A new report from the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Energy Agency has urged that one of the major ways to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and limiting climate change is to converting to energy-efficient cooling systems with the average world temperature is rising.
According to the report titled “Cooling Emissions and Policy Synthesis”, as much as 460 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions globally in the next four decades could be cut if the world shifts to energy-efficient air conditioning appliances. That number is equivalent to about eight years of emissions calculated on the basis of emissions of 2018.
An amount of about $2.9 trillion by 2050 could also be saved if the use of energy efficiency of air conditioners worldwide is doubled. The report said that savings can be achieved simply by reducing the costs of electricity generation and distribution costs. There can also be an increase of gross domestic product of the world by 3.5 per cent by increasing of a spending on this purpose by an additional $1 trillion, the IEA said. That would also result in creation of millions of jobs and reduce global carbon emissions.
It is estimated that 2020 will certainly be among the hottest years in recorded history based on the current global warming trajectory. The previous year was the second-hottest year ever in recorded history which is the culmination of the hottest decade in the history of mankind. The past decade comprised of the six warmest years on record.
According to the report, by the middle of the current century, there will be quadrupling of the total number of air conditioning units globally to reach 14 billion from the current 3.6 billion. That would mean the use of five times more energy for cooling purposes compared to that is needed today. About 80 per cent of the IEA’s forecast capacity for renewables by 2050 is expected to be used up for electricity for cooling purposes alone.
“As governments roll out massive economic stimulus packages to deal with the economic and social impacts of the Covid-19 crisis, they have a unique opportunity to accelerate progress in efficient, climate-friendly cooling,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA.
“Higher efficiency standards are one of the most effective tools governments have to meet energy and environmental objectives,” Birol said. “By improving cooling efficiency, they can reduce the need for new power plants, cut emissions and save consumers money.”
Currently, air conditioners are not available at the homes of a disproportionate number of people with low incomes or are minorities while in the near future, such households would only be able to afford the less energy-efficient systems of air conditioning for their homes that would be wore for the global environment and global warming.
According to recommendations by the U.N. and the IEA in the report, governments across the world should be working on implementing plans to transit from to efficient cooling systems even as countries continue to invest in coronavirus recovery by implementing economic stimulus packages. Such transition plans, as a part of the pandemic packages, could also help in reducing the impact of global climate change, enhance the quality of air and reduce food loss and waste.
“As nations invest in Covid-19 recovery, they have an opportunity to use their resources wisely to reduce climate change, protect nature and reduce risks of further pandemics,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP.
“Efficient, climate-friendly cooling can help to achieve all of these goals,” Andersen said.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)