Guest blog: Governments must urgently ratify the Kigali Amendment
While the world is joining together in efforts to provide cooling access for all and mitigate climate change in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, it is time for governments to step up and ratify the Kigali Amendment. This should be a major priority for the Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol when it meets in Quito, Ecuador in November. Business is ready to deliver with sustainable and efficient cooling solutions.
Many of the refrigerants used in air-conditioners and other cooling equipment, while ozone friendly, still have an impact on climate change since the cooling sector accounts for 8% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol will result in a global phase-down of potent greenhouse gases. This represents a long-awaited breakthrough and an important contribution to mitigating climate change.
Technological developments and recognized safety standards have finally made it possible to begin implementing real long-term solutions that rely on low Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants. We are ready with cooling solutions for countries that ratify the amendment. It is time for countries to step up in support of the ratification of Kigali Amendment.
The future depends on low GWP refrigerants
While essential to many aspects of our daily life, cooling contributes to GHG emissions. Today, air conditioners and electric fans alone account for 10% of global electricity consumption. With the demand for space cooling expected to skyrocket in the coming decades, it is projected that the share of cooling-related CO2 emissions worldwide will rise from 8% to 15% by 2050. So, to fix climate change, we need to fix cooling as well.
Alarm bells have been ringing since it was proven that certain substances and refrigerants used in refrigeration and air-conditioning were damaging the ozone layer. Thirty years ago, the Montreal Protocol was introduced to slash the use of ozone-depleting substances. It succeeded. As a result, the Montreal Protocol is often called the world’s most successful global agreement since the depletion of the ozone layer has been halted and is now under control.
The challenge now is to continue lowering greenhouse gas emissions produced by the cooling industry. Emissions of GHGs related to the use of energy for space cooling hinge primarily on the fuel mix in power generation. Nations that ratify the Kigali Amendment commit to cutting the production and consumption of high GWP refrigerants over the next 30 years and replacing them with climate-friendly refrigerant alternatives – action that also supports greater progress on the Paris Agreement.
Let´s ratify Kigali and protect our planet
Cooling, and hence refrigerants, are a necessity in today’s world. Climate change is making life in an increasing number of cities unlivable: they are getting hotter and driving up cooling demand. If the increased demand for cooling is meet by doing business as usual, it will create a vicious cycle with serious consequences for global warming since it will lead to continued increased demand for cooling
Consequently, we need to get the refrigerant challenge right. Just as some of yesterday’s solutions have improved today’s environment, the solutions of tomorrow need to use low-GWP refrigerants if we are to protect our planet.
At supermarkets, for example, a simple and quick best-practice solution would be to reduce refrigerant leakages. It is possible to effectively detect refrigerant leaks and response rapidly using available real-time and actionable data.
The training of cooling professionals should also be prioritized to improve the servicing and installation of refrigerants. At Danfoss, we are trying to lead the way and have just concluded our second Refrigerant Week. The Refrigerant Week initiative provides webinars and digital and educational tools to help industry colleagues and decision-makers understand the changing nature of refrigerants as they make the transition to low GWP refrigerants a reality.
But countries around the world must do their part and ratify the Kigali amendment as a matter of urgency to protect our planet and provide the legal certainty needed to invest in future-oriented technologies. The industry stands ready to finish the journey by using more energy-efficient cooling equipment and climate-friendly refrigerants.
Follow Jürgen Fischer, Danfoss Cooling President, on Twitter at @jfi1963