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Durban, South Africa— Today African ministers of the environment at the 17th session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) called for fast action on short lived climate pollutants, or super pollutants, — methane, tropospheric ozone, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)— for climate mitigation. 

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s Integrated Assessment of Black Carbon and Tropospheric Ozone confirmed taking fast, ambitious action to reduce super pollutants can cut the rate of global warming in half and Arctic warming by up to two-thirds. Further nothing, aggressive cuts to super pollutant emissions can avoid twice the warming that aggressive cuts to CO2 can by mid-century, and deliver multiple benefits for sustainable development and human well-being.

In decision AMCEN 17/ 2 on climate change, the ministers, “emphasize the benefits of improving air quality, including through managing, and as nationally appropriate reducing short-lived climate pollutants, to environment, agriculture, health and forest conservation, while responding to agenda 2063 aspirations and the SDGs , noting the need for assessment of linkages between policies to address air pollution and policies to address climate change.”

The ministers acknowledged the importance of the recent findings of the international scientific community on climate change, including the three recent special reports of the IPCC, Report on Global Warming of 1.5°CClimate Change and Land ReportOcean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, all which also note the importance of super pollutant mitigation for climate action. 

Further, the ministers urged African states which have not yet ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to ratify and implement it as soon as possible (decision AMCEN17/1), and urged Parties to the Montreal Protocol to adopt action plans “preventing the market penetration of obsolete equipment while facilitating access to secure and energy-efficient technologies.”

A combined strategy to improve the energy efficiency of cooling equipment while phasing down HFC refrigerants under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol presents one of the biggest mitigation opportunities available today. The Montreal Protocol’s 2018 quadrennial Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion, confirmed that a fast phasedown of HFCs could avoid up to 0.5°C of warming, with the initial schedule of the Kigali Amendment capturing 90% of this potential (0.44°C; range 0.4-0.5°C), and can capture the rest with an accelerated schedule, or leapfrog strategy. Beyond phasing down HFCs, improving the energy efficiency of air conditioners and other cooling equipment has the potential to double the climate benefits of the Kigali Amendment in the near-term. 

Lawrence Berkeley National Energy Laboratory calculates that deploying today’s best available energy efficient technologies for stationary air conditioning and refrigeration can cut cumulative emissions from the stationary air conditioning and refrigeration sectors by 38–60 GtCO2e by 2030, by 130–260 GtCO2e by 2050, and by 210­­–460 by 2060, depending on future rates of de-carbonization of electricity generation. 

Like the strategies for reducing all super pollutants, the strategies for improving energy efficiency of cooling equipment can be deployed quickly, at scale, and at low cost.

The decisions were adopted by Africa’s environment ministers at the 17th session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, held under the theme “Taking action for Environmental Sustainability and Prosperity in Africa”, which convened at the Olive Convention Center in Durban 11-15 November.

Goal to Reduce Hunger, Increase Farm Incomes, Reduce Methane Emissions; One-Third of Food Now Wasted Globally with Lack of Refrigeration Major Cause

Rome, Italy – More than 50 nations, and their environment ministers and heads of delegations of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol agreed today to a declaration to promote innovation of energy efficient solutions and technologies in the development of so-called “cold chains”, cooling and refrigeration, to reduce food loss and waste, and curb resulting powerful greenhouse gas methane and HFC emissions.

Cold chains, including production, storage, and distribution activities, preserve, extend, and ensures the shelf-life of products, keeping food fresh. The agricultural cold chain represents nearly 30% of global HFC usage, by ways of comparison, air conditioning in vehicles uses nearly 25%, room air conditioning uses is 35%.

The lack of adequate cold chains is responsible for about 9% of lost production of perishable foods in developed countries and 23% in developing countries, contributing to financial losses of almost $1 trillion annually and 4.4 Billion tons of CO2e per year to climate emissions. According to one leading study, expansion of cold chains in developing countries could cut GHG emissions from food waste in half.

The list of signatories includes the European Union, the United States, several dozen developing nations, along with many others.

