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cop28 reflection

COP28 Reflections

Cooling for Climate Action: Ministers’ Cool Soundbites

As the planet continues to warm up, the need for more cooling will increase exponentially. But this additional cooling cannot come at the expense of the environment. Energy efficient and sustainable cooling is therefore critical to help keep the planet cool and avoid future emissions.

The Montreal Protocol: Advancing Climate Action in conjunction with the Cool Coalition and Climate Clean Air Coalition hosted a select group of country representatives at Ministerial and senior leadership level at a high-level event on 8 December 2023 and provide their “soundbites” on how their governments are taking action to phase down climate warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and increase the adoption of energy efficient cooling technologies under the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment, and deliver on commitments under the Global Cooling Pledge.

Opening the session, Ms. Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), called on countries to deliver on effective energy efficiency and cooling noting that doing so could cut emissions by over 60% by 2050 according to UNEP’s recently launched Global Cooling Watch Report.

In her keynote speech, H.E. Mariam Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, United Arab Emirates emphasized the many opportunities for cooling, as the transition to cooling not only reduces emissions but also brings tremendous economic benefits. Highlighting the importance of global cooperation to addressing climate change and advancing sustainable cooling practices globally through long-term low global warming impact energy efficiency improvement projects she reconfirmed the UAE’s intention to ratify the Kigali Amendment.

Mr. Adalberto Maluf, National Secretary for the Environment, Air and Environmental Quality of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Brazil: Having experienced significant impacts from extreme weather events, Brazil is committed to taking action to reduce greenhouse gases, implementing measures such as reforestation to meet this commitment. Moreover, the Brazilian government has outlined specific steps to phase down HFCs, pursuing mitigation and adaptation plans and has created the Green City Brazil programme.
H.E. Pheav Sovuthy, Environmental Ministry’s Under Secretary of State, Cambodia: Cambodia’s National Cooling Action Plan plays a crucial role in identifying comprehensive measures to improve energy efficiency, meet regional energy demand and reduce emissions in the cooling sector. It also supports Cambodia's long-term development by promoting a sustainable, clean, green and low-carbon society through the adoption of climate-friendly and energy-efficient technologies in the cooling system, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving living conditions, enhanced vaccine and food storage, and reduced energy costs.
H.E. Andrew Yatilman, Secretary, Department of Environment, Climate Chang and Emergency Management, Federated States of Micronesia: The Federated States of Micronesia was the first to propose the phase-down of HFCs including corresponding regulations as well as regulation of HFC imports and training of customs officials, training of technicians to promote correct equipment installation and engaging with the private sector.
H.E. Yutaka Matsuzawa, Vice Minister for Global Environmental Affairs, Japan: The Kigali Amendment has forged a connection between the climate community and the Montreal community. Since ratifying the Amendment five years ago, Japanese companies develop and supply natural refrigerants with the government introducing a subsidy system to promote refrigerators with natural refrigerants. Currently, 43% of refrigeration warehouses in Japan use natural refrigerants - a concrete outcome following the ratification of the Kigali Amendment.
H.E. Thoriq Ibrahim, Minister of Climate Change, Environment and Energy, Maldives: The government of Maldives is applying the experiences gained from the process of phasing out ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to the ongoing phase-down of HFCs while also conducting training for border officials to stop illegal trade of prohibited chemicals and technicians specializing in refrigeration and air-conditioning. Additionally, to enhance energy efficiency in cooling, the Government of Maldives is focusing on cold services for buildings and designing more buildings utilizing passive cooling methods.
H.R.H. Prince Jaime de Bourbon de Parme, Climate Envoy, Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands: the cooling pledge is a marriage between Paris Agreement and the Montreal Protocol. By addressing potent greenhouse gases and simultaneously focusing on energy efficiency, we could achieve a double gain in mitigating climate change. Moreover, it is important to encourage more countries to join the pledge. The Dutch government is committed to working together at the multilateral level and to helping other nations to adapt and implement similar initiatives.
Mr. Rick Duke, Deputy Special Envoy for Climate, United States of America: The US is actively collaborating with partners to facilitate the implementation of the Kigali Amendment, helping secure nearly a billion dollars in three-year funding to fully support governments in implementing the Amendment. Moreover, the US is in favour of the potential inclusion of cooling efficiency in the allocation of the funding in tandem with HFC transitions.

Key takeaways:

  • Kigali Amendment links the Montreal Protocol to climate.
  • Lessons learned from phasing out CFCs and HCFCs can be applied to the ongoing HFCs phase-down.
  • An integrated approach should be deployed in addressing HFC phase down and implementation of the Kigali Amendment. Measures such as enacting phase-down regulations and monitoring the import of HFCs, training technicians specialized in the installation and maintenance of cooling equipment with HFCs alternatives, collaborating with Customs officers, and engaging with the private sector are important.
  • The establishment of building codes and the design of new buildings with more passive cooling features will help to improve the energy efficiency of cooling in buildings.
  • Need for market creation and subsidies for companies developing and applying natural refrigerants to increase awareness to promote the switch to new refrigerants.
  • Provision of funding to support implementing the Kigali Amendment in full, i.e. HFC transition in tandem with adoption of cooling initiatives.
  • The Global Cooling Pledge is a marriage between the Paris Agreement and the Montreal Protocol. By addressing potent greenhouse gases and focusing on energy efficiency at the same time, we could achieve double gains in climate change mitigation.
  • The Global Cooling Pledge addresses both the adaptation and mitigation benefits of cooling. The priority for adaptation and mitigation is to provide affordable, climate-friendly cooling solutions on a broad scale. There is an urgent need to provide the necessary cooling solutions as well.
  • Joining the Global Cooling Pledge will motivate countries to take further action in the cooling sector and support the work of the Montreal Protocol. It is also cost-effective and offers a range of benefits, including mitigation and adaptation, economic and health benefits.
  • Mitigation plans, adaptation plans, and the National Cooling Action Plan are useful tools for countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency and climate-friendly approaches to cooling and significantly increase access to sustainable cooling. 
  • Inter-ministerial cooperation is necessary to promote low-carbon technologies in cities, buildings, and new construction in the country.
  • International cooperation on climate change, energy efficiency and sustainable cooling is essential. More countries are expected to ratify the Kigali Amendment.