Fifty million more people face heat-related risks
VIENNA, Austria, 5 May 2021: In a warming world, access to sustainable cooling is not a luxury. It is essential for productivity, a healthy diet and the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines. Today 1.09 billion vulnerable people are at high risk, because they face a range of cooling access challenges. COVID-19 has intensified the situation with those forced into poverty due to the pandemic contributing to the 50 million additional urban and rural poor at high risk in 2021. Meanwhile, another 2.3 billion from the lower-middle income group face a different risk – inefficient cooling and refrigeration options that increase harmful GHG levels. Across 54 high-impact countries, 3.4 billion people face cooling access risks in 2021.
The Chilling Prospects 2021 report released today by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) analyses the four populations of urban and rural poor, lower-middle income and middle income in 54 high-impact countries, and reveals that global cooling access risks are on the rise. This is due, in part, to the first global poverty increase seen in 20 years, impacting mostly South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, 2020 was one of the hottest years on record, with numerous heatwaves recorded causing wildfires that emitted record amounts of carbon dioxide (CO₂).
“Last year was, without a doubt, a challenging one for all of us, and as the pandemic continues, it is essential more than ever to focus our efforts on increasing energy access,” said Francesco Starace, Chair, SEforALL Administration Board; Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, Enel. “Coupled with the effects of climate change, our agendas should prioritise an inclusive energy transition and deliver access to sustainable cooling to support health, economic, and social recovery, especially in areas at high risk. Together, we must tackle the complexity of today’s challenges and commit to achieving with great speed and scale access to clean, sustainable, and affordable energy for everyone throughout the world.”
Challenges, impacts on vulnerable populations
Lack of access to adequate cold chains for life-saving COVID-19 vaccines is one of the most immediate concerns facing developing countries and, indeed, the world. The Economist Intelligence Unit forecasts that 85 poor countries will not have widespread access to COVID-19 vaccines before 2023, including all African economies, except Gabon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa.
Italy pavilion for EXPO 2020 aims to tackle global sustainability challenges, says ambassador
Dubai, UAE, 20 March 2019: The Italian tradition is a mix between beauty and function, said His Excellency Liborio Stellino, Ambassador of Italy to the UAE, following a special preview of the Italian Pavilion for EXPO 2020, presented by Carlo Ratti, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Founding Partner, Carlo Ratti Associati, and one of the architects that designed the Pavilion during Italian Design Day on March 19, at the American University in Dubai. Stellino stressed that legacy is an important element driving Italy’s participation in EXPO 2020 and that the Pavilion aims to showcase key learnings related to food safety and security and future energy gained from previous Expos in a bid to address the global challenge facing sustainability in a more holistic manner.
Providing a brief history on the country’s long-standing commitment towards sustainable practices, Stellino said: “The importance of energy started in 1973, when we had the first oil crisis. From the time, we tackled problems of energy efficiency, we developed a lot of techniques, technologies and expertise. Today, in Italy, despite the lack of oil and natural resources, we save 20% [of electricity], thanks to better efficiency of buildings.”
Stellino said that despite being associated with classic and traditional buildings, Italy has made great strides in integration of technology for modern infrastructure, owing to the expertise of the engineering and architectural community, stressing that innovation is in their DNA. “The close link between entrepreneurship and art has oriented our design in a more functional way,” Stellino said. Ratti discussed the vital role sustainable cooling plays in modern infrastructure, adding that while the Italian pavilion will be generally cooled using air conditioning, there is a move to incorporate passive cooling design elements to make the most of the time of the year, when the UAE has cooler temperatures.