september, 2018

13sep5:00 pm8:00 pmThe Cooling Challenge: Cooling for All Without Warming the Planet5:00 pm - 8:00 pm The Commonwealth Club Event Organized By: Rocky Mountain Institute and Conservation X Labs Event Type:Short-Lived Climate PollutantsAudience:Invite Only


Event Details

Join us for a panel discussion on the unprecedented opportunity to confront the single-largest end-use risk to our climate—growing demand of residential air conditioning—while providing life-improving cooling solutions for billions of people. Speakers and panelists include:

  • Rachel Kyte, CEO, SEforALL
  • Christie Ulman, Climate Director, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation
  • Nihar Shah, Research Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Amory Lovins, Founder and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute
  • Jules Kortenhorst, CEO, Rocky Mountain Institute
  • Iain Campbell, Senior Fellow, Rocky Mountain Institute
  • Paul Bunje, Co-Founder and Chief Scientist, Conservation X Labs
  • Satish Kumar, President and Executive Director, Alliance for and Energy Efficient Economy

The panel will be followed by a networking reception with global leaders in innovation, finance, technology, and government. The event will also offer a preview of the revolutionary Global Cooling Prize, an international competition launching in November.


As world leaders consider where and how to channel climate investments to drive the energy transition and meet the Paris Agreement goals, there is likely no single greater risk to climate progress than unprecedented demand for space cooling. 1.6 billion room air-conditioners are expected to be deployed between now and 2050, which will consume more energy than what the United States and Germany consume today. The demand is being driven by developing countries across the tropics, where demand is expected to increase 5 fold by 2050. This business as usual growth will likely result in an increase of nearly 1.5°C global average temperature by 2100 from air conditioners alone, derailing our projected climate progress substantially.


The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol (2016) targets the impacts of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and the United Nations Environment Program has called it “the single largest real contribution the world has made so far” to meet the Paris Agreement goals. But this is only part of the solution; refrigerants account for about 20-30% of room air conditioning related emissions.

The other 70-80% of emissions come from electricity consumption. Raising minimum energy performance standards and channeling climate investments into space cooling innovation could dramatically transform the global market. Several new cooling technologies are emerging from research labs throughout the world. By refining and combining these technologies, a five times more efficient cooling solution could be brought to market in the next two years at a price point that is affordable for consumers. Such an innovation will have the potential to save up to 100 gigatons of carbon emissions by 2050, which would put us on a pathway to mitigate 1 C° in global warming by 2100.


(Thursday) 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm


The Commonwealth Club

110 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105