About the draft ‘India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP)’

About the draft ‘India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP)’

  • The ICAP provides a 20-year perspective (2017-18 to 2037-38) to address the cooling requirements across sectors and ways and means to provide access to sustainable cooling for all.
  • India is the first country in world to develop such a document (ICAP), which addresses cooling requirement across sectors and lists out actions which can help reduce the cooling demand.
  • 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.


  • To provide sustainable cooling while keeping in mind, the need to protect the ozone layer from substances that can deplete it.


  • Recognition of “cooling and related areas” as a thrust area of research under national science and technology programme to support development of technological solutions and encourage innovation challenges,
  • Reduction of cooling demand across sectors by 20% to 25 % by year 2037-38,
  • Reduction of refrigerant demand by 25% to 30% by year 2037-38
  • Reduction of cooling energy requirements by 25% to 40% by year 2037-38, and
  • Training and certification of 100,000 servicing sector technicians by the year 2022-23, in synergy with Skill India Mission.


  • Assessment of cooling requirements across sectors in next 20 years and the associated refrigerant demand and energy use
  • Map the technologies available to cater the cooling requirement including passive interventions, refrigerant-based technologies and alternative technologies such as not-in-kind technologies
  • Suggest interventions in each sector to provide for sustainable cooling and thermal comfort for all
  • Focus on skilling of Refrigeration and Air-conditioning (RAC) service technicians, and
  • Develop an R&D innovation ecosystem for indigenous development of alternative technologies.


What is the need for ICAP?

  • India is at the bottom in “access” to cooling, compared to the rest of the world, which is reflected in “low per-capita levels” of energy consumption for space cooling, and is 69 kWh against the world average of 272 kWh.
  • The cooling requirement in India, in tonnes of refrigeration (TR), is projected to grow around eight times by 2037-38.
  • The building sector shows the most significant growth in required TR, nearly 11 times as compared to 2017-18. The cold-chain and refrigeration sectors grow around 4 times and transport air-conditioning grows around 5 times the 2017-18 levels
  • The draft looks at two scenarios:
    • A reference scenario that assumes current policies and level of effort
    • An intervention scenario that factors in impacts of new interventions.
  • The projected cooling growth leads to a 5 to 8 times increase in the aggregated refrigerant demand by year 2037-38.
  • The intervention scenario suggests that through proactive measures, this total refrigerant demand can be reduced by 25-30% by 2037-38.
  • For space cooling, room air-conditioners constitute the dominant share of cooling energy consumption — around 40% in 2017-18 and projected to grow to around 50% in 2037-38.
  • The intervention scenario projects that around 30% reduction in cooling energy can be achieved just through improvements in cooling equipment efficiency and operation and maintenance (O&M) practices.
  • The growing transport sector, alongside growing income levels, will increase ownership of cars, a majority of these air-conditioned, at an expected growth rate of almost 9% annually up till 2040. India’s transport sector refrigerant demand is estimated to grow from ~6000 metric tonnes (MT) in 2017 to ~22000 MT by the year 2038.


Protect the Ozone Layer

  • The draft notes a large part of the cooling demand is met through refrigerant-based cooling.
  • These refrigerants are regulated under the Montreal Protocol regime on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. India is a signatory.
  • In the 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Protocol, India and a few other developing countries had agreed to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs- commonly used in air-conditioners) by 85% of their 2024-26 levels by 2047.


 Montreal Protocol

  • The Montreal Protocol is the only environmental treaty which enjoys universal ratification of 197 UN numbers countries.
  • The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer has been recognized as the most successful international environment treaty in history.
  • Its implementation has not only led to the phase-out of around 98% of ozone depleting chemicals, but also averted more than 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
  • The Kigali Amendment will enter into force on 1 January 2019 (provided that it is ratified by at least 20 Parties to the Montreal Protocol), adds to the Montreal Protocol the phase-down of the production and consumption of HFCs.


Way ahead

  • According to the draft, even by 2038, a significant percentage of households will not be able to afford refrigerant-based cooling equipment.
  • Therefore, wider proliferation of thermally efficient residential built spaces, which have reduced heat load and enhanced ventilation, is required. This should be coupled with availability of efficient non-refrigerant-based cooling equipment, such as fans and coolers, to fulfill the cooling need.
  • The plan takes a “holistic and balanced approach” by combining active (air-conditioning) and passive cooling strategies.
  • For instance, it considers passively-cooled building design that deploys natural and mechanical ventilation, promoting the use of energy-efficient refrigerant, adoption of adaptive thermal comfort standards to specify pre-setting of temperatures of air-conditioning equipment for commercially built spaces, and development of energy-efficient and renewable-energy-based cold chains for perishable foods besides other things.


Section : Environment & Ecology