Electrification Doesn't Make Sense Everywhere—Yet

Electrification is a key step to creating low-carbon cities. Replacing fossil fuel-powered vehicles, stoves, furnaces with electric alternatives reduces emissions and creates a host of other benefits. But not all cities are equally suitable for electrification. In some cases, electrification is impractical or can actually increase greenhouse gas emissions.

Analyzing national-level data, WRI's new paper, Shifting Currents: Opportunities for Low-Carbon Electric Cities in the Global South, finds 34 low- and middle-income and emerging market countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa where electrification is a good strategy today. These countries contain 105 cities with populations greater than 1 million. Although each city is different, electrifying these could have an outsized impact on curbing climate change.

We also found 38 countries where electrification may not make sense today, containing 256 cities with populations greater than 1 million.