Building synergies between climate change mitigation and energy poverty alleviation
Even though energy poverty alleviation and climate change mitigation are inextricably linked policy goals, they have remained as relatively disconnected fields of research inquiry and policy development. Acknowledging this gap, this paper explores the mainstream academic and policy literatures to provide a taxonomy of interactions and identify synergies and trade-offs between them. The most important trade-off identified is the potential increase in energy poverty levels as a result of strong climate change action if the internalisation of the external costs of carbon emissions is not offset by efficiency gains. The most significant synergy was found in deep energy efficiency in buildings. The paper argues that neither of the two problems – deep reductions in GHG emissions by mid-century, and energy poverty eradication – is likely to be solved fully on their own merit, while joining the two policy goals may provide a very solid case for deep efficiency improvements. Thus, the paper calls for a strong integration of these two policy goals (plus other key related benefits like energy security or employment), in order to provide sufficient policy motivation to mobilise a wide-scale implementation of deep energy efficiency standards.