Reducing reliance on kerosene lighting would provide benefits but proves a stickier problem than previously thought, according to a new analysis focused on India.
Billions of people around the world rely on polluting and inefficient kerosene lamps for household lighting. Yet transitioning away from kerosene and reducing the associated impacts is more complicated than simply supplying an electricity connection, since many families supplement unreliable or inadequate electric lights with kerosene lamps, according to the study, which was published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
(cc) Flickr user bluelotus92
“Subsidies for kerosene persist despite a growing body of evidence that it poses health risks. These subsidies are also a financially inefficient way to provide a low level of energy service.” says Nicholas Lam, the study lead author. Lam is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Illinois in the USA, and started the work as part of the IIASA Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP).
“We wanted to understand characteristics of families relying on kerosene and the benefits of its replacement, in order to propose better strategies for transitioning to cleaner alternatives.”
The study focused on India, because a high percentage of households there continue to use subsidized kerosene—380 million people used kerosene as their primary lighting source in India in 2011. According to the study, however, 64% of kerosene used for lighting is as a supplemental source on top of electricity, which means that simply increasing electricity access without improving reliability will make only a small dent in the amount of kerosene used.
Instead, the study shows that eliminating subsidies by 2030 could reduce kerosene use in the country by 97%, modestly improving health: such a reduction could avert between 270,000 and 300,000 disability adjusted life years, a measure of population health that refers to the number of years of life lost due to bad health, disability, or early death.
Phasing out subsidies would benefit the economy as well, since the present deadweight loss—a measure of economic inefficiency—of the subsidy is estimated at $200–950 million. The researchers point out that in order to maintain lighting access at the same time as reducing kerosene use, a rapid spread of affordable alternatives would be needed.
“Supplemental lighting is important—it makes it possible for people to study and work when they don’t have electricity or the electricity is unreliable. People use kerosene because it’s cheap and available, but this has adverse impacts for health and the environment.
The obvious solution is to shift subsides towards improving electricity reliability and cleaner lighting technologies,” explains IIASA researcher Shonali Pachauri, who worked on the study and advised Lam during the YSSP.
Lam N, Pachauri S, Purohit P, Nagai Y, Bates MN, Cameron C, Smith K. (2016). Kerosene subsidies for household lighting in India: what are the impacts? Environmental Research Letters. 11 (2016) 044014. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/11/4/044014
MSc Katherine Leitzell | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Researchers measure near-perfect performance in low-cost semiconductors
18.03.2019 | Stanford University
Robot arms with the flexibility of an elephant’s trunk
18.03.2019 | Universität des Saarlandes
DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.
The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...
Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.
The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...
Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.
Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...
The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.
A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.
"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...
11.03.2019 | Event News
01.03.2019 | Event News
28.02.2019 | Event News
22.03.2019 | Life Sciences
22.03.2019 | Life Sciences
22.03.2019 | Information Technology