Report sees climate risk from rise in Indian AC units

Refrigerants are the major contributors to global warming

By 2022, India is expected to have a fourth of the world’s air conditioning units, and the risks to climate from this could be immense, according to a report.

The refrigerants used for cooling are the major contributors to global warming, and if left unchecked, they could cause global temperatures to rise by 0.5 degrees Celsius. Several Departments in India, including the Department of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Power, on Monday announced a partnership with the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a U.S.-based institute, and Conservation X Labs, a technology solutions company, to institute a Global Cooling Prize to motivate research laboratories across the world to develop highly efficient cooling technologies. A technology solution that could help to reduce the impact by one-fifth and ensure that air conditioning units use 75% less electricity would be needed, says Solving the Global Cooling Challenge, a report written by the Rocky Mountain Institute. A technology solution would not only significantly reduce the burden on electricity grids but also save Rs. 109 trillion ($ 1.5 trillion). Over Rs. 21 crore ($3 million) will be awarded over the course of the two-year competition. Up to 10 short-listed competing technologies will be awarded up to Rs. 1.4 crore ($200,000) each in intermediate prizes to support the design and prototype development of their innovative residential cooling technology designs. The winning technology will be awarded at least Rs. 7 crore ($1 million) to support its incubation and early-stage commercialisation, according to a press statement. Under a business-as-usual growth trajectory, about 4.5 billion room air-conditioners are estimated to be installed by 2050 — a nearly four-fold jump from today’s installed base, with emerging economies observing a five-fold increase, the report says.

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