Asia is home to five of the nine countries with the biggest populations facing significant cooling-related risks: India, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia. Why is cooling a sustainability issue and what are the solutions?
Higher temperatures and lack of access to cooling will impact labour productivity and the well-being of populations: by 2050, work hours lost due to heat may be as high as 12 per cent in the worst affected regions of South Asia and West Africa, or 6 per cent of annual GDP.
The lack of adequate cold storage and refrigerated transport contributes to over 1.5 million vaccine-preventable deaths each year. And up to 50 per cent of food are lost post-harvest in developing countries that lack access to refrigeration or food cold chains.
Cooling contributes to climate change by increasing demand for electricity, much of which is still generated from fossil fuels, and through leakage of refrigerants, which have a much higher global warming potential than CO2 emission.
If left unchecked, emissions from cooling are expected to double by 2030 and triple by 2100, driven by heat waves, population growth, urbanisation, and a growing middle class. Business-as-usual cooling generates a vicious cycle: as the world gets hotter, increased demand for cooling drives up levels of greenhouse gas emissions that, in turn, drive up temperatures and make access to cooling even more critical, all while endangering human safety and livelihoods.
Watch the video explainer by Innovate4Climate (I4C), the World Bank Group’s flagship event on climate change solutions, on the challenges and opportunities of sustainable cooling technology in the fight against climate change.
This year’s Innovate4climate (I4C) will have a priority focus on how to deliver sustainable cooling to keep people, food and medicines safe.