Report

Cooling Emissions and Policy Synthesis Report

17 July 2020

Action under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Destroy the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol) will phase-down the production and use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and could avoid up to 0.4°C of global warming by 2100.

In a warming world, prosperity and civilization depend more on access to cooling.i The growing demand for cooling will contribute significantly to climate change. This is from both the emissions of HFCs and other refrigerants and CO2 and black carbon emissions from the mostly fossil fuel-based energy powering air conditioners and other cooling equipment. These emissions are particularly dominant during periods of peak power demand, which are increasingly determined by demand for air conditioning. As the climate warms, the growing demand for cooling is creating more warming in a destructive feedback loop.

By combining energy efficiency improvements with the transition away from super-polluting refrigerants, the world could avoid cumulative greenhouse gas emissions of up to 210-460 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) over the next four decades, depending on future rates of decarbonisation. This is roughly equal to 4-8 years of total annual global greenhouse gas emissions, based on 2018 levels.