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University of Birmingham to host first global ‘clean cold’ congress

Institution claims a world-first with attempt to bring together policy makers, industry and academia to shape green cooling focus

The University of Birmingham will next year host what it claims is the world’s first ever international ‘clean cold’ conference to focus on a more collaborative environmental approach to cooling policy.

During the planned congress, set to be held in spring 2018, experts from industry, government and academia will come together with the aim of creating a new global community focused on setting out scientific-based environmental policy around greener cooling.

Professor Toby Peters from the University of Birmingham announced the plans for the congress at the Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) workshop at the UN General Assembly in New York.

During a specific ‘Cooling for All’ event at the workshop, Professor Peters said the essential nature of cooling solutions for communities, industry and healthcare around the world posed significant challenges, especially for what he called fast growing economies.

“Without cooling, supplies of food, medicine and even data break down, whilst life would be scarcely tolerable in many parts of the world without air conditioning,” he said.

“Our challenge is how to deliver cooling cleanly and sustainably, so we can feed growing populations without causing environmental or societal damage. This ground-breaking international conference will help us build the expert networks and road map to reach that goal.”

Key topics for the congress will include setting out the expected future role of cooling in terms of market demand and how it will be driven, as well as looking at the economic, social and health opportunities for new industry approaches in the developing world and beyond.

The event will also consider potential economic opportunities that can be created by a new cold economy, as well as alternative clean cooling technologies that may be emerging in the market.

These factors will be considered along with the broader environmental and economic risks of failing to address demand both with new technology and by making use of existing “predominantly fossil fuelled technologies”.

The congress will ultimately build on the work of the Cooling for All initiative that was launched in July with a view to addressing concerns over the growing reliance on cooling technologies and a sustainable approach to their supply and operation.

Rachel Kyte, chief executive of the SEforALL programme and UN secretary-general for sustainable energy for all, said that cooling was increasingly viewed as a matter of life and death in some parts of the world.

“A clean energy transition is already underway globally that can provide affordable, safe and sustainable energy for all. We must now incorporate cooling for all needs within this transition, while keeping us on track to reach our global climate and energy goals.”

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