Rowlands, Ian (2011) Co-impacts of energy-related climate change mitigation in Africa’s least developed countries: the evidence base and research needs. Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment working papers, 39. Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London, UK.
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This article analyses the debate associated with the co-impacts of climate change mitigation in developing countries, with a particular focus upon Africa’s least developed countries. While these countries’ emissions of greenhouse gases are relatively small (and they do not have emission limitation commitments in the current international regime), inattention to the mitigation agenda would mean that developing countries both miss potential funding opportunities and fail to ‘climate-proof’ their development strategies. A focus, therefore, upon the short-term, local, developmental impacts that serve to change the relative attractiveness of different mitigation options from the perspective of the developing country is in these countries’ current strategic interests. In this article, I examine three energy-related climate change mitigation options: improved cookstoves, carbon-free electricity and improved energy efficiency in industry. Following a conventional ‘climate analysis’ of each, the potential co-benefits and co-costs – drawn from the general literature and then investigated more specifically for the African countries under scrutiny – are identified. This examination reveals that relatively little work focusing explicitly, and simultaneously, upon climate change mitigation and co-impacts has been carried out in Africa’s least developed countries. In conclusion, a call for cross-fertilisation of information between heretofore disparate research communities is made. Additionally, the development of an integrated research agenda is identified as a priority, and the basis of this agenda is articulated.
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