Digging the cold gold for the most vulnerable

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Photo Credit: Zhu Difeng / Shutterstock

There is a myth that cooling technology is just for those who live in hot and humid climates. Let me break this illusion. Cooling is needed all around the world.  How else do you think we would keep the food fresh and safe to eat? Or create and preserve medicines for people to shield their lives? Even the Internet relies on cooling technology to keep servers in massive data centers from overheating.

Wherever you are on the planet, you need cooling. It is an essential need in everyone´s daily life.  And many of the linkages relevant to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – zero hunger, no poverty, economic growth, sustainable cities - are contingent on access to cooling.

So, how can we allow people to stay cool without straining energy systems or the planet?  The industry plays a key role in making sure we solve the growing cooling demand in a sustainable way, by deploying the most efficient technology and developing new, innovative solutions for the most vulnerable.

We must pay attention to the most vulnerable people

We, at Danfoss, work closely with Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), a global initiative launched by the United Nations, to make sustainable energy for all a reality by 2030. Their recent report, “Chilling Prospects: Providing Sustainable Cooling for All”, describes the growing risks for the most vulnerable people that can´t access cooling in a warming world.

Today, we are participating in the World Bank’s first International Conference on Sustainable Cooling, to continue the conversation between the private sector, policy-makers and international financial organizations on how we can meet everyone’s cooling needs efficiently, affordably, sustainably and reliably.

The stakes are high for people and the planet. In an increasingly warming world, the impact of not having access to modern cooling solutions is profound - deadly heat waves, hunger, and malnutrition, incapability to preserve the efficacy of vaccines. 
Best-in-class technology is gold for those at the bottom of the pyramid

The good news is that, for those at the bottom of the pyramid, there is “cold gold”. Affordable, accessible sustainable cooling is gold. Today, we can implement efficient, sustainable cold chains to keep our food fresh and safe and preserve medicine and vaccines, while at the same reducing greenhouse emissions. To achieve this, however, we need to incentivize the implementation of the best-available technology through strong policy action, ensuring meanwhile that it is accessible and affordable in developing countries.

Perhaps the most important challenge to start digging for this “cold gold” is raising awareness about sustainable cooling being a crucial development issue. The other is realizing the magnitude of the potential. Take the expansion of cold chains, for example.
3 ways cold chains can help solve the food crisis

First, bringing more food to the table through efficient cold chains infrastructures would allow us to potentially limit the temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius. Did you know that if food wastage were a country, it would be the third largest emitting country in the world? This means that greenhouse gas emissions from food loss contribute to global warming.

Second, improving cold chains would also help the respond to food loss at farms and pack houses, and increase farmers´ incomes. In India, as much as 40 percent of all food produced is wasted due to lack of proper refrigeration and other supply chain bottlenecks. Improved local cold storage facilities and better education about storage methods can reduce post-harvest food losses dramatically and allow farmers to sell their crops in markets further away.

And finally, it would help achieve the SDGs. By 2050, the world will need 70% more food to feed the global population. An energy efficient, sustainable cooling sector will help reduce food loss, feed the almost one billion people starving today, and help millions of people stuck in poverty. 
Joint efforts are key to achieve cooling for all

To global leaders and colleagues, my message is simple: we can do this now, and the technology exists. But we need to join hands. Implementation, affordability, and enforcement of efficiency standards are key to ensure the use of the best available technology around the world. Our joint effort can dig the “cold gold” for the most vulnerable and achieve cooling for all without straining energy systems or the planet. 
Join me @jfi1963 in the discussion of how we can work together to support faster progress on global #EnergyEfficiency, #SDG7 and #CoolingforAll.         


Jürgen Fischer

President, Danfoss Cooling Segment

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