The government of the Dominican Republic has defined ambitious actions on refrigeration and air conditioning as a result of a successful process to improve and update the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) that involved all stakeholders in the Dominican territory. The NDC-RD 2020 was submitted to the UNFCCC in December 2020.
The Dominican Republic is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of global climate change given its status as an island country, its humid tropical climate, and its exposure to extreme hydrometeorological events. At the same time, an increase in the demand for air conditioning, mainly in public and commercial buildings and the hotel sector. In addition, demand is expected to increase for refrigeration products, which are essential to preserve and extend the life of food and to ensure the integrity of medicines and vaccines. Air conditioning equipment is one of the most energy-intensive appliances and a contributor to peak demand on the electricity grid. Refrigerators are ubiquitous and also contribute considerably to electricity consumption. This electricity is largely produced from fossil fuels that generate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Most of the refrigerant gases currently in use have a high global warming potential. According to Milagros De Camps, Vice Minister of International Cooperation, “The refrigeration and air conditioning sector contributes to 10% of global GHG emissions. As this is a key sector in the Dominican Republic, we want to set ambitious goals to reduce its environmental impact and provide these services in a more sustainable way, which will bring significant benefits to the country.”
To realise this change, the new NDC has established initiatives that offer greater clarification, ambition and transparency to target a 27% reduction (20% conditional on international support, 5% by the national private sector,2% by the Dominican state) in its emissions by 2030 – 2% more ambitious than the original NDC submitted in 2015. To help realise this target, a National Cooling Strategy (ENRAA-RD) has been developed under the leadership of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the National Climate Change and Clean Development Mechanism Council (CNCCMDL), with support from the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) United for Efficiency (U4E) initiative as part of its Caribbean Cooling Initiative (CCOOL). “The air conditioning and refrigeration sector represents a significant share of the national electricity consumption and we must take action on energy efficiency and conservation to reduce inefficient consumption and reduce GHG emissions,” says Omar Dotel, Directorate of Environmental Affairs and Climate Change, Ministry of Energy and Mines.
This effort, coupled with technical assistance from UNEP-U4E, has contributed to identifying different carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) mitigation options for the energy efficiency component of the NDC, including in the refrigeration and air-conditioning sub-sector. “The measures that will be adopted to increase the efficiency of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment represent an important contribution to GHG reductions in the energy sector and are key to achieving the new country ambition. The ENRAA-RD, aligned to this effort, will have an important contribution to the Dominican Republic’s NDC-RD 2020 mitigation commitments,” says Max Puig, Executive Vice President of the CNCCMDL.
These measures include introducing minimum energy efficiency performance standards and labelling for room air conditioners and domestic refrigerators and development of replacement programs for these products in the residential and commercial sectors. Measures also include the implementation of best practices for control, monitoring and data collection in the market, which prevent low efficiency products from entering and dominating the market. Altogether, these actions have the potential to reduce emissions by at least 4.3 million tonnes of CO2e, which will contribute significantly to achieving the country’s 2030 target.
“The measures are aligned with the energy savings objectives laid out in the draft Energy Efficiency Law. The approval of the ENRAA-RD will strengthen the range of available actions to establish air conditioning and cooling solutions that result in financial savings for consumers and reduce the environmental impact of energy consumption.” says Alfonso Rodriguez, Deputy Minister of Energy Saving and Efficiency of the Ministry of Energy and Mines.
The Dominican Republic is committed to doing its part to realize the international goal of limiting global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius (°C), and no more than 2°C. CCOOL, which was enabled through funding support by the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program, is leveraging this leadership and momentum in the Dominican Republic to encourage similar actions elsewhere in Latin America and the Caribbean.
 “Global Climate Risk Index 2020”, Germanwatch.
 Approximately 88% of the country’s electricity generation comes from fossil fuels (National Energy Information System, 2019)