The declaration makes note of the key role these cold chains play in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to, ending hunger and poverty, food security, improved nutrition, climate action, sustainable agriculture and fisheries, health and well-being. The Rome Declaration on the contribution of the Montreal Protocol to a sustainable cold chain to reduce food losses, states: 

We, the ministers and heads of delegation of the following parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, European Union, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia (Republic of the), Germany, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Libya, Luxembourg, Maldives, Micronesia (Federated States of), Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Uganda, United States of America, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam,

Considering the discussions at the round table opening the high-level segment of the Thirty‑First Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which has a prominent role in reducing food losses,

Recalling that about one-third of all food produced globally for human consumption is either lost or wasted, which has severe impacts on farmers’ incomes and precious resources such as land, water and energy and generates greenhouse gases,

Reaffirming the cooperation among parties in implementing the Montreal Protocol and recognizing that the Montreal Protocol and its Kigali Amendment have raised awareness of the need to develop sustainable and efficient solutions in the refrigeration and air-conditioning sector to meet future cooling demand, including cold-chain initiatives for food preservation,

Aware of the key role of the cold chain in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals related to, inter alia, ending hunger and poverty, food security, improved nutrition, climate action, sustainable agriculture and fisheries, health and well-being,

1.  Stress the importance of pursuing national action and international cooperation to promote the development of the cold chain, including by using sustainable and environmentally friendly refrigeration to reduce food loss;

2.  Underscore the multiple benefits of promoting the exchange of information on the contribution of the cold chain to the Sustainable Development Goals and encourage the ongoing work under the Montreal Protocol to this end;

3.  Call for strengthening cooperation and coordination between Governments, the institutions of the Montreal Protocol, the specialized agencies of the United Nations, existing private and public initiatives and all relevant stakeholders to exchange knowledge and promote innovation of energy-efficient solutions and technologies that reduce the use of substances controlled by the Montreal Protocol in the development of the cold chain, thereby contributing to the reduction of food loss and waste.

Rome, 8 November 2019

The declaration was adopted at the 31st Meeting of the Parties of the Montreal Protocol (MOP), which convened in Rome 4-8 November and took place at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. A high-level roundtable discussion on the topic was convened at the MOP where the declaration was launched.  

“From 2010 to 2016, food loss and waste contributed to roughly 8 to 10% of total anthropogenic emissions. With a growing population and more climate stress, the world can’t afford to waste food. Yet that’s exactly what we’ve been doing.  We’re losing calories needed for a healthy population, and adding super climate pollutants in the form of methane to further warm the world,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable development. “The Montreal Protocol can reduce this waste by helping build super-efficient cold chains to keep food fresh from farm to table, with the potential to double farmer incomes” he added.

The Rome Declaration on the contribution of the Montreal Protocol to a sustainable cold chain to reduce food losses is available here.

UNEP Briefing note on Sustainable Cold Chain and Food Loss Reduction is available here

Washington, DC — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), along with 14 co-sponsors, introduced legislation today phasing down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), potent greenhouse gases widely used in refrigerators and air conditioners and subject to a global phase down under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

The Montreal Protocol’s 2018 quadrennial Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion, confirmed that a fast phasedown of HFCs could avoid up to 0.5°C of warming, with the initial schedule of the Kigali Amendment capturing 90% of this potential (0.44°C; range 0.4-0.5°C), and can capture the rest with an accelerated schedule, or leapfrog strategy. 

The Scientific Assessment further noted that beyond phasing down HFCs, improving the energy efficiency of air conditioners and other cooling equipment has the potential to double the climate benefits of the Kigali Amendment in the near-term. Lawrence Berkeley National Energy Laboratory calculates that deploying today’s best available energy efficient technologies for stationary air conditioning and refrigeration can cut cumulative emissions from the stationary air conditioning and refrigeration sectors by 38–60 GtCO2e by 2030, by 130–260 GtCO2e by 2050, and by 210­­–460 by 2060, depending on future rates of de-carbonization of electricity generation.

