Environmental payoffs of LPG cooking in India

Singh, D., Pachauri, S. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8138-3178, & Zerriffi, H. (2017). Environmental payoffs of LPG cooking in India. Environmental Research Letters 12 (11) e115003. 10.1088/1748-9326/aa909d.

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Over two-thirds of Indians use solid fuels to meet daily cooking energy needs, with associated negative environmental, social, and health impacts. Major national initiatives implemented by the Indian government over the last few decades have included subsidies for cleaner burning fuels like liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene to encourage a transition to these. However, the extent to which these programs have affected net emissions from the use of these improved fuels has not been adequately studied. Here, we estimate the amount of fuelwood displaced and its net emissions impact due to improved access to LPG for cooking in India between 2001 and 2011 using nationally representative household expenditure surveys and census datasets. We account for a suite of climate-relevant emissions (Kyoto gases and other short-lived climate pollutants) and biomass renewability scenarios (a fully renewable and a conservative non-renewable case). We estimate that the national fuelwood displaced due to increased LPG access between 2001 and 2011 was approximately 7.2 million tons. On aggregate, we estimate a net emissions reduction of 6.73 MtCO2e due to the fuelwood displaced from increased access to LPG, when both Kyoto and non-Kyoto climate-active emissions are accounted for and assuming 0.3 as the fraction of non-renewable biomass (fNRB) harvested. However, if only Kyoto gases are considered, we estimate a smaller net emissions decrease of 0.03 MtCO2e (assuming fully renewable biomass harvesting), or 3.05 MtCO2e (assuming 0.3 as the fNRB). We conclude that the transition to LPG cooking in India reduced pressures on forests and achieved modest climate benefits, though uncertainties regarding the extent of non-renewable biomass harvesting and suite of climate-active emissions included in such an estimation can significantly influence results in any given year and should be considered carefully in any analysis and policy-making.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Energy (ENE)
Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP)
Depositing User: Michaela Rossini
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2017 12:04
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:29
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/14912

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