Cooling critical to achieving Sustainable Development Goals, says report

Birmingham University’s Energy institute sheds light on the key role climate-friendly solutions for cooling plays to achieve the global Sustainable Development Goals.


The research paper highlights cooling is facing booming demand from fast growing economies and urban populations. Providing climate-friendly and energy efficient solutions – such as natural refrigerants-based equipment - will be key to protect the environment and the world population’s vital needs.

On September 2015, United Nations countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all over the next 15 years. Birmingham Energy Institute’s report shows how cooling will play a vital role in achieving – either directly or indirectly - almost all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Cooling is a fundamental component of daily survival – from cold chains for fresh food, to safe storage of life-saving vaccines and medicines, to cooler, safer workplaces and schools that can elevate productivity, the report notes. 

On the other hand, the world’s population is projected to reach 9 billion by mid-century, and food demand to increase by 60%. The world is seeing the rapid emergence of new middle classes in countries such as China, India, Indonesia and Brazil. “There is no question that we will need far more cooling,” outlines Professor Toby Peters from the Birmingham Energy Institute.

Air conditioning is also set to boom. Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimate the global stock of room air conditioners will rise by an additional 700 million by 2030, and 1.6 billion by 2059.

More AC also means more emissions. The study points out that cooling is responsible for 7% of total CO2 emissions, and will almost double to 13% by 2030. The recent global agreement to phase down HFCs will help restraining emissions growth, but does nothing to tackle the 75% of cooling emissions that come from energy consumption.

By Marie Battesti

Mar 22, 2018, 11:30

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