aircon GZ920
Air-conditioning units on a building in Guangzhou, China

Experts from the University of Birmingham are working with the World Bank Group and the UK Department of Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to host a global event around sustainable, accessible cooling for all who need it – without over-heating the planet.

Effective refrigeration is essential to preserve food and medicine. It underpins industries and economic growth, while air conditioning is key to sustainable urbanisation and human productivity and makes much of the world bearable - or even safe - to live in.

Representatives and experts from governments, manufacturers, research and development organizations will attend the two-day Clean Cooling Congress, which opens in London on 24th April.

The event will also see the launch of a new report on ‘Promoting Clean and Energy Efficient Cold Chain in India’ by the Shakti Foundation and the University of Birmingham.

Toby Peters, Professor in Clean Cold Economy at the University of Birmingham, commented: “This workshop will bring together cooling experts from around the world to rethink needs across cities, rural communities and cold chains. Universal access to clean cooling is a multi-faceted challenge, without which we can neither achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals nor fulfil the Paris Agreement.”

The workshop will explore key challenges around cooling for comfort and development: from reducing the need for artificial cooling, managing energy consumption and emissions of climate-damaging gases from refrigeration and air conditioning to the speed of bringing new technologies to market, through to novel business models and policy support, as well as tackling financing and skills shortages.

Marc Sadler, Practice Manager, Climate Funds Management, The World Bank, said: “The work that we are supporting will help governments, cities, the private sector and the international community take the urgent actions needed to encourage efficient, affordable and sustainable cooling in developing countries. It will help to address the inequity of cooling access, reduce food loss, improve health, and combat climate change.”

With populations and incomes growing, urbanisation continuing and climate change causing rising temperatures, the world will need to provide far more cooling. By 2050, according to the Green Cooling Initiative, there could be more than 9.5 billion cooling appliances world-wide – more than 2.5 times today’s 3.6 billion devices.

With current technologies, these devices would consume large quantities of often dirty energy, adding to global warming. Clean cold is now at the heart of the climate and development debate, which concerns many of the world’s international development and environmental agencies.

Dr. Peter Warren, Senior Policy Advisor, at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), commented: “The UK Government is committed to working with its international partners to create activities and support international initiatives that accelerate the implementation of sustainable cooling in developing countries and emerging economies.

“We need international collaboration to harness technological, financial and policy expertise in sustainable cooling and develop affordable, low carbon solutions that will be widely adopted and contribute to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the objectives of the Paris Agreement.”

A limited number of spaces are available to attend day one of the Congress – more information can be found at

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is the UK Government department responsible for business, industrial strategy, science, research and innovation, energy and clean growth, and climate change.