Given the need for inexpensive cooling in the world’s most populous country, India is unlikely to sign onto a worldwide agreement to reduce emissions connected to cooling at the COP 28 climate meeting, two government sources told Reuters.

The UNEP’s Cool Coalition and the United Arab Emirates, the host nation for COP28, came up with the commitment to reduce cooling-related carbon dioxide emissions by at least 68% by 2050 compared to 2022 levels. In addition to increasing the cost of such items, the vow would force nations to make significant investments in order to transition to sustainable cooling methods.

It is anticipated that, during the yearly climate conference in Dubai from November 30 to December 12, countries would declare their decision regarding the cooling commitment.

The achievement of the cooling commitment depends heavily on China and India, two of the largest economies and carbon polluters in the world, with a combined population of almost 2.8 billion.

India is “probably the single most important country for this pledge,” according to Brian Dean, who oversaw cooling and energy efficiency at Sustainable Energy for All, an organisation that contributed to the pledge’s creation.

“With the India Cooling Action Plan, they’ve been ahead of the curve in providing the necessary cooling for their nation. And if they signed the pledge, that would be a really significant global statement,” he stated.

According to government officials, New Delhi is unwilling to go above and beyond the goals set forth in 1992 by the multilateral Montreal Protocol to control the production and use of hydrofluorocarbons, which are used in insulating foams, refrigerators, and air conditioners, as well as chemicals that deplete the ozone layer.

A request for comments was not answered by the environment ministry of India. The officials discussed their views under anonymity since India’s position is still being evaluated.

According to its own cooling action plan, which was unveiled in 2019, the nation wants to cut its power consumption for cooling across sectors by 20%–25% by 2038.

India has extremely low per-capita emissions and energy use. Its need for cooling is expected to increase several times over in the upcoming years, therefore it cannot take the chance of making costly expenditures in cooling,” a government official stated.

According to research released this week by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the South Asian nation’s electricity demand for home air conditioners is predicted to expand ninefold by 2050, surpassing growth in every other major household device.

India’s electricity use for air conditioning rose by 21% between 2019 and 2022; these appliances account for roughly 10% of India’s total electricity consumption. Compared to the global average of approximately 5 metric tons, its per capita carbon emissions are about 2 metric tons.

According to Dean, the cooling commitment gives nations the chance to receive cash from other nations and philanthropies.

“So if India doesn’t sign, it’s an opportunity for other countries to take advantage of future financial flows,” he explained.