Bangladesh is at high risk of climate change impact as a new report has shown that the country may face immediate risk from lack of access to cooling.
Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) on Monday released Chilling Prospects: Providing Sustainable Cooling for All – the first ever report to quantify the growing risks and assess the opportunities of the global cooling challenge.
Nine countries have the biggest populations facing significant cooling risks, the report said adding these countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America include: India, Bangladesh, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Indonesia, China, Mozambique and Sudan.
The report showed there are over 1.1 billion people globally who face immediate risks from lack of access to cooling. Cooling underpins the ability of millions to escape poverty, to keep our children healthy, vaccines stable, food nutritious, and our economies productive. Access to cooling is now a fundamental issue of equity, and as temperatures hit record levels, this could also mean the difference between life or death for some.
These risks are both a development and climate change issue, as they pose challenges for the health, safety, and productivity of populations across the world – especially countries in Asia and Africa where access gaps are the largest. Yet this challenge also offers business and entrepreneurs the opportunity of major new consumer markets which want super-efficient, affordable technologies to meet their cooling needs.
“In a world facing continuously rising temperatures, access to cooling is not a luxury – it’s essential for everyday life. It guarantees safe cold supply chains for fresh produce, safe storage of life-saving vaccines, and safe work and housing conditions,” said Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative to the United Nations Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All.
“This CHILLING PROSPECTS report is a wake-up call. We must meet these needs in an energy efficient way, and without using ozone damaging substances. If not, the risks to life, health and the planet are significant.
But there are equally important business opportunities for those that face up to the challenge and act early.”
2.3 billion people represent a different kind of cooling risk – a growing middle class, where limited purchasing options mean they may only be able to afford to buy less expensive and less efficient cooling devices, which could spike global energy demand with profound climate impacts.
It is also estimated that cooling is now responsible for about 10% of global warming and growing rapidly. Future choices about refrigerants, the efficiency of cooling technologies, and how cooling is powered will have a significant impact on achieving the Paris Climate Agreement. Previous research indicates that by 2050, work hour losses by country due to excessive heat and lack of access to cooling are expected to be more than 2% and a high as 12%.
With the destructive effects of climate change now being widely felt, Chilling Prospects issues an urgent call- to-action and specific recommendations to government policy-makers, business leaders, investors and civil society to increase access to sustainable cooling solutions for all.
Specific report recommendations included Government policymakers should immediately measure gaps in access to cooling in their own countries, as an evidence base for more proactive and integratedpolicy-making.
Others recommendations are businesses, governments and finance actors should collaborate to assess and act on the enormous commercial and economic opportunities, including productivity, employment and growth gains from providing sustainable cooling solutions for all.
All stakeholders should accelerate their innovation efforts and embrace a paradigm shift – thinking more holistically about the way we provide cooling, focusing firstly on reducing heat loads and then about how deliver cooling affordably and sustainably.
Climate experts said developing countries like Bangladesh are bearing burden of excessive carbon emissions caused by industrialized nations, which are mainly responsible for global warming, a great challenge for the planet.
Despite having little contribution to global carbon emission, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries due to adverse impact of global climate change and responsible countries must provide financial and technical support to climate change vulnerable countries aiming at tackling its negative impacts, they added.
Bangladesh alone cannot face climate change issue as it is a global phenomenon, they said adding it should move bilaterally as well as multilaterally along with strong bargaining capacity to pile up pressure on rich nations to extend their financial and technical supports to climate vulnerable countries, the experts added.