Co-impacts of energy-related climate change mitigation in Africa’s least-developed countries: the evidence base and research needs

Produced as part of the Governments, markets and climate change mitigation CCCEP research programme theme

Working Paper 49


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, three energy-related climate change mitigation options are examined:

  1. Improved cookstoves;
  2. Carbon-free electricity;
  3. 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.

Ian H. Rowlands