Close to two-thirds of the world's poorest people live in rural areas. Eradication of rural poverty depends on increased access to goods, services, and information, targets detailed in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. However, alleviating poverty is hindered by two interlinked phenomena: lack of access to improved energy services and worsening environmental shocks due to climate change. Mitigating climate change, increasing energy access, and alleviating rural poverty can all be complementary, their overlap defining an energy-poverty-climate nexus.

The authors analyzed the dynamics of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from household fuel use in sub-Saharan Africa from 2000 to 2050. The scenarios included a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, in which fuel consumption and tree-harvesting practices change little except through population growth and urbanization, and large-scale shifts to charcoal- and petroleum-based fossil fuels.