Collaboration and fast action key to accelerate transition to efficient cooling

A meeting of partners in the CCAC’s Efficient Cooling and HFC initiatives presented numerous solutions to reduce cooling’s impact on the climate.

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Delegates meet in Rome, Italy for the 31st Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Photo by IISD/ENB | Natalia Mroz)

Climate and Clean Air Coalition partners have once again stressed the growing importance for close collaboration and fast action to address some of humanity’s biggest challenges – climate change, ozone depletion, food security, energy security.

At a Coalition side event on the margins of the 31st Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in Rome this week, representatives from developed and developing countries, international organisations, businesses and NGOs, discussed ways to accelerate the global transition to ozone-friendly, lower-global warming potential (GWP) efficient cooling. The event showcased existing solutions and presented opportunities for collaboration.

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Mr. Nicolas Encausse, Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, France

Mr. Nicolas Encausse from France’s Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition opened the meeting by highlighting efforts by France to prioritise efficient cooling during its presidency of the G7. This included launching the new CCAC Efficient Cooling Initiative at the G7 Environment Ministers meeting in Metz last May, and launching the “Biarritz Pledge for Fast Action on Efficient Cooling” during the G7 Summit in Biarritz in August 2019. There are currently 15 signatory countries to the pledge who have agreed to take immediate actions to improve efficiency in the cooling sector while phasing down hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants as per the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

Mr. Encausse encouraged more countries to sign onto the Biarritz Pledge and collaborate through the Coalition’s Efficient Cooling Initiative, to promote good practices and available alternatives, facilitate market transition, and find more financing opportunities beyond the Multilateral Fund.

To highlight the good practices and alternative technologies available to reduce cooling’s impact on the climate the Coalition’s HFC Initiative launched the report “Lower-GWP Alternatives in Stationary Air Conditioning: A Compilation of Case Studies”.

Stationary air conditioning is the largest and most rapidly growing area of HFC use, particularly in developing countries, and is associated with significant indirect emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from electricity consumption. The report presents ten case studies from around the world to show industry and government policymakers the feasibility of adopting lower-GWP energy efficient refrigerants. The case studies focus on a range of different geographic locations, climates, refrigerants, and technologies and considers the energy efficiency benefits of alternative systems, as well as the cost, safety, availability, and environmental impacts.

The report also serves as a reference guide for end-users and system purchasers on factors to consider when transitioning to lower-GWP air conditioning. It was launched by Ms. Nancy Akerman from US Environmental Protection Agency and Mr. Daniel de Graaf from the German Environment Agency.

Partners also outlined areas they were working on in the cooling sector.

Mr. Hidekazu Kuraya, Director of the Office of Fluorocarbons Policy of the Ministry of Environment of Japan, announced Japan would launch an initiative for the Life-Cycle Management of Fluorocarbons at the upcoming COP25 in Madrid this December. He stressed Japan’s continued commitment and collaboration with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition.

Mr. Zitouni Ould-Dada, Deputy Director of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Climate and Environment Division, emphasized the need for a holistic approach to find integrated solutions for addressing food security and climate change.

Mr. Chris Malley, Researcher at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), shared how the CCAC is working with developing countries on national climate and air quality using the Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning - Integrated Benefits Calculator (LEAP-IBC). SEI is developing an upcoming module for the tool that will integrate refrigerant choice and energy efficiency to support countries to develop strategies to meet their commitments under the Kigali Amendment and assess the impacts and benefits of those strategies for climate, energy consumption, air quality, and public health.

Engr. Idris Abdullahi, Assistant Director and National Ozone Officer for the Federal Ministry of Environment of Nigeria shared their experience in developing their National Sustainable Cooling Plan, which is supported by UNIDO and funded by K-CEP.

An expert panel also discussed how countries can transition faster to energy-efficient and lower-GWP solutions to cooling.

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(left to right) Panellists, Xiaofang Zhou, Kevin Fay and Durwood Zaelke

Ms. Xiaofang Zhou, Director of the Montreal Protocol and Chemicals Unit of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) warned that national and international institutions are not working closely enough to maximise resources and address the HFC and energy efficiency issues in an integrated way. She advised countries to think about how these strategies can fit together and become mutually reinforcing as they work on their HCFC and HFC management plans and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Mr. Kevin Fay, Executive Director of the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy, which represents industry, said there is no one size fits all solution for the Montreal Protocol or for climate mitigation, so a flexible approach is needed. Properly structured policy approaches will help identify the technologies needed and drive market transformation. Innovation in the private sector can be very fast so government policies should not lock industry into one path.

Mr. Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, said rising temperatures are going to drive increased global dependency on cooling. Addressing HFCs is one of the most effective ways to achieve near-term climate benefits, and the avoided warming can be doubled if the HFC phasedown is coupled with improving energy efficiency. As practical steps, countries should implement the minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) as soon as possible and make use of the power of public procurement, which can drive market transformations very quickly. Mr. Zaelke also announced a new Cooling Synthesis Report which will be jointly published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and UNEP and launched at COP25.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s HFC Initiative has brought together governments, the private sector, and intergovernmental organizations to disseminate information on and strategies for developing, deploying, and promoting climate-friendly technologies. Capacity building activities, including technology conferences and exhibitions, interactive partner tools, and case studies, have increased knowledge of more sustainable technologies that are available in refrigeration and air conditioning, and provided information on policies that promote the development and deployment of these alternatives. 

The Coalition’s new Efficient Cooling Initiative aim is to enhance energy efficiency in the cooling sector while countries implement the phase-down of HFC refrigerants under the Montreal Protocol. It brings together governments, intergovernmental organizations, and the private sector to build high-level political leadership and facilitate collaboration among stakeholders.  

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Participants at the CCAC Efficient Cooling and HFC side event in Rome, Italy, November 5, 2019

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