Empowering Household Energy Transition Amid Climate Change in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Case Study of Cleaner Pellet-Fed Gasifier Cookstoves in Urban Malawi

Recent assessments of climate change impacts in Sub-Saharan Africa indicate that the continent is already experiencing impacts from rising temperatures, including water shortages, reduced food production, loss of lives and biodiversity loss. There are an increased number of extreme events, from drought, floods and tropical storms, and these events will worsen if global greenhouse gases are not significantly reduced. At the same time, Africa is one of the lowest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, and many countries struggle to manage with the cost of climate change adaptation, while also paying high levels of debt. Alongside these climate challenges are ongoing extractive industries looking to Africa as a new or ongoing source of resources – including mining precious minerals to support renewable alternatives to fossil fuels. Despite this bleak picture, alternative models that are transformative and reparative are emerging as ways to imagine just climate futures in Africa. These alternatives include attention to multiple types of social inequities and building development strategies through dialogue and careful attention to power dynamics. Adaptation approaches that support decent livelihoods alongside biodiversity, ecosystems and indigenous knowledge are being tested and expanded. Recognition of power inequities at multiple scales and reparation of these inequities is part of such approaches.

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