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Study projects explosive growth in African emissions from combustion of fossil fuels and biofuels absent regulation

12 March 2014

According to a new study by researchers from France, emissions of gases and particles from the combustion of fossil fuels and biofuels in Africa are expected to increase significantly in the near future due to the rapid growth of African cities and megacities. African combustion emissions already contribute significantly to global emissions.

The findings, reported in an open access paper in the journal Environmental Research Letters, predict very large increases in black carbon, organic carbon, CO, NOx, SO2 and non-methane hydrocarbon emissions if no emission regulations are implemented.

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African relative contribution (AF) to the global total combustion emissions (GE). AF was calculated as follows: AF = AFE/GE where AFE is the total of our African emission inventory and GE is combustion emissions at global scale, GE = (GE − AFE(RCP, ECL)) + AFE where AFE (RCP, ECL) and GE are, respectively, the average of African combustion emissions and the average of combustion emissions at global scale in the RCP and ECL inventories. Source: Liousse et al. Click to enlarge.

In 2005, the contribution from Africa to the total global emissions amounted to about 5% for SO2 and NOx, to 20% for OC, and of the order of 10% for CO, BC and NMHC. In 2030, the African contribution significantly increases for all species, for all the inventories.

For example, in 2030, African OC will represent 54% on average of the global anthropogenic combustion emissions, and NMHC, CO, BC, NOx and SO2 will contribute to 20–30% of the total.

The study also highlights the possible effectiveness of regulations, and their impact on future decreases in emissions and their worldwide importance.

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Comments

I tend to be a sceptic about solar power, which is largely put in where the subsidies are, not where it is sunny.

It is a different matter for Africa, where almost everywhere is near enough to the equator to get plenty of sun year round, so obviating annual variation.

Add that to an underdeveloped grid and rapidly falling costs for hardware and tiny labour costs for maintenance at African wage rates and you have a recipe for unprecedentedly clean power generation for a developing area.

I agree with Davemart. An undeveloped grid makes this the perfect environment for distributed energy production, and solar may be easier and cheaper to install and maintain than diesel generators. If not now, soon.

There are already a few million solar panel home installations in Africa, China, India etc and it is growing at a very fast rate.

Unfortunately, ICEVs sales are also growing at a fast rate and pollution going up in those countries.

Very lost cost electrified 2, 3 and wheel vehicles could be the answer.

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