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Clean cooling vital for sustainable development goals, says EU-GCC body

Event discusses new developments related to cold chain and air conditioning in the context of the Middle East

| | Apr 11, 2018 | 6:48 pm
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Dubai, UAE, 11 April 2018: Clean cooling took centre stage at a two-day event organised by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the EU GCC Clean Energy Technology Network and the University of Birmingham, in partnership with the Heriot-Watt University, on March 9 and 10, in Dubai. H.E. Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, delivered the opening remarks and highlighted the importance of the event in facilitating best practice and partnerships for employing advanced technologies for clean and sustainable cooling systems. H.E. Patrizio Fondi, EU ambassador to the UAE, spoke on the long-standing energy cooperation between Europe and the GCC region countries, recalling the European Union’s ambitious objectives for decarbonisation and sustainable developments. “We believe our political dialogue must be underpinned by the tools, in order to implement concrete joint initiatives in the area of clean energy between the two regions,” Fondi said. The EU-GCC partnership, he said, represents an opportunity to share policies and technology towards clean energy transition. He stressed that in that context, cooling is an integral part for reducing energy demand.

Frank Wouters, Director, EU GCC Clean Energy Technology Network, echoed this, when he said: “We are here to debate, learn from each other and try to make the right choices. Technology is not enough; we need policy, and we need informed consumers that make the right choices. I think the UAE ministry is working on that as a crucial element and pathway going forward.”

Aisha Mohamed Abdullah Al Abdooli, Director, Green Development and Environment Affairs Department, UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, provided a snapshot of the UAE’s progress in the field of sustainable cooling in the context of the agendas directing the actions of the public sector. Touching on the National Climate Change Adaptation Programme, Al Abdooli said that the first step is to identify climate impacts on sector, identify priority actions according to impacts and, thirdly, implement actions with stakeholders. Al Abdooli provided a comprehensive overview of cooling issues, clean cooling applications and commitment towards District Cooling as a sustainable and smart solution, especially in relation to demand-side management.

Al Abdooli left the following questions to be addressed by the participating experts in the course of the following sessions: “How much can ‘clean cool’ technologies reduce environmental harm? How’s the cost? Which ‘clean cool’ technologies are applicable for the UAE? What [are the] specific technological and infrastructural challenges the region faces in its deployment and what must be done to overcome the challenges? Why [haven’t] the technologies taken off or have been scaled up, even in Europe? and What policy support is required?”

Toby Peters, Professor in Cold Economy, University of Birmingham, in the United Kingdom, emphasised that economic and social development must not come at the expense of one or the other and that the aim is for society to live within sustainable limits of the planet. “Cooling sits at the nexus of this challenge,” he said,” and effective cooling is essential to preserve food and medicines, makes much of the world bearable and drives our data.” Yet, Peters added that unless clean and sustainable cooling systems are rolled out, artificial cooling, as it stands today, causes high levels of pollution. Demand for cooling, Peters added, already accounts for seven per cent of Greenhouse Gas emissions, stressing that even taking into account efficiency savings, this is projected to more than double at 15% by 2030. “We need to bring together a broad community to understand how technology, society, finance and investment can all interact and work together to deliver clean, resilient and sustainable cooling for all — what we at the University of Birmingham call the cold economy,” he said.

Clean cooling, Peters added, is unique as it has the potential to advance the three significant internationally agreed upon goals: Paris Climate Agreement, UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol. “Clean cooling,” he added, “can address poverty, reduce food loss, improve health, raise energy efficiency, manage our natural resources, support sustainable cities and communities and combat climate change, concurrently – not bad for a fridge.”

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