New Delhi– A philanthropic group has launched $80 million fund to expand energy efficiency in developing countries just ahead of Montreal Protocol negotiations, the biggest opportunity to act on climate change since the historic Paris accord, a statement said on Saturday.

The new fund is made up of a coalition of foundations and donors that have pledged $80 million, said the statement by the India Lead- Global Strategic Communications Council.

This money is specifically to bolster energy efficiency efforts in developing nations, which will enable them to move more quickly to potentially double their climate benefits while phasing out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), it said.

Increasing energy efficiency, specifically in the cooling sector, is crucial to development, it said, adding that cooling, the primary user of HFCs, drives as much as 40 to 60 percent of peak summer energy load and will only grow.

“Expanding energy efficiency programmes will provide India significant energy and financial savings for consumers, industry and government,” the statement quoted India-based businessman and philanthropist Jamshyd Godrej, Chairman and Managing Director, Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co Ltd as saying.

The fund and funding commitments from supporting governments and philanthropists will help nations transition to more efficient cooling equipment and phase down the production and use of HFCs and replace them with newer, climate-safe coolants.

“There are several announcements at the ongoing Climate Week in New York, aimed at pushing for stronger ambition as we get close to Montreal Protocol negotiations,” the statement said.

“Given the short atmospheric life of HFCs, the climate benefits of this amendment will be felt in the first half of this century, hopefully helping to avoid important tipping points,” it added.

According to the Global Strategic Communications Council, the meetings at the Climate Week that will conclude on Sunday are crucial for India in particular as a future consumer of the planet warming HFC gases.

“Things are looking promising for a good outcome in Kigali and we need to continue to keep the focus on the urgent need for action and on encouraging countries to be as ambitious as possible in setting their phase down dates,” it said.

Coming less than 10 months after the historic Paris climate accord, the Montreal Protocol negotiations to be held in Rwandan capital Kigali next month represent the most significant opportunity to reduce harmful pollutants and slow climate change.

HFCs are up to 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide and are the fastest growing greenhouse gas in the world. (IANS)