A new report on climate change has said that Nigerians and several other African countries are at increasing risk from lack of cooling access that puts Public safety, health and food security at risk. According to the report “This is a particular challenge for Africa, with significant populations across 12 African countries identified at highest risk. African countries with more than 60 per cent of their population at risk include Nigeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, South Sudan and Togo.
The report also finds that the growth rate of these high-risk countries is significantly greater than the rate of population growth. While population growth across Africa averages at 5.7 per cent, the expected growth rate for those at high risk from lack of cooling access is 19.1 per cent for the urban poor, those living largely in urban slums, and 28.7 per cent for the rural poor, those living in rural areas and largely without access to electricity.
The report said “As temperatures hit record highs globally, significant African populations are at risk according to Sustainable Energy for All. The Chilling Prospects report shines a light on the growing ‘cooling access’ challenge, a spike in global energy demand, and profound climate impacts. This report finds that the public safety, health, safe medicine and food supply for 1.05 billion people in poor rural and urban areas are now at risk from lack of access to cooling. This increase in risk seems to be driven by rapid urbanisation, drawing people from poor rural settings, placing more and more pressure on urban slums to support them, and a lack of electricity access gains.
“As the world rapidly urbanises and temperatures only grow, we risk a significant increase in the number of people without access to sustainable cooling,” said António Mexia, Chairman of the SEforALL Administrative Board and CEO of Energias de Portugal (EDP). “By 2030, the cost of productivity losses will be $2 trillion, and it will be the developing world that suffers the greatest “productivity penalty” as they deal with record temperatures and lack of cooling, stunting economic growth and further exacerbating global cooling inequity.”
This year’s report, the second in the Chilling Prospects series, further shows a notable growth in the numbers of ‘urban poor’ – those living in cities yet often lacking reliable access to electricity – with 680 million people living in urban slums having little or no cooling to protect
them in a heatwave – a rise of 50 million people in the past year – with an additional 365 million people living in poor rural areas also at high risk. A further 2.2 billion in the lower middle class are only able to afford cheaper, less energy efficient air conditioners, potentially causing a spike in global energy demand and extreme negative climate impacts. Brian Dean, Head of Cooling and Energy Efficiency at Sustainable Energy for All, highlighted the need to see cooling access as a right: “In a warming world facing ongoing deadly impacts from climate change, we cannot view cooling as a luxury. In a heatwave, it can be a matter of life or death for children and older people. It ensures that workers are productive, that families can store nutritious food securely, and that infants can receive an effective vaccine in a rural clinic. Delivering sustainable cooling is an issue of equity that will enable millions to escape poverty and help to realise the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Launched during the Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (MOP 31) in Rome, Italy, the Chilling Prospects: Tracking Sustainable Cooling for All 2019 report takes stock of progress made over the past year, highlighting new solutions to sustainable access to cooling and calling on governments, industry, and development finance to urgently work together to reduce the number of people at risk from lack of access to cooling. It also provides a new tool, The Cooling for All Needs Assessment, for governments, NGOs and development institutions to accurately size the market for cooling demands based on comfort, safety, nutrition and health needs.