Sustainable Cooling in a Warming World Protects Health

Co-authored with Jessica Korsh

With climate change driving temperatures higher, the demand to keep cool and safe from sweltering heat is growing especially in South Asia and across the world. For example, India’s cooling demand is projected to grow by eight times in the next 20 years. However, using fossil fuels will worsen air pollution and climate change. Fortunately, several communities are moving toward passive cooling solutions, such as cool roofs and expanded parks – as highlighted in two recent discussions hosted by Ashden-Bloomberg and the United Nations.

Given the respiratory threats from COVID-19, the need to protect public health has taken on a new urgency. It is more important than ever to understand how a hotter world worsens existing health risks from air pollution and the actions needed to harness renewable energy to meet increased electricity demand.

Scaling-up Sustainable Cooling for All

Ashden and Bloomberg recently showcased global innovators working towards inclusive, sustainable cooling in cities around the world. The webinar “Scaling up Sustainable Cooling for All” featured case studies of real-world success – including NRDC and partners’ world-leading urban heat action plan in Ahmedabad, India. The Ahmedabad Heat Action Plan was originally released in 2013 and developed by NRDC, the Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar and key partners. Heat action plans have since expanded to over 23 states and over 100 cities and districts. NRDC’s work on cooling and heat resilience with partners was honored with the 2020 Ashden Awards. A recording of the event is available to watch here.

Asden Webinar

Expert Meetings on Mitigation 2020: Cool Buildings for All

The  virtual session ‘’Cool Buildings for All” connected leading experts from around the world to share low emission housing and building solutions as a powerful strategy for green recovery. The event was organized by the UNFCCC and the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, in collaboration with the Cool Coalition. NRDC is a part of the Cool Coalition and is actively engaged with cities, states and the national government in India on climate-friendly cooling.

Speaking at the event, NRDC’s Polash Mukerjee highlighted the triple threat of rising temperature, skyrocketing cooling demand, and rapid urban development in emerging economies. He demonstrated concrete examples of a local level Heat Action Plan to deploy cool roofs in low-income communities, as well as a National level Cooling Action Plan to reduce cooling demand 20-25% by 2038.

Triple threat: rising temperature, skyrocketing cooling demand, and rapid urban development

Because air quality problems in India and around the world are often driven by pollution from the same fossil fuels that accelerate climate change, actions to reduce harmful emissions can achieve major wins for public health in the near-term and long-term, for the environment, and for India’s economy. Climate-friendly air conditioners, green buildings, and cool roofs are some the easiest solutions to put the planet on a rapid path to limit warming to the 1.5°C threshold.

The cooling conversation continues this week with the India Cooling Coalition Webinar: 

Policy landscape and the industry initiatives for efficient space cooling appliances

November 11, 2020 | 5:00 – 6:30 PM (IST)

India Cooling Coalition


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