ECO has previously highlighted a major opportunity to build on the benefits of a global phase out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), by coupling the switch to refrigerants with low global warming potential (GWP) with energy efficiency improvements in the appliances that use them. By improving the energy efficiency of cooling appliances, countries can cumulatively avoid another 40-50 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions, in addition to the 70 or more billion tonnes of CO2 equivalents avoided thanks to the HFC phase down by 2050.
Parties to the Montreal Protocol are examining possible incentives for such appliance efficiency improvements under that regime. Meanwhile, the UNFCCC, as the regime under which CO2 emissions are regulated, and through which countries are developing their low-carbon development, has much to offer. Wouldn’t it be nice if for the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol we ratified the Kigali amendment?
ECO recommends that, Parties should ensure that improved energy efficiency, is not limited to appliance efficiency, and is recognized as means of significantly increasing ambition during the Talanoa Dialogue next year. The recent UN Environment Emmissions Gap Report showed that energy efficiency in many forms can significantly contribute to a 1.5° C trajectory in a cost-effective way, by reducing more than 10 Gt of CO2 by 2030.
A Technical Expert Meeting (TEM) under the UNFCCC should be devoted to showcasing the opportunity of improving energy efficiency in appliances worldwide.
The High-Level Climate Champions and leaders of the Marrakesh Partnership for Global Climate Action should raise awareness about this opportunity and ensure it is highlighted in the Yearbook of Climate Action.
Both Parties and newly emerging regional renewable energy initiatives should recognize that highly energy efficient appliances: can reduce the amount of clean energy infrastructure they need to install; increase access to energy from the renewable sources that are installed; reduce grid stress, black outs and electricity availability concerns, and; lower the cost of energy for public and private consumers alike.
Parties should recall that both the Green Climate Fund GCF and the Climate Technology Center & Network CTCN have prioritized the appliance energy efficiency issue and stand ready to help.
Finally, all Parties should ensure that their appropriate officials, including ozone officers, climate negotiators, and efficiency standard-setters are cooperating to implement Minimum Energy Performance Standards for cooling appliances. The standards would complement the HFC phase down and help prevent dumping of older, inefficient appliances in regions that are moving forward first.
ECO emphasises that it is extremely rare that a global policy mechanism can uniformly drive scheduled changes across an entire sector of high-energy consuming products such as cooling appliances. To miss the chance to improve the energy efficiency of these appliances at the same time as we exchange high GWP refrigerants for low-GWP alternatives would meant leaving tens of billions of avoidable tonnes of CO2 on the table –and in the atmosphere.