Shifting currents: opportunities for low-carbon electric cities in the Global South

The paper uses two criteria to identify cities in the Global South that today are candidates for electrification – replacing fossil fuel–powered vehicles, stoves, furnaces and other devices with electric alternatives. First, urban access to electricity (i.e., the percentage of people with a household electricity connection) must already be greater than 90 percent. Below this threshold, electrification of fossil fuel–consuming devices may worsen inequities in access. Second, the carbon intensity of electricity supply must be below a threshold of 600 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per gigawatt hour (tCO2e/GWh). Above this threshold, shifting to greater use of electricity would only increase emissions over the life cycle of the product or service.

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