressively seeking to purchase cooling solutions that are both sustainable and affordable.   

The Chilling Prospects 2022 Climate Special analysis takes a deep dive into the multi-faceted risks faced by populations with estimated medium and low access to cooling risk in 2030. It unpacks the potential magnitude of appliances that households at risk could own if supplied with adequate electricity services. It estimates the potential implications of higher access to sustainable cooling by these populations for the progress of high-impact countries towards SDG7 and 1.5 C degree pathways. 

The findings highlight the importance of placing policies for access to energy-efficient and sustainable cooling at the core of efforts to achieve SDG7.3. At the same time, it shows how a combination of sustainable cooling solutions and the decarbonization of electricity supply can mitigate the growth in cooling-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and drive progress towards SDG7.2, including in rural areas.

They include: 

Key finding 1: Inefficient refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners (AC) remain too energy-intensive for millions of low-income households at risk. Efficiency standards (MEPS) could make 1.07 billion appliances compatible with the electricity services of those households, including +40 percent refrigerators-freezers and +16 percent AC units compared to business-as-usual (BAU). Read more 

Key finding 2: In 2030, with a BAU efficiency and electricity mix, the adoption of all compatible cooling appliances could result in over 125 MTCO2 of indirect annual emissions. Combining energy efficiency standards for appliances and buildings with the decarbonization of electricity supply can reduce indirect emissions by 40 percent while expanding the compatibility of cooling appliances by 16 percent. Read more

Key finding 3: Meeting cooling needs with efficient technologies mitigates the increase in energy demand. Under BAU efficiency, adoption of compatible cooling appliances in households at medium and low access to cooling risk could require over 240 TWh of annual electricity demand in high-impact countries in 2030. Read more

Key finding 4: In rural settings, integration of energy access planning with access to cooling is highly relevant for delivering energy services, including healthcare and agriculture. Efficient appliances, particularly refrigerators, can help stimulate rural electricity demand and thereby help strengthen the business case for renewable electrification. Read more