The bill, which is consistent with the Kigali Amendment’s phase down schedule, has drawn significant bipartisan support, given the broad consensus among U.S. manufacturers seeking to capitalize on a transition to climate-friendly substitutes and alternatives, many of which are made in the United States.

The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.)

“There’s always been a strong economic case for phasing down HFCs,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. “And there’s always been a strong environmental case. Both are coming together in this legislation, which would be a rare win for all sides.”

Under the Obama Administration, the United States led the way in brokering the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, adopted October 2016. To date, the  Amendment has been ratified by 88 partiesWhile the U.S. industry supports ratification, the U.S. administration has not yet indicated whether it will send the amendment to the Senate for its advice and consent. In the void left by federal inaction, several states, led by California, have begun restricting certain uses of HFCs.  

The legislation, introduced in the Senate, is based on existing federal regulatory programs that phased out earlier generations of refrigerants, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These programs are familiar to the environmental community and industry and largely seen as effective in balancing environmental and economic interests while incentivizing further investment in climate-friendly technologies, where U.S. industry has always played a leading role. 

The legislation also encourages and, in some cases, mandates the “reclaim” of used HFCs, which is a form of recycling. This helps dampen the need to produce new HFC compounds in the future while ensuring an adequate supply of HFCs for servicing existing equipment. Similarly, the bill provides for sector-based use restrictions, which is expected to allow some of the larger volume sectors to complete a transition out of HFCs well ahead of the broader phase down. 

A companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives is being actively discussed and is likely to be introduced in the coming weeks.

Released for the 31st Meeting of the Parties of the Montreal Protocol, November 2019

The Kigali Amendment will contribute significantly to reducing global warming

Phasing down HFCs has the potential to avoid up to 0.5°C of warming by the end of the century. The initial phasedown schedule of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which entered into force 1 January 2019, will  achieve about 90% of this (see discussion by The Scientific Assessment Panel to the Montreal Protocol in their 2018 Assessment of Ozone Depletion.)

  • Faster implementation of the Kigali Amendment with the goal of stopping HFC production completely in 2020 would avoid the build-up of “banks” of HFCs embedded in cooling equipment and make an even greater mitigation contribution. Similar mitigation would come from capturing the banks of HFCs at product end-of-life by recycling or destroying them.

There are significant climate benefits from linking the phasedown of HFCs with energy efficiency improvements in cooling systems

According to the Montreal Protocol’s Scientific Assessment Panel “improvements in energy efficiency in refrigeration and air-conditioner equipment during the transition to low-GWP alternative refrigerants can potentially double the climate benefits of the HFC phasedown of the Kigali Amendment.”

The August 2019 analysis by the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory further established fast action on HFCs and implementation of best available technology for cooling efficiency can avoid 210–460 GtCO2e by 2060. 

  • LBNL also calculates that just improving the efficiency of room AC by 30% alone couldsave enough electricity to avoid up to 1,550 medium-size peak power plants. 

Energy efficiency improvements are readily realized for many cooling applications, such as residential ACs and refrigerators, mobile ACs, and commercial refrigeration. 

  • Well-proven policy options to promote energy efficiency include well-designed Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) and labels, and the development of National Cooling Action Plans, such as those adopted in China, India, and Rwanda.

International cooperation remains essential for delivering needed climate mitigation

The need to act on HFCs and cooling is being recognized at the highest levels, including with the heads of state and government Biarritz Pledge for Fast Action on Efficient Cooling launched by President Macron of France at the G7, the ministerial-led Efficient Cooling Initiative of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the platform of the Cool Coalition, and the philanthropic collaborative, the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP).

Washington, DC, 25 September 2019—Following the warning from the United Nations Climate Action Summit earlier this week, that climate pledges must increase five-fold to keep the planet from warming more than 1.5ºC, today the IPCC released its Summary for Policymakers for its Special Report on Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, describing the accelerating impacts of climate change on ocean, coastal, polar, and mountain ecosystems. 

Most critically the IPCC Report notes the cryosphere is already experiencing a number of globally consequential tipping elements and climate feedback loops that could permanently alter regional and global climate. In the next few decades, these will include mass loss from glaciers, permafrost thaw, and decline in Arctic snow cover and sea ice.

