The 28th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP28 UAE) will take place at Expo City Dubai from November 30 – December 12, 2023. The Conference is expected to convene over 70,000 participants, including heads of state, government officials, international industry leaders, private sector, representatives, academics, experts, youth and non-state actors.
As mandated by the Paris Climate Agreement, COP28 UAE will deliver the first-ever Global Stocktake – a comprehensive evaluation progress against climate goals.
The UAE will lead a process for all parties to agree upon a clear roadmap to accelerate progress through a pragmatic global energy transition and a “leave no one behind” approach to inclusive climate action.
As the Earth warms at a dangerous pace, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)-led Cool Coalition, with the United Arab Emirates’ incoming presidency of COP28, announced the development of a Global Cooling Pledge and a “Cool COP Menu of Actions” that will feature prominently at COP28. The Menu will be defined over the coming months in close collaboration with partners including the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL).
Almost 2.5 billion people do not have access to climate-friendly cooling solutions, according to SEforALL. Over 1 billion people are at high risk from extreme heat due to a lack of cooling access – the vast majority living in in Africa and Asia.
However, conventional cooling, such as air conditioning, is responsible for over seven per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. If not managed properly, energy needs for space cooling will triple by 2050, together with associated emissions.
“Expanding cooling will protect the most vulnerable communities from extreme heat, keep food fresh and vaccines safe, employees productive and digital economies viable,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director at UNEP. As cooling expands, we need to prevent cooling-related greenhouse gas emissions from adding fuel to the climate fire. I am therefore pleased that cooling has been put on the global agenda of the next UN Climate Change Conference.”
The initiative provides incentives to governments and non-state 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.
“The global rise in temperatures is a direct threat to the health and prosperity of billions of people. But addressing this challenge should not result in further damage. We must move away from cooling systems that are inefficient and polluting and provide equitable access to climate-friendly cooling solutions. COP28 UAE is committed to innovative technologies and partnerships that deliver results. We will work with the Cool Coalition and UNEP to elevate this issue and look forward to showcasing solutions at COP28 this year.” said His Excellency Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 President-Designate.
Run-up to COP28
In the run-up to COP28, which will take place from 30 November to 12 December at Expo City Dubai, the Cool COP Menu of Actions will enable governments, the private sector, development banks, financial institutions, and philanthropies to contribute to wider and fairer access to cooling services while paving the way for sustainable cooling solutions.
“Maldives has been able to complete the phase down of HCFC in 2020, 10 years ahead of the timeline set by Montreal Protocol. Yet, fragile countries like Maldives, are paying the high price of non-action on cooling: today, we are experiencing deadly loss and damage from extreme heat and broken cold chains,” said Khadeeja Naseem, Minister pf State for Environment, Climate Change and Technologies of Maldives, who is among the early supporters of this initiative “It is of utmost importance that access to sustainable and efficient cooling systems be equitable Maldives encourage all countries, regardless of developed or developing economic status, to undertake ambitious action in their cooling sector.”
To galvanise support for sustainable cooling, Denmark has announced that their Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy Dan Jørgensen will step in as a Cool Champion.
“Denmark decided to become a Cool Champion to promote global action on sustainable cooling and bring it to the 2.5 billion people in the global south who lack access,” said Dan Jørgensen , Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy, Denmark .”Sustainable cooling is not only the blind spot of the energy transition but can also bring critical co-benefits including food security and health,” he added.
Cooling stocktake report
UNEP will publish a Cooling Stocktake report ahead of COP28. The report will assess implemented country actions on sustainable cooling, evaluate new opportunities and offer insights into political action that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the cooling sector.
“Today we have heard clearly from the COP 28 Presidency that sustainable cooling is on the agenda for 2023 – and so it should be. Access to cooling is an issue of equity for the over 1 billion people who face serious cooling access risks. Life doesn’t stop when temperatures go above 35 degrees. But when it does, equality of opportunity, productivity, and health is at stake for the most vulnerable. I hope you’ll join me this year in working hard to address this,” said Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy
The Global Stocktake of the Paris Agreement (GST) is a key process for COP28 to gauge the world’s collective progress towards the goals of the agreement and agree on a new pathway to 2030.