The global cooling pledge, a collaboration between the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the COP28 Presidency, was first announced earlier this year. Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, the United Arab Emirates’ Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and COP28 President-Designate, urged nations to sign on.
The Global Cooling Pledge, which works closely with IRENA and SEforAll, aims to increase cooling in order to shield the most vulnerable populations from extreme heat, particularly in the global south, Small Island States, and Least Developed Countries, as well as to preserve food and vaccines.
Al Jaber made his remarks during a panel discussion on sustainable cooling systems, on the sidelines of the G20 Energy Transitions Ministerial Meeting.
In his remarks, he reiterated his commitment to the Pledge, saying: “We cannot expand cooling on a business-as-usual basis. Without strong policy action, emissions from the sector will rise between 7 to 10 percent from today. To solve this dilemma, we need a rapid transition to energy-efficient and climate-friendly cooling.”
He stressed that the cooling dilemma can provide cooling access to those who need it without undermining the energy transition.
Al Jaber highlighted the plight of the most vulnerable states and cooling as a matter of climate justice, saying: “Food and medicine all depend on cooling. It is a topic of critical importance across climate mitigation and adaptation.”
He added: “Cooling is also a matter of climate justice ─ with heat disproportionately impacting lower-income communities and families.”
“In a warming world, sustainable cooling is critical for reducing GHG emissions, protecting against heat stress, enabling productivity, reducing food loss, and enhancing access to healthcare.”
He thanked Dan Jergensen, Minister of Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy of Denmark, and Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of Science and Technology of India, for their commitment to being Cool Champions and urged countries to unite and join the pledge.
Earlier in July, Al Jaber announced his approach and plan for COP28 based on an ambitious response to the Global Stocktake and based on four pillars: Fast Tracking the energy transition, fixing climate finance, focusing on people, lives, and livelihoods, and underpinning everything with full inclusivity.
The initiative provides incentives to governments and all stakeholders to act on sustainable cooling in five areas: nature-based solutions, super-efficient appliances, food and vaccine cold chains, district cooling, and National Cooling Action Plans.
“We have a unique opportunity to deliver a significant, collective response to the cooling challenge via the Global Cooling Pledge. This pledge aims to improve energy efficiency and increase access to sustainable cooling. It is gaining momentum with more than 20 early supporters ─ including India and Denmark. But there is more to be done. I call on all countries to join the Global Cooling Pledge in the lead-up to COP28,” said Al Jaber.