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UN strategy paper sets strict 2030 AC energy efficiency targets - Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

Last updated: 02-23-2021

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UN strategy paper sets strict 2030 AC energy efficiency targets - Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

A global carbon reduction initiative has set a target of having one fifth of the world’s air conditioning equipment manufacturers offering affordable, more sustainable technologies for homes by 2025.

The targets are among a number of commitments set out in an UN-backed strategy paper called, ‘Race to Zero Breakthroughs’. These commitments include a range of near-term targets that 20 sectors including the cooling and building industries are urged to sign up to ahead of the delayed international climate change conference (COP26) that is set to be held in Glasgow later this year.

The cooling sector, specifically air conditioning technology manufacturers, are urged in the document to ensure that 20 per cent of their industry - based on revenue terms - is offering residential systems that can reduce their climate impact by five times that of existing technologies on the market.  This target is called on to be met within four years.

Jules Kortenhorst of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), the body overseeing the US$3m Global Cooling Prize, said that net zero carbon emissions could only be realised across the world through setting so-called tipping points for sectors such as cooling.

He said, “At RMI, through the Global Cooling Prize, we are demonstrating that an affordable residential AC unit that has 5 times lower climate impact is already within reach and are asking global manufacturers to join the race and commit to bringing these breakthrough technologies to market by 2025.”

Meeting the cooling target is intended to help realise the overall aim of introducing net zero carbon homes by 2050 in line with major decarbonisation commitments from the UK, EU and other authorities.

Other notable targets set out in the strategy paper include ensuring 100 per cent of construction projects that are set to be completed from 2030 onwards are net zero carbon in terms of their operation.  They should also, by this point, be built with 40 per cent less embodied carbon – this relates to the among of carbon emissions resulting from materials used in a building.

Efforts to ensure that at least 60 per cent of the global chemicals sector is using renewable energy from 2030 is seen as another important step in the interconnected challenge of decarbonising buildings, power demand and the wider supply chain in the coming decades.

A key goal of the project is for new and existing properties to operate as net zero carbon homes across their entire life cycle by 2050.

The ‘Race to Zero Breakthroughs’ paper was jointly launched at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos by British MP Alok Sharma, president of COP26, COP25 president Carolina Schmidt and Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Ms Espinosa said that a more collaborative approach between a wide number of sectors would be vital in trying to reach the ambitious targets in the strategy paper.

She added, “The Race to Zero Breakthroughs set out the specific tipping points that every sector in the global economy must reach in order to create a resilient, zero carbon world. We now know what key actors must do, and by when, to deliver the sectoral changes needed. I call on leaders across all sectors of the global economy to work together to deliver this.”

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