Stressing upon the need to strengthen active collaboration between the government, industries, industry associations and all stakeholders, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has said that the World Ozone Day offers an opportunity to focus global attention and action on the vital environmental issue of protection of the ozone Layer. Dr. Vardhan added that this is a hallmark in implementation of ODS phase-out programme in the country. Dr. Harsh Vardhan pointed out that the Ministry has already undertaken an important initiative for upskilling of 100,000 Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Servicing technicians in collaboration with the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) – Skill India Mission. The Minister underlined the need to work consistently under the aegis of the Montreal Protocol to phase out Ozone Depleting Substances.Dr. Harsh Vardhan released the draft India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) and a booklet on ‘Montreal Protocol – India’s Success Story’. A refurbished website on the Ozone Cell of the Ministry and a Management Information System (MIS) for Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) were also launched on the occasion. The Minister also released two handbooks for trainers and technicians on “Good Service Practices and installation of room air-conditioners with HCFC-22 and flammable refrigerants”. Dr. Vardhan also presented awards to students for competitions in painting, poster and slogan organized on World Ozone Day.
Besides these publications, “A Guide for integration of topics related to HCFC Phase out and Energy efficiency in Architectural Curriculum” was also released. Addressing the gathering, Secretary, MoEF&CC, Shri C.K Mishra said that the Ministry has developed a very strong linkage with the industry and other stakeholders. He added that along with energy efficiency, it is critical to identify the usage of gases and not merely replacement of gases. Shri Mishra emphasised that the Government’s effort is to provide thermal comfort to those who have no access to it. “There are alternative ways to cooling that should be looked at. Another issue is an army of trained manpower to handle manufacturing and maintenance”, he said. He also pointed out to the criticality of the need for finances and expanding research & development (R&D).India is the first country in world to develop such a document (ICAP), which addresses cooling requirement across sectors and lists out actions which can help reduce the cooling demand. This will help in reducing both direct and indirect emissions. The thrust of the ICAP is to look for synergies in actions for securing both environmental and socio-economic benefits. 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.The goals emerging from the suggested interventions stated in ICAP are: (i) Recognition of “cooling and related areas” as a thrust area of research under national science and technology programme to support development of technological solutions and encourage innovation challenges, (ii) Reduction of cooling demand across sectors by 20% to 25 % by year 2037-38, (iii) Reduction of refrigerant demand by 25% to 30% by year 2037-38, (iv) Reduction of cooling energy requirements by 25% to 40% by year 2037-38, and (v) Training and certification of 100,000 servicing sector technicians by the year 2022-23, in synergy with Skill India Mission.
The broad objectives of the India Cooling Action Plan include - (i) Assessment of cooling requirements across sectors in next 20 years and the associated refrigerant demand and energy use, (ii) Map the technologies available to cater the cooling requirement including passive interventions, refrigerant-based technologies and alternative technologies such as not-in-kind technologies, (iii) Suggest interventions in each sector to provide for sustainable cooling and thermal comfort for all, (iv) Focus on skilling of RAC service technicians, and (v) Develop an R&D innovation ecosystem for indigenous development of alternative technologies.ICAP had been prepared by the Ministry after extensive deliberations and multi-stakeholders engagement in public domain for receiving comments/suggestions. Recognizing that integrated actions, taking a holistic view on the cooling requirement across sectors with long term perspective (20 years) will have a higher impact than either of the actions taken in isolation, the Ministry had initiated the process for developing the Cooling Action Plan in July 2017."Keep Cool and Carry on” : The Montreal Protocol is the theme of 24th World Ozone Day celebrations.The Montreal Protocol is the only environmental treaty which enjoys universal ratification of 197 UN numbers countries. The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer has been recognized as the most successful international environment treaty in history. Its implementation has not only led to the phase-out of around 98% of ozone depleting chemicals, but also averted more than 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions. Nearly 2 million cases of skin cancer per year have been averted globally.
India has consciously chosen a path for most environment-friendly and energy efficient technologies while phasing out Ozone Depleting Substances, unlike many of the developed countries. India is among the few countries globally and a pioneer in some cases, in the use of technologies, which are non-ozone depleting and have low global warming potential.Cooling has been recognized as an important development need due to cross-sectoral nature and considerable use of cooling and air conditioning in different Sectors of the economy such as industries, residential and commercial buildings, cold chain, transport (personal, commercial, metro and railways, ships).The integration of topics on HCFC phase out and energy efficiency in architectural curriculum will help the future architects to introduce energy efficiency and use ozone friendly materials in new construction of buildings. This will help not only in the protection of Ozone layer, but also reduce energy consumption in building sector, which is one of the significant consumers of electricity in urban areas. The World Ozone Day celebration was well attended by senior officers of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, representatives of multilateral and bilateral agencies including UN Environment, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), representatives of various government departments, industry and industry associations and a large number of students.