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In September 2021, iCET officially released Developing a Climate-Friendly Cooling Sector through Market and Financing Innovation. The report is a vital result of the technical assistance project “Developing a climate-friendly refrigeration industry through market and financing innovation” funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Launched in September 2019, the project united more than ten experts in the fields of green refrigeration, architecture energy efficiency, and green finance domestically and abroad, and used Ningbo as a pilot city to provide technical support. The goal of the project is to develop diversified business models and innovative financing mechanisms, to help Ningbo improve upon the energy efficiency of the refrigeration sector by reducing the use of hazardous refrigerants, thereby achieving the ultimate goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and climate impact. The project not only focuses on increasing energy efficiency of the refrigeration equipment but also uses internet technology to optimize resources, creating an “internet+refrigeration” model to systematically improve efficiency.

China is a major producer and consumer of refrigeration equipment and, to maintain its usage, the electricity consumed comes primarily from fossil fuels. Promptly and effectively responding to the climate challenges posed by the growing global demand for refrigeration/cooling is critical to achieving the Paris Agreement targets and the mid-century carbon-neutral goals. As the world’s biggest user of hydrofluorocarbons (a most commonly-used refrigerant) as well as the largest energy consumer and CO2 emitter, China urgently needs to act to reduce the cooling-induced climate impacts. Although China has made a great effort in improving energy efficiency in industrial, commercial, and residential sectors, the potential for energy saving in the refrigeration sector is far from being utilized.

Under the backdrop of China’s gradual amendment and implementation of its National Plan for Phasing-Out Ozone Depleting Substances, this report reviews domestic and foreign policies and regulations related to energy efficiency improvement and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the refrigeration industry. Upon these theoretical foundations, the report then goes on to evaluate a series of technical solutions and to analyze and study various international financing tools and business models for reference in the Ningbo case. Ultimately, the goal is to import an “internet+refrigeration” model to deploy large-scale solutions, to support the improvement on energy efficiency and reductions in carbon emissions in its refrigeration sector, and to lead the system to go green.

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