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ECN publication
Future energy system challenges for Africa: insights from Integrated Assessment Models
Lucas, P.L.; Nielsen, J.; Calvin, K; McCollum, D; Marangoni, G; Strefler, J.; Zwaan, B.C.C. van der; Vuuren, D.P. van
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Policy Studies 1-12-2015
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-W--15-045 Article (scientific)
Number of pages:

Published in: Energy Policy (Elsevier), , 2015, Vol.86, p.705-717.

Although Africa's share in the global energy system is only small today, ongoing population growth and economic development imply that this can change significantly. Here, we discuss long-term energy-system developments in Africa using results of a recent model inter-comparison study on global climate policy. We focus on Africa's role in the wider global energy system and in global climate mitigation. The results show a considerable spread in model outcomes, emphasizing the large uncertainty regarding Africa's energy future. Without climate policy, Africa's share in global energy-related CO2 emissions is projected to increase to 3–23% by 2100. Emissions become significant on a global scale only after 2050. In none of the model projections the international ambition to provide universal modern energy access by 2030 is achieved. Furthermore, although the continent is currently a large net exporter of oil and natural gas, towards 2050 the model projections emphasize that Africa needs most of its resources for its rapidly growing domestic demand. However, the projected rapid expansion of their energy system also implies that Africa gains importance in global mitigation action. An important challenge is to align the increasing investments in the energy system with climate policy and potential revenues from international carbon trading.

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