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Long-term carbon dioxide and hydrofluorocarbon emissions from commercial space cooling and refrigeration in India: a detailed analysis within an integrated assessment modelling framework

Sharma, Mohit, Chaturvedi, Vaibhav, Purohit, Pallav
Climatic change 2017 v.143 no.3-4 pp. 503-517
air conditioning, buildings, carbon dioxide, cooling, cost effectiveness, energy, environmental models, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, hydrofluorocarbons, refrigeration, urbanization, India
Quantification of greenhouse gas emissions is a critical research gap for space cooling and refrigeration applications in Indian commercial buildings. This is especially relevant as these services are expected to grow rapidly in future driven by economic growth and urbanisation. This paper focuses on these two applications which are highly energy and emission intensive, and quantifies their carbon dioxide (CO₂) and hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions through soft-linking a top-down model with a bottom-up approach. An integrated assessment modelling framework Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM)-IIM is used for modelling energy-related emissions under a business-as-usual scenario. In addition to CO₂ emissions occurring from electricity use, cooling and refrigeration in commercial buildings emit another set of highly potent greenhouse gases, emanating from application of HFCs as coolant. HFCs substitute their ozone-depleting precursors in these applications. Countries across the world have agreed to phase down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol. Before we can analyse cost-effective options to bring down these emissions, it is important to quantify and assess the amount of emissions that could be avoided in the future. Our research sets up a baseline for carbon dioxide and HFC emissions from India for the commercial air-conditioning and refrigeration sectors and finds the potential HFC emission mitigation due to the Kigali Amendment. A detailed bottom-up modelling of these emissions is undertaken and it is found that, if unabated, the HFC emissions from commercial sector will surge from mere 1.8 million tonne (Mt) CO₂e in 2015 to 211 Mt CO₂e in 2050, whereas energy-related CO₂ emissions from commercial air-conditioning and refrigeration will rise from 37 to 297 Mt CO₂e in the same period. We also highlight the role of management practices and regulation for curbing HFC emissions which is especially relevant for the commercial building sector.