The Oxford Martin School Programme on the Future of Cooling focuses on understanding and shaping sustainable cooling solutions. We aim to make access to cooling just and equitable in a warming world. This podcast series intends to raise awareness on relevant topics around the future of cooling to a broad audience. These include the development of super-efficient energy technologies, the use of low Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants, the impacts on health from heatwave exposure, the behaviours and cultures towards cooling use, and the circular economy of cooling manufacturing.
For billions of people in developing countries cooling is vital for daily comfort, and as heatwaves become more frequent and intense, and last longer, keeping cool is becoming increasingly important in developed countries. The energy needed for air conditioning is likely to triple by 2050, potentially driving up greenhouse gas emissions and exacerbating the problem it is designed to alleviate. The programme was established in October 2019 to bring together the principles, policies, and practical tools to:
1. Create new and more sustainable cooling-related policies through close consultation with decision-makers and policy influencers.
2. Analyse new technologies to assess how they meet rising urban energy consumption needs, especially in fast-growing emerging economies.
3. Inform governments on how best to prepare for extreme heat events by prioritising passive and less energy-intensive technology, while shifting the trajectory of cooling growth towards sustainable options.
4. Help to prevent the cycle of rising temperatures, unprecedented demand for energy-intensive cooling, and increased global warming.
5. Promote human-based behavioural and cultural adaptive strategies.