The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has released the Indian Cooling Action Plan (ICAP).

India has one of the lowest access to cooling across the world, which is reflected in its low per capita levels of energy consumption for space cooling, at 67 kWh, as compared to the world average of 272 kWh.

India is a growing economy characterized by low penetration of air-conditioning, rising per capita income, rapid urbanization and a largely tropical climate, which would lead to rise in the requirement for cooling.

Rising cooling requirement provides a challenge as well as a unique opportunity (sustainable and accessible cooling to all).

Issues Related to Cooling-

A large part of the cooling demand is catered through refrigerant- based cooling. An important aspect related to refrigerant -based cooling is energy use. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) causes 10% of the global  CO2 emissions.

India is that the first country within the world to develop such a document (ICAP) and list out actions which will help reduce the cooling demand. The cooling requirement is cross-sectoral and a crucial a neighborhood of process encompassing inter alia reduction of cooling demand, refrigerant transition, enhancing energy efficiency, and better technology options with 20 year time horizon.

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. This will also help in reducing both direct and indirect emissions.

The India Cooling Action seeks to

  1. reduce cooling demand across sectors by 20% to 25% by 2037-38,
  2. reduce refrigerant demand by 25% to 30% by 2037-38,
  3. reduce cooling energy requirements by 25%to 40% by 2037-38,
  4. recognize colling and related areas, as a thrust area of research under national S&T Programme,
  5. training and certification of 100,000 servicing sector technicians by 2022-23, synergizing with Skill India Mission.

Priority Areas Identified by the ICAP

  1. Enhancing energy efficiency: To reduce the energy footprint of active cooling, by promoting development and commercialization of technology pathways, especially low energy cooling technologies.
  2. Reduce cooling demand: By reducing the cooling load of the building sector through fast tracked implementation of building energy codes, and increasing adoption of adaptive thermal comfort standards, energy efficiency devices and awareness.
  3. Equitable cooling: Targeted programmes to enable cooling for the economically weaker segment, especially though design and construction of housing for EWS and LIG with thermal comfort, supporting initiatives such as cool-roof program etc.
  4. Formalisation of technicians: There is a need to bring the service technicians in this area into the formal sector through training and certification programme.
  5. Ensure harmonization of policies: ICAP recommendations bring in synergies with ongoing government programmes and schemes.
  6. Refrigerant transition: ICAP seeks synergy between the existing plans to phase-out HCFCs (Hydrofluorocarbons) and the new phase-down the use of high GWP HFCs, to ensure that costs are minimised and environment benefits are maximised.


  1. Thermal comfort for all- provision for cooling for EWS and LIG housing,
  2. Sustainable cooling- low GHG emissions related to cooling
  3. Doubling Farmers Income- better cold chain infrastructure- better value of produce to farmers, less wastage of produce,
  4. Skilled workforce for better livelihood and environmental protection
  5. Make in India – domestic manufacturing of air conditioning and related cooling equipment’s.
  6. Robust R&D on alternative cooling technologies – to provide push to innovation in cooling sector.

India is one of the first countries in the world to develop a comprehensive Cooling Action plan. Given the cross-cutting nature of cooling demand, the success of ICAP implementation requires active collaboration among the relevant ministries as well as the private sector entities. For effective implementation, the ICAP must be monitored and executed under the governance of a high level multi-ministerial framework.

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