The search for sustainable solutions in the cooling sector

The Global Cooling Pledge is committed to reducing cooling-related emissions by two-thirds by 2050
The United States supports the Global Cooling Pledge, joining 60 other nations in a commitment to decrease emissions linked to cooling

In a move to address climate change, the US has joined a coalition of over 60 countries in signing the Global Cooling Pledge. This pledge aims to reduce cooling-related emissions by at least 68% by 2050, compared to 2022 levels.

The pledge represents the world's first concerted effort to tackle the energy emissions generated by the cooling sector, which is rapidly expanding as global temperatures rise.

The growth of data centres, which require massive amounts of cooling to maintain their servers and storage devices, is posing a significant challenge to the industry's environmental impact.

It presents a chance for the industry to embrace sustainable cooling practices with concrete actions. This initiative, spearheaded by the United Arab Emirates as hosts of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), stands as one of nine non-negotiated declarations, pledges, and charters that form key pillars of the COP28 Presidential Action Agenda.

Fostering global collaboration collaboration

The pledge's main aim is to elevate ambition and foster global collaboration by establishing collective global targets: reducing cooling-related emissions by a remarkable 68% from current levels by 2050, substantially enhancing access to sustainable cooling solutions by 2030, and boosting the global average efficiency of newly manufactured air conditioners by a remarkable 50%.

These emission reduction objectives are firmly grounded on the modelling findings of the UNEP Cool Coalition report titled "Global Cooling Watch 2023: Keeping it Chill: How to Meet Cooling Demands while Cutting Emissions." The pledge outlines a roadmap for a future where cooling demands are met responsibly, without compromising environmental well-being.

Greater data means more cooling

As the amount of data stored increases, so does the need for cooling. This growth is driving up the energy demand, which in turn leads to higher emissions of greenhouse gases. The Global Cooling Pledge recognises the urgent need to address this issue and by committing to reduce cooling-related emissions by two-thirds by 2050, the participating countries aim to curb the sector's contribution to climate change.

The pledge outlines several strategies to achieve this ambitious goal. These include improving the energy efficiency of cooling systems, developing and promoting sustainable cooling technologies, such as natural refrigerants and heat pumps, and increasing access to cooling for vulnerable populations. The pledge also calls for international cooperation to share best practices and accelerate the transition to sustainable cooling.

The United States' participation in the Global Cooling Pledge is a significant step forward in the fight against climate change. By working together with other countries, the US can help to reduce emissions from the cooling sector and protect the planet for future generations.

Paving the way for emission reduction

Tom Dunning, CEO of Ad Signal, explains “The technology sector can play a role in addressing the climate challenge by facilitating data and analytics for measurement, laying the path to action to reduce emissions. However, it's crucial to recognise that data centres are a massive contributor to this problem, and the focus should be not only on developing more environmentally friendly cooling but also, as much as possible, reducing the volume of data we store. 

“Particularly in an area such as video, which is the densest content format we have and equates to roughly 1.84 per cent of the world’s CO2 emissions, organisations should look to de-duplication and data reduction, which in turn will have a knock-on impact on data centres.”

The news comes alongside Ad Signal’s inclusion in the Department for Business & Trade’s UK delegation at COP28, exploring how the UK can reduce its carbon emissions through video and broadcast storage.

Ben Golub, Co-Founder of the Digital Sustainability Alliance, says: "Digital sustainability is the biggest untold story out there. Politicians and environmental activists often warn of the existential threat of global warming, but few know about and truly understand the extent of the issue that digital sustainability presents.

"The Digital Sustainability Alliance has been formed to open the eyes of policymakers, big tech companies and industry to the stark reality of the carbon impacts of data consumption and the urgent need for digital sustainability.”

"If the world exclusively used the tech solutions of companies similar to the Alliance's members, we could potentially reduce the carbon output of data centres from 14% down to just 2%."

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Other magazines that may be of interest - Mobile Magazine.

Please also check out our upcoming event - Sustainability LIVE Net Zero on 6 and 7 March 2024.  

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