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People attempt to cool off during a heat wave in Istanbul, Turkey, on July 8. Photo: Berk Ozkan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

In a warming world, expanding access to cooling technologies without jeopardizing climate change goals is going to be a major challenge, according to a new report by the Sustainable Energy for All group.

Why it matters: Cooling needs are not only for expanding access to air conditioning as the earth becomes hotter, but applies to many other aspects of the modern economy like medical and food supply chains. The report shows that 1.1 billion people face "cooling access risks."

The big picture: 470 million people live in poor, rural areas that lack access to safe food and medicines and 630 million are located in hotter, poor urban slums with little or no cooling to protect them against extreme heat waves.

What's happening now: Extreme heat waves are a present-day danger as well as a growing risk. In just the past few months, all-time hot temperature records have fallen across the globe.

  • In Nawabshah, Pakistan, on April 30, the temperature hit 50.2°C, or 122.4°F, which if verified by officials would be the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth during the month of April.
  • On June 25, Oman set a new world record for the highest minimum temperature for a 24-hour period and for a calendar day, with a low temperature of 42.6°C, or 108.7°F.
“Access to cooling is not a luxury,” says Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative to the United Nations Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All. “This could mean the difference between life and death for many, many people.”

The details, per the report:

  • There are 9 countries with the biggest populations facing cooling risks, including: India, Bangladesh, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Indonesia, China, Mozambique and Sudan.
  • It calls on policymakers to place cooling needs higher on their list of climate change and sustainable development priorities.
  • The choices that a growing middle class, particularly in Asia, makes about cooling devices — whether to buy cheaper, less efficient devices or push manufacturers to meet tougher efficiency standards — could make or break the achievement of the Paris Climate Agreement's temperature targets as well as the fate of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
  • Cooling, from the air conditioners in our homes to the systems that regulate temperature at computer data centers and grocery stores, is already responsible for about 10% of global warming.
  • “We have to do this in a way that is super efficient so we don’t explode emissions," Kyte says.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems fear supply-chain blame

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As supply-chain kinks drive up prices and disrupt holiday shopping, Democrats are scrambling to show action and deflect blame.

Why it matters: With their party controlling both the White House and Capitol, vulnerable Democrats worry supply-chain snafus will hurt them in next year's midterms.

4 hours ago - World

Scoop: Germany urges Congress not to sanction Putin’s pipeline

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The German government has urged members of Congress not to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, arguing that doing so will "weaken" U.S. credibility and "ultimately damage transatlantic unity," according to documents obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: At a time when roughly 100,000 Russian troops are massing at its border, Ukraine views Nord Stream 2 as an existential threat to its security. The pipeline would circumvent Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating one of the last deterrents Ukraine has against an invasion.