Study: Improved electricity access has little impact on climate change

Watts Up With That?

From the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

no-partial-Electricity[1]Improving household electricity access in India over the last 30 years contributed only marginally to the nation’s total carbon emissions growth during that time, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

“Energy access is fundamental to development: it brings improvements to all aspects of life, including education, communication, and health,” says IIASA researcher Shonali Pachauri, who conducted the study.

While increased energy access is widely agreed to be an important goal for development efforts, such as the UN Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, the climate impacts of increased access to electricity have been unclear. The new study is the first to examine the impact of electricity access on carbon dioxide emissions using two sources of retrospective data.

“This study shows that the climate impacts of expanding access are in fact very small,” says Pachauri. However, she…

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