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  • 03 December, 2022

  • 7 Min Read

Heat waves & India’s Cooling Sector

Heat waves & India’s Cooling Sector

The World Bank recently published the report "Climate Investment Opportunities in India's Cooling Sector."

Highlights of the Report:

  • Heatwave exposure: From 2030 onwards, more than 160 to 200 million people in India could be exposed to a lethal heat wave each year.

Productivity is declining:

  • Due to heat stress-related productivity decline, approximately 34 million Indians will lose their jobs.
  • Demand for cooling: According to a World Bank report, cooling demand is expected to be eight times higher by 2037 than it is now.
  • In this scenario, India must deploy alternative and innovative energy-efficient technologies to keep spaces cool.

The Importance of India's Cooling Sector:

  • In addition to significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating 3.7 million jobs, India's Cooling Sector could provide a $1.6 trillion investment opportunity by 2040.
  • According to the report, with the demand for cooling increases, there will be a demand for a new air conditioner every 15 seconds.
  • This demand is expected to result in a 435% increase in annual greenhouse gas emissions over the next two decades.
  • As a result, there is a need to transition to a more energy-efficient path, which could result in a significant reduction in expected CO2 levels.

Report recommendations

2019 India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP):

The report proposes a road map to support the India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) 2019 by investing in three major sectors:

  • Cold chains, and building construction
  • Refrigerants.
  • Techniques for climate-responsive cooling:
  • Adopting climate-responsive cooling techniques as a standard practice in both private and government-funded constructions can help to ensure that those at the bottom of the economic ladder are not disproportionately affected by rising temperatures.
  • According to the report, India's Affordable Housing Program for the poor, the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), can implement such changes on a large scale.

District cooling policy:

  • It also proposed enacting a district cooling policy that could result in 20-30% less power consumption than the most efficient conventional cooling solutions.
  • District cooling technologies use a central plant to generate chilled water, which is then distributed to multiple buildings via underground insulated pipes.
  • Individual building cooling costs are reduced as a result.
  • Aside from that, guidelines for local and city-wide urban cooling measures such as cool roofs should be considered.
  • Closing gaps in cold chain distribution networks: The report recommends closing gaps in cold chain distribution networks to reduce rising food and pharmaceutical waste during transportation due to higher temperatures.
  • Investing in pre-cooling and refrigerated transportation can help reduce food waste by 76% and carbon emissions by 16%.
  • Lowering the global warming footprint: Improvements in the servicing, maintenance, and disposal of hydrochlorofluorocarbon-using equipment, as well as a shift to alternative options with a lower global warming footprint, are also recommended.

What exactly is a Heat Wave?

  • It is a period of unusually high temperatures, exceeding the normal maximum temperature for the summer season.
  • It usually occurs between March and June, but in rare cases, it can last until July.
  • Extreme temperatures and the resulting atmospheric conditions have a negative impact on people living in these areas because they cause physiological stress, which can lead to death.
  • In India, there is a criterion for declaring heat waves.
  • A heat wave is declared when the maximum temperature at a station is 40°C or higher for Plains and 30°C or higher for Hilly regions.
  • Heat Wave Departure from Normal: The temperature ranges from 4.50°C to 6.40°C.
  • Heat Wave Based on Actual Maximum Temperature: When the actual maximum temperature is 45 degrees Celsius.
  • Severe Heat Wave: When the actual maximum temperature exceeds 47 degrees Celsius.
  • If at least two stations in a Meteorological subdivision met the above criteria for at least two consecutive days and it was declared on the second day.

Causes of Increasing Heat Waves:

Extreme temperatures are becoming more common around the world as a result of both local and global factors.

  • Scientists have demonstrated how greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions exacerbate ocean temperatures, resulting in rising temperatures.
  • Anthropogenic GHG emissions in the form of burning of fossil fuel, mining, thermal power plants, deforestation, rising population, etc are to blame for the current weather disaster
  • Most importantly, heatwaves and wildfires are 'unimaginable' in the absence of human-caused climate change.

Way Forward

  • The right combination of policy actions and public investments can assist in leveraging large-scale private investment in this sector.
  • India's cooling strategy has the potential to save lives and livelihoods while also reducing carbon emissions and positioning India as a global hub for green cooling manufacturing.

Source: The Hindu

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