In particular, these cascading feedbacks include the loss of Arctic sea ice, which the IPCC Report notes has decreased extensively in recent years, in both extent and thickness of ice, and that trend will continue unless emissions can be halted. Last week the Arctic sea ice reached its summer minimum, tied for the second-lowest in modern record-keeping. The strong multi-year ice is down to one percent.

Arctic sea ice serves as a great white shield, reflecting heat back into the atmosphere. As it melts it exposes the darker seawater, which absorbs heat instead. This, in turn, accelerates warming in the region and increases the thawing of permafrost—which stores huge reservoirs of carbon dioxide and methane, along with nitrous oxide. The IPCC Report notes “even if global warming is limited to well below 2°C, around 25% of the near-surface (3-4 meter depth) permafrost will thaw by 2100. If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase strongly, there is a potential that around 70% near-surface permafrost could be lost.” Global permafrost thawing releases its ancient stores of methane, a super climate pollutant more than 80 times more potent at trapping warming than carbon dioxide over the next 20 years.

“Losing the reflective power of Arctic sea ice will lead to warming equivalent to emitting one trillion tons of CO2, which will advance the 2ºC guardrail by 25 years,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development, quoting from a new study that was published too late to be included in the IPCC Report. (For context, humans have released 2.4 trillion tons of carbon dioxide since pre-industrial times, including from land-use changes.)

“We could lose the remaining Arctic sea ice in 15 years. The bottom line is that it’s not possible to keep the global climate-safe without saving the Arctic sea ice,” he added.

The IPCC Report concludes:

“This assessment of the ocean and cryosphere in a changing climate reveals the benefits of ambitious mitigation and effective adaptation for sustainable development and, conversely, the escalating costs and risks of delayed action. The potential to chart Climate Resilient Development Pathways varies within and among ocean, high mountain, and polar land regions. Realising this potential depends on transformative change. This highlights the urgency of prioritising timely, ambitious, coordinated, and enduring action. (very high confidence)”. (emphasis added)

As for the oceans, the IPCC Report summarizes the impacts of acidification, deoxygenation, and increased warming on marine life, and the implications on global food security and the livelihood of populations that depend on the oceans. Further, continued rising temperatures have exacerbated the melting of ice sheets that leads to increased sea levels, putting people that live in low-lying areas at risk from rising seas as well as extreme storm surge events. The IPCC predicts a rise of up to about 1 meter of sea-level rise by 2100 if emissions aren’t quickly slashed, with the rate of sea-level rise accelerating over time.

The IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate is here.

The IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC is here and its Climate Change and Land Report is here.

An advance chapter of the 2019 UNEP Emissions Gap Report is here.

Released for UN Secretary-General Summit

At the current pace, the planet will add 50% more warming to surpass the 1.5°C temperature threshold as early as 2030, making it more difficult for human and natural systems to adapt. 

Taking fast, ambitious action to reduce short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs)- methane, tropospheric ozone, black carbon, and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)— can cut the rate of global warming in half and Arctic warming by up to two-thirds

  • Aggressive cuts to SLCP emissions can avoid twice the warming that aggressive cuts to CO2 can by mid-century, and deliver multiple benefits for sustainable development and human well-being.

A combined strategy to improve the energy efficiency of cooling equipment while phasing down HFC refrigerants under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol presents one of the biggest mitigation opportunities available today. 

  • Like the strategies for reducing HFCs, the strategies for improving the energy efficiency of cooling equipment can be deployed quickly, at scale, and at low cost.  

In the climate battle, slow success is no success.

Fast mitigation may still avoid complete loss of sea ice

12 June 2019 — Losing the remaining Arctic sea ice and its reflective power to send incoming solar energy safely back to space is equivalent to adding one trillion tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, on top of the 2.4 trillion emitted since the Industrial Age. This roughly equates to adding 25 years of additional global CO2 emissions. These are the conclusions of a new study formally published in Geophysical Research Letters this week.

