India’s soaring demand for cooling
technologies portends significant environmental concerns (Indian Express)
Mains Paper 3: Science and Tech
Prelims level: ICAP
Mains level: ICAP impact and significance
- The rising global need for cooling amenities and the associated
environmental and economic concerns have been matters of extensive study and
- India as the fastest growing and rapidly urbanising economy is projected
to have the strongest growth in cooling demand worldwide.
- While India’s soaring demand in this sector is in line with the
country’s developmental needs, it does portend significant environmental,
social and economic concerns.
- The government’s launch of the India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) on March
8 is a bold response to addressing India’s future cooling needs while
neutralising its impacts.
- ICAP most visibly is about enhancing access to cooling amenities,
optimising demand and efficient cooling practices and technologies.
Impact of ICAP
- At its core, ICAP is about improving the quality of life and
productivity of the people of India, and achieving many of the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) thus accelerating the country’s growth trajectory.
- There is ample evidence to correlate access to cooling amenities and
technologies with human health and productivity, and in extreme cases, even
survival. It is closely tied to achieving several of the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs).
- India has one of the lowest access to such technologies and amenities
across the world, far below the global average.
- The ICAP addresses the dilemma of how to meet the country’s growing
social need in this respect without posing major economic and environmental
- Conceived against the backdrop of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and
the Kigali Amendment, the ICAP for the first time harmonises separate policy
streams: Energy consumption and refrigerant use.
- This landmark policy document demonstrates unprecedented
inter-ministerial and cross-sectoral collaboration in laying out actionable
pathways and goals to achieve 25-40 per cent reduction in cooling energy
requirements and 25-30 per cent reduction in refrigerant demand as compared
to business as usual over the next 20 years.
- As meaningful as these goals are to proactively and effectively manage
India’s future cooling needs, what makes the ICAP even more momentous is the
significant co-benefits above the energy and emissions reduction that are
inherent in the pathways recommended by the ICAP for the cooling sectors.
Space cooling sector
- In the space cooling sector, which represents a dominant share of
India’s current and future cooling needs, the underlying thrust is to enable
thermal comfort and well-being for all citizens by providing affordable and
reliable cooling options, maintaining reliable electricity grids, and
enhancing climate resilience of buildings and homes.
- The thrust is on ensuring that the vulnerable populations, particularly
children and the elderly, are not exposed to undue heat stresses.
- To maximise the cooling load reduction and possible benefits for this
sector, ICAP proposes an approach that first reduces the cooling energy
demand through climate appropriate and energy efficient building design.
- Then serves the demand through energy efficient appliances and finally,
controls and optimises the demand through demand-side and user adaptation
strategies, such as adaptive thermal comfort.
- The plan lays special emphasis on enabling thermal comfort for the
economically-weaker sections through climate-appropriate designs of
affordable housing, and low-cost interventions to achieve better thermal
insulation (such as cool roofs).
- The benefits of the proposed actions extend to enhancing nationwide
productivity, reducing heat-islands in urban areas, mitigating peak-load
impacts and reducing the stress on the power systems — much of this would
also free up capital for other developmental priorities.
- ICAP proposes development of an integrated cold chain infrastructure
with the appropriate market linkages, supported by adequate training and up-skilling
of farmers and professionals.
- The co-benefits include economic well-being of farmers and reducing food
losses thus strengthening food security and alleviating hunger-related
- Driving skill-building of the services sector through training and
certification is an important target identified by the plan.
- This will address rampant operational inefficiencies and leakage of
refrigerants a significant source of GHG emissions.
- It also presents an opportunity for providing increased employment,
better livelihoods, and safer working practices for the HVAC (heating,
ventilation and air conditioning) sector.
- ICAP’s emphasis on an innovative R and D ecosystem aims to drive the
nation towards better utilisation of public-funded R and D efforts that
solve pressing issues related to the
environment and quality of life.
- The plan also positions India’s cooling challenge as an opportunity for
the nation to demonstrate leadership in areas related to innovation.
- It also supports the Make in India campaign through indigenous
production of cooling equipment and refrigerants.
- The benefits of ICAP could impact several SDGs good health and
well-being, decent work and economic growth, sustainable cities and
communities, reduced inequalities, affordable and clean energy, responsible
consumption and production, and climate action.
- The onus is now on the various stakeholders to work collaboratively,
with the right policy and market levers, to lead the country towards a
cooling transformation that exemplifies sustainable and responsible cooling
Q.1) With reference to the Right to Information Act, 2005, which of the
following statements is/are correct?
1. It provides for the appointment of a public information officer in each
2. The Official Secrets Act, 1923 overrides the RTI Act.
3. No court can entertain any suit, application or other proceedings in respect
of any order made under the Act.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Q.1) What do you mean by ICAP? How India can benefitted by this project?