Rwanda’s ambitious plan for clean and efficient cooling

(UN Environment, 11 Feb 2019) The Government of Rwanda has released a landmark plan for sustainably cooling foods and life-saving medicines, and keeping homes and other indoor spaces comfortable in hot weather.

Such moves are essential to provide equitable access to cooling while ensuring that huge expected growth in the sector does not exacerbate climate change or waste electricity. When it comes to cooling, most people think of refrigerators and air conditioners. While addressing these products is key, the Government of Rwanda is planning holistically when it comes to meeting their cooling needs, noting that continuing on a business as usual path will lead to a huge rise in electricity use and a sharp rise in greenhouse gas emissions and pollution that its people and the planet cannot afford. 

Rwanda’s National Cooling Strategy outlines the findings of a recent assessment of the current and future market for cooling products. It includes recommended actions that would expand access to cooling while conserving precious resources. This East African Country, which has some of Africa’s fastest growth in expanding electricity grid connections to reach its 12 million people, is no stranger to demonstrating bold leadership when it comes to sustainable development.

Rwanda was one of the first countries in the world to ban plastic bags. Just 10 year later, its capital city hosted the meeting that agreed the namesake of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. This global treaty, which went into effect on 1 January 2019, phases-down the use of a potent greenhouse gas that is common in refrigerators and air conditioners. By doing so, it can avoid a 0.4°C rise in global temperatures this century. Rwanda not only hosted the negotiations, but was an early champion for its successful adoption. 

"The Kigali Amendment was the result of hard work and a dedication to building a future that our children and grandchildren can be proud of, and one that is worthy of their aspirations. Rwanda is proud to be working with the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program and UN Environment's United for Efficiency to move quickly to meet our obligations under the amendment,” said Dr Vincent Biruta, Minister of Environment, Republic of Rwanda.

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UN Environment, 11 Feb 2019: Rwanda’s ambitious plan for clean and efficient cooling