The Indian state of Tamil Nadu, with its semi-arid and tropical monsoon climate, is highly vulnerable to the rising temperatures and severity of heatwaves that climate change will bring, particularly in its fast urbanizing cities and towns.
To cope, Tamil Nadu’s urban population are rapidly turning to cooling appliances. This in turn puts a heavy strain on the state’s electricity grid, accelerates greenhouse gas emissions and leaves vulnerable communities unprotected.
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), along with the Government of Tamil Nadu, has signed a three-year agreement to help Tamil Nadu deliver clean, efficient, and equitable cooling and adapt to rising extreme heat.
The agreement with the Environment, Climate Change and Forest Department (ECCFD), Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department (MAWS) and the Municipal Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) was signed on March 1st in Chennai, India, and exchanged in presence of Crown Prince and Princess of Denmark.
This support is part of a long-term National Urban Cooling Programme, which is being developed with the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) of India. Tamil Nadu is the first state to receive support under this programme, supported by the Government of Denmark and the Clean Cooling Collaborative and delivered under the framework of the India-Denmark Green Strategic Partnership and the UNEP-led Cool Coalition.
The support will initially focus on the city of Chennai, integrating measures on extreme heat and sustainable cooling into the city’s upcoming masterplan, and taking forward diverse demonstration projects on Sustainable Cooling and reducing urban heat such as on efficient air conditioners, district cooling, nature, passive cooling, cool roofs and urban design. The national and state program is being implemented with NIUA and partners of the Cool Coalition, including the RMI and CEPT University.
This cooperation with the Government of Tamil Nadu follows a series of efforts from Cool Coalition members and partners ahead of COP28 in UAE to accelerate joint action towards efficient and climate-friendly cooling and turn this Conference of the Parties into a Cool COP.