India is the first country to have a ‘Cooling Action Plan’ under the Montreal Protocol

India is the first country to have a ‘Cooling Action Plan’ under the Montreal Protocol

  • India’s Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) estimates that India’s cooling demand is set to grow eight-fold by 2037-38 as compared to current consumption.
  • According to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, India is the first country to have such a plan in place to address the cooling demands of the country.
  • ICAP also proposes setting up an R&D ecosystem for startups as well as looking at alternative technology solutions to address this problem.
The Kerala floods were only the most recent reminder of how climate change can cause unprecedented damage and recent revelations of ‘ Hothouse Earth’ predicts that things will only get worse. In its aftermath, India, as a part of the Montreal Protocol, is the first country to device a ‘Cooling Action Plan’ in an attempt to phase out ‘Ozone Depleting Substances’.

On World Ozone Day, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) released the draft Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) along with a booklet on the ‘Montreal Protocol - India’s Success Story’, ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Currently, India is staring at an eight-fold increase of cooling demand in the coming 20 years. Air conditioners, in particular, make more than half of that demand. That being said, India’s per capita energy consumption is still much lower than the developed nations like Japan and the UN, and even the developing countries like Brazil and Mexico.

ICAP not only addresses how cooling requirements differ from sector to sector, it also lists of actions that can potentially reduce the overall cooling demands of the country. The overall mission of the ICAP is to provide cooling, as well as heating, in a sustainable and pareto-optimal way without any environmental and socio-economic externalities.

Focus sectors

According to ICAP’s current estimates, the building sector will show the most significant amount of growth. It’s expected to grow 11 fold in the next 20 years. In comparison, transport air-conditioning and cold chain sectors are only expected to increase four times and five times as much, respectively.

And, according to the International Energy Agency, even globally the building sector is the largest energy-consuming sector accounting for one-third of total energy consumption worldwide. The building sector includes residential housing as well as the sub-sectors of the services segment.

Sustainable cooling

The main aim of ICAP is to start from assessing what the cooling requirements are across the sectors and address the refrigerant and energy demands accordingly. To meet its objectives of reduction, the draft proposes mapping the technology available to cater to cooling and thermal requirements. It also puts forward the idea of developing an R&D innovation ecosystem where alternative technologies can be developed.

The former includes passive technology that focuses on controlling how heat is absorbed and dissipated through design solutions that improve cooling and thermal comfort with minimal energy consumption.

India is the first country to have a ‘Cooling Action Plan’ under the Montreal Protocol

The Montreal Protocol isn’t only an Indian success story but an international one. It’s the only environmental treaty to have garnered ratification from 197 UN member countries. The Montreal Protocol specifically focuses on substances that deplete the ozone layer and has been successful in reducing the global production, consumption and emissions of these substances.