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UNU-WIDER Power Ahead: Meeting Ethiopia’s Energy Needs under a Changing Climate

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A teenager wears torn rubber boots in a muddy local market in Bac Ha, Viet Nam. As of 2005 figures, half the world population—more than 3 billion people–is estimated to live on less than USD 2.50 a day. Bac Ha, Viet Nam. UN Photo/Kibae Park.

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WP/90 Power Ahead: Meeting Ethiopia’s Energy Needs under a Changing Climate

Ethiopia is powering ahead with an ambitious energy development strategy, highly reliant on abundant hydropower potential. A changing climate, including uncertain water supply, however, may pose a salient challenge to meeting expected targets. Bridging the modeling gaps between climate, energy, and economics, and effectively transforming climate changes into economic measures, is an emerging inter-disciplinary field as nations attempt to position themselves for an uncertain future. Such a framework is adopted here to assess energy production and adaptation costs for four climate change scenarios over 2010–49. Scenarios that favor a drying trend country-wide may lead to losses of 130–200 terawatt hours over the 40-year period, translating to adaptation costs of US$2–4 billion, compared to a no climate change scenario. Even given these potential losses, energy development utilizing hydropower appears economically reasonable from this deterministic, sector-independent evaluation. This development is desperately needed, independent of future climate change trends, with the hope of appreciably reducing vulnerability to variability.
WIDER Working Paper
WP/90 Power Ahead: Meeting Ethiopia’s Energy Needs under a Changing Climate
Paul Block and Kenneth Strzepek
Publication date:
December 2011
Ethiopia, energy development, hydropower, climate change, economics
Q25, Q43, Q54
Development strategy and climate change / Climate change and mitigation policy
UNU-WIDER gratefully acknowledges the financial contributions to the project by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency—Sida, and the financial contributions to the research programme by the governments of Denmark (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), and the United Kingdom (Department for International Development).

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