Biogas: Clean Energy Access with Low-Cost Mitigation of Climate Change

22 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Eswaran Somanathan

Eswaran Somanathan

Indian Statistical Institute

Randall A. Bluffstone

Portland State University - Department of Economics

Date Written: June 30, 2015


With data from the nearly 6,000 households in the Nepal Living Standards Survey of 2010?11, this paper finds that the mean reduction in household firewood collection associated with use of a biogas plant for cooking is about 1,100 kilograms per year from a mean of about 2,400 kilograms per year. This estimate is derived by comparing only households with and without biogas in the same village, thus effectively removing the influence of many potential confounders. Further controls for important determinants of firewood collection, such as household size, per capita consumption expenditure, cattle ownership, and unemployment are used to identify the effect of biogas adoption on firewood collection. Bounds on omitted variable bias are derived with the proportional selection assumption. The central estimate is much smaller than those in the previous literature, but is still large enough for the cost of adopting biogas to be significantly reduced via carbon offsets at a modest carbon price of $10 per ton of CO2e when using central estimates of emission factors and global warming potentials of pollutants taken from the scientific literature.

Keywords: Inequality, Climate Change and Environment, Science of Climate Change, Climate Change and Health

Suggested Citation

Somanathan, E. and Bluffstone, Randall Ames, Biogas: Clean Energy Access with Low-Cost Mitigation of Climate Change (June 30, 2015). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7349, Available at SSRN:

E. Somanathan (Contact Author)

Indian Statistical Institute ( email )

7 S. J. S. Sansanwal Marg
New Delhi, 110016

Randall Ames Bluffstone

Portland State University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 751
Portland, OR 97207-0751
United States
503-725-3938 (Phone)
503-725-3945 (Fax)

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