Room ACs to make India bigger climate villain than China; here’s how

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Updated: November 14, 2018 1:53:02 PM

Air conditioners are making your room cooler and the Earth warmer! And India could become a bigger climate villain than China by 2050.

 China’s energy demand does not grow at a similar pace to India’s or Indonesia’s, primarily because of the higher penetration of inverter air conditionersChina’s energy demand does not grow at a similar pace to India’s or Indonesia’s, primarily because of the higher penetration of inverter air conditioners

Air conditioners are making your room cooler and the Earth warmer! And India could become a bigger climate villain than China by 2050. A study has found that room ACs (RACs) will make the Earth 0.5 degree Celsius warmer by the 22nd century, while the highest RAC-related Co2 emission will come from Mexico and India by 2050.

Developing countries, mainly India, Mexico, Brazil, and Indonesia, will see an exponential increase in total (direct and indirect) emissions from RAC operation as a share of the global carbon dioxide emissions through 2050, a study ‘Global Cooling Challenge’ released by environment minister Harsh Vardhan earlier this week showed.

In China, the energy demand for space cooling from RACs doubles by 2050. Despite this significant rise in RAC stock, China’s energy demand does not grow at a similar pace to India’s or Indonesia’s, primarily because of the higher penetration of inverter air conditioners in that market, the study added.

Presently only 7% of households in India have ACs, despite having extremely high cooling needs. But, going forward with rising per capita income, the AC sales in India is set to grow 10-15% every year, also posing climate risks.

“Although India has one of the lowest penetration of air conditioning across the world today, this is set to change quickly… While this soaring demand for space cooling is a critical developmental and social imperative, it also represents one of the largest end-use risks to climate,” Harsh Vardhan said on the report.

He said that the government is committed to accepting the responsibility of providing impetus to environmentally benign frugal innovation to address the cooling related challenges.

Share of RAC-related CO2 emission as percent of total CO2 emissions from primary energy

By the mid 21st century, the Carbon emissions from RAC operation will continue to contribute an increasing share of the global carbon dioxide emissions through 2050, doubling to about 15% from the 2016-levels, the study added.

More importantly, India’s RAC carbon footprint by 2050 is expected to be much higher than China, and only lower than Mexico, as per the study. Presently, India’s RAC carbon emission is about 5% as a percentage of total emission, while China’s is about 8%. This will change to about 23% from India and about 13% from China.

Mexico will be the biggest contributor of Co2 emissions from RAC operations, with a whopping 26% share, highest in the world.

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