Climatic Change

, Volume 136, Issue 1, pp 109–125 | Cite as

The effect of African growth on future global energy, emissions, and regional development

  • Katherine CalvinEmail author
  • Shonali Pachauri
  • Enrica De Cian
  • Ioanna Mouratiadou


Today Africa is a small emitter, but it has a large and faster-than-average growing population and per capita income that could drive future energy demand and, if unconstrained, emissions. This paper uses a multi-model comparison to characterize the potential future energy development for Continental and Sub-Saharan Africa under different assumptions about population and income. Our results suggest that population and economic growth rates will strongly influence Africa’s future energy use and emissions. We show that affluence is only one face of the medal and the range of future emissions is also contingent on technological and political factors. Higher energy intensity improvements occur when Africa grows faster. In contrast, climate intensity varies less with economic growth and it is mostly driven by climate policy. African emissions could account for between 5 % and 20 % of global emissions, with Sub-Saharan Africa contributing between 4 % and 10 % of world emissions in 2100. In all scenarios considered, affluence levels remain low until the middle of the century, suggesting that the population could remain dependent on traditional bioenergy to meet most residential energy needs. Although the share of electricity in final energy, electric capacity and electricity use per capita all rise with income, even by mid-century they do not reach levels observed in developed countries today.


Gross Domestic Product Total Factor Productivity Climate Policy Energy Intensity Final Energy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was funded by Stiftung Mercator (

Supplementary material

10584_2013_964_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (136 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 135 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine Calvin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shonali Pachauri
    • 2
  • Enrica De Cian
    • 3
  • Ioanna Mouratiadou
    • 4
  1. 1.Joint Global Change Research Institute/PNNLCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Energy ProgramInternational Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)LaxenburgAustria
  3. 3.Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) and Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC)VeniceItaly
  4. 4.Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research/PIKPotsdamGermany

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