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The COP28 President-Designate emphasized the urgency of swift policy action to address cooling-related emissions. Image Credit: AFP

Goa: During the 14th Clean Energy Ministerial, which took place alongside the G20 Energy Transitions Ministerial Meeting, Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, the Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and COP28 President-Designate, made a compelling call to nations to participate in the Global Cooling Pledge. This partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the COP28 Presidency was announced earlier in the year.

The Global Cooling Pledge, in collaboration with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll), aims to expand cooling infrastructure to safeguard vulnerable communities, particularly in the global south, Small Island States, and Least Developed Countries, from extreme heat. By providing access to cooling technologies, the initiative seeks to preserve food freshness and ensure the safe storage of vaccines.

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In July, the COP28 President-Designate unveiled a comprehensive plan for COP28, centered around four pillars: accelerating the energy transition, enhancing climate finance mechanisms, prioritizing people’s well-being and livelihoods, and promoting inclusivity.

The Global Cooling Pledge encourages governments and stakeholders to take action in five key areas: adopting nature-based solutions, implementing super-efficient appliances, strengthening food and vaccine cold chains, establishing district cooling systems, and formulating National Cooling Action Plans.

Addressing the audience, the COP28 President-Designate emphasized the urgency of swift policy action to address cooling-related emissions. Without robust measures, emissions from the cooling sector are projected to increase by 7 to 10 per cent. He stressed the need for a rapid transition to energy-efficient and climate-friendly cooling to tackle this challenge.

Al Jaber highlighted the importance of cooling as a matter of climate justice, particularly for the most vulnerable states. He emphasized how cooling is integral to climate mitigation and adaptation efforts, as it significantly impacts food security, healthcare access, and productivity.

The COP28 President-Designate emphasized the pivotal role of sustainable cooling in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combating heat stress. “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,” he said. “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.”