June 13, 2021: The necessity of India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) launched on March 8 2019, spearheaded by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF& CC) was paramount. Among all industries in the world, one of the fastest-paced flourishing industries is that of cooling.
Importance of India Cooling Action Plan
India is one of the first countries in the world to develop a comprehensive Cooling Action plan which has a long term vision to address the cooling requirement across sectors and lists out actions which can help reduce the cooling demand.
Cooling being highly in demand especially in the tropical climate of India, becomes a must have, across all sectors like residential cooking (domestic air conditioning and refrigeration), commercial cooling (air conditioning in large work place and hospitals and industrial cooling (cold-chain storage and transport of perishables and other specific commodities). The rate is projected to increase with escalating global population, trade and economy.
However, increased demand leads to the huge unchecked emissions of harmful gases into the atmosphere from these cooling devices which catalyze the issue of climate change. This picture had to be corrected ensuring a plan to encourage the use as well as create awareness of sustainable cooling.
Why India Cooling Action Plan was launched?
India has secured a place among the first countries to formulate and adapt to a comprehensive plan which finds solutions to the issues of cooling requirements and sustainable use.
When the then Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan released the India Cooling Action Plan in New Delhi, he said the thrust of 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. This will also help in reducing both direct and indirect emissions.” said Harsh Vardhan.
The India Cooling Action seeks to (i) reduce cooling demand across sectors by 20% to 25% by 2037-38, (ii) reduce refrigerant demand by 25% to 30% by 2037-38, (iii) Reduce cooling energy requirements by 25% to 40% by 2037-38, (iv) recognize “cooling and related areas” as a thrust area of research under national S&T Programme, (v) training and certification of 100,000 servicing sector technicians by 2022-23, synergizing with Skill India Mission.
These actions will have significant climate benefits.
The agenda of the ICAP is to identify and calculate the future cooling requirement across the sectors with the aid of conducting an extensive search for the newest technologies that fulfil the requirements while being environment-friendly.
Quoting the ICAP, its cardinal function is “to provide sustainable cooling and thermal comfort for all while securing environmental and socio-economic benefits for the society.”
In the presence of domestic policies and global partnerships like the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the task of ICAP is to synchronize and redirect the operation promising progress.
The ICAP identified seven thematic areas to narrow down the task of dealing with each sector’s requirement individually- space cooling in buildings, air-conditioning technology, cold-chain and refrigeration, transport air-conditioning, refrigeration and air-conditioning sector, refrigerant demand and indigenous protection and research and development.
Categorized into nine chapters where each of the thematic sectors are discussed in detail, it also makes recommendations which are three-fold; short-term which is to be seen through within 2019-24, medium-term to be implemented within 2024-29 and long-term to be carried out between 2029-38.
For space cooling in buildings its goal is to provide thermal comfort, improved health and well-being of all combined with enhanced productivity with lower electricity consumption and thus, lower the operational cost.
Quality and cheaper preservation methods to be orchestrated for the cold-chain and refrigeration, which would promise food security by eliminating any and all chances of wastage. The bigger picture views a benefit to the farmer’s income.
Reduced fuel consumption
The ICAP visions reduced fuel consumption by the transport machinery facilitating energy-efficient transport which would give rise to a bettering of the public transport network.
In matters of refrigeration and air-conditioning, certification of engineers and other people engaged in service provision, would boost employment opportunities.
The limelight stationed on local industry, would support people engaged in production and the manufacturing sector.
All of this would lead to a widening of horizons for research, making India a hub for investment, good research and development.
This in turn will make room for innovations in fashion of the cost-effective low global warming potential technologies dictated by 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.