How Timor-Leste is helping the vulnerable people gain access to efficient and sustainable cooling

November 29, 2022

The replacement of ozone-and-climate friendly AC in a Shelter House Baucau, Timor-Leste

Maria Silvia D.R. Lopes/UNDP Timor-Leste

As the planet is getting warmer, the need for cooling equipment, such as air conditioners and refrigerators, is growing significantly. According to the International Energy Agency, the global stock of air conditioners in buildings will grow to 5.6 billion by 2050, up from 1.6 billion in 2018[1]. Rising demand for cooling is driving the electricity consumption and costs up while making the planet hotter through increased emissions of greenhouse gases.

Such increases have posed challenges to small island developing countries like Timor-Leste, not only to deal with the increasing energy demand and cost, but also to mitigate and adapt to the growing impacts of climate change. As a small island developing state, Timor Leste faces higher climate change risks and, therefore, is eager to take action to decrease its carbon footprint. Despite being naturally endowed with oil and gas resources, the government of Timor-Leste still spends around US$ 75 million annually for diesel import to supply the electricity for the country.

The implementation of the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, with support from its Multilateral Fund, is enabling the country to reduce the emissions due the energy consumption and due to refrigerants with high global warming potential used in cooling appliances. It is done through the replacement of old cooling equipment with the new ones using climate-friendly refrigerants and consuming less energy. For example, the project implemented with support from UNDP has successfully replaced about 31 refrigerators and air conditioners running on ozone-depleting chemicals with very high global warming potential with those using more environmentally friendly refrigerants and consuming less energy in 14 important non-profit institutions such as health centers, home shelters, public libraries, and disability associations.

The replacement of ozone-and-climate friendly AC in local clinics in Timor-Leste

João Filipe Gama/UNDP Timoor-Leste

Montreal Protocol project presentation during the visit of UN Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Director Regional for Bureau of Asia and the Pacific, Ms. Kanni Wignaraja.

Ayumi Kimura/UNDP Timoor-Leste

During her visit in October 2022, Ms. Kanni Wignaraja, UN Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Director Regional for Bureau of Asia and the Pacific observed that the project supported the functioning of critical institutions, such as health clinics and home shelters, and contributed to climate change mitigation globally.

As this example shows it is possible to meet the cooling needs of the vulnerable countries and populations while decreasing the greenhouse gas emissions and saving costs.

"In the efforts to transition towards more efficient climate-and-ozone friendly technology, it is important to prioritize the ones who need the most”
Kanni Wignaraja- UN Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Director Regional for Bureau of Asia and the Pacific