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Demand for hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances is growing in India and is estimated to continue growing at a high rate through the middle of this century. HFCs, although not directly ozone-depleting, are highly potent greenhouse gases subject to a global phasedown under the 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. As of 20 January 2022, 130 Parties have ratified the Kigali Amendment, including India. This analysis evaluates scenarios for India’s HFC demand trajectory compared to likely control obligations under the Kigali Amendment. It is based on current and projected markets for HFC-using equipment and types of refrigerants utilized now and likely to be used in the future. Sectors considered in this work include mobile air conditioning, stationary air conditioning, refrigeration, and foam blowing agents. Results suggest that India’s annual HFC demand under current market trends could reach 76 MMT CO2-equivalent (CO2e) in 2030 and 197 MMT CO2e in 2050, from 23 MMT CO2e in 2020, making no changes to the current mix of HFCs in use. The Kigali Amendment requires for compliance that India freeze its HFC consumption in 2028 at a projected level of 59–65 MMT CO2e and phase down progressively over the following 29 years; in that case, annual Indian HFC demand would peak in 2030 at a projected 57 MMT CO2e and fall to 8 MMT CO2e by 2050. This trajectory would avoid cumulative HFC use of 2.2 GT CO2e through 2050 versus the current market trends. If actions are taken to accelerate the refrigerant transition in stationary air conditioning by five years, India could peak its annual HFC demand by 2028 at 40 MMT CO2e and avoid additional cumulative HFC demand of 337 MMT CO2e between 2025 and 2050, exceeding its obligations under the Kigali Amendment.

Urbanization, rising temperatures, and more frequent heat waves in India are driving cooling demand higher. Further, as living standards rise and electricity reaches more homes across India, sales of room air conditioners (ACs) are growing. The room AC stock has skyrocketed from 2 million units in 2006 to approximately 30 million units in 2017. Air conditioners are now viewed as a necessity for a healthy lifestyle, similar to the perception of refrigerator ownership in the 1990s. But, ACs also burden electric grids with greater peak power demand, leading to higher power plant fuel consumption and increasingly poor air quality. Increased AC use also exacerbates harmful climate change caused by emissions of carbon dioxide from power generation and the release of refrigerants such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), potent heat trapping gases used in air conditioners. For the room AC market to grow sustainably, “climate-friendly” room ACs – those that are both energy efficient and use climate- safe refrigerant gases – are needed.

This factsheet provides an overview of the growing Indian AC market, strategies to advance climate- friendly ACs, and market opportunities under the Montreal Protocol.

Patents and other intellectual property such as know how are a complex issue for policy makers and civil society experts, especially considering the large number of patents involved and the sensitivity and confidentiality around licensing agreements. This paper does not attempt to find a solution to the patent debate. Rather, it examines developing country experiences in dealing with patents during earlier transitions under Montreal Protocol as well as highlights the key issues faced by Indian industry and policy makers.

This interim draft paper explores the energy efficiency and power sector benefits of air conditioning companies in India to “leapfrog” and phase down high GWP.