India’s heatwave tragedy may be devastating for common men and the ecology of several regions of the country. The Modi Government is yet to rise from its slumber to start framing a comprehensive plan to deal with the likely devastation. The Union Government has been treating it just as an opportunity to strengthen the cooling sector business since the tragedy is set to boost the cooling business and industry. India has already devised an action plan that is called the ‘India Cooling Action Plan’ (ICAP), and now the World Bank is going to support it in a big way. Treating this heatwave tragedy as simply a money-making opportunity would be a grave mistake, though some of the big players in the cooling sector are finding this heating of India tragedy as an investment opportunity in India’s Cooling Sector. The World Bank has studied this opportunity under the title ‘Climate Investment Opportunities in India’s Cooling Sector’. The heatwave tragedy is a more serious matter than merely an opportunity for investment and money-making through business since severe heat waves are responsible for thousands of deaths across the country, where higher temperatures start rising early in April and go on increasing for far more extended periods until the monsoon arrives in June end or early July to cover the entire country.
On its impact, even the World Bank has cautioned that rising heat across India could hit economic productivity. The most affected population would be the workforce since 75 percent of them need to work under the sun or are exposed to heat. They also need to work even in life-threatening temperatures. India developed ICAP in 2019, keeping in view the business and investment opportunities. The abstract from the World Bank study in a praiseworthy tone said, “India, recognising the complex challenges of rising temperatures, was one of the first countries in the world to develop a comprehensive Cooling Action Plan in 2019. The India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) sets out a long-term vision of ensuring sustainable cooling and thermal comfort for all while securing environmental and socio-economic benefits.
Following a consultation process involving over 20 different stakeholders from academia, industry, think tanks and the Government, the study found that over the next few decades, the projected growth of cooling-related sectors will result in an exponential rise in cooling and refrigerant demands, and energy consumption in all sectors. This will be matched with an increase in GHG emissions, projected to double by 2027, the abstract of the study mentioned. It concludes that India’s cooling strategy can help mitigate risks of heat on lives and livelihoods, lower carbon emissions and position India as a global hub for green cooling manufacturing. Additionally, India’s long-term food security and public health security depend on a reliable cold chain network. Unlocking opportunities to create a sustainable cooling strategy will also help India in its post-Covid recovery by boosting investments, creating jobs, reducing emissions and securing the supply chains of medical care products, health infrastructure, as well as food products. It all shows that India is yet to have a comprehensive plan to deal with the heatwave tragedy that is likely to hit the country hardest in near future. India’s Cooling Action Plan is merely a sectoral approach.