Over 60 countries back COP28 pledge to curb cooling emissions

KARIM SAHIB/ AFP

More than 60 nations have signed up to a pledge at COP28 with commitments to reduce the climate impact of the cooling sector.

The Global Cooling Pledge calls on countries to reduce by 2050 their cooling-related emissions by at least 68 per cent compared to 2022 levels.

"This pledge can have a profound impact on the lives of people around the world and on our larger quest of holding the Earth’s temperature increase to 1.5 degrees," said US Climate Envoy John Kerry.

With rising temperatures leading to demand for more air conditioners and other cooling equipment, a new UN report launched at COP28 lays out a pathway to cut emissions across the cooling sector worldwide.

It outlines actions to take in passive cooling strategies -- such as insulation, natural shading, ventilation and reflective surfaces, higher energy efficiency standards and a rapid phase down of climate-warming hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants.

"The cooling sector must grow to protect everyone from rising temperatures, maintain food quality and safety, keep vaccines stable and economies productive," said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

"But this growth must not come at the cost of the energy transition and more intense climate impacts. Countries and the cooling sector must act now to ensure low-carbon cooling growth," she added.

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