Pacific Islands Cooperate on Energy-Efficient Cooling under Kigali Amendment

BANGKOK, THAILAND, 2 October 2018.— Forty-seven officials from 14 Pacific Island Country governments gathered in Bangkok to identify opportunities and forge cooperation for promoting energy efficient cooling equipment in their countries and region. The catalyst for the gathering was the recent agreement of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances the Deplete the Ozone Layer. The Amendment, which will enter into force on 1 January 2019, is helping to protect the climate by phasing down the use of powerful greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). These gases are commonly used in air conditioners and refrigerators. During the transition to alternative gases taking place under the Montreal Protocol, countries have the opportunity to introduce more energy-efficient cooling equipment that would not only reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but also save consumers and businesses money on their electricity bills, help utilities meet ever growing needs for power, and enable governments to reduce fossil fuel imports.

The two-day “Twinning Workshop on Energy-Efficient and Climate-Friendly Refrigeration and Air Conditioning” was organized from 1-2 October in Bangkok by UN Environment Programme’s OzonAction Branch and United for Efficiency initiative, and delivered in cooperation with ASHRAE, the international engineering society. The event was supported by the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP), a new philanthropic initiative that is committing US$ 52 million to help developing countries transition to energy-efficient, climate-friendly, affordable cooling solutions.

The workshop brought together two traditionally separate communities from the governments of the Pacific Islands – those responsible for managing compliance with the Montreal Protocol and those responsible for national energy policies. With their combined expertise and remits, these officials are key to transitioning global markets toward better performing cooling products that also protect the Earth’s climate.

Ms. Isabelle Louis, Deputy Director of the UN Environment Programme’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, highlighted the leadership played by the Pacific Islands Countries during the negotiations of the Kigali Amendment, and noted that the agreement opens a new doorway for joint ozone-energy cooperation: “Apart from the significant contribution to combat global warming by avoiding more than 80 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 2050, the Kigali Amendment will also provide opportunities to introduce more energy-efficient refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment while phasing out hydrochlorofluorocarbons and phasing down hydrofluorocarbons, which would benefit end users and energy security.”

Mr. Dan Hamza-Goodacre, Executive Director of K-CEP, stated: “Thanks UNEP for two days well spent working with energy and ozone government representatives from the Pacific to progress, better, more joined up policy-making. The ideas were flowing, country contexts were shared and collaboration enhanced. The result: the Pacific Island Countries can further their leadership on climate change, for the benefit of their people.”

The meeting provided a platform for the national energy officials to learn more about the Kigali Amendment and for National Ozone Officers to better understand how energy efficiency considerations could be pursued alongside the refrigerant transition. The International Energy Agency and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community shared global and regional perspectives on policies for transforming cooling markets, and model programmes and policies. The Association of Development Financing Institutions in the Pacific, K-CEP and the International Institute for Energy Conservation described options that could be considered for financing such programmes, including a new K-CEP “Cooling Technology Demonstration Fund” for the Pacific Island Countries.

Inspiring country case examples were shared by Fiji, Marshall Islands, Samoa, and Vanuatu. Important issues including sharing of the national context, engaging relevant stakeholders, and implementing model policies and programmes were covered through practical exercises and interactive discussions. Two senior trainers from the Thailand’s Office of Vocational Education Commission, Ministry of Education provided participants with a hands-on training session that compared the energy consumption of room air conditioners that employ different components and refrigerants and demonstrated the energy benefits of regular servicing and maintenance.

Overall, the workshop achieved its goal of starting a “twinning” dialogue between the Ozone Officers and energy officials and beginning the flow of information at the national level related to the energy efficiency and refrigerants nexus, the first step down the road towards realizing the goals of the Kigali Amendment.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

James Curlin, Network and Policy Manager
OzonAction UN Environment Programme
Phone: +33 1 44 37 14 55
Email: jim.curlin@un.org

Brian Holuj, Programme Officer,
United for Efficiency UN Environment Programme
Phone: +33 1 44 37 42 60
Email: brian.holuj@un.org

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