COP president Sharma hails Africa cold chain initiative
26 Jun 2022
Cabinet minister and COP26 president Alok Sharma has voiced his support for a UK-backed African initiative to limit emissions from cooling technologies.
Speaking at the the Africa Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cooling and Cold-chain (ACES) in Rwanda, the minister stated:
“Cooling and refrigeration are the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, especially in developing countries. But this challenge gives us the opportunity to develop innovative, energy efficient technologies of the future.”
It is estimated that worldwide coooling processes account for some 7% of total global emissions. Growing population levels couple with temperature rises are predicted to contribute to further demand for cooling tech for the food and medicine sectors, as well as air conditioning.
The ACES project is the result of collaboration between the UK and Rwanda governments, the UN Environment Programme, as well as the University of Rwanda and those UK counterparts behind Britain’s Centre for Sustainable Cooling. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has also provided £16 million in funding.
Co-director of ACES, University of Birmingham professor Toby Peters, said global food is predicted to grow within the next three decades between 59-98%. Meanwhile, an estimated 50% of fruit and vegetables in sub-Saharan Africa are currently lost, with the key cause being improper cold chain management.
“Given the economic, environmental and social impact, food saved and the food system is as important as food produced. The challenge is how to create local and global temperature controlled ‘field to fork’ from hundreds of millions of subsistence and small-scale farmers whose livelihoods are often dependent on only 1 to 2 hectares or less, whilst using renewable energy and climate friendly technologies,” explained Peters.
Sharma, who visited the ACES site while in the Rwandan capital Kigali for the most recent Commonwealth heads of government meeting remarked: “ACES is a demonstration of how we can work together, to help tackle rising emissions and keep alive the goal of limiting average global temperature rises to 1.5°C.”