Empowering Young Innovators Can Make Sustainable Cooling for All a Reality

As the planet warms, more frequent heat extremes are threatening the safety and well-being of communities across the world. Even 2 degrees of global warming by mid-century would mean 1.2x more extreme heat days compared to a 1.5 degrees scenario. The window of opportunity for climate action is closing rapidly, and we need to invest in solutions that can accelerate both emission reductions and heat resilience.

Effects of heat extremes are being felt across most geographies, but not equally by everyone. As more households purchase air conditioners, global electricity demand for space cooling could increase by 40 percent by 2030. At the same time, over 1 billion people are at high risk of lacking the cooling solutions needed to protect themselves, as well as food and medicines, from heat. A further 2.2 billion lower-middle income people need options that are both sustainable and affordable.

The time to act is now: 2023 is a momentous year in sustainable cooling. A growing ecosystem of partners is rallying ambition ahead of COP 28, where sustainable cooling priorities will take centre stage. Sustainable cooling solutions already exist, including passive strategies​, green and blue spaces​, renewable-powered and efficient cooling technologies​. However, they need to diffuse faster to reach those communities that are most exposed to heat – through affordable and sustainable cooling innovations, novel business models and new policy tools.

Young innovators are already generating sustainable cooling solutions in their communities and countries, mobilizing grassroots initiatives, creating business and entrepreneurship opportunities, and advocating for future-proof policies. However, especially in the Global South, young changemakers need to access funding, networks and resources to demonstrate their ideas, scale their businesses and influence decision-making.

The This Is Cool Challenge for youth-led sustainable cooling innovation works to: 

  • Identify innovative youth-led solutions with high potential for impact on sustainable cooling for all, and provide early-stage funding for implementation or scale-up.
  • Showcase the work of young innovators in high-profile platforms and connect them with global and local networks of cooling partners that can empower them to grow their projects.
  • Facilitate knowledge exchange among young innovators and partners, and together accelerate sustainable cooling for all.

In 2022, the first edition of the Challenge mobilized nearly 100 youth-led ideas from young innovators across over 30 countries. This year, we are aiming for even bigger impact.

More information HERE