Tackling climate and ozone with sustainable cooling

air condition

The potential of solutions like natural refrigerants, however, remains largely untapped. Scaling up these technologies and strategies requires a step change. Photo: Cool up

Rising temperatures will lead to increased demand for cooling, which is compounded by growing populations, urbanisation, and higher standards of living. As cooling demand grows, the indirect Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity consumption and the direct emissions from refrigerants with high global warming potential will increase. This creates a vicious cycle in which more cooling begets more warming. The cooling challenge is to break this vicious cycle and tackle growing cooling demand while mitigating its adverse impacts on the ozone layer and the climate.

Technical solutions and building design strategies to tackle the cooling challenge are already at our disposal. Natural refrigerants, for example, have no impact on the ozone layer and a very low global warming potential compared to conventional refrigerants. Replacing HCFC and HFC refrigerants with natural refrigerants not only protects the ozone layer but could avoid up to 0.4°C of global temperature increase by 2100. The potential of solutions like natural refrigerants, however, remains largely untapped. Scaling up these technologies and strategies requires a step change. This is a big task. Cool Up supports partner countries in realising catalytic change in the refrigeration and air conditioning sector with a holistic and cross-sectoral approach. 

Cool Up: Upscaling Sustainable Cooling

The new IKI project ‘Cool Up: Upscaling Sustainable Cooling’, implemented by Guidehouse Germany GmbH and partners,  aims to create catalytic change within the refrigeration and air conditioning sector by developing lasting institutional capacity, raising awareness, facilitating knowledge exchange, and supporting the development of public and private infrastructure. Through these efforts, Cool Up ultimately aims to upscale the deployment of sustainable cooling technologies in the market. By scaling up sustainable cooling and making natural refrigerants mainstream, Cool Up can support both the global ozone and climate change agendas. The accelerated technological change that Cool Up supports could reduce cooling demand and enable early implementation of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol and the Paris Agreement.

To take on this challenge, ten partner organizations will work together over the course of six years across four target countries. Cool Up started in December 2020 and will run for six years. In the coming months and years, Cool Up will be build out its multi-faceted approach across the entire cooling value chain based on the needs identified by country counterparts. The three primary workstreams of Cool Up include policy and regulatory support, analysis of technology and markets, and development of business and financing models.

Cutting across these primary workstreams, are Cool Up’s stakeholder dialogues, capacity building, and dissemination efforts. First exchanges have already taken place in all countries. This will be complemented by capacity building in the form of technical skills training, curriculum development, and regional conferences. Through its communication channels such as the website, and social media, Cool Up also aims to raise awareness and support for sustainable cooling amongst local stakeholders.


Attended by stakeholders from 32 countries representing all facets of the sustainable cooling landscape, the public launch event on 6 October kicked off the programme and served as a platform for participating country governments to present their motivation to support the transition to sustainable cooling. The Cool Up team and Dr. Christian Meineke of the German Ministry for the Environment (BMU) also introduced the programme, highlighting it’s holistic and cross-sector approach to tackling the cooling challenge. The Cool Up programme promotes accelerated technological change and early implementation of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol and Paris Agreement in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.

Through the presentations of country governments, it became clear that there is considerable potential and momentum to upscale sustainable cooling technologies across the region. Many stakeholders from across the industry, policy, and financing landscapes are receptive to advancements that can help upscale sustainable cooling. Moderator and Cool Up programme Director Katja Eisbrenner noted, “It’s inspiring to see so many key players in the sustainable cooling space bring such enthusiasm for Kigali implementation and natural refrigerants”.

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