A World Bank report on Thursday said that India has an investment opportunity of $1.6 trillion by 2040, creating around 3.7 million jobs, owing to new alternative and innovative energy-efficient technologies that can be used amidst the rising temperature in the country. 

Titled the ‘Climate Investment Opportunities in India’s Cooling Sector,’ the report says that shifting to a more energy-efficient pathway could lead to a substantial reduction in the expected carbon-di-oxide levels over the next 20 years. 

Over the past few years, India has been experiencing soaring heat waves, with temperatures rising to as much as 46 degrees Celsius in the national capital in April this year. Owing to this, by 2030, more than 160 million to 200 million people across the country could be exposed to lethal heat waves annually, and as many as 34 million people in the country will face job losses due to heat-related productivity decline. This will impact the country’s GDP by 4.5%. The current food loss due to heat during transportation is close to $13 billion annually. 

By 2037, the demand for cooling is likely to be eight times higher than the current levels. This means that there will be a demand for a new air-conditioner every 15 seconds, leading to an expected rise of 435% in annual greenhouse gas emissions over the next two decades, according to the report. 

Auguste Tano Kouamé, the World Bank’s Country Director in India says, “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. The report suggests a sustainable roadmap for cooling that has the potential to reduce 300 million tons of carbon dioxide annually by 2040.”

Notably, the government has launched the India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) in 2019, to provide sustainable cooling measures across various sectors, with an aim to reduce the demand for cooling by up to 25% by 2037-38. 

The report suggests a slew of measures, in line with the Indian government’s investment through ICAP. This includes adopting climate-responsive cooling techniques under the government’s flagship Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) which can benefit more than 11 million urban homes and over 29 million rural houses. “Adopting climate-responsive cooling techniques as a norm in both private and government-funded constructions can ensure that those at the bottom of the economic ladder are not disproportionately affected by rising temperatures,” the report says. 

Apart from this, the report proposes private investments in district technologies that can reduce energy bills by 20% to 30% compared to the most-efficient conventional cooling solution. The report also proposes reducing food and pharmaceutical wastage in order to fix gaps in cold chain distribution networks. This could help in decreasing food loss by about 76% and reducing carbon emissions by 16%. 

India aims to phase out the production and use of ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbons by 2047. The report recommends improvements in servicing, maintenance, and disposal of equipment that use hydrochlorofluorocarbons. This can create 2 million jobs and reduce the demand for refrigerants by around 31%. 

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