Publication: ET Government

COP28: India’s vision for global climate action and approach to sustainable cooling

Published Date: 07-Dec-2023

​​ Anticipating the growing cooling demand due to the country's economic expansion, India has developed the India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP), a comprehensive and consultative approach involving multiple stakeholders to address cooling demands across sectors and ensure access to sustainable cooling. 

In a compelling address during the United Nations Climate Conference in Dubai, Prime Minister Narendra Modi underscored the imperative for international collaboration to combat climate change.

Despite India's commendable strides in expanding its renewable energy capacity, the nation grapples with the challenge of harmonizing sustainable practices with its escalating energy demands. Prime Minister Modi's call for shared responsibility and acknowledgment of historical emissions positions India as a key player at COP28.

The urgency of addressing climate change took center stage in the Prime Minister's discourse, emphasizing the limited timeframe to rectify the errors of the past century. He attributed the current environmental state to the indiscriminate exploitation of nature, chiefly pointing fingers at developed nations such as the United States and European countries. The tangible impacts of climate change, manifested in heatwaves and floods, are already evident in India.

India's Progressive Approach to Sustainable Cooling: A Model for Global Action

In a side event focusing on "India's journey towards sustainable cooling" at the India Pavilion during UNFCCC COP28 in Dubai, India showcased a commitment that surpassed its National Determined Contributions (NDCs). Initially aiming for a 33-35% reduction in emission intensity by 2030, India has made substantial strides by achieving a 33% reduction in emission intensity of GDP in 2019. This success is attributed to India's simultaneous emphasis on economic growth and a significant push towards renewable energy.

While India continues to grow, it has effectively decoupled emissions from economic expansion, highlighting its dedication to a sustainable and responsible development model. Recognizing the global imperative to address climate change, India, despite not being a contributor to the problem, has taken a proactive role in the solution. This is evident in India's harmonious approach to balancing economy, ecology, development, and environment.

The India Cooling Action Plan, hailed as a model for many nations, underscores India's commitment to responsible growth. Looking ahead, there is a need to intensify efforts and lead the way in researching coolants suitable for Indian climatic conditions. India is shaping the narrative on responsible and sustainable growth, with the Government firmly committed to implementing groundbreaking solutions. Cooling is integral to various sectors, including residential and commercial buildings, cold-chain, refrigeration, transport, and industries.

Anticipating the growing cooling demand due to the country's economic expansion, India has developed the India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP), a comprehensive and consultative approach involving multiple stakeholders to address cooling demands across sectors and ensure access to sustainable cooling.

India's proactive stance during the implementation of the Montreal Protocol is noteworthy. The country has been at the forefront globally in using technologies with low Global Warming Potential and non-Ozone Depleting Substances. India took on the challenge of phasing out HCFC 141b, a blowing agent in rigid polyurethane foam production, well ahead of the Montreal Protocol schedule by January 1, 2020.

Similarly, the phase-out of HCFCs in new equipment manufacturing will be achieved by December 31, 2024, surpassing the Montreal Protocol schedule. India exceeded its phase-out target for HCFC production and consumption by achieving 44% against the baseline of January 1, 2020, demonstrating its commitment through proactive measures in the HCFC phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) Stage-II.

At COP-28, Prime Minister Modi not only reaffirmed India's commitment to emission reduction but also proposed hosting the 2028 edition of the conference, a significant move given that future COP venues are typically decided only two years in advance. Modi's plea for developed nations to "vacate carbon space" before 2050 signals a forward-looking approach to addressing historical emissions and fostering global cooperation.

Introducing the groundbreaking "Green Credit Initiative," Prime Minister Modi positioned it as a non-commercial effort to establish a carbon sink. While described as a market-based mechanism to incentivize environmental actions, its primary focus is on voluntary initiatives contributing to carbon sequestration. The initiative aims to generate credit for activities like afforestation and ecosystem rejuvenation on waste or degraded lands and river catchment areas, aligning with the broader goal of creating a carbon sink and revitalizing natural ecosystems.

Prime Minister Modi reiterated India's COP-26 commitments, including a 45% reduction in emissions intensity of GDP and a 50% share of non-fossil fuels by 2030, with a net-zero target by 2070. Concurrently, he extended an invitation for India to host COP-33 in 2028, emphasizing the elevation of Global South issues and climate justice.

PM Modi's vision at COP-28 extends beyond India's borders, urging nations to transcend self-interest and fulfill their climate obligations. His proposal for the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) and endorsement of the Loss and Damage Fund underscore a commitment to shaping a fair and equitable global response to climate change.

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