Researchers have revealed that expanding energy access increases CO2 emissions but in India and other developing countries it could have positive effects and very little effect on climate change.
Improving household electricity access in India over the last 30 years contributed only marginally to the nation's total carbon emissions growth during that time.
Researchers said that even though the emissions growth from expanded energy access is small, low carbon energy sources could have additional benefits for developing countries and should be encouraged.
Previous IIASA research had included the 2012 Global Energy Assessment that has shown a broad array of co-benefits from expanding low-carbon, sustainable energy technologies.
IIASA researcher Shonali Pachauri used India as a case study and using two data sources, had found that even with increased electricity use, Indian households still used less electricity than Chinese households, and less than 10% of households in the United States.
Pachauri said that low-carbon energy sources brought improved health, efficiency, and could also bring benefits to the economy and employment. And if international climate policies were introduced later, more investment in low-carbon energy sources could mean that developing countries were not locked-in to fossil fuel power and higher costs in the future.
The study was published in the journal Nature Climate Change.