World Bank to support efficient, clean cooling in developing countries

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The World Bank has launched a new program to accelerate the uptake of sustainable cooling solutions such as air conditioning, refrigeration and cold chain in developing countries.

The program will mobilize further financing and provide technical assistance to ensure that efficient cooling is included in new World Bank investment projects. It will help countries develop the necessary market infrastructure, financing mechanisms, policies and regulations to deploy sustainable cooling at scale. Another area of focus will include working with partners in the public and private sectors to raise awareness about efficient, clean cooling opportunities in emerging markets.

The World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) has received a $3 million grant for the program from the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP), which helps countries increase the energy efficiency of cooling solutions.

“Efficient, clean cooling can contribute significantly to a stable climate and cut energy costs at the same time. However, financing is needed to cover the capital costs of cooling technology, especially in developing countries. That is why K-CEP is excited to partner with the World Bank to mobilize the investments required to make cooling for all a reality,” said Dan Hamza-Goodacre, K-CEP’s executive director.

The World Bank will mobilize its expertise across sectors such as transport, energy and agriculture. With International Finance Corp. (IFC), it will also lay the groundwork for a pipeline of new projects that could either be supported by the World Bank Group or rely on other sources of financing.

Energy use for cooling set to triple

Global demand for cooling is increasing, mainly driven by growing populations, urbanization and rising income levels in developing countries. Rising temperatures will further exacerbate this issue by increasing demand for cooling appliances, which use large amounts of energy and leak refrigerants that contribute to global warming.

By 2050, energy use for cooling is projected to triple, while estimates show that demand for cooling in countries in the tropics and subtropics such as India, China, Brazil, and Indonesia will grow fivefold, which will put pressure on already strained energy systems and hamper efforts to curb climate change.

Sustainable cooling central to energy transition

“Sustainable cooling is a fundamental part of the energy transition. Meeting the growing demand for cooling services without compromising climate change goals will require substantial investments in energy efficient cooling solutions that are affordable and accessible to developing countries,” said Rohit Khanna, manager of the energy sector management assistance program at the World Bank. “This is exactly what the new program is set to do and as such, it will underpin the World Bank’s longer-term strategy on sustainable cooling.”

Marc Sadler, practice manager of the World Bank’s Climate Funds Management Unit, said a sustainable approach to cooling is key to responding to climate change. “This program is a way to accelerate collaborative solutions and raise finance to meet the demand for cooling through the World Bank Group’s country engagements, lending and investments,” Sadler said.