Sustainable Cooling Is Essential to Saving the Planet

Alan S. Miller
Climate Conscious
Published in
4 min readJul 28, 2023

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Sustainable cooling solutions are available — but require much greater investment

Passive cooling vendor cart developed by Trane Technologies using a film that reflects sunlight to protect fresh produce from overheating and reducing the $75 billion in food loss. Photo credit: Trane Technologies

Air conditioning and refrigeration are increasingly seen as critical responses to the increasing frequency of heat waves and record high temperatures. Yet there is a conundrum: more demand for cooling requires more power and given the continued dominance of fossil fuels to generate electricity means more CO2 emissions. . .and hotter temperatures. Finding ways to meet the demand for cooling much more efficiently is thus one of the most pressing challenges to addressing climate change.

As reports by the UN body SEforAll and the World Bank explain, cooling is critical for multiple development goals including food security (food waste is enormous), health (cooing vaccines and health facilities), outdoor labor, and education. Higher temperatures reduce power plant and cooling efficiency, a threat to grid stability, and adversely impact some passive measures (e.g., killing trees). Heat kills more Americans than all other natural disasters combined, and as climate journalist Jeff Goodell explains in his new book, The Heat Will Kill You First.

Heat disproportionately impacts those with lower incomes and the most vulnerable and the case is increasingly being made for universal cooling access as a human right. Many of the residents…

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Alan S. Miller
Climate Conscious

Alan S. Miller is co-author of “Cut Super Climate Pollutants Now!”. His full bio and links to writing are available at alansmiller.com