Cambodia has launched its first strategic plan on cooling, seen as one of the largest contributors to global warming, to steer the nation towards a greener and cleaner future.
At the official launch of the Cambodia’s National Cooling Action Plan (NCAP), Alissar Chaker, UNDP Resident Representative, said, “[It] is a significant stride forward, providing a comprehensive framework for one of the nation’s fastest-growing energy demand sectors, cooling, which is also responsible for an expanding share of greenhouse emissions.”
Chaker added that access to cooling is key for “human health, prosperity, and productivity”, and is an essential element in tropical countries.
She added, “With a tropical climate, climbing temperatures, and a growing population with rising spending power, Cambodia must place sustainable cooling at the center of its development and climate agendas.
“It is critical that the nation looks to control energy demand through increasing the efficiency of mechanical space cooling and refrigeration, while also integrating passive design strategies for buildings and urban landscapes.”
The NCAP was developed with support from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).
It aims to reduce demand for cooling, while strengthening access to cooling services, such as cold chains for food and medicine. In addition, the plan sets out initiatives to improve energy efficiency of appliances, such as air-conditioning units.
“As the task of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions becomes ever more urgent, new initiatives are required to drive climate action. I am happy to note that increasing concerns related to climate change and environmental impacts have led Cambodia on a path towards clean energy development and energy efficiency,” Chaker noted.
She added that in its 2020 updated NDC, Cambodia committed to combating climate change, with a 41.7 percent decrease in domestic emissions from the business-as-usual scenario, by 2030.
Chaker said to achieve this, a concerted multi-sectoral effort is essential. “We also recognise that a large gap remains between the ambition of climate change mitigation targets and the current pace of actions. To fill this gap, policies, regulations, and frameworks are essential to synergize actions, shape markets, and drive investment interest,” she added.
According to an announcement from UNEP, demand for space cooling across the Kingdom will double in the next two decades. Cooling already accounts for 45 percent of electricity use nationwide.
“The recently finalized Energy Efficiency Policy and NCAP are helping build an enabling environment for the promotion and uptake of energy-efficient and climate-friendly cooling technologies and approaches,” said Chaker.
“Hopefully, they will also increase momentum for the continued development of the regulatory space, including in areas such as minimum energy performance standards and building energy codes.”