By Elton Gomes
On World Ozone Day, India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) released the draft India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) along with a booklet on the ‘Montreal Protocol – India’s Success Story’.
Emphasizing on the need to enhance collaboration between the government, industries, industry associations, and other stakeholders, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan said the World Ozone Day is an opportunity to focus attention and act on critical environmental issues, such as protection of the ozone layer.
What is the cooling plan?
The ICAP’s objectives were noted in a press release issued on September 17. The official statement noted that India is the first country in the world to develop a document like the cooling action plan.
“This will help in reducing both direct and indirect emissions. The thrust of the ICAP is to look for synergies in actions for securing both environmental and socio-economic benefits. The overarching goal of ICAP is to provide sustainable cooling and thermal comfort for all while securing environmental and socio-economic benefits for the society,” the press release stated.
What does the ICAP aim to do?
Besides addressing the cooling requirements of each sector, ICAP will also help in reducing the overall cooling demands of the country. On the whole, ICAP aims to provide cooling, as well as heating, in a sustainable and pareto-optimal way without any environmental and socio-economic externalities.
ICAP’s primary objective is to help in assessing what the cooling requirements are across various sectors, and then take note of the refrigerant and energy demands accordingly. The ICAP intends to map the technology to address cooling and heating requirements. The plan also presents the idea of developing an ecosystem wherein alternative technologies can be developed.
The draft plan also lays emphasis on skilling of RAC (refrigeration and air-conditioning) service technicians and suggests interventions in each sector so that everyone can benefit from sustainable cooling and thermal comfort.
What is the Montreal Protocol?
The Montreal Protocol is a global agreement that aims to protect the ozone layer. The agreement aims to do this by eliminating the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances. The Montreal Protocol is similar to the Paris Agreement, which is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and concerns greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance.
The Montreal Protocol is the only environmental treaty to have garnered ratification from 197 UN member countries.
India’s cooling needs
India’s cooling needs are set to increase. Currently, India is looking at an eight-fold increase in its cooling demands in the coming 20 years. Air conditioners comprise more than half of that demand. However, India’s per capita energy consumption is still much lower than nations like Japan, Brazil, and Mexico.
ICAP predicts that the real estate sector could witness an eleven-fold increase in the next 20 years. Other sectors that could witness a growth are transport, air-conditioning and cold-chain sectors – both sectors are expected to increase four-fold, and five-fold, respectively.
According to the government’s statement, taking note of the cooling requirements across sectors in the long term would be more beneficial than making a decision in isolation. Keeping this in mind, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, began the process to develop the ICAP in July 2017.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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