Climate Change

26 Jun 2023

Cold air, hot waters: AC usage among Indians to spike fourfold by 2050, generate massive amount of emissions

While a considerable chunk of the country continues reeling under blistering heatwave conditions even as we approach the end of June, most parts of the Indian subcontinent have started to welcome seasonal rains. And yet, the memory of those searing days and uncomfortable nights from a few weeks ago remains fresh in our minds — when it seemed impossible to forgo air conditioning for those of us fortunate enough to have access to it.

If this was our condition when daytime mercuries were breaching the 40°C mark on the regular, things will only get more unbearable once climate change does its thing and temperatures increase a couple notches more. And when this happens, we’re going to see more and more Indians hopping onto their vehicles and rushing to the nearest electronic shop to purchase an air conditioner or cooler.

Naturally, as our usage of air conditioners increases, so will their associated emissions, becoming a part of another endless, vicious cycle.

Now, thanks to a first-of-its-kind study, we might have a firmer grasp on how climate change will impact the demand for air conditioners and electricity for cooling in India.

As per the study, in a 2-3 °C warming scenario, air conditioning uptake in the country is projected to grow fourfold by 2050 — and this could generate an increase in emissions in the order of 12 crore metric tons!


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