Radiative Heating of an Ice-Free Arctic Ocean, by K. Pistone, I. Eisenman, and V. Ramanathan used direct satellite observations to assess the impact of ice-free Arctic Ocean. The authors conclude the loss of sea ice will add 21 W/m2 of solar heating to the region, relative to the 1979 baseline, which averaged over the globe amounts to 0.71 W/m2. (For context, forcing from CO2 from pre-industrial to 2011 was 1.83 W/m2.)  This forcing is equivalent to an increase in CO2 concentration from 400 to 456.7 ppm.

“Losing the reflective power of Arctic sea ice will lead to warming equivalent to one trillion tons of CO2 and advance the 2ºC guardrail by 25 years. Any rational policy would make preventing this a top climate priority for world leaders,” said author V. Ramanathan, Professor of atmospheric and climate sciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego.

While the paper presents a worst-case scenario, observation-based research shows the Arctic is rapidly destabilizing, and models are systematically underestimating this. The authors note that “there is a striking bias between the modeled Arctic sea ice changes and the observations [and that] the observed Arctic sea ice retreat per degree of global warming is 2.1 times larger than” relevant model results, “with no model … simulating a value as extreme as the observations”, suggesting “substantial systematic biases in the model projections of the level of global warming at which the Arctic becomes annually ice-free.”

An earlier study by the same team calculated that the ice lost in the Arctic between 1979 and 2011 added 6.4 W/m2 to the Arctic- which averaged globally – is equivalent to 25% as much as forcing as from CO2 during the same time period. Additional research shows that strong, multi-year ice is down to 1% of the existing ice. There is great uncertainty about the timing of when the Arctic could become ice-free, with some research suggesting that recent trends could lead to an ice-free Arctic as early as the 2020s and others suggesting 2030 or later depending on future warming and natural variability.

For the baseline calculations, the authors assumed that cloud cover would remain constant. However, they calculate that if the loss of the Arctic ice is accompanied by a complete loss of cloud cover, the total added warming could be three times greater. Conversely, if the Arctic experienced complete cloud cover, the total warming could be half as much. Under all scenarios considered, the study concludes that “the radiative heating of complete Arctic sea ice loss could substantially accelerate the rate of future global warming, advancing global warming,” and “drastically shorten the time available to adapt to climate changes and the time for achieving carbon neutrality.”

“It’s increasingly clear that we can’t keep the climate safe without saving the Arctic. Adding 21 W/m2 will kick off a wicked cascade of impacts that will reverberate throughout the world,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. “Because the Arctic’s role in regulating the global climate is a critical link in the chain of climate protection it should be the focus of an all-out effort to keep it strong and safe, including strategies to rebuild strong multi-year ice.”

Zaelke continued, “this requires cutting emissions of short-lived pollutants, which can cut Arctic warming by more than half, and speeding up strategies to remove carbon dioxide we’ve already emitted, including natural processes that use photosynthesis to pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in trees, grasslands, wetlands, and other biomass, and soils. We also need a crash program to speed mechanical means of direct air capture of carbon dioxide, to remove up to a trillion tons of carbon dioxide over the century. And we need to expedite the study of solar radiation management.”

The study is here (behind paywall).

IGSD’s plain language summary of the study is here.

India’s EESL has begun selling seven-star rated Voltas inverter-air room conditioners (RACs) at a discount price of ₹41,300 (US$603) for a 1.5-tonne unit, which is cheaper than a five-star rated AC. The price reduction is the result of EESL bulk procurement of 50,000 RACs.

The ISEER 5.4 AC using lower-global warming potential R-32 refrigerant will reduce the carbon footprint of cooling by 50%. These inverter ACs are designed to be efficient up to 52°Centigrade and over a range of voltage. In the first phase EESL will distribute on a first come, first served basis to the customers of BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL), BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL) and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (Tata Power-DDL). The pledge is to install within 48 hours of ordering on  a dedicated online e-commerce site.

“Starting in 2016 the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD) with the advice of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) helped align government policy to support EESL bulk procurement of super-efficient ACs,” said Stephen O. Andersen IGSD Research Director.” “This is a welcome strengthening of super-efficiency at an affordable price.”

