Press Releases

  • Cooling the cars will also cool the Earth: The fight against global warming can trim the economic costs, reduce local air pollution and improve human health

    3 March 2005

    Experts from governments from various countries and industry worldwide are meeting in New Delhi to explain how improvements in vehicle air conditioning can help protect the climate, while saving money and improving air quality. An ambitious goal of the workshop is to persuade the Government of India and vehicle manufacturers to join the global partnership that will make this happen. Prompt action could have the improved air conditioning in new cars sold in India by 2007.

    The workshop on Technology Cooperation for Next-Generation Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) is being organized by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi, with support from the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India, the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Government of Finland, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA).

    This is the first major event that India has organized after entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol and highlights how win-win options and no-regret approaches will be adopted by India and other developing countries as part of their national strategies to do their part to protect the climate and to support sustainable development with new employment opportunities and energy savings.

    India has recently eliminated the use of Chlorofluorocarbon-12 (CFC-12) in new vehicles because it destroys the stratospheric ozone layer. All the new cars have air conditioning systems that use a gas known as HFC-134a -hydrofluorocarbons - which is an ozone friendly gas. India has also taken firm steps to implement the Montreal Protocol on the substances that deplete the Ozone Layer. India, being environmentally conscious, adopted a proactive approach and formulated & implemented the Ozone Regulation 2000 which prohibits the use of CFCs in manufacturing of new equipment/appliances, thanks to the technical and financial assistance received from the UN's Multilateral Fund, which helped Indian industry to changeover from CFCs to non-CFC technologies.

    The car air-conditioning technology in new cars in India has used a non-CFC alternative called HFC-134a since 2003. The catch is that HFCs are global warming gases and their emissions are to be controlled along with six other gases as per the Kyoto Protocol.

    The technology options that are ready to implement and that will be discussed in the workshop by the major automobile manufacturers, experts from governments and international agencies are related to the air-conditioning system used in motor cars. In India, the air conditioning system can consume 20 to 30% of the fuel. The new technologies could bring down this consumption by at least 30% in stages and can reduce the direct emissions of HFC-134a, which is also a greenhouse gas. The enhanced technology options reduce the emission of HFCs by significant margins and other options include use of non-HFC technologies.

    The reduced use of fuel would reduce air pollution and lessen emissions that are responsible for respiratory diseases among millions of the urban population in India. The potential of trimming down the cost of import of the fuel oil globally would be billions of dollars per year by 2030. The European Union would start reaping the benefits of new technologies by 2009.

    The workshop would initiate the assessment of the costs and benefits of proposed options and explore the possibility of technology cooperation between India and other countries in the EU and the USA to develop air conditioning technology for cars under Indian conditions parallel to the developments taking place in the industrialized countries.