The United States on Tuesday joined at least 60 other countries in backing a Global Cooling Pledge at the United Nations’ COP28 climate summit in Dubai.
The Global Cooling Pledge calls for countries to reduce by 2050 their cooling-related emissions by at least 68% compared to 2022 levels. The agreement would mark the world’s first collective focus on energy emissions from the cooling sector—an industry that is expected to grow as temperatures climb.
In fact, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) expects installed cooling capacity like air conditioners to triple by 2050, with cooling emissions forecast to surge between 4.4 billion and 6.1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in that time.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), climate-friendly cooling could not only cut years of greenhouse gas emissions, it could save trillions of dollars worldwide.
“Higher efficiency standards are one of the most effective tools governments have to meet energy and environmental objectives. By improving cooling efficiency, they can reduce the need for new power plants, cut emissions and save consumers money,” said IEA Executive Director Dr. Fatih Birol.
One U.S. official told Reuters that the government is eager to work on ways to boost the efficiency of cooling technologies and tamp down the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a powerful greenhouse gas released by air conditioners and refrigerators.
In October, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set a new rule restricting the use of HFCs beginning from 2025 to 2028.
Organizers of COP28 (the 28th annual Conference of Parties) climate summit are hoping to ultimately see at least 80 countries sign the cooling pledge.
Meanwhile, at least 118 countries have support a senate COP28 pledge to triple renewable energy and double energy efficiency by 2030, which are considered less complex and less expensive to implement than the cooling goal.