“Affordable and sustainable cooling solutions are what the world needs. EESL has, time and again, proven that using bulk purchasing power is a powerful tool to spur market transformation,” said Karan Mangotra, TERI Associate Director, Growth, Diversification & Commercialization.

“This is exactly the kind of fast action needed to slow global warming before Earth passes a tipping point beyond which there is no recovery within human scale,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of IGSD. “Imagine how much more climate protection we could achieve if every country had an organization like EESL transforming markets for sustainable cooling that protects climate for future generations!” EESL’s procurement requirements also prohibit the use of ozone-depleting refrigerants to ensure continuing progress protecting the stratospheric ozone layer.

More here.

Today China released its Green and High-Efficiency Cooling Action Plan [绿色高效制冷行动方案], in part to implement the commitments in the bilateral agreement between President Xi and President Macron on 26 March 2019. This landmark bilateral agreement indicates, among other things, that the two countries “pledge to work together to promote the ratification and implementation of the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol on the phasedown of HFCs and to promote the improvement of energy efficiency standards in the cooling sector.

The China Cooling Action Plan sets forth targets for cooling-product energy efficiency improvement by 2022 and 2030. The Plan also describes key cooling-related priorities for China, including:

  • strengthening energy efficiency standards; 
  • expanding the supply of green and high-efficiency cooling products, including through increased R&D on low-GWP and high-efficiency refrigerants; 
  • promoting green and high-efficiency cooling product consumption, including through government and enterprise green procurement; 
  • advancing energy-saving transformations, including through demonstration projects involving retrofits of central air-conditioning systems, energy efficiency upgrades to data-center cooling systems, cooling-system retrofits  for zones and parks, and upgrades of cold-chain logistics; and
  • deepening international cooperation, including on HFC phase out pursuant to the Montreal Protocoland on the promotion of green and high-efficiency cooling for all, in both domestic and export markets, through mechanisms such as the Belt and Road Green Cooling Initiative.

The China Cooling Action Plan also calls for strengthened compliance accountability in the cooling energy efficiency area, including through enforcement spot checks, and release of compliance information through the national credit information public disclosure platforms.

IGSD‘s English translation of the China Cooling Action Plan and the associated transmittal Circular is available here, to facilitate further discussion and understanding among non-Chinese readers. 

The China Cooling Action Plan demonstrates China’s ambition and leadership in improving cooling energy efficiency. The China Cooling Action Plan has the force of law, but meaningful and effective implementation of the Plan’s objectives still requires further implementing measures from and vigilance of the issuing agencies.

But fast action can cut warming quickly, slow feedbacks, and reduce risk of tipping points

To help reduce the worst of climate impacts, it is fundamental to understand Earth’s Polar Regions. The Poles are particularly vulnerable to rising temperatures, and are home to a number of globally consequential tipping elements and climate feedback loops that could permanently alter the state of the global and regional climate. As temperatures rise, these Polar mechanisms bring us closer and closer to irreversible climate change.

IGSD’s Primer on Polar Warming and Implications for Global Climate Change provides a detailed explanation of the current state of the climate as it pertains to the Polar Regions and projections of how that may change in the future, particularly in the near term. A general discussion of feedbacks and tipping points provides the background for a deep understanding of issues specific to the Polar Regions: declining Arctic sea ice, thawing permafrost, and melting of the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica that can contribute to significant sea-level rise.

The Polar Primer highlights research on fast mitigation to reduce the rate of warming, especially through cuts to short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), including methane, tropospheric ozone, black carbon, and HFCs, which are being phased down under the 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.The Polar Primer notes organizations currently working in the realm of SLCPs or the Polar Regions, including additional existing legal and political frameworks and opportunities for enhancing action for added benefit and greater likelihood of achieving the Paris Agreement goals.

As with other IGSD primers, this working paper will be updated regularly with the latest scientific and policy information.

IGSD Primer, Polar Warming and Implications for Global Climate Change, available for download here.