Original Article

Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change

, Volume 16, Issue 7, pp 749-773

First online:

Ancillary impacts of energy-related climate change mitigation options in Africa’s least developed countries

  • Ian H. RowlandsAffiliated withDepartment of Environment and Resource Studies, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo Email author 

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This article analyses the debate associated with the ancillary impacts of climate change mitigation options in developing countries, with a particular focus upon Africa’s 34 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. Key ancillary impacts are better indoor air quality, better outdoor air quality and job creation (respectively). Further work to strengthen the evidence base regarding these impacts needs to be undertaken, potentially drawing upon broader work that has already been completed. Thus, in conclusion, a call for cross-fertilisation of information between heretofore disparate research communities is made. Additionally, the development of an integrated research agenda, forging linkages among cookstoves, indoor air quality and climate change mitigation research communities in Africa’s least developed countries, is identified as a priority.


Developing countries Africa Climate change mitigation Ancillary impacts Ancillary benefits Energy services