Integrated policy assessment and optimisation over multiple sustainable development goals in Eastern Africa
Van de Ven, Dirk-Jan
Johnson, Francis X
García de Jalón, Silvestre
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Environmental Research Letters: 14 (9): 94001 (2019)
Heavy reliance on traditional biomass for household energy in eastern Africa has significant negative health and environmental impacts. The African context for energy access is rather different from historical experiences elsewhere as challenges in achieving energy access have coincided with major climate ambitions. Policies focusing on household energy needs in eastern Africa contribute to at least three sustainable development goals (SDGs): climate action, good health, and improved energy access. This study uses an integrated assessment model to simulate the impact of land policies and technology subsidies, as well as the interaction of both, on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, exposure to air pollution and energy access in eastern Africa under a range of socioeconomic pathways. We find that land policies focusing on increasing the sustainable output of biomass resources can reduce GHG emissions in the region by about 10%, but also slightly delay progress in health and energy access goals. An optimised portfolio of energy technology subsidies consistent with a global Green Climate Funds budget of 30 35 billion dollar, can yield another 10% savings in GHG emissions, while decreasing mortality related to air pollution by 20%, and improving energy access by up to 15%. After 2030, both land and technology policies become less effective, and more dependent on the overall development path of the region. The analysis shows that support for biogas technology should be prioritised in both the short and long term, while financing liquefied petroleum gas and ethanol technologies also has synergetic climate, health and energy access benefits. Instead, financing PV technologies is mostly relevant for improving energy access, while charcoal and to a lesser extend fuelwood technologies are relevant for curbing GHG emissions if their finance is linked to land policies. We suggest that integrated policy analysis is needed in the African context for simultaneously reaching progress in multiple SDGs.