Policy trade-offs between climate mitigation and clean cook-stove access in South Asia

  • Nature Energy 1, Article number: 15010 (2016)
  • doi:10.1038/nenergy.2015.10
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Household air pollution from traditional cook stoves presents a greater health hazard than any other environmental factor. Despite government efforts to support clean-burning cooking fuels, over 700 million people in South Asia could still rely on traditional stoves in 2030. This number could rise if climate change mitigation efforts increase energy costs. Here we quantify the costs of support policies to make clean cooking affordable to all South Asians under four increasingly stringent climate policy scenarios. Our most stringent mitigation scenario increases clean fuel costs 38% in 2030 relative to the baseline, keeping 21% more South Asians on traditional stoves or increasing the minimum support policy cost to achieve universal clean cooking by up to 44%. The extent of this increase depends on how policymakers allocate subsidies between clean fuels and stoves. These additional costs are within the range of financial transfers to South Asia estimated in efforts-sharing scenarios of international climate agreements.

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The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme FP7/2007-2013 under grant agreement no. 308329 (ADVANCE).

Author information


  1. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria

    • Colin Cameron
    • , Shonali Pachauri
    • , Narasimha D. Rao
    • , David McCollum
    • , Joeri Rogelj
    •  & Keywan Riahi


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C.C., S.P., N.D.R. and K.R. formulated the research question and conceived the model concept. C.C. implemented the concept by programming and developing the Access model. C.C. and D.M. integrated the Access model into the existing MESSAGE modelling framework. C.C. ran the scenarios. J.R. contributed post-processing analytical tools and input on interpretation of the results, as well as the figures. C.C., S.P. and N.D.R. drafted the manuscript. All authors contributed to editing and discussing the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Shonali Pachauri.

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