GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA, 28 June 2018 — The third in the series of Twinning Workshops on Energy-Efficient and Climate-Friendly Refrigeration and Air Conditioning concluded in Guatemala City today. The workshop brought together two traditionally separate communities from the countries of Central and South America – those responsible for managing compliance with the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, and those responsible for national energy policies. With their combined expertise and remits, these officials are key to transitioning global markets toward better performing cooling products that also protect the Earth’s climate.
The workshop was organized by UN Environment’s OzonAction and United for Efficiency initiatives, hosted by Guatemala’s Ministry of Environment and National Resources, and delivered in cooperation with ASHRAE, the international engineering society. Over 40 representatives from 18 Latin-American governments actively participated in this two-day workshop. The International Energy Agency (IEA) and local refrigeration training institutes presented a variety of information on technology and policy solutions related to energy-efficient cooling. The workshop series is supported by the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP), a new philanthropic initiative that is committing US$ 52 million to help developing countries transition to energy-efficient, climate-friendly, affordable cooling solutions.
On behalf of the workshop organisers, participants were welcomed by Mr. Leo Heileman, Director and Regional Representative of the UN Environment’s Regional Office for Latin America and Caribbean. He emphasized the importance of collaboration and said “The Kigali Amendment is a powerful tool that can help countries achieve their climate commitments under the Paris Agreement under the Climate Change Convention by phasing down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in an energy efficient manner. The twinning project implemented by UN Environment will help Latin American countries identify strategies and opportunities that save costs for consumers, improve industrial competitiveness, and protect our environment through energy efficient air conditioning and refrigeration.”
Ms. Magnolia Lopez, Chief of Cleaner production and environmental sustainability in the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Guatemala, presented the efforts of the host government in dealing with the cooling sector in the context of the HFC phase-down. In her opening speech she said, “Guatemala joins the global effort to reduce greenhouse gases, through the energy efficiency policy under which strategies are formulated for all industrial sectors of the country. It includes actions on sustainable public procurement and green buildings (with emphasis on public institutions, incentives, voluntary agreements by private sector and labor leaders), and encourages the implementation of good industrial practices improve competitiveness and increase in the energy efficiency”.
Ms. Helen Picot, Programme Management Officer in K-CEP explained the importance of cooling in climate protection. She noted, “Access to clean, efficient cooling is more than a luxury – it’s key to sustainable development, and provides an unprecedented opportunity to reduce climate polluting emissions. K-CEP is proud to support UN Environment’s regional twinning workshops, which we believe represent a transformational opportunity for Latin American governments to coordinate their national efforts on energy and ozone compliance.”
The catalyst for the workshop series is the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment. By phasing down the use of HFCs – which are powerful greenhouse gases that exacerbate climate change – the Kigali Amendment is helping to protect the climate. HFCs are commonly used in the operation of air conditioners and refrigerators. Improving the energy efficiency of those products while transitioning to non-HFC alternatives will save consumers and businesses money on their electricity bills, help governments and utilities meet ever growing needs for power, and reduce impacts on the environment. By some estimates, the Montreal Protocol has prevented the equivalent of 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from entering the atmosphere, making it an extremely powerful tool for greenhouse gas reduction. It is poised to do even more under the Kigali Amendment, which enters into force on 1 January 2019.
The meeting provided a platform for the national energy officials to learn more about the Kigali Amendment and for National Ozone Officers to better understand how energy efficiency considerations could be included in their work. A technology overview and a hands-on technology demonstration stimulated discussion on the importance of regular maintenance of the air-conditioning equipment.
During the workshop, participants learned about policies for transforming refrigeration and air conditioning markets, and resources and funding options to do so. Inspiring country case studies were shared by Colombia’s National Ozone Unit, Mexico’s National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy, Chile’s Ministry of Energy and Costa Rica’s Secretariat of Subsectoral Energy Planning. The Latin American Energy Organisation (OLADE) gave an overview of the regional energy efficiency situation and opportunities to take action. The Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy (BASE) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IABD) offered presentations on options that could be considered for financing such programmes. Important issues of identifying and engaging relevant stakeholders, collecting and utilizing data, and implementing model policies and programmes were covered through practical exercises and interactive discussions.
Overall, the workshop achieved its goal of starting a “twinning” dialogue between the Ozone Officers and energy officials and beginning the flow of information at the national level related to the energy efficiency and refrigerants nexus, the first step down the road towards realizing the goals of the Kigali Amendment.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
James Curlin, Network and Policy Manager,
OzonAction UN Environment
Phone: +33 1 44 37 14 55
Brian Holuj, Programme Officer,
United for Efficiency UN Environment
Phone: +33 1 44 37 42 60