Disclaimer: This article was written by Jürgen Fischer, President of Danfoss Cooling.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not
necessarily reflect the views and positions of the coolingEU forum
Across the world, we see the fingerprints of climate change. Meanwhile, the world is joining efforts to provide cooling access for all, mitigate climate change, and deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals. It´s time for countries to step up and ratify the Kigali Amendment. Business is ready to deliver with sustainable and efficient cooling solutions.
Today, while ozone-friendly, many of the refrigerants used in air-conditioners and other cooling equipment have an impact on climate change, making the cooling sector accountable for 8% of the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol will bring about a global phase-down of potent greenhouse gases, representing a long-awaited breakthrough and an important contribution to mitigating climate change.
Technological developments, together with recognized safety standards, have finally made it possible to begin moving towards real long-term solutions with low Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants. We are ready with cooling solutions for countries that ratify the amendment. It is time for countries to step up in support of the ratification.
The future depends on low GWP refrigerants
While essential to many aspects of our daily life, cooling contributes to GHG emissions. Today, air conditioners and electric fans alone account for 10% of global electricity consumption. With the demand for space cooling expected to skyrocket in the coming decades, it is projected that the share of cooling-related CO2 emissions worldwide will rise from 8% to 15% by 2050. So, to fix climate change, we need to fix cooling first.
Alarm bells have been ringing since it was proven that certain substances and refrigerants used in refrigeration and air-conditioning were damaging the ozone layer. Thirty years ago, the Montreal Protocol was intended to slash the use of ozone-depleting substances. It succeeded. The Montreal Protocol is on that account often dubbed as the most successful global agreement as the depletion of the ozone layer has stagnated and is under control.
The challenge now is to continue lowering greenhouse gas emissions from the cooling industry. Emissions of GHGs related to the use of energy for space cooling hinge primarily on the fuel mix in power generation. Nations that ratify the Kigali Amendment commit to cutting the production and consumption of high GWP refrigerants over the next 30 years and replacing them with climate-friendly refrigerant alternatives.
Let´s ratify Kigali and protect our planet
Cooling, and hence refrigerants, are a necessity in today’s world. Climate change is making life in an increasing number of cities unlivable: they are getting hotter and driving up cooling demand. If the increased demand for cooling is satisfied by doing business as usual, we will create a vicious cycle with serious consequences for global warming, in turn creating an ever-more increased demand for cooling
So, we need to get the refrigerant challenge right. While some of yesterday’s solutions have had consequences for today’s environment, the solutions of tomorrow need to use low-GWP refrigerants if we are to protect our planet. If you think about supermarkets, a simple kick-start best-practice would be to reduce refrigerant leakages. With today´s real-time and actionable data, it´s possible to effectively detect refrigerant leaks and act fast.
The training of cooling professionals should also be prioritized to improve servicing and installation of refrigerants. On my end, we try to lead the way and have just concluded our second Refrigerant Week. Refrigerant Week is an initiative, featuring webinars, digital and educational tools, to help our industry colleagues and decision-makers understand the refrigerant changes and make the transition to low GWP refrigerants a reality.
To countries around the world, my message is simple: ratify the Kigali amendment as a matter of urgency to protect our planet and provide the legal certainty needed to invest in future-proof technologies. The industry stands ready to finish the journey and pave the way for using more energy-efficient cooling equipment and climate-friendly refrigerants.
Join me @jfi1963 in the discussion of how we can work together to phase down the usage of high GWP refrigerants.