Cooling India Could Be a $1.6 Trillion Investment Opportunity
A new report by the World Bank has found that as climate change continues to cause India’s temperatures to rise, there is the possibility of a $1.6 trillion investment opportunity in progressive green energy technologies by 2040.
As temperatures in India get hotter each year, more than 160 to 200 million people could be exposed to deadly annual heat waves by 2030. Additionally, a decline in productivity caused by heat stress could cause about 34 million people in the country to lose their jobs.
It is likely that the need for cooling in India will increase to eight times the current levels by 2037, which will lead to a 435 percent projected surge in greenhouse gas emissions each year for the next 20 years.
“We need to ensure that the country’s cooling plans do not cause more GHG emissions, leading to greater warming,” the World Bank’s Country Director in India Auguste Tano Kouamé said, as Down to Earth reported.
New plans to help people in India adjust to climbing temperatures are in the works, the press release said. The country started the India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) in 2019, which brings sustainable cooling procedures to different sectors like air-conditioning for transportation, refrigeration and a cold temperature-controlled supply chain network for pharmaceuticals and agriculture and cooling for buildings. The hope is that by 2037 to 2038, cooling demand will be lowered by as much as 25 percent.
“India’s cooling strategy can help save lives and livelihoods, reduce carbon emissions and simultaneously position India as a global hub for green cooling manufacturing,” Kouamé said in the press release. “The report suggests a sustainable roadmap for cooling that has the potential to reduce 300 million tons of carbon dioxide annually by 2040.”
If cooling strategies are adopted as standard for constructions that are financed by private and government funds, it will ensure that increasing temperatures don’t unfairly affect those who are poorest.
The report, “Climate Investment Opportunities in India’s Cooling Sector,” indicated that the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana — the affordable housing program in India — could proportionally adopt these changes, which could help more than 29 million rural residences and 11 million urban homes that the government wants to build.
Funding through private investments in cooling technologies for districts — which use a central plant to produce chilled water and underground pipes to distribute it to numerous buildings — was recommended by the report. The technique can lower energy bills by 20 to 30 percent by lowering the cost of having to cool individual buildings.
The report suggested repairing gaps in cold chain systems in order to bring the increasing amount of food and pharmaceuticals that is wasted during transport to a minimum. Food loss can be reduced by around 76 percent and carbon emissions can be lowered by 16 percent by investing in refrigerated and pre-cooling transportation.
Almost $13 billion in food is lost during transport each year due to heat.
India also plans to phase out hydrochlorofluorocarbons, which are used as refrigerator and air conditioner coolants and deplete the ozone layer, by 2047. Improving the maintenance, servicing and disposal of machinery that uses hydrochlorofluorocarbons, as well as changing to alternatives that have a lower carbon footprint, has the potential to create two million jobs over the next twenty years and lower the need for refrigerants by about 31 percent, the report said.
“The right set of policy actions and public investments can help leverage large scale private investment in this sector. We recommend that these moves be accelerated by creating a flagship government mission to address the challenges and opportunities from rising temperatures in India,” the authors of the report — Abhas K. Jha, Practice Manager, Climate and Disaster Risk Management, South Asia, and World Bank Climate Change Specialist Mehul Jain — said